Chilling Book Recommendations for Halloween… Part 2

As we crawl closer to all Hallows eve the leaves are turning and the weather is drawing colder. Shadows begin to cast over what was once light and in that darkness you’ll find the unknown. To compliment the season here are some more chilling book recommendations…

hallows

What more could want other than a chilling story that contains some truth? Of course I am talking about ‘Building 51’ by Jennifer L. Place. 

51

Building 51 follows the events of seven friends as they embark on an exploration excursion of an abandoned former hospital for the insane. In terms of specific genre this one is literally right up my ‘alley’ and I loved every word. This is while being on the edge of terrified throughout.

Fusing elements of real history and the paranormal make this story and the characters in it feel like something is lurking and watching them. Something is and this gradually becomes apparent manifesting itself in a range of unique and creepy ways. Without giving any further spoilers I urge you to check it out, trust me you won’t regret reading this one!

 

‘While some monsters are born, others are created..’

the 4

It’s the late 80’s in small town america where some young women have gone missing, one of them happens to look like the main character. What unfolds is a premise that fuses a guess who concept with a sophisticated slasher that delivers.

The Four Before Me by E.H. Night is book I found hard to put down with the many twists and turns along with elements of crime, mystery, suspense and of course some chilling horror. You could compare this book with the early works of Stephen King although the voice in this story is fresh and new trust me.

 

‘Sometimes you don’t get to choose where you are placed in the collective ecosystem of a High School…’

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Every reader collectively rolls their eyes as I plug my own work… Let’s face it without Open Evening and it’s ‘success’ I would have shut up shop a long time ago and yes it’s my debut novel, yes my writing has moved on a lot since and yes it might be ‘tween’ level lame – but I still like it and what it has become.

‘OE’ is a high school horror with a twist that points towards the ‘Body Snatchers’ meets ‘Blade’ which then meets ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer’ and the truth is, I poured a lot of my own high school experiences into this book, so the stuff without the blood thirsty monsters of holy hell contains mostly truth. It’s going to be free to download on the 21st of this month along with it’s sequel ‘Cemetery House’. Both of these books share the same universe as Darke Blood also! 

There’s something lurking in the shadows of Druid Wood and it’s terrifying…

within dark places

Without taking anything away from any of the other books mentioned I have possibly left the most terrifying to last because ‘Within the Dark Places’ by Duncan Thompson sacred the shit out of me! And I mean that in the most sincere of senses because not only was I scared but I enjoyed this book, a lot!

This story follows a small group who decide to spend their weekend in a woods with chilling results. From the very beginning there’s a stack of mystery and intrigue as to what exactly is lurking in the shadows which starts to play on the readers imagination more than anything; something which is text book horror and also very effective in a book like this.

 That wraps up part two of my chilling book recommendations for Halloween. Have you got any? Hit me up and I’ll check them out, my list is always looking for new reads! 

 

Chilling Book Recommendations for Halloween… part 1

Halloween is just around the corner and considering horror is probably my favorite genre in both cinema and reading here are some chilling books I’ve read over the past year which I recommend…

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“Something happened tonight, I don’t know what. Something that ripped the veil between the Chicago of the living and the Chicago of the dead…” 

undertown

‘Undertown: A Novella’ by K.Noel Moore is a chilling and clever fusing of history intertwined with real events set around the historic crime wave/prohibition era of 1930’s America.

I found myself reading this novella in one sitting within a few enjoyable hours. There are plenty of references and terms used in the narrative which are authentic to the historic era with a handy reference/definition section placed at the end of the book (something I felt was a nice touch and shows the author has put in a large amount of care, research and thought into).

Overall Undertown is a perfectly paced, easily readable and well written history novella with just the right amount of chills and atmosphere to make it stand out.

 

‘In space, not all things were certain… not even death’

demonspawn-2018-cover-front1

Next up is ‘Demonspawn’ by Christina Engela which is a sci-fi horror space story with psychological mystery and suspense throughout. The somewhat damned crew of the I.S.S. Mordrake; a ship seemingly stranded and damaged beyond repair in the furthest reaches of space then stumbles upon another ship, derelict and just floating there…

The story reminded me of films such as Alien and Event Horizon but Demonspawn could easily stand shoulder to shoulder with them. There were many concepts of the sci-fi genre in this book that were original and put together in a way not seen before anywhere else. You can grab yourself a copy here.

