Wednesday 30 March 2011

Duke Nukem Forever

I have always loved Duke Nukem, though it's a long time since I last played the game. This new one looks pretty brilliant.

And tempting!

Wake Wood

Got the DVD for this latest Hammer epic this weekend. Surprisingly good, and with some unexpected twists - and a toe-curling end that I did not anticipate at all, but which makes horrifying sense. Some good performances, particularly from Ella Connolly, who plays the little girl, and TV stalwart Timoth Spall. This is a true Folk Horror in the tradition of The Wicker Man, though it owes nothing to that earlier film and has an original storyline all of its own. Some quite gruesome - and exceedingly realistic - scenes which would certainly never have been allowed past the censor during Hammer's heyday in the sixties, but are far from gratuitous. In a way, they help to build up what it really means to live and work in the countryside, away from the sentimentality of townlife. Well worth watching.


The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui

A photo of some of the cast in the Oswaldtwistle Players production of The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui, which starts this coming Wednesday for four nights at the Civic Theatre, Oswaldtwistle.

Front left is Paul McGowan who plays Ui. Next to him, with the machine gun, is Chris Knight, our producer. I'm stood just behind him at the edge of the photo, arms folded and looking as grim as I can manage as a gangster bodyguard. Our first dress rehearsal is Sunday at the theatre.

Popular award winning local actor Paul McGowan takes the title role of Chicago mob leader Arturo Ui in this blackly comic satire set in the late 1920’s. Arturo runs his protection racket with a Hitler-like ruthlessness. With his murderous gang he takes control of the greengrocery wholesale business in Chicago using extortion and intimidation .
First Chicago, then Cicero and then...? Nothing less than world domination in the cauliflower trade.

 OSWALDTWISTLE PLAYERS present this classic and chillingly funny play
 at the newly re-furbished Civic Theatre (it’s very nice now),
Union Rd, Oswaldtwistle BB5 3HZ

The Resistible Rise of ARTURO UI
by Bertolt Brecht, directed by Chris Knight
April 6th to 9th 2011 at 7.30pm

Tickets:-   Adult £8, concessions, £7. with a special first night price of £6 all seats
Discounts available for block bookings.

Available from:-
The Tourist Office, Accrington Town Hall,
The Civic Arts Centre, Union Rd, Oswaldtwistle,
Edmundson’s Sweet Shop, 172 Union Rd, Oswaldtwistle
Or ring 01254 236057

Malicious Deviance now available

Robert Essig's anthology Malicious Deviance is now available. Copies can be bought direct from Amazon.

The anthology includes my short story They Pissed on my Sofa and twenty-four others.

"Everyone has a story .... EVERYONE! In Malicious Deviance you will read 25 tales of obsession, murder, blasphemy, corruption, death and much, much more. Bad people have stories too. How do socialites really acquire their power? What is the truth about ole St. Nick? Can a woman's love for her husband's well being go too far? Can a man truly manipulate the feeble minded into suicide? Would you like a peek into Hell? Yes, bad people have stories to tell, and you won't soon forget the evil these 25 tales are laden with - the horror and depravity of Malicious Deviance."

Friday 25 March 2011

The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui

We had another good rehearsal last night. We have started to use some of the blank firing handguns that will be used in the production to get us used to the noise - they really do go off with a hell of a bang. And, even though you know they are only firing blanks, it's still a bit unnerving to have one pointed at you at close range, knowing it's going to be fired.

Lin was asked to make 26 Nazi-style armbands (with the letters UI instead of a swastika) and 4 fourteen-foot banners for the stage for a Nuremberg-like finale. The armbands are finished and three of the banners only need the large white circles with the letters UI sewing onto the red matrerial. I took one of the banners to the rehearsal. It looked pretty good when it was stretched out in the hall.

We had some photos taken last night. I had to sit in my gangster-bodyguard role with a fake machine gun resting on one knee, looking mean!

