Halloween Haunts

In the mood for some Halloween fare? Of course you are. All month long, the Horror Writers Association will be hosting HALLOWEEN HAUNTS on their blog. Every day there will be a new blog post (sometimes two) that’s pure Halloween goodness. As the site says:

Those of you who were brave enough to spend Halloween with the horror writers on this blog last year have an idea of what to expect from Halloween Haunts. This year we have an even bigger lineup of posts, excerpts, and giveaways to make October fun and help horror readers connect with some of today’s top horror writers. Authors such as Linda Addison, Allyson Bird, Charles Day, Benjamin K. Ethridge, J.G. Faherty, Brad Hodson, Joe McKinney, Lisa Morton, Stefan Petrucha, John Skipp, Hugh Sterbakov, John D. Taff, Patrick Thomas, Rocky Wood, and many others have all contributed posts or interviews to bring you a daily dose of treats for this Halloween season. And if you’re a horror writer reading this and you’re not yet a member of the Horror Writers Association, I hope Halloween Haunts will entice you to check out the HWA and consider joining. The HWA offers writers many benefits, including mentoring, networking, market news, and professional resources, and it presents the annual Bram Stoker Awards®.

Notice that Brad Hodson guy listed there? I hear he’s all right…

So mosey on over to http://www.horror.org/blog/ and spend the month with us strange and interesting folk on the dark side…

5 Cover Songs Better Than the Originals

We live in a world of remakes. All of our favorite movies and TV shows as kids are being remade, usually with horrifying results. This is a recycled society. Anything is fair game for the maw of Hollywood to chew up and swallow before tickling its throat with a feather in the bathroom of a WeHo diner and vomiting it back up. I mean, really, who does she think she’s kidding? We all know she does it. Bitch.

Oh. Sorry. What was I talking about?

Music, however, has been one arena where covers are not only accepted by fans, but often welcomed. Since the dawn of recorded music, we’ve been thrilled when our favorite artist tackles a song we loved from years before. Hell, I’m sure this goes back even further, with Hesiod clapping along to that new rendition of “Song of Gilgamesh” all the kids were humming.

Often, though, covers lead to abominations. Anyone remember Madonna’s version of “American Pie?” Let me refresh your memory:

But usually, even when we love a cover, it rarely comes close to the original.

With a few exceptions, that is.

So here are five cover songs that take the original out back and sock it around a while.

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Top Issues for Presidential Election Are Economy, Cthulhu

A new study shows that the top issues discussed by both Republican and Democratic Presidential candidates are the economy and the possible rising of Cthulhu.

Dr. Herbert West, a Professor at Miskatonic University in Massachusetts, has spent the last four months compiling data from every speech, interview, and press statement made by both the Obama and Romney camps. “What I found,” West said, “is that, beyond gay marriage, abortion, or any other hot button topic, the economy and Cthulhu have consistently been addressed more than any other issue.”

President Barack Obama speaking at the Democratic National Convention

For most voters, the study shouldn’t be surprising. While there has been considerable media time devoted to other topics, the party platforms for both candidates emphasize the two major issues.

President Obama, speaking at the Democratic National Convention last night, drove home again and again that the two issues are deeply related.

“Job growth is on the rise,” the President said to the cheers of a packed crowd. “Health care is now available for everyone, regardless of pre-existing conditions. The private sector is bouncing back from Wall Street’s mismanagement. And the nightmare corpse-city of R’lyeh is still buried at the bottom of the Pacific Ocean. Things are on the upswing but Americans have to keep fighting.”

“If Cthulhu were disturbed, it would mean disaster for both the American job market and the economy at large,” the President added.

Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney and Republican vice presidential nominee, Rep. Paul Ryan,

The remark was seen by many as a rebuttal to Republican candidate Mitt Romney’s plan as laid out at the Republican National Convention in Tampa. Romney’s plan emphasized the current Administration’s roll in the recession and calls for a preemptive military strike against R’lyeh.

Republican Vice-Presidential candidate Rep. Paul Ryan, speaking to reporters from a campaign stop in Kansas City, said of the President’s speech:

“If the economy is doing so well, Mr. President, why are more and more Americans finding themselves out of work? We need to do something, something strong and something fast, to make certain we don’t tip beyond the point of no-return. The President is obviously living in a fantasy world, a world in which layoffs aren’t occurring at a frightening rate and Cthulhu will continue sleeping for thousands of years.”

