novel

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Widow's Point

Reviewed by Mike Macabre

Widow’s Point, Gregory Lamberson’s highly-anticipated, award-winning adaptation of the book of the same name, has premiered on DVD and Digital in the USA and Canada via 101 Films. Craig Sheffer (A River Runs Through It, Nightbreed) leads the cast of the film, alongside KateLynn E. Newberry (Homecoming Revenge). Sounds good, right? Let’s check it out.

Synopsis

Widow’s Point follows a writer who spends a weekend locked in a haunted lighthouse to help promote his next book, where he is targeted by Supernatural forces.
 
The film had a successful festival run, including Shawna Shea Film Festival, where it won awards for ‘Beast Feature’ and ‘Best Actor’ for Craig Sheffer, Crimson Scream Horror festival, where Craig also picked up ‘Best Actor’ award; LUSCA Caribbean International Fantastic and Twin Tiers International, where the film picked up the ‘Audience Award’.


Review

After watching the first 15 minutes of Widow’s Point I was genuinely wondering if it was the same award-winning film that had garnered so much positive feedback. The storyline was intriguing enough but the acting at that point had been mediocre at best. I even questioned if it was a comedy following John Renna’s “Start squawking or I’ll paste ya” line! But, I was pleased to see that it did start to improve dramatically once we began to follow Thomas Livingston (Sheffer).

As part of a publicity stunt, Thomas arranges to be locked inside a supposed haunted lighthouse over a weekend. He’s equipped with a coolbox full of refreshments and a camera that is constantly streaming to his team outside. With a dark, disturbing history, the lighthouse is the ideal setting for a horror novel. However, soon after he is locked inside, strange things start to happen resulting in loss of contact from his team, and Thomas being pushed to the brink of insanity!

It’s clear why Sheffer has received so much praise. His performance is absolutely outstanding. His transition from mellow, light-hearted author to deranged, frenzied mad man is a joy to watch. As the movie progresses, Sheffer’s portrayal of insanity intensifies right up until the dramatic conclusion of the story.

The Storyline

Director, Lamberson has done a terrific job in creating a suspense-filled atmosphere, assisted by a creepy soundtrack and effective use of shadows/ lighting. However, you will be disappointed if you love a good old jump scare. While there are creepy moments, they tend to be too obvious, allowing more than enough time to prepare for them. Now, when I say more than enough time, I don’t just mean time to hide behind a pillow. I mean enough time to look for a pillow, and if there isn’t one nearby, you can get one from the next seat along and still find yourself waiting for the ghostly hand to grab the unfortunate victim.

Lamberson also adapted the screenplay from the bestselling novel by Richard and Billy Chizmar. In doing so, he has created an eerie, captivating storyline. However, one thing I found disappointing was the CGI-oriented ending. For me, it detracted massively from the story and, whilst it was a satisfying conclusion, could have been pulled off a little bit cleaner.

Overall

Widow’s Point is definitely one to watch if you like ghostly goings on, haunted buildings and descents into madness. Think Amityville Horror with a nautical twist. If that sounds good, check it out!

Widow’s Point is available on DVD and Digital via 101 Films.

Let us know what you think on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or down in the comments below!

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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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Reviewed by Richard

Shady Palms has been sat on my ever-growing ‘to-do’ pile for quite a while now. Whilst trying to get settled in our beautifully dreary office space with the dripping pipes, broken windows and ever-present stench of decay, I’ve managed to collect quite a large pile of books that I intend to review. I’m sorry to say that Shady Palms was amongst this pile just waiting to be read. So imagined how much I was kicking myself when I realised just how awesome it is!

When I started the book the first thing I noticed was the foreign names and the foreign references. For all the readers that don’t know me that well, I have two mind sets that I establish when reading books. One is the lazy mind-set, where I just sit back and allow the author to spoon-feed me their story (this usually applies to straight-forward horror novels that are set in the US/UK with simple words and basic plot) my other mind-set is adopted when a book is more complex. For example if the novel is riddled with words exceeding four to five syllables, set in a country I’ve never been to, adopting words/phrases I’m unfamiliar with and/or complex twists that need you to pay attention to, then I need to be alert and focused.

At the time we were still in the process of setting up our new HQ which we have aptly named ‘Erebus Horror House’ (original right?) so when I saw these strange, new words and names my brain really couldn’t comprehend it at that time, so the book was shelved until we got set up. Well now we are up and running and I have since read the book in its entirety. All I can say is – What a story!