Thursday 24 March 2011

BFS Journal

The next issue of the BFS Journal will be out shortly (it's at the printers now). This, of course, includes Prism as well as Dark Horizons and New Horizons. It has a pretty brilliant cover by Daniele Sierra.

Tuesday 22 March 2011

The Eagle

I am a sucker for films about Ancient Rome. I'm a sucker for books about it too, such as those by Simon Scarrow in particular, and Ben Kane. Although many films fall far short of what I think they should be like, (and from historical accuracy too) this does look pretty good from the trailer.

Thursday 17 March 2011

Auction for the People of Japan by Johnny Mains

Johnny Mains is auctioning off some plum items from his extensive horror collection in aid of the people of Japan following the earthquake and tsunami that have devastated that country.

This is from his website:

Ever since the earthquake hit Japan, the seventh largest in recorded history, the images that have come from all aspects of social media have been overwhelming and heartbreaking and you would indeed, have to be made of stone not to feel for the bereaved and the displaced during this time.

I feel like I need to do something to help, and while my means may be limited - I do have several pieces that I will put up for auction in the hope that it raises some money for charity.

AUCTION 1: One of the last remaining copies I have of BACK FROM THE DEAD and signed by 8 of the contributors. Bidding will start at £50 for this book and all blind bids will be emailed to panbookofhorrorstoriesATgmailDOTcom.

AUCTION 2: A letter from editor Herbert van Thal to one of his Pan Horror authors. These letters are very rare and nearly non-existent, so you will have a unique piece of genre heritage. Bidding will start at £30 for this letter and all blind bids will be emailed to panbookofhorrorstoriesATgmailDOTcom

AUCTION 3: Is THE VAMPIRE STORIES OF R CHETWYND HAYES as published by Fedogan and Bremer. It is a slip-cased edition, only 100 of these were done, this is #85 and it is signed by R Chetwynd Hayes, Brian Lumley,Stephen Jones, Les Edwards and Jim Pitts - but what makes this book truly remarkable is that the artists Les Edwards and Jim Pitts have each drawn a one off, unique picture of a vampire inside this book and this is the only time that both artists have done so to my knowledge. Bidding will start at £70 for this book and all blind bids will be emailed to panbookofhorrorstoriesATgmailDOTcom.

AUCTION 4: A very rare Italian PEEPING TOM film poster, flat signed by one of the stars Columba Powell who played the young Mark Lewis. A few nicks and tears to this poster, but in overall v. good shape. Bidding will start at £40 and all blind bids will be emailed to panbookofhorrorstoriesATgmailDOTcom.

AUCTION 5: A SIGNED copy of James Herbert's THE SPEAR. This is the rare NEL hardback version that James Herbert was taken to court over (and lost). Bidding will start at £50 and all blind bids will be emailed to panbookofhorrorstoriesATgmailDOTcom.

AUCTION 6: A SIGNED copy of R Chetwynd Haye's THE MONSTER CLUB. This is the Severn House 1992 edition and has been flat signed. Bidding will start at £40 and all blind bids will be emailed to panbookofhorrorstoriesATgmailDOTcom.

AUCTION 7: A first Pan Books paperback edition of THE EXECUTIONERS by John D. MacDonald that has been flat signed by director MARTIN SCORCESE (who directed CAPE FEAR, based on the book). Provenance will be included and bidding will start at £100 for this truly rare item, the only time Scorcese has signed this edition of the book. All blind bids will be emailed to panbookofhorrorstoriesATgmailDOTcom.

AUCTION 8: Complete run of 6 Mills and Boon horror titles that were published in the late 70s. These books are extremely hard to get a hold of and took me 5 years to source. Two of the books have been dedicated to me and bidding will start at £50 for these books and all blind bids will be emailed to panbookofhorrorstoriesATgmailDOTcom.

