Posts Tagged ‘horror movies’

Destination: Florida– A Spring Break Booklist

Published by Kirsten on March 31st, 2014 - in Uncategorized

I don’t know about your state, but for the majority of residents in Indiana, spring break means Florida (or a staycation, in which you wish you were in Florida).  I’m pretty sure that if you live in a cold climate (which this winter has been all of us) Florida sounds pretty good right now. Whether you’re looking for reading material that takes place there, or just wish you were there yourself, here’s a list of books set in Florida that should get your blood pumping.


Duma Key by Stephen King

A terrible car accident that causes dramatic personality changes and leads to his divorce causes Edgar Freemantle to relocate to an isolated island in the Florida Keys, where he discovers that he possesses a remarkable artistic talent with supernatural aspects.


Hunger by Rodman Philbrick


Genetically engineered, human-eating sharks are loose in the Florida Keys. Doesn’t that summary make you want it for your next beach read?

If you prefer to stay inside while reading about malevolent, carnivorous, underwater predators, you could consider pairing this with the movie Deep Blue Sea. While I haven’t actually read this book, the plot sounds remarkably similar.


The Vision by Heather Graham

Treasure hunters, ghosts, and a serial killer haunt this romantic suspense thriller.


Fatal Treasure: Greed and Death, Emeralds and Gold, and the Obsessive Search for the Legendary Ghost Galleon Atocha by Jedwin Smith


Speaking of treasure hunters, here’s a real life story of treasure hunting filled with tragedy, obsessiveness, and, well, treasure. I can’t remember how old I was when the discovery and salvage of the Atocha became a big deal, but there was a massive exhibit at the Children’s Museum here, called The Search for the Golden Treasure, and I remember it well. The author of this book, Jedwin Smith, actually accompanied Mel Fisher and his company of treasure seekers on several dives.


Dead Tide  and Dead Tide Rising by Stephen A. North

These are fast paced zombie thrillers set in Pinellas County, Florida. Dead Tide Rising is the sequel to Dead Tide. Zombie lovers will find these to be good vacation reads, unless they happen to be vacationing in St. Petersburg.  Read our review of Dead Tide here and our review of Dead Tide Rising here.


Wolf Hunt by Jeff Strand

Jeff Strand is well known for his comic horror. Werewolf fans on their way to Florida are in for a treat with Wolf Hunt, which describes a road trip across Florida by two low-level thugs charged with delivering a man in a cage to a crime lord. Given the title, I don’t think it’s much of a spoiler to reveal that the man is, in reality, a ravenous werewolf. Strand doesn’t short his readers on the gore, though, so even with the comedy, it’s not for the weak of stomach. Read our review here.


Dying Days by Armand Rosamilia

Another fast paced zombie thriller that takes place in sunny Florida. Rosamilia has written several books and short stories set in this world. This one is available for 99 cents on Kindle, so it’s an inexpensive and easy choice that will help you to decide if you want to try more of his work. Read our review here.


Skeletons in the Swimmin’ Hole: Tales of Haunted Disney World by Kristi Petersen Schoonover

Six short horror stories for adults set at Disney World. The perfect antidote to Disney sweetness.


Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom by Cory Doctorow

He is not a horror writer, but I have read and loved most of Cory Doctorow’s work. I haven’t read this one, however. Reviews I have seen on it suggest that Doctorow was focused more on his setting (Disney World) and exploring ideas than on character development and plot. Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom takes place in a future where scarcity is not a problem, wealth is based on reputation, and death is temporary, lasting only until your personality can be downloaded  into a clone. This doesn’t leave a lot of opportunity for meaningful conflict in a murder mystery. However, it sounds like Doctorow does put a lot of love into detailing the setting and the feelings of the people who really do live for Disney, which makes me wonder if he once wished he could live there himself. This was his debut novel, and his writing has become much more mature since then, but if I ever get back to Disney World (it’s pricey these days), I think I’d take this with me.


Shadows Over Florida by David Goudsward and Scott T. Goudsward

This nonfiction title is one horror movie fans can actually use to plan their vacations! Florida was the site of the filming of many grindhouse and exploitation movies in the 1960s and 1970s, and the Goudswards cover this in detail. They also document some of the influences Florida has had on prominent horror writers. Read our review here.


Not interested in Florida, and still want to warm up with a good book? Check out this booklist from earlier this year for more titles.

Whether you stay home, travel to sunny Florida, or choose some other vacation option, have a great spring break and enjoy some good reads!