 

‘A slow burning tale that twists into the deep shadowy darkness of the unexpected…’

sitch

In Blood of the Sixth’ by K.R Rowe  there’s a lot going on under the surface of a story which sits within the realms of gritty urban horror, mystery and witchcraft.

Blood of the Sixth has a complex interwoven plot which is delivered in a way that makes it an easy to follow read; something I imagine the author has worked tremendously hard to achieve. The whole layout of the book from short sharp chapter length, to characters all the way to general story has been well thought out.

For some parts of my reading experience I genuinely laughed and others I found to be quite harrowing (again in a good way) as there were some real graphic violent portions all of which fitted well for the genres. The use of description in some instances has been painstakingly constructed and again the hard work by K. R. Rowe is obvious to see so trust me when I say this book is good!

‘A modern vampire story that takes the reader on a journey of twists and turns…’

Nocturnal blood

There are only a handful of authors out there who are keeping the vampire genre alive and one of them is Villimey Mist who presents ‘Nocturnal Blood’ a story than convinced me throughout the duration of my reading experience that it truly is a great addition to the genre!

I found Nocturnal Blood to be a highly readable tale of bravery, friendship, character development and vampires; a genre in modern times that doesn’t get nearly enough credit especially when stories like this exist. Its also an important story in a sense that the M.C suffers from anxiety and O.C.D which is a brave thing for an author to write about!

The sequel is coming very soon so now would be a perfect time to grab yourself a copy!

 

“There are more than shadows lurking in the darkness of those trees.”

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Wait what? Your plugging your own book in this thing? My answer to you is fu** yeah and why not! Keeping with the theme of vampire stories here’s mine. ‘Darke Blood’ is a story that reviewers have convinced me is worth reading – I personally thought for quite some time it wasn’t that great but some awesome people have left some awesome reviews for a story I literally had to find my inner author to finish writing it! The journey is turning out to be worth it in the end and the sequel is coming next year!

Here’s a recent review by Blair from the awesome Feed the Crime blog… 

And with that self promo I have no shame in this is the end of part 1, stay tuned next week for part 2! 

Have you got a chilling book rec? Drop it in the comments because here at the Hall of information we are always looking for more book reads!

‘The Stairs’- a paranormal account

The events relayed in this account are true.

 

There are unexplained moments that happen in our lives. Some remain that way forever in the back of our minds and on the fringes of belief. For the majority, these ‘events’ are far and few between but then again there are some exceptions. My second paranormal experience was just that; an exception to the rule. It also happened to take place in the vicinity of where my previous one happened. I don’t believe in coincidence when it comes to the paranormal simply because of this…   

In the summer of 2017 I joined my significant other, her family and friends on what had become the annual two week trip to the south of France. For those who read my previous account  you’ll know the setting; a picturesque converted farm sitting on the hills of beautiful countryside. It’s remote and peaceful. The weather hot nearly everyday although this year the presence of bugs was way reduced due to a late frost.

Our particular digs like the other years a ‘gite’ which could hold up to 12 and on this trip 10 of us were about to become 12 at the midway point of the holiday when my S.O’s sister and her other half would be joining us. Their room sat opposite ours and my S.O’s in the right hand wing of the place. We had a bathroom between us and little stretch of narrow corridor which then flowed out to the main staircase. This staircase was fashioned out of dark red varnished wood and the steps were separately slotted into the wall. Like I mentioned previously when someone would climb these steps it’s would be difficult to miss with the distinctive wooden ‘drumming’ and vibrations which resonated against the wall whenever they were stepped upon.

On the night before our new arrivals were due I had already gone to bed when I had the rather strong urge to pee. I eventually gave in to those urges and decided to get up, I put the bedside lamp on and made my way to the door which I unlocked and headed out into the dark corridor. At this time the whole place was dead quiet, everyone was in bed by now and so it was dark but the little light from behind me showed the way and so I went into the bathroom, before I walked in I noticed the open bedroom door in front of me where our new arrivals would be staying the next night. The room sat in the shadows and in my grogginess I shuffled into the bathroom and closed the door.