AUCTION 9: Hardback edition of Gary McMahon's exquisite RAIN DOGS, signed by the great man himself! Bidding will start at £6 and all blind bids will be emailed to panbookofhorrorstoriesATgmailDOTcom

AUCTION 10: Signed copies of SPARROWHAWK and ONE MONSTER IS NOT ENOUGH from the one and only Paul Finch. Bidding will start at £20 and all blind bids will be emailed to panbookofhorrorstoriesATgmailDOTcom

AUCTION 11: Two unique proof copies of Joel Lane's BLACK COUNTRY and Alison Moore's WHEN THE DOOR CLOSED, IT WAS DARK published by Nightjar Press. These state on the imprint page that they were printed in Manchester, when in fact the finished books were printed in Penrith. These chapbooks are high quality test prints and can be signed by both author and artist. Bidding will start at £10 and all blind bids will be emailed to panbookofhorrorstoriesATgmailDOTcom

Please header your email with 'Japan Auction' and in the body of the email, your name, what auction you will be bidding on and how much your highest bid will be and you will be notified if somebody has bid above you so you can rebid if you wish. The auction will end on the 26th of March and the highest bidder will then be contacted and after funds have been sent, I will then post off the prizes free of charge (worldwide).

I will then post the winners of the items on my blog and post proof that all donated money has been given to my charity of choice, in this case it will be The British Red Cross.

I hope you will bid on these items,

warmest wishes

Johnny Mains

Tuesday 15 March 2011

Let Me In

Bought the newly released DVD of Let Me In yesterday, which I watched for the first time last night. The earlier version, Let The Right One In is one of my favourite vampire movies, confounding the modern tendency for user-friendly vampires TV and films seem to have been innundated with since Interview With The Vampire.

Despite the usual qualms one has about American remakes of brilliant European movies (putting aside the Hammer connection), I was pleasantly surprised to see just how good a job was made of this. The casting was impeccable and the acting first rate. There were differences between this and the original movie, but nothing that seemed to cheapen it. It had an air of realism, intelligence and sincerity about it that lifted it far above most horror movies. It was refreshingly free of any obvious CGI and was certainly not reliant on any ridiculous special effects. If this is an indication of the calibre of productions the new Hammer Films is capable of bringing out, that bodes well for the future. At the end of this month, another Hammer Film comes out on DVD, Wake Wood, with Timothy Spall. I'm looking forward to that!

Monday 14 March 2011

Virginia Monologues

Lin and I went to see the Virginia Monologies at the Civic Art Centre in Oswaldtwistle last night. Organised by Gayle Knight, this was a really entertaining night out, and Virginia Ironside was not only amusing but spot on with loads of her observations.

Saturday 12 March 2011

The Man Who Collected Machen

Received my copy of  Mark Samuels' latest collection in the post this morning from The Book Depository. And a very handsome looking paperback it is. I've already read the first two stories, Losenef Express and the title story. The first is a bizarrely nightmarish tale about an American horror writer who bears so many uncanny resemblances to the late, lovely Karl Edward Wagner. I'm sure he would have been tickled by this story, even though the writer has some unpleasant traits and a far from pleasant fate!  The Man Who Collected Machen isn't a bit like I expected, having already read Robert Bloch's The Man Who Collected Poe and Kim Newman's The Man Who Collected Barker. This is totally different to either, clever, witty and betraying an astonishing knowledge of Machen's literary output, particularly his scarcer, far less well know material - not surprising considering that Mark is Secretary of the Friends of Arthur Machen! I place this tale alongside The White Hands as my two favourite Samuels stories so far.

Wednesday 9 March 2011

The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui

We had a really good rehearsal last night. For the first time one of the blank firing pistols that will be used on stage was brought along. The noise and smell of cordite was impressive. When the guns get fired they'll certainly wake up any dozy members of the audience! For the production, which includes quite a few violent deaths, there'll be pistols and machineguns. I have two rolls in it. In Scene 1b I play a character called Sheet, who owns a shipyard that others want to buy off me for next to nothing. Sheet is murdered off stage by the gangsters. I then play a gangster bodyguard for one of the gang leaders, Ernesto Roma, who is based on Ernst Rohm, the main target for Hitler's Night of the Long Knives. When Roma is murdered, I along with his other bodyguards get gunned down by machinegun fire. All good stuff.