Women in Horror Fiction: Barbie Wilde

Published by Kirsten on February 24th, 2014 - in Uncategorized

Image of Barbie WildeThe horror genre actually has the capability of being a welcoming place for women, because it offers opportunities for participation in a variety of approaches to the genre. Barbie Wilde is an example of a woman who has successfully transitioned from acting to writing, with her role as the Female Cenobite in Hellbound: Hellraiser II leading to the publication of her short story “Sister Cilice” in Hellbound Hearts, an anthology themed around the Hellraiser mythology created by Clive Barker, on which the movie franchise is based. Barbie has since published short stories in a variety of anthologies and recently came out with a book, The Venus Complex, which we reviewed here. It’s great to see the horror genre lifting up women in the horror community so that they can take advantage of all it has to offer, and I can only hope that not only continues, but becomes much more common.


1. Can you give our readers a brief introduction?

My name is Barbie Wilde. As an actress, I’m best known for playing the Female Cenobite in Clive Barker’s cult horror movie, Hellbound: Hellraiser II. I’ve also appeared in Death Wish 3Grizzly II: The Concert (along with then unknowns George Clooney, Charlie Sheen and Laura Dern) and numerous TV shows in the UK as either an actress, a mime artist or a host-presenter.

So far, I’ve written eight short horror stories published in eight different anthologies, as well as my debut dark crime-real life horror novel,The Venus Complex. Fangoria magazine has called me “one of the finest purveyors of erotically charged horror around.” (My mother would’ve been so proud, I’m sure!)


2. Why do you write horror?  What draws you to the genre?

I didn’t actually start out as a horror writer. I was always more interested in crime, particularly the psychology of the scariest monster on the planet: man.

Then Paul Kane (who interviewed me for his book, The Hellraiser Films and Their Legacy) asked me to contribute to an anthology that he was editing with Marie O’Regan called Hellbound Hearts. All the stories in the antho had to be based on Clive Barker’s mythology that he created for his novel, The Hellbound Heart, which the Hellraiser film franchise is based on.

When Paul contacted me about writing a horror story, I was initially reluctant, as I didn’t think I could write horror. However, two weeks later, I finished my first horror story, “Sister Cilice”, about the making of a female cenobite. I’m actually planning a Cilicium Trilogy and the second part, “The Cilicium Pandoric”, is appearing in Fangoria’s Gorezone #30.

So quite a few horror stories down the line, why am I drawn to the genre? I think that there is a great leeway for your imagination to take flight in horror. You can use all sorts of mythological, literary and historical research and then turn these sources into something (hopefully) unique. Also, I was very influenced and disturbed by horror and science fiction movies when I was a kid and they made their mark on me, fueling all sorts of uneasy and paranoid fantasies. Movies like The Thing From Another World (1951), Invaders from Mars (1953), Psycho (1960), The Innocents (1961) and The Haunting (1963) made a big impression on me. And of course, TV shows like The Twilight ZoneThe Outer LimitsOne Step BeyondDark Shadows and Night Gallery were also very influential.


3. Can you describe your writing style or the tone you prefer to set for your stories?

I like to keep things as simple as possible– I love spare and muscular writing. [See influences below.] There is a strong erotic thread through my stories, which I’d like to think is more sensual than romantic. Also, even when I’m writing about the most horrific crimes and events, there is always a sense of humour in there somewhere.


4. Who are some of your influences?  Are there any women authors who have particularly inspired you to write?

Influences: Rod Serling, Raymond Chandler, Dashiell Hammett, Hemingway, Clive Barker, Colin Wilson (for his crime non-fiction, like The Criminal History of Mankind and The Order of the Assassins).
Influential women authors: Patricia Highsmith, Shirley Jackson and Margaret Atwood. I’m also inspired by writer-directors such as The Soska Twins, Jovanka Vuckovic, Mary Harron, Kathryn Bigelow and Ida Lupino.


5. What authors do you like to read?  Any recommendations?

All of the above authors, as well as Paul Kane. I just finished his latest compelling novella Rainbow Man and really enjoyed it. Other Kane books that I can recommend are The Gemini Factor and Red. All of Paul’s books are written so beautifully and so descriptively that you can just imagine movies been adapted from them. I also love the work of John Skipp and Craig Spector. Their novel, Light at the End, was a very cool and unusual take on the vampire genre.

My top pick of 2013 was the evocative and brilliant written Whitstable by Stephen Volk. The main character of the novella is Peter Cushing and it’s almost spooky how Stephen has channeled Cushing as a character in the story.


6. Where can readers find your work?

You can buy The Venus Complex as a paperback and Kindle on all the Amazons, as well as Barnes & Noble (online only). All the short stories that I’ve written are available in the following anthologies on Amazon. Most are published as both paperback and Kindle:
“Sister Cilice” (Hellbound Hearts)
“Uranophophia” (Phobophobia)
“American Mutant: Hands of Dominion” (Mutation Nation)
“Polyp” (The Mammoth Book of Body Horror and as a reprint for The Unspoken)
“A is for Alpdruck” (Demonologia Biblica)
“Z is for Zulu Zombies” (Bestiarum Vocabulum and as a reprint for Gorezone #29)
The following stories will be available soon:
“The Cilicium Pandoric” (Gorezone #30)
“Botophobia” (Phobophobias)


7. Is there anything else you’d like to share with librarians and readers?

If your readers would like to read more news, reviews and interviews, then please go to:
Follow me on Twitter at: @barbiewilde
Facebook Author-Actress Page:

I’ve got some interesting writing projects and appearances coming up in the future, so please keep an eye out for news on either Facebook or my website.