Being half asleep I took the decision to sit on the toilet and during so I heard the distinctive sound of footsteps drumming up the stairs. Was someone up at this hour? The steps pattered on wood as they continued from what I presumed was the ground until they reached our level. I had the distinct feeling someone was rushing into our wing of the gite and flowing past the door I was behind and into the vacant bedroom. What followed was a loud echoing slamming which sounded like what could have been a heavy door closing.

I finished my business and headed out into the corridor. Immediately I put the light on to see nobody in sight. I walked to the stairs to see nobody around. My inspection of the situation pointed towards nobody I knew being around at the same time. That slamming sound, so distinct and even harrowing, I am swaying towards belief that it was something not of this mortal coil.

Some encounters remain unexplained…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Halloween Review

I have been waiting a long time for modern cinema to produce a good slasher film and I’ve been waiting perhaps even longer for a good Halloween film. This past Friday that wait was finally over because Michael Myers came home and it was…. well here’s my review. Those who know the deal will know I try to keep major spoilers to the minimum but you have been warned there may be some….

myers

First of all the premise of this film is somewhat groundbreaking and brave. Ignoring previous timelines and installments of such a big time franchise takes some guts and maybe that was the secret to all of this; starting over…

They do say its never too late to start over and Halloween proves that.  There are at least 2 separate timelines for Halloween; the Rob Zombie reboot that I never watched and the original canon story line ending with Halloween Resurrection; this included H20 and the ones that lay before it. So its a bit of a mess.

The 2018 Halloween film ignores everything apart from the first film. Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis); the original final girl is back and probably better than ever. We see her take an emotion fueled opportunity to revisit a character that is almost as iconic as her other on screen counterpart Michael Myers and you guessed it; he gets out.

This film opens right away with tension. We see Myers who has been incarcerated for the past 40 years visited by some typical journalist types. One of them produces the mask; and tries to goad Michael into speaking; then the opening credits roll in true original Halloween style; it’s retro and sentimental all at once with that ever so familiar and legendary theme playing.

Just what would happen if Michael Myers got out? Well that’s the question this film spends answering and in all honesty its brutally violent. As Dr Loomis said “I met this… six-year-old child with this blank, pale, emotionless face, and… the blackest eyes – the Devil’s eyes. I spent eight years trying to reach him, and then another seven trying to keep him locked up, because I realized that what was living behind that boy’s eyes was purely and simply… evil.”

And I can happily say Michael Myers is evil with the kill count higher than any decent slasher film I have seen. He literally rampages simply because he was given the opportunity to. I have this feeling he was just waiting all this time to get out and do what he does.

This wasn’t just an eventual face off between Laurie Strode and Michael Myers; we see Strode has become estranged to her daughter (Judy Greer) and granddaughter (Andi Matichak) who is at high school and her story becomes central. There are several characters in this film and most of which get the chop quite literally, something which makes it rather unique and somewhat unexpected. This film follows the return of pure evil and doesn’t disappoint in that department.

In fact I found very little wrong with the whole movie, the pacing, the setting, the cinematography and even effects were all top notch. This is the Halloween we have all been waiting a very long time to see. Much of it pays homage to the original and why not, that’s what a lot of us came to see. The music is just as good as the first and well Michael Myers is badder than ever.

For those who enjoy horror and of course the slasher; Halloween stands up with the best and may even surpass the original. I have been a huge fan of Halloween from a young age, the namesake of the town in which my first book is set was named in part after Haddonfield.

 

This new book may actually be quite good…

I say the title of this blog not with the intention of tooting my own horn (who else will?), but to really express pride in the work I have done recently. My latest project ‘Open Evening’ has entered the very much enjoyable next pahse called editing. Reading back and writing additional content along with correcting the old, I am convinced this book will have some appeal.

The narrated text is quick, with our main character being witty and somewhat aware of the genre. This puts an interesting yet original spin on the story. My intention in writing has always been to find some element of originality. Like with many titles, the actual content may not be original, that’s hard to find these days but the actual story delivery is original or different.

Cliché is something every story teller will cling to but in horror fear of the unknown is the greatest tool available. What it could be strikes the imagination into frenzy of reactions we all express in different ways. Jump scares are cheap and quite difficult to put into a book. I very much prefer to use the unexpected in a different way and that’s what turns pages.

editing begins

My plan is looking like its coming together with my work already done being something I am very proud of. Horror is a high selling genre that I very much intend to tap into. By the end of 2015 latest ‘Open evening’ will be ready to move towards a professional edit. Hopefully by summer next year some of you will be holding that book in your hands. But who knows, as I said the unknown is sometimes what keeps us reading.

