“Nightmare Fuel – The Dybbuk Box” from Horror Addicts

Hello Addicts, EBay has long been an auction mecca for everything imaginable.  You can buy vehicles, whole towns, and even a ghost in a bottle.  For one such item, the website became the birth of a…

Source: Nightmare Fuel – The Dybbuk Box

Damien Angelica Walters, “Paper Tigers” Review

Like Mark Danielewski’s House of Leaves or Marisha Pessl’s Night Film, Damien Angelica Walters’ Paper Tigers is the kind of novel I pick up to read while barely glancing at the blurb on the back co…

Source: Damien Angelica Walters, “Paper Tigers” Review

Once Upon A Scream Author Spotlight: DJ Tyrer

Horroraddicts.net Publishing has recently published our 4th anthology called Once Upon a Scream. Remember the Fairy tales that you grew up reading? Well they are back again with a horror twist. Onc…

Source: Once Upon A Scream Author Spotlight: DJ Tyrer

Gregory Lamberson ‘Black Creek’ Review

Written by: Matt Molgaard Gregory Lamberson is one of those authors that grows on you. He’s like a tumor of perfection. Yeah, he really grows on you! On a serious note, Lamberson has been an establ…

Source: Gregory Lamberson ‘Black Creek’ Review

Our Vampires, Ourselves

The True Story of A Vampire by Count Eric Stanislaus Stenbock (Studies in Death, 1894) Tuesday’s Tale of Terror  May 10, 2016   Our vampires, ourselves. All vampires are alike, yes or no? Do w…

Source: Our Vampires, Ourselves

Snow Beings and Witchery

The Glamour of Snow  by Algernon Blackwood Tuesday’s Tale of Terror  March 1, 2016   Is it still winter? Are glittery snowflakes falling outside your window? Softy passing, softly gathering. L…

Source: Snow Beings and Witchery

Mark Allan Gunnells, master of the short story, releases a collection that even has Clive Barker smiling

Source: Mark Allan Gunnells, master of the short story, releases a collection that even has Clive Barker smiling

At Flashes in the Dark: “The Jar” by Olivia Wilding

“The Jar”  Follow the link to the flash horror “The Jar” by Olivia Wilding.  This is an interesting tale, primarily for its point of view:  frominside the narrator’s head that describes his emotions to the events around him and to the actions he takes.  This is not unusual in itself, but here it is done very well and it manages to transmit what Henry James called “the atmosphere of the mind” to the reader.  The voice has a haunting quality.  I wish I had the time to write a thesis on what makes for a haunting narration such as this one, but I don’t.

Girl Washing Hands, 1911
Girl Washing Hands, 1911

There is something in the combined sequence of actions and emotions that stirs certain dark emotions in the readers psyche, perhaps it’s something archetypal, Jungian.   For me, this has always been the most effective means of instilling horror into a readership.  If it didn’t start with Poe, it must have started in his era.

Second, it has an interesting twist at the end, which the author never gives away or hints at in the story.  This is hard to do  and it is done here well.

Lastly,  the story is a combination of two different types of horror:  the physical act of violence and the moral disgust it generates (when revealed) and the twisted relationship revealed at the end.  All in all, this story has a very good denouement.

Please take the time to read “The Jar”.  You won’t regret it.

Don’t read it, if you have something against well-chosen, strong language.

Thoughts? Comments?


“Victim/Victor” at The Drabble

Source: Victim/Victor

Good story from The Drabble. If you are not familiar with them, they are dedicated to publishing fiction and non-fiction of 100 words or less.  They occasionally post a story that breaks into horror, such as this one (reminiscent of the French conte cruel), but the site is definitely worth visiting just to see how writers handle the challenge of extreme brevity.  The Drabble generally publishes one story per day, and you can be included in their feed to have it sent to you.  You can find them at https://thedrabble.wordpress.com.

Thoughts?  Comments?