I was mistaken thinking that I would have to really concentrate on keeping up with the book. Once I was immersed into the perfectly described setting, story, dialogue and character development, I found it very hard to leave! There’s something about the author’s style of writing that is really compelling. His portrayal of the bizarre, and the gritty, perverted nature of some aspects of the book, really help to keep the pages turning. I’m not going to give away any spoilers, but in an ordinary world some of the issues raised in the book would be enough to turn you away. But in Shady Palms, it is almost enticing! Unpredictable twists, fast-paced action and an intense story-line make this book a great page-turner that you will struggle to put down. Allen Dusk is definitely an author to keep an eye on.

So here’s a bit more about the book:

“A sleazy motel, burrowed on the edge of town, is haunted by rumors of dead hookers found between mattresses and peep holes drilled through walls. When Special Agent Daniels targets the motel during an investigation, the nefarious owner, Sanjay, must scramble to conceal evidence of his own dark deeds. Just when he believes things can’t get any worse, motel guests begin to vanish without a trace. Can Sanjay discover the truth behind the phenomena threatening his motel before the Feds get suspicious, or does he risk exposing his own sordid enterprises to seek help from the outside? Why don’t you book a room for the night and find out? At these bargain rates you’ll be lucky if you only find dirty sheets and a few skeletons in the closet. Welcome to the Shady Palms Motel. Check out is at 11, if you live that long…”

See. Even that description alone should have told me that this was an excellent book, but for some reason I was oblivious!

If you would like to find out about the author and links to purchase this book and more, visit his website here

Although I warn you – If you have a tendency to stay at motels then you may want to stay clear of Shady Palms… if not you’ll be sleeping with one eye open for sure!

Well it’s Friday the 13th – A day despised by some, but celebrated by others.

This is a day where horror is at its most popular, so we were left wondering how we would celebrate this momentous day. Should we post a toe-curlingly cheesy feature on the movie Friday the 13th? (like so many will probably do…) Or do we give you something new and different? Well, as you know, we’re all about giving you something new to sink your teeth into.  Why should today be any different?

So, on this gruesomely delicious day, we introduce to you an amazing horror author specializing in……. ZOMBIES!

Yes it’s Julianne Snow! Here’s a bit about her;

It was while watching Romero’s Night of the Living Dead at the tender age of 6 that solidified Julianne’s respect of the Undead. Since that day, she has been preparing herself for the (inevitable) Zombie Apocalypse. While classically trained in all of the ways to defend herself, she took up writing in order to process the desire she now covets; to bestow a second and final death upon the Undead.

As the only girl growing up in a family with four children in the Canadian countryside, Julianne needed some form of escape. Her choice was the imaginations of others which only fostered the vibrancy of her own. The horror and forensic/crime thriller genres top her list of favourites, but she can never turn down a good science fiction, fantasy or mystery read.

Julianne appears in the anthology Women of the Living Dead with a story entitled The Living Dead at Penderghast Manor. Look for her short stories in future anthologies. Days with the Undead: Book One is her first full-length book, the basis of which can be found in her popular web serial of the same name.

Great right? Well we’re lucky enough to have conducted an interview with this great writer and you’re lucky enough to read it!

Here we go…

What made you decide to become a writer?

I’m not sure if it was really a decision I consciously made. I had always written short stories and prose-like poems growing up, but before going away to post-secondary education it got put on the back burner. I didn’t end up coming back to it until later when a situation that arose that caused me to lose a great deal of my sight for a period of time. As a result, I spent a lot of that time in my head, rediscovering my love for creating plotlines and fleshing out characters. After that moment occurred, there really was no looking back.

You’re a published author now. How hard was it to get where you are?

The hardest part was actually writing the book. That’s a lot of words to weave together in some form of coherency! As the ideas and plotlines swarm around the sieve that controls what flows out of your fingers, it can get difficult to filter which ideas are viable for any given story. The fact of the matter is that I enjoy writing; I enjoy the sense of satisfaction I receive when I finish a chapter or a story. Once the story is completely finished, and the editing starts, there’s almost a relaxation that occurs. You have the story that you wanted to write out of your head and your soul, now it’s just polishing it to the point that it’s the best that it can be. Teaming with my publisher, Sirens Call Publications, helped me to traverse the world of publishing as well. Was it a struggle at times? Absolutely, but in the end it was a labor of love and one that I will happily do over and over again.

Tell us about your Days with the Undead series.

