Regarding the actual item you get to put on your mantel; as awards go, forget the Oscar statue and give me a Stoker any day. You have to admit – it’s pretty darn cool.
The Horror Writers Association (HWA), who have been honoring the premiere writers in horror and dark fiction since 1987, announced their nominees for the 2013 Bram Stoker Awards last week.
So if you don’t have time to sit cross-legged in the horror section of your fast-dwindling local bookseller to get a bead on the best new writers in this genre, then the annual Stoker nominees announcement could be a shortcut to creating your reading list for the next twelve months — if you’re so inclined.
And I am.
So without further pontificating, here are the 2013 Stoker Award nominees.
Superior Achievement in a Novel
NOS4A2, Joe Hill (Morrow)
Doctor Sleep, Stephen King (Scribner)
Malediction, Lisa Morton (Evil Jester)
A Necessary End, Sarah Pinborough & F. Paul Wilson (Thunderstorm)
The Heavens Rise, Christopher Rice (Gallery)
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M. Night on the set of Sundowning with his production designer
Okay, don’t immediately blow past this post because your eye caught the name M. Night Shyamalan – this is actually encouraging news.
The last time I wrote something about M. Night (as they call him in the biz that once thought he was the next Spielberg, but then mercilessly crucified him), he had left his tomato-covered director’s chair and returned to writing. M. Night completed the script for Devil back in 2009 and relative newcomer John Dowdle brought it to the big screen with a modest $10M budget. It grossed nearly $340M worldwide, definitively proving that M. Night is a masterful storyteller, but an inconsistent front man.
Case in point: in a rush of optimism following Devil, the Hollywood moneymen turned around and gave M. Night $130M and Will Smith (plus child) to write, direct and executive produce After Earth, which was an apocalyptic film in more ways than one.
So it is either by choice or necessity that M. Night’s latest project is very small and hasn’t been getting a ton of press beyond what M. Night himself has been dolling out; oh, and it’s being called a micro-budgeted horror film.
“Micro budget” is the latest, sexy term for independent films, or films not financially supported or promoted by a large studio or big-budget investors. If you want some examples of micro-budget films that went platinum, IMDB has compiled a handy list (ironically a good percentage of them are horror movies), and in the number 1 slot is The Blair Witch Project.
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As you well know, we here at Goth Chick News are mad supporters of the independent film industry. This is mainly because we’re obsessed with anyone who has the courage and determination to pursue their passion and are willing to let us watch.
That and I’m a sucker for brooding artistic boys…
And no one epitomizes these traits better than my friends at Pirate Pictures, who gave us a peek into the world of real movie magic by allowing us to ride along with their production of Shadowland. Now, Shadowland star Jason Contini and director Wyatt Weed have teamed up on a new project that isn’t exactly a typical GCN subject matter, but does involve a topic that is near and dear to most Black Gate fans… comics.
Four Color Eulogy is a drama/comedy revolving around the world of comic books and self-publishing. But rather that tell you any more, take a gander at this clip that not only explains the movie, but some of the process of getting a concept from script to big screen.
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When I first heard about this, I thought Marilyn Manson was taking on one of my favorite computer games.
In case you don’t remember, Phantasmagoria is the 1995 interactive movie horror adventure game created by Sierra for the PC.
Made at the height of the “interactive movie” boom in the computer game industry, Phantasmagoria is notable not only for being one of the first games to use a live actor as an on-screen avatar, but also for being banned by some retailers due to its fairly graphic depiction of violence.
What I didn’t know until now is that Phantasmagoria is also a famous collection of Lewis Carroll’s poems, as well as the name for live horror shows involving projection onto smoke screens that were invented in the 18th century France.
Oh, and it’s also the title of Marilyn Manson’s first foray into film.
Yes, you read that right. Marilyn Manson, the horror rocker cum performance artist is the writer, producer, and director of this $4.2M venture that has been trying to get legs since 2005.
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Danny Torrance and the twins back then
By this time, it’s no surprise to any of you that The Shining is one film I just can’t get enough of. I like the source material of course, but the movie version never gets old and I can say that with some authority, having seen it about a gazillion times (and written about it here a fair amount as well).
Back in 2010, inspired by a then-recent documentary on the Stanley Hotel (the real Overlook) I did some of my best ever cyber-stalking on a quest to find little Danny Torrance; or really the 38 year-old Danny Lloyd he is today.
Back then, I did manage to track down “Professor Lloyd” at the university in Kentucky where he now teaches, only to be entirely ignored. Not surprising, considering his students posted comments about the verbal smack down you’re likely to receive if you ever brought up the good professor’s past life.
But you know what? A little taste of fame, no matter how brief or how long ago, will inevitably leave you craving more at some point in the future. And apparently that future for Danny Lloyd was the publishing of King’s Shining sequel Doctor Sleep.
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Admittedly, until Doctor Sleep, I had been over Stephen King for some time.