“Summer Thunder” and the Horror of Tragedy

Relaxing by the front yard firepit on a chilly New Mexico evening circa 2013.
Relaxing by the front yard firepit on a chilly New Mexico evening circa 2013.

I picked up a copy of the latest issue of “Cemetery Dance” this evening and read the Stephen King short story “Summer Thunder”. This is a very interesting piece. I won’t spoil the ending for you, but the story is about a man, his dog, and his neighbor, who have survived a nuclear holocaust and are slowly succumbing to radiation poisoning.

This story was quite different from the other Stephen King stories I have read (which have been quite a few, though not all by any means). There is no supernatural factor in the story. There are also no twists or surprises. The story maintains the same pace throughout, just as the protagonists face the same things day in and day out until they die.

I would classify this story as horror-tragedy, because, even though it has very little of the blood and gore normally associated with the horror genre, it definitely has a horror “feel” to it, but that horror is subtle and understated. “Summer Thunder” sets up a tragic scenario and the horror finds its basis in watching these people suffer through no fault of their own. They were not involved in starting the war in any way; that was done by world leaders thousands of miles away. These are the common citizens, the “Everymen” that normally populate King’s works as protagonists, and who must pay the horrific price for their government’s actions. That is the tragedy and that is a large part of the horror.

What is also horrifying about the story is not the action described in it, but the scenario it describes, because this scenario is definitely one that could literally happen to each of us, should our government and/or other governments decide for whatever reason, to push the proverbial button. Each of us can (or perhaps should) see ourselves as the main character, who will be forced to watch his or her world disintegrate after a nuclear apocalypse.

That concept alone should be enough to bring the true horror of this story:  that this scenario is, and has been for a long time, a real possibility for each of us.

Thoughts?  Comments?

Dump-a-Day: 16 Micro Horror Stories

The blogger hiking in the Bisti Wilderness near Farmington, NM.
The blogger hiking in the Bisti Wilderness near Farmington, NM.

I have been surfing the net over lumch and ran across this site with 16 fun very, very (micro?) horror stories. Check it out: http://www.dumpaday.com/random-pictures/funny-pictures/short-horror-stories-will-send-chills-spine-16-pics/.    Here’s the first one as a quick sample (all were submitted by “Jon” on January 28, 2015):

“Growing up with cats and dogs, I got used to the sounds of scratching at my door while I slept. Now that I live alone, it is much more unsettling.”

Notes on “The Hellbound Heart” Part 2 of 2

Clive Barker, Seattle, 2007 by Steven Friederich
Clive Barker, Seattle, 2007 by Steven Friederich

I finished reading The Hellbound Heart several weeks ago.  As noted previously, it is a truly terrific read.    I suggest reading it after seeing the movie (if you have somehow repeatedly missed your chances of seeing “Hellraiser” over the last twenty or so years).   Reading it beforehand will just spoil the movie, whereas reading it afterwards may enlighten parts of the movie.

I don’t have much to add to what I have previously stated, except that, if you are a student of storytelling, the book warrants a detailed examination for narrative technique as it exhibits some basic techniques of storytelling that Mr. Barker carries out very well.   I could go through the book page by page and expound on each ad nauseam, but instead I will focus now on one that sticks in my mind.

I do not recall if this is in the movie, but toward the end where Kirsty is trapped in the “damp room” by Frank, she slips on a bit of preserved ginger lying on the floor enabling Frank to catch her.  The method by which Barker establishes why that ginger is on the floor fascinates me.

Although I have one or two dictionaries of literary terms, I do not recall the name for this technique and I think of it as simply setting the stage for a future scene.  It shows the foresight, planning, and attention to detail that must go into any good story.

Earlier in the story, after Julia has released Frank from the Cenobite hell and he has regained enough flesh that he can once again eat, he asks Julia for a few of his favorite victuals, including preserved ginger.   At the moment I read this, I thought it was simply a natural but insignificant detail.  Of course, I could not know then that that bit of ginger would  skyrocket the dramatic tension later on in one of the novel’s most important scenes.