Interested in learning more? Visit Barbie Wilde’s Amazon page, her website, her Facebook page, or her Author-Actress Facebook page, or follow her on Twitter at @barbiewilde.

Women in Horror Fiction: What Would Mary Shelley Think?

Published by Kirsten on February 18th, 2014 - in Uncategorized

Miniature of Mary Shelley Frankenstein author by Reginald Easton


Any time the topic of women in horror fiction comes up, someone almost immediately mentions Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley. It’s a little frustrating to me because usually she’s the only one, or one of a very select few, whose names are repeated over and over, even though there are a wide variety of women writing horror. But I can certainly understand it. She wrote a novel that has resonated with countless individuals on many levels,  reimagined in a variety of media, with varying interpretations. Even people who don’t know who Mary Shelley is and have never read the book are familiar, in some way, with the Frankenstein story. It is that ingrained into our culture. It is an incredible accomplishment that a teenage girl not only had a terrifying vision– we all have nightmares at some point– but that she penned her story with such passion and horror that, if you can get past the clunky beginning, it stirs the reader’s emotions and twists at the heart. In her own words:

When I placed my head on my pillow, I did not sleep, nor could I be said to think. My imagination, unbidden, possessed and guided me, gifting the successive images that arose in my mind with a vividness far beyond the usual bound of reverie. I saw – with shut eyes, but acute mental vision – I saw the pale student of unhallowed arts kneeling beside the thing he had put together; I saw the hideous phantasm of a man stretched out; and then, on the working of some powerful engine, show signs of life, and stir with an uneasy, half-vital motion.

Frightful must it be; for supremely frightful would be the effect of any human endeavour to mock the stupendous mechanism of the creator of the world. His success would terrify the artist; he would rush away from his odious handiwork, horror-stricken. He would hope that, left to itself, the slight spark of life which he had communicated would fade – that this thing, which had received such imperfect animation, would subside into dead matter, and he might sleep in the belief that the silence of the grave would quench for ever the transient existence of the hideous corpse which he had looked upon as the cradle of life. He sleeps, but he is awakened; he opens his eyes, behold the horrid thing stands at his bedside, opening his curtains, and looking on him with yellow, watery, but speculative eyes! I opened mine in terror.

The idea so possessed my mind that a thrill of terror ran through me…

I returned to my ghost story – my tiresome unlucky ghost story! O! if I could only contrive one which would frighten my reader as I myself had been frightened that night! Swift as light and as cheering was the idea that broke in upon me. “I have found it! What terrified me will terrify others; and I need only describe the spectre which had haunted my midnight pillow.”

In The Monsters: Mary Shelley and the Curse of Frankenstein, Thomas and Dorothy Hoobler describe Mary’s life in great detail. At eighteen, Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin, not yet married to Shelley, was intimately familiar with the creation and destruction of life. Her mother, Mary Wollstonecraft died eleven days after she was born, an event which shaped the rest of her life.When her father remarried, she was displaced by a stepbrother. At sixteen, she had already run off with Percy Shelley, who was already married (although estranged from his pregnant wife). Before the summer of 1816, she had borne two children, the first of whom died before she had even been named. By the age of eighteen, Mary was very familiar with how easily life can slip away. Percy Shelley, unstable but brilliant, was fascinated with the supernatural and Gothic and also with science, interests that he did not seem to find at odds. Their companions during the “Haunted Summer” of 1816, Lord Byron and John Polidori, were similarly fascinated with both: Polidori, a medical doctor, also began the story that became the classic horror novel The Vampyre that summer. The idea that science, when bent to the manipulation of creating and animating (or, particularly, re-animating) life, could be as destructive and frightening as any supernatural force, was her nightmare, and she made it ours.

I, Frankenstein, yet another interpretation of the Frankenstein story, comes out in movie theaters this Friday. The reviews I’ve seen haven’t been great. Honestly, some of the other versions of the Frankenstein story that have appeared over the years have moved far away from the waking vision Mary Shelley had on a dark and stormy night. Whatever her other tragedies, and there were many in her life, her creation, and her Creature, has changed and grown, and whatever else it has become, there is no doubt that with her novel, she brought them to life. Would she look upon the many incarnations today the way that Victor Frankenstein did when he first saw his creation come to life? Would she be amazed by the tremendous impact a little novel she had to publish anonymously has had on the world?  What would Mary Shelley think of the way so many people have co-opted her “midnight spectre?”