I caught up with him in college, falling hard for Salam’s Lot and The Shining, and proceeded to devour anything King I could get my hands on.
That is until I slammed head-first into The Stand.
That experience, much like a really bad bender, left me swearing I’d never, ever, do that again. And just like the days or weeks or even months after that horrible hangover, here I am once again ready to slug down a really strong glass of King – neat.
But this isn’t the Wild Turkey King of my youth – no siree.
This is an aged and far smoother vintage of King; free of what we now know was a fairly serious struggle with substance abuse.
Which totally explains The Stand, if you ask me.
And so having consumed Doctor Sleep, finding it a wonderful and satisfying with no nasty after taste, I now carry the experience a bit further with Joyland.
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The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson is not only an American horror classic, but is one of my favorite scary tales of all time, largely due to the fact Ms. Jackson relies on the psychological scare rather than in-your-face gore.
Flying brain matter and buckets of blood can occasionally be well-constructed story elements — for instance, Charlaine Harris does a fine job with her Southern Vampire Mysteries series, though her stories are on the lighthearted side. However mixing hardcore horror with an over-the-top amount of visceral matter is like pairing fishnet stockings with a leather mini skirt.
One or the other alone is stylish; but put them together and they’ll get your attention for all the wrong, cheesy reasons.
Unfortunately, with CGI taking realism in film to a new, stomach-turning level, the horror genre in all its manifestations has upped the gross-out factor. Which is why I was rather excited when Amazon suggested David L. Golemon’s 2011 Halloween release The Supernaturals to me as a “you-might-also-like,” when I recently purchased a new hard-bound copy of Hill House.
Golemon is best known for his Event Group Thriller series — which admittedly I have shied away from as potentially too X-Files-esque (there’s just no copying some things). But The Supernaturals was a departure from Golemon’s usual fare, and the back story caught my attention.
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When I see the words “artist collective” and “vampirism” in the same proximity, I am forced to look closer.
I mean, what is the first thing that comes to mind when you think of an artist collective anyway? Probably not vampires.
Until today, I admittedly envisioned a commune, perhaps somewhere in the dessert or maybe Colorado, where personal hygiene is not particularly high on the to-do list. But after doing a bit of research I came to understand that unlike an artist commune, where people live together and produce art as a function of the group’s activities, an artist collective shares ownership, risk, benefits, and status of their joint work; and presumably showering more.
Now that we are all clear on that bit, where exactly does vampirism come in?
44FLOOD is the name of an artist collective and publisher formed by Kasra Ghanbari, Ben Templesmith and Menton Mathews. Templesmith is tapping his old 30 Days of Night bosses IDW Publishing by forming a joint venture to create Libretto: Volume 1: Vampirism.
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Frankly, it occurred to me to just post this video clip with “Hell yes!” underneath it and call this week’s GCN done.
When you watch it, you’ll understand you would not have blamed me.
But then I would have missed out on the chance to share some very juicy background tidbits about this little gem.
Here in the US ,the live action film starring Samuel L. Jackson will be called Kite. But in Japan, where the source material originated, it is known as A Kite; Yasuomi Umetsu’s 1998 animated film. Though I have attempted to find out the meaning of the title, my Japanese is a tad rusty and so far no joy.
Kite started out as an OVA (“original video animation”) and the Japanese version ran for two 30-minute episodes. Though anime generally gets away with a heck of a lot more than traditional media could, Kite is still unique in its controversial depiction of extreme gory violence and strong sexuality. It was subsequently banned in many countries including Norway due to some scenes in the film being labeled child pornography, which didn’t stop it from gaining underground-cult-classic status from OVA fans.
Banned or not, it won’t take you much digging to find A Kite online and uncut for free, which I did and be warned — it is pretty hard to watch (and do not try watching it at work). In a rare change of heart I actually feel rather glad the US film version took liberties with the source material, or this post could have been the very first red-band GCN.
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I am just not sure how to feel about this one.
On January 24, I, Frankenstein the film will finally come to life in theaters nationwide. This after the U.S. release was originally set for February 22, 2013. Then five months prior to release, in the fall of 2012, it was abruptly moved to September 13, 2013; then in April 2013, the date was moved again to January 24, 2014.
In February 2013, Lions Gate said they would release the film in 3D and then in September 2013, they came back to tell us the film would be digitally re-mastered and released in the IMAX format – in 3D.
I, Frankenstein’s release strategy has been retooled more than the old guy himself.
There are a lot of reasons for a studio to postpone a movie release: like problems with the script/ talent/ director, the test audiences didn’t react well and new footage needs to be shot, the studio doesn’t want the release to be diluted by a competitive release in a similar genre…
Or the film just isn’t good and the studio needs time to add some additional razzle-dazzle — like 3D and IMAX.
As a fan of the graphic novel and after seeing the movie trailer, I tend to believe this case might be a combination of all of the above.
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