Anyway, that’s my post for the day.

I have been very negligent in posting anything over the last months,  my daytime job and personal matters consuming much more of my time than usual.  I have recently come to find out though, that many more people in my home town of Frankfort, KY, were enjoying my postings than I had known or even believed possible and sorely missed it during this hiatus.  For them and all the others who silently enjoy my works, I shall endeavor to pick up the thread.

I have not lost my desire to write fiction, however, and I am currently trying to finish a sci-fi/horror novella that I started sometime back.  The work is going well, but I am having to change some of my original concept to make it more exciting.  I would like to make it as gripping as some have found my “Murder by Plastic” (published at www.everydayfiction.com), but that will be quite difficult for something as long as a novella.  The part I find most challenging is to coordinate the details much as Barker did in the example I give above.  I would expound on the subject, but I do not want to give away the plot or run the risk of some unscrupulous cur stealing my idea and publishing it before I do–particularly as I am so close to finishing it.  After this I have another three or four unfinished works to bring to a close.  I could probably write eight hours a day like Thomas Mann and still not be finished by spring.

Thoughts?  Comments?

Story Review: Ray Bradbury’s “The Illustrated Man”

The blogger on Padre Island, January, 2011.

 Padre Island, January, 2011.

I read “The Illustrated Man” for the first time yesterday.  I have been interested in reading it for many years now, after having seen the movie starring Rod Steiger as a television re-run perhaps as far back as the 70’s.    But recently I have been reading “The Martian Chronicles” and when I found myself over the last few days in the Midland, TX public library with time to kill, I thought I would investigate other Bradbury works (even though I have “The Martian Chronicles” in the car).

The movie bears little resemblance to the short story.  In the movie a young man (as best I recall) is camping in the woods as he travels across country, when Rod Steiger staggers into the man’s campsite.  Somehow (my memory is vague) Steiger reveals his body is covered with tattoos and tells the camper that the future can be seen in the empty spaces on his chest and back.  At this point, the spaces on his chest and back form the framework for a series of four short tales, which, if I recall correctly, are other Ray Bradbury stories.    I will not reveal the end, which I recall as being quite good.

The actual story is not a collection of four stories, but a single tale of a man, William Philippus Phelps, who works erecting tents for a circus, but volunteers to become the tattooed man for the carnival sideshow after his weight balloons up to 300 pounds after he “stress-eats” because of the problems between himself and his new bride and he can no longer perform his job for the circus.  Desperate to have any job at the circus, Phelps volunteers to have himself covered in tattoos.   Someone steers him in the direction of an old woman who lives in the nearby woods and who does tattoos for free.   He finds her and from her descrition (aged with eyes, nostrils, and ears sewn shut and living in a shack), she sounds very much like a witch.    She inks the tattoos, which seem magically alive and writhing, but she also places a large bandage in the center of his chest and one in the center of his back and makes him swear not to remove the one on his chest for a week and the one on his back a week after that that.   When Phelps does remove the one on his chest during the course of a show, it shows him strangling his wife, whom the tattoo witch had never seen.  I won’t spoil the ending for you, which is quite enjoyable and reveals what is under the bandage on his back, because I strongly recommend that you read the story, which is only a few pages long.

Though Bradbury is, of course, world renown for his science fiction, this story falls much better into the horror genre.  There is no science anywhere in story, only carnival folk, magical tattoos inked by a frightening witch, suspense, anger, and, ultimately, violence.  The story is beautifully written with the language clear, concise, flowing, and simple yet powerful.  I felt emotionally and intellectually drawn into the story and into Phelps’s life and felt empathy for his plight.  This is an excellent work of horror, though its author’s fame as a demigod of science fiction undoubtedly has most people classify it erroneously.

Thoughts?  Comments?