Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Stop Bitching About the Ice Bucket Challenge

Everyone complaining about the Ice Bucket Challenge needs to chill out. This was a genius way to raise money and awareness and it has been hugely successful. They've brought in nearly ten times the amount of money as they did during the same time period last year.

As always, that just doesn't work for some people. They have to suck the fun out of everything. There has been a deluge of blogs, articles, and moronic tweets telling people to stop dumping ice on their heads and to start giving cash. Not everyone needs to be shamed into donating money if they don't want to or aren't able to. Just because someone tags you on Facebook doesn't mean that you have some kind of debt to pay.

You aren't the arbiter of what is good and right.

Uploading thousands of videos across the internet has brought ALS awareness to an all-time high. That was the goal. Mission accomplished. It's called the Ice Bucket Challenge, not the Stop Having Fun and Give Me Money Challenge.

Quit bitching and enjoy watching your friends do crazy stuff. When you get tired of them, stop viewing the videos. Easy. Sometimes it's OK to have fun.

This campaign was genius, important, and a success. Stop being douches.

Here is a video of The Tall One taking part.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Ed Gein: His Crimes and their Hollywood Impact

This is a guest post by Spencer Blohm. If you're a fan of horrific history like I am, then you will definitely dig this. I added the poster for The Texas Chainsaw Massacre just because it's awesome. Thanks to Spencer for putting this together.

Ed Gein may not be a household name, but Norman Bates from Psycho and the Buffalo Bill killer from Silence of the Lambs certainly are. These movie characters - along with Leatherface from The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and several others - are all based on one man: Ed Gein.

Gein's Crimes

Ed Gein, a serial killer from Plainfield, Wisconsin, was sentenced to life in prison after he was found guilty of killing local hardware store owner, Bernice Worden.

When Worden disappeared in 1957, the Plainfield police immediately suspected Gein. During their investigation, they found Worden's decapitated body hung in Gein's barn. In addition, they also discovered Gein's penchant for digging up and skinning newly-dead bodies. The police uncovered leggings, a wastebasket, and a corset made from human skin, bowls made from skulls, and the heads of Worden and another victim, Mary Hogan.

The gruesome discoveries horrified and tantalized the nation in equal parts, and the news reports inspired several generations of novelists and screenwriters. Since Gein's arrest, trial and imprisonment, characters influenced by him have appeared in movies, television shows, and even video games.

Gein as Inspiration

Art has not fully imitated life in the Ed Gein-inspired films, as writers have chosen to given their characters only pieces of the actual mad man's personality, motive, and crimes. Still, these characters are horrifying in their own right. Norman Bates, who first appeared in the 1959 novel Psycho by Robert Bloch and then in Alfred Hitchcock's 1960 movie of the same name, was inspired by Ed Gein's unnatural relationship with his mother. Ed Gein admitted that many of the women he exhumed were chosen because of their resemblance to his mother; he reportedly put on the items made of female human skin because he wanted a sex change.

Similarly, The Silence of the Lambs - both the novel by Thomas Harris and the Johnathan Demme film -- chilled audiences across the globe with its portrayal of the “Buffalo Bill” killer. He, like Norman Bates and Ed Gein, is troubled by his male sexuality and seeks literally to inhabit a female body.

In the 1974 film The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, a group of friends must escape a cannibalistic family. The main antagonist, Leatherface, is shown throughout the film wearing a mask of human skin. This detail is directly attributed to Ed Gein, as he had made masks from several women's facial skin.

Deranged, also released in 1974, follows Gein's story more closely than the films mentioned above. Like Gein, the main antagonist, digs up and mutilates decomposing women; he accelerates from using dead women to becoming a serial killer. Finally, Motel Hell takes a more satirical take on the Gein murders. While the film deals with kidnapping and cannibalism, it does so in a much more ironic way. Recently released together in one epic “double feature” DVD from Midnite Movies, both of these films are also available for streaming from DTV (click here for details) and on the cult-horror and kung-fu El Rey Network.

Gein, Hixploitation and Serial Killer Tropes

All of the films and novels that feature Gein-like main antagonists are meant to frighten audiences; the way in which they accomplish this is through "hixploitation," a genre that seeks to frighten through a stereotypical portrayal of uneducated, rural whites. In hixploitation films such as Deliverance, these antagonists do not follow traditional moral code, are often incestuous, and are threatened by the outside world. Gein, who lived in rural Wisconsin, is an example of these deranged rural people. The books and movies based on him contain multiple modern-day serial killer tropes, including violence against women, victim mutilation, grave robbing, matricide, and confused sexuality.