Not everyone is convinced with either party’s platform or their commitment to economic growth. Occupy Wall Street protesters have demonstrated at both the RNC and DNC, claiming that corporations too deeply influence either party to illicit real change and that Nyarlathotep is of far greater concern than Cthulhu.

Artist rendering of the Great Old One Cthulhu astride the corpse city of R’lyeh

Neither candidate’s camp commented upon what threat, if any, Nyarlathotep poses.

“The issues haven’t changed much since the 2000 election,” Professor West said. “Yet the divide between the parties has grown ever wider. At least Bush and Gore could find some middle ground, both with job growth and the fact that something had to be done about [evil wizard] Voldemort.”

“It makes me long for the past,” West went on to say. “For a purer time, a simpler time. It makes me wish I could travel back in time or reanimate the dead.”

According to Dr. West’s research, most Americans feel the same.

Brad C. Hodson is a writer living in Los Angeles. His new novel, DARLING, is available from Bad Moon Books. Check out the Bibliography page to see where you can read his short fiction or watch some films he’s written.

Darling: A Preview

My first novel, DARLING, will be released soon from Bad Moon Books. To celebrate, I got thoroughly drunk, thrown in jail, shived, married to a fellow inmate, and then released on good behavior.

I’ve also created a new page on this site devoted to DARLING. But my parole officer suggested that I place a preview of the novel up here as well and I thought that was a swell idea.

Below is the opening to DARLING. I hope you enjoy it.

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9 Stupid Facts About the US Government

I find politics absolutely absurd in this day and age. Part of it is the mouth-frothing vehemence that people exhibit when holding to their views (or, rather, the views their party tells them they should have). Another part of it is due to what we choose to get up in arms about. The fact that a discussion about gay rights, free speech, and the rights of corporations did not take place at a town hall meeting or on “Meet the Press” but rather revolved around a chicken sandwich tells me all I need to know about the modern state of American political discourse.

But I understand. With predator drones now allowed to spy on American citizens and the constant renewal of the Patriot Act, it’s much easier to purchase or not purchase fast food than to, I don’t know, write your Congressman.

If I thought our government was evil and intelligent (rather than just clueless and incompetent), I’d cry conspiracy theory and say this is all done on purpose, that it’s one elaborate misdirection while the Criss Angel of Washington pulls yet another trick on us. Of course, I’m too busy watching “Breaking Bad” to actually make that statement, but still…

Vote Walter White: Because he can handle the drug problem.

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A Message from the Promotional Arm of Hodson Enterprises

Whatever you do, do it with all your might. Work at it, early and late, in season and out of season, not leaving a stone unturned, and never deferring for a single hour that which can be done just as well now. 
-PT Barnum
What an asshole.
-Some clown on the topic of PT Barnum
There are a multitiude of things that I’m not good at, yet very few that I feel exceptionally horrible at attempting. This is an unique level of failure I’m talking about here, not normal, every day, run of the mill suckage.  It’s one thing to leave streaks on the floor when mopping or burn the bottom of some almond flour cookies. It’s another to, I don’t know, burn your house down while trying to wash dishes.
That’s a long story and you don’t really need to know it, so let’s move on.

Michael Louis Calvillo

It was a gray, damp morning at a pancake house overlooking a trash lined canal when I first read the news. The previous day had been Queen’s Day in Amsterdam, a giant city wide outdoor party to celebrate the Queen’s birthday, and the cobblestones were littered with beer cans and food wrappers. It was easy to see how the city might be beautiful, might twinkle and shine as the waters of the Amstel River rolled passed its gables and under its bridges but, even had the sky had not been clogged with rainclouds, the smell of stale beer and the rancid flowers of aluminum and paper blooming in the streets put to rest any concept of “quaint” or “charming.”

I was on my way to India, taking advantage of the flight’s path to eke a couple of days out in cities I had never visited. My phone didn’t work in Europe and I had struggled to find a Wi-Fi signal to check my email. As I sat hunched over a massive pancake watching flyers and banners and bottles drift by below me, I found a weak signal and connected.

And there it was, waiting, hiding in the lines of code that made up an unrelated email message. Just a singular mention, a phrase that meant nothing when I first read it.

“Michael Calvillo has passed.”