Days with the Undead: Book One is the first thing that I wrote after my sight came back. It’s the story of a Zombie Apocalypse which starts in Toronto, Canada and is told completely via journal entries. You get one point of view, that of Julie, a former pathologist and part-time survivalist but don’t let that fool you; the cast of characters come alive through her words. The action starts from the first second and doesn’t let up throughout – the group of survivors, made up of Julie, Max, Bob, Ben and Barbara are constantly fleeing the growing army of the Undead. The uniqueness of a singular point of view is that you really get to explore the psychological turmoil that flight and, ultimately, survival, wreak on the psyche.

What is it about zombies that you find so compelling?

I honestly believe that Zombies are the most terrifying of the supernatural creatures. They are unwavering in their desires to pursue you and your flesh. Akin to a parasite or virus, they continually seek out new hosts to assimilate. That’s pretty scary when you think about it because there isn’t much that will stop them. The only way to protect yourself is to kill as many as you can…

What has been the most difficult hurdle to overcome on your journey?

My own self-doubt. I had a discussion the other day about narcissism and how some authors deal with it. While I am guilty of being narcissistic to a degree (I did put my own writing out into the public forum), I sometimes wonder if my story is appealing enough to the fans of the genre. I have had many positive comments as well as some negative ones but in the end, I grow as a writer from each and every one of them.

When you’re not writing, what are you generally doing?

Catching up on all of the other things that I don’t do when I’m writing! Mainly just work around the house, reading, watching a little television or perhaps a movie, and my daily walk. Oh wait, I totally forgot about the day job! The kinds of activities that allow your mind to relax and that allow the stresses of the day or the passage that I’m writing to melt away.

What has been the most rewarding part of your career so far?

It was receiving my proof in the mail. To actually see my name on a printed book was just awesome and it totally buoyed my spirits. As an author, you write, but there are times when the road to getting your work to the masses seems endless. To get to the point where readers can read it – that’s so rewarding!

Will there be any additions to the Days with the Undead series, or will you be starting something new?

I have many plans for Days with the Undead; there is a second book currently being adapted from my online serial series along with a number of companion books. The story is still unfolding so I have a long way to go before it’s over. I do have plans to write non-Zombie genre novellas and novels as well, I just need to get them finished. It’s hard work with a full time job and my other responsibilities – not that I’m complaining, I wouldn’t change my world for anything else!

If you were to set a goal for the future, what would it be?

To reach the point where I can quit my day job and concentrate on writing full time. Isn’t that every writer’s dream at some point?

And finally, who is your favorite horror icon?

That’s a very good question – Ellen Ripley, hands down! Even though I haven’t been able to sit down and watch Alien in one complete sitting, the franchise is still one of my favorites. As a female lead, she demonstrated that given the right incentive, you can do anything you put your mind to. I think her character really opened up the door to the believability of other strong female leads in horror.

Now we know you won’t need any help falling in love with her, but since it’s Friday the 13th we wanted to give you something extra.
 
Curious?
 
Well wait no longer, here’s a snippet from her book;
“In the areas where they were not so deeply layered at the edge of the shore, we could see that some had ventured into the water. Perhaps they felt that they could walk on the water to the prey that they so viciously wanted. Instead, you could see them being tossed about in the crashing surf; the waves pelting them back toward the shore and the undertow of the current talking them back out again. It was a tumultuous jaunt from shore to cresting waves and potentially one that they would have to endure for some time.

The noise of our engine attracted some of the closer ones. They turned as if in unison to stare milky eyed in our direction. I never thought I would see the day when the Undead had a look of genuine surprise about them, but in that moment they actually looked startled to see us.

On the other hand, we were utterly stricken with horror to see them. This was a moment of truth for us…”
Caught your interest? Well here’s an extensive list of where you can purchase her book:

Purchase Links – Print:

CreateSpace: https://www.createspace.com/3736479

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Days-Undead-Book-Julianne-Snow/dp/1468007998/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1330611569&sr=8-1

 

Purchase Link – Digital:

Smashwords: http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/137213

Amazon US: http://www.amazon.com/Days-Undead-Book-One-ebook/dp/B007F14OTA/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1330471120&sr=8-2

Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B007F14OTA

Amazon DE: https://www.amazon.de/dp/B007F14OTA

Amazon FR: https://www.amazon.fr/dp/B007F14OTA

Amazon ES: https://www.amazon.es/dp/B007F14OTA

Amazon IT: https://www.amazon.it/dp/B007F14OTA

 

You can’t say we don’t spoil you.

Have a great Friday the 13th folks! And remember – watch out for ladders, black cats, cracks and mirrors… Yeah right!