Jason here... I need to get my hands on Deranged. Never seen it. Makes me feel like a fraud. Thanks for making me feel inadequate, Spencer!

Sunday, August 10, 2014

The Tall One's Bday

I haven't posted in forever. That's what happens when I'm flipping back and forth between several different novels and don't actually finish one for a long time. Lots of news is on the way though, so be ready to do a lot of reading soon.

In the meantime, The Tall One had a birthday. We spent some time in Lititz, PA, which was recently voted the best small town in America. Figured I would share a few pics and a hilarious video of failing at minigolf.

All of these and more are up at my Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube accounts. Follow those if you want to keep up to date with what I'm doing a bit better. I promise to post here a lot more often, but I'm on social media everyday, so that's the best way to get a hold of me.

Book updates will come soon!

Friday, June 27, 2014

Devoured is FREE

I've made Devoured FREE everywhere. If you were on the fence about trying THE HUNGER series, here is your chance to give it a shot for nothing. Grab it at your favorite ebook distributor:

Monday, June 23, 2014

Yeah, I'm a Dork

Anyone who follows me on social media knows that I'm a huge geek, particularly when it comes to horror stuff. When you step foot into my basement, the full extent of my nerdom becomes apparent. Posters, props, etc. are everywhere.

I grew up watching horror movies and reading horror novels constantly. I still do the same thing now. If you feel sorry for my wife, you should. She's a real trooper as we slog our way through countless movies of less-than-questionable quality.

In the '90's, I used to watch a show called MonsterVision which was hosted by the hilarious Joe Bob Briggs. Joe Bob would show two or three horror movies on a Saturday night, giving each a running commentary at commercial breaks. As the first, and most popular, reviewer of drive-in movies, Joe Bob actually appreciated the often terrible films he was showing. It was obvious that he enjoyed the genre and dorks like me could relate.

I've missed that show since it went off the air. Recently, I found something on YouTube that, while different from MonsterVision, gives me a nostalgic feel for that old horror show. It's called Monster Men.

The idea behind Monster Men is pretty simple - two dudes sit around and talk about horror related shit. They discuss movies, books, Halloween and anything else that revolves around horror. It's niche as hell, which is why I enjoy it. The two hosts, Hunter and Jack are funny dudes who keep things lighthearted, which also hearkens back to MonsterVision. Watch this clip, where they try out horror-themed wine, and enjoy a good laugh.

Hunter is also an author who writes for Samhain Publishing's horror line. I just read one of his books, Swamp Monster Massacre and found it a fun romp. The title gives you exactly what it suggests.

Anyway, check out the Monster Men podcast and get a good laugh.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Aliens Are Morons

I need to preface this by saying that I'm a huge fan of alien fiction, be it movies, books, or those hokey shows about alien abduction. The X-Files blew my mind in the 90's.

Having said that, I have to ask... why are the aliens in movies always completely stupid?

Take the movie Signs, for example. These aliens have mastered the ability of interstellar travel, yet they plan to attack Earth, a planet comprised of vast amounts of water, which just so happens to be poison to them. It literally reacts like acid on their skin. In preparation for this, they wear these amazing suits that keep water out so they can be protected.

Oh wait, no they don't. These morons run around naked, completely vulnerable to the devastating effects of a child with a squirt gun. What if it rains? So, the fire department is now mankind's best weapon? Genius.

I especially liked that they spent a few days climbing on the roof and running through the cornfield like a couple of pedophiles spying on a slumber party.

The Tall One and I watched an alien abduction movie last night that had the dumbest space travelers ever in it. They've conquered space and time, but if you hide in the basement, they're totally fucked. Weapons? Who needs them when we can just chase you through the woods. They beamed a few people into the mothership with ease, but god help them if you sneak into the barn. Those doors are made of wood, dude! There's no way they can get through those.

The other thing that I fail to understand in these movies, is why aren't the people abducted from the beginning? In most of these, a family, or friends, whatever, are hounded throughout the movie. They hear sounds, see bright lights, feel a nearby presence, and then they're finally abducted at the end.

Do aliens have a sick sense of humor? They like screwing with people? Why spend days dicking around?

Aliens are teases, apparently. And stupid.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

The Accents from THE HUNGER

I've had a lot of people ask me about the dialect in THE HUNGER.

Unless you're from the Pittsburgh area, then you probably don't understand yinz or n'at.

Here are two videos that should help everyone understand just how funny people's accents are in western PA.

And yes, I suffer from a handful of these...