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Women In Horror: An Interview With Lynn Lowry

The past month has been insane. There are usually periods of time like this every so often for everyone but, for me, they always seem to crash down at the same time that I’m attempting to accomplish a few things. One of those things being my “Women In Horror Month” interviews. As such, I kept having to push things back and back. So I apologize to anyone who’s been reading these so far. But I especially apologize to my final guest, actress Lynn Lowry.

So, two weeks after the month was over, here’s my final Women In Horror interview.

If you’re a horror movie fan, you’re familiar with Lynn.  Born in Illinois but raised in Atlanta, Lynn got eaten by the horror machine while performing in stageplays in New York. The list of directors that she’s worked with reads like a who’s-who of horror icons: George Romero, Lloyd Kaufman, Jonathan Demme, Paul Schrader, David Cronenberg. From SHIVERS to CAT PEOPLE, Lynn has been in some of the most iconic horror films of the twentieth century, something she didn’t even realize until a few years ago. Her love of the genre, and of independent filmmaking in general, has kept her in the limelight with films like GEORGE: A ZOMBIE INTERVENTION and the 2010 remake of Romero’s THE CRAZIES, a film that she also starred in the original version of.

The following is a transcription of a phone interview, so any mistakes or oddities are my fault.

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Women In Horror Month: An Interview With Michelle Tomlinson

I first met Michelle on the set of GEORGE’S INTERVENTION, a low-budget horror comedy I co-wrote and co-produced (renamed by the distributor GEORGE: A ZOMBIE INTERVENTION and available on ITunes and Amazon, wink wink). Skin pink, hair matted to her head by gallons of fake blood, eyes bloodshot from the sixteen hour shoot, and she still had a smile on her face. In fact, it’s rare to find Michelle not smiling.

Of course, she has a lot to smile about these days. She’s become a cult icon amongst a certain set, a Scream Queen drenched in low-budget gore. Attending conventions with her and seeing a growing fan base wade through the crowds to meet her, it’s easy to see how films like THE CELLAR DOOR or Kevin Tenney’s BRAINDEAD have permeated the lexicon of low-budget horror.

And, through it all, the New Mexico native keeps her positive energy high and attacks her career goals with tenacity.

So, I give you the next to last interview for Women In Horror Month.

(Note: Though Women In Horror Month ends today, I have a special interview that will be posted in the next few days to really close it out. Check back for that interview to learn the truth of what it’s like to work with Romero, Cronenburg, and Demme).

Let’s start with a pretentious question that the tweed jacket stick-up-their ass types would ask: Why horror?
First off, I love Tweed Jacket Stick-Up-Their Ass types!  They’re usually the ones funding projects, right?  I kid, I kid.
I grew up watching Horror, Action and War flicks.  I’ve always loved the creativity that’s behind Horror.  I actually fell into Horror as an Actor in doing The Cellar Door and Brain Dead.  I love how Horror pushes us through the boundaries of our own minds.  While some of it is incredibly formulaic, there’s still moments that cause us to think outside the box.  Not to mention, I love having the bajeesus scared outta me from time to time!

Women In Horror Month: An Interview With Martel Sardina

My goal with these Women In Horror Month interviews was to get them each up in a timely manner, spacing them out throughout the month. Unfortunately, life often has different plans.

So, I have to apologize, mainly to Martel Sardina. Martel was gracious enough to answer my questions and I haven’t yet posted her interview. Which is a shame, because Martel’s interview turned out to be very in-depth and, I have to admit, quite badass. From her work as an editor to delving into a ground-breaking comic book project, Martel has seen several sides of the industry. She also has a penchant for hopping on motorcycles and vanishing into the American Frontier. In other words, like I’ve been discovering with most women in the horror genre, Martel is difficult to label.

Let’s start with a pretentious question that the tweed jacket stick-up-their ass types would ask: Why horror?


I’ve been drawn toward scary stories and scary movies ever since I can remember. The first horror movie I remember watching was the original version of THE BLOB. I grew up watching TV shows like THE TWILIGHT ZONE and ONE STEP BEYOND. But the scariest stories weren’t always filled with witches or zombies or ghosts. One of the scariest moments I remember from a movie I watched when I was young was a scene in a western called SHALAKO. The Indians were shoving a woman back and forth, taunting her, as she’s trying to escape. Then one of the Indians pins her down and kills her by forcing her to swallow her own necklace.  I know I didn’t sleep much that night.  And now that I think about that scene, I may have just found the explanation for many of the nightmares I’ve had over the years.