Tuesday 8 March 2011

Hammer Novels Trailer

Hammer have brought out a brilliant new trailer to advertise their line of film-related novels.

Tuesday 1 March 2011

Bram Stoker Award Finalists


Superior Achievement in a NOVEL
HORNS by Joe Hill (William Morrow)
ROT AND RUIN by Jonathan Maberry (Simon & Schuster)
DEAD LOVE by Linda Watanabe McFerrin (Stone Bridge Press)
APOCALYPSE OF THE DEAD by Joe McKinney (Pinnacle)
DWELLER by Jeff Strand (Leisure/Dark Regions Press)
A DARK MATTER by Peter Straub (DoubleDay)

Superior Achievement in a FIRST NOVEL        
BLACK AND ORANGE by Benjamin Kane Ethridge (Bad Moon Books)
A BOOK OF TONGUES by Gemma Files (Chizine Publications)
CASTLE OF LOS ANGELES by Lisa Morton (Gray Friar Press)
SPELLBENT by Lucy Snyder (Del Rey)

Superior Achievement in LONG FICTION        
THE PAINTED DARKNESS by Brian James Freeman (Cemetery Dance)
DISSOLUTION by Lisa Mannetti (Deathwatch)
MONSTERS AMONG US by Kirstyn McDermott (Macabre: A Journey through Australia’s Darkest Fears)
THE SAMHANACH by Lisa Morton (Bad Moon Books)
INVISIBLE FENCES by Norman Prentiss (Cemetery Dance)

Superior Achievement in SHORT FICTION
RETURN TO MARIABRONN by Gary Braunbeck (Haunted Legends)
THE FOLDING MAN by Joe R. Lansdale (Haunted Legends)
1925: A FALL RIVER HALLOWEEN by Lisa Mannetti (Shroud Magazine #10)
IN THE MIDDLE OF POPLAR STREET by Nate Southard (Dead Set: A Zombie Anthology)
FINAL DRAFT by Mark W. Worthen (Horror Library IV)

Superior Achievement in an ANTHOLOGY
DARK FAITH edited by Maurice Broaddus and Jerry Gordon (Apex Publications)
HORROR LIBRARY IV edited by R.J. Cavender and, Boyd E. Harris (Cutting Block Press)
MACABRE: A JOURNEY THROUGH AUSTRALIA’S DARKEST FEARS edited by Angela Challis and Marty Young (Brimstone Press)
HAUNTED LEGENDS edited by Ellen Datlow and Nick Mamatas (Tor)
THE NEW DEAD edited by Christopher Golden (St. Martin's Griffin)

Superior Achievement in a COLLECTION
OCCULTATION by Laird Barron (Night Shade Books)
BLOOD AND GRISTLE by Michael Louis Calvillo (Bad Moon Books)
FULL DARK, NO STARS by Stephen King (Simon and Schuster)
THE ONES THAT GOT AWAY by Stephen Graham Jones (Prime Books)
A HOST OF SHADOWS by Harry Shannon (Dark Regions Press)

Superior Achievement in NONFICTION
TO EACH THEIR DARKNESS by Gary A. Braunbeck (Apex Publications)
THE CONSPIRACY AGAINST THE HUMAN RACE by Thomas Ligotti (Hippocampus Press)
WANTED UNDEAD OR ALIVE by Jonathan Maberry and Janice Gable Bashman (Citadel)
LISTEN TO THE ECHOES: THE RAY BRADBURY INTERVIEWS by Sam Weller (Melville House Publications)

Superior Achievement in a POETRY collection
DARK MATTERS by Bruce Boston (Bad Moon Books)
WILD HUNT OF THE STARS by Ann K. Schwader (Sam's Dot)
DIARY OF A GENTLEMAN DIABOLIST by Robin Spriggs (Anomalous Books)
VICIOUS ROMANTIC by Wrath James White (Bandersnatch Books)