I would like to take this opportunity to plug another blogger who is a good friend of mine. Matt Streuli has found some success recently with his mental health blogs and has made it on the Huffington post well done to you sir.

My facebook page following has grown in recent times, thanks to all for the likes old and new.

Happy Halloween everyone and remember who really knows what could be lurking in the dark shadows…

Alton Towers Scarefest Review: Get Corrected

Aptly this is my th13teenth blog (see what I did there?) and it’s Halloween week. Last Thursday and Friday I spent at Alton Towers Resort for their annual scarefest, there were certainly some brown trousers after that!

sanctuary

 

The thick clouds above were beginning to darken. There we were in the gardens of Alton Towers, walking towards a grand Georgian all glass conservatory. But this wasn’t no ordinary manor house, this was the sanctuary.

(eerie organ music perhaps)

We walked into the glass building and  immediately met with a stale musky smell. To our right a small shrubbery area with dead plants, all of them plastered with spider webs and dust. The windows decorated with faded white curtains all around. A piercing buzzing alarm sounded for an instant forcing me to look ahead. As I did a group walked through the large security gate, a nurse dressed in all white slammed it behind them.

I then knew in moments that would also be my fate.

50’s style health posters were plastered all around saying things such as ‘A smile a day, keeps the doctor away’.

smile a day“Welcome to the sanctuary.” The nurse said in what can only be described as a 1920’s accent. Her eyes transfixed on us.

This creepy looking nurse explained to us what would be happening. She took her time and there were many awkward moments of pause.

“Do you understand sir?” She asked me as I smelt the stale musk in the air.

I simply nodded as my eyes met hers. She smiled as the piercing alarm sounded again. A green light mounted on the gate meant it was time to enter the sanctuary.

The nurse opened the gate and we walked forward. Met by a narrow green corridor it continued for a stretch. As we walked the foulest stench could be smelt. It was as if the floor hadn’t been cleaned in years combined with rotting cheese. Maybe a hospital that hadn’t been cleaned in years.

Shuffled to a small opening we were met by what can only be described as an institutionalized doctor. After some shouting and erratic behavior he explained the procedures carried out at the sanctuary and his support for them and for someone called Dr Kelman.

“Do you know what this light means?” He asked pointing to one of the two lights, this one being green.

We presumed it meant things were good.

“But do you know what this light means?”

Obviously bad things. Then it illuminated and the doctor opened a large door. It was now time to go inside the sanctuary.

Walking through the many rooms of this ‘sanctuary’ it was clear to see this certainly wasn’t one. From every corner we were approached by ‘patients’, some snorted at you, others would shout, whilst the odd patient would get close enough to hear you breathing.

Continuing onwards we came to a narrow bright white corridor with screens at height. There was a distinct smell of apple pie as it was displayed on the screen. A wet spray then hit us as the white became brighter and brighter. Different colours flashed making it very disorienting and seeming as if you have gone mad.

Through a plastic sheet we continued and that was when we came to some wooden stairs, but they led down.

“Don’t go into the basement.” I remember numerous patients saying to me during the walk.

This is where the numerous ‘surgeries’ took place. It was safe to say they were failed surgeries to ‘correct’ a patient. The voice of this doctor Kelman sounded, asking why his patients didnt respond and to ‘get corrected, get corrected’

Tension was building and building as we came past an operated body that had obviously failed to be corrected.

‘Get corrected, get corrected’

Then we were outside in the open again. The scare maze had finished!

After my experience in the sanctuary I can happily say I was corrected!

Yes I am talking about one of the great scare mazes at Alton towers.  Last week I made the voyage to the UK’s greatest theme park. ‘Theme park’ is the only way to describe this place as the various rides and attractions are incredibly detailed and even more so during their annual Halloween scare fest. I recommend it to everyone, and they even reply on twitter. These guys build worlds, and the sanctuary felt like I was walking through a horror movie in real life.

As much as it was scary the experience was intriguing to say the least. I do love a good scare and this is as close as one will get to a horror movie. I did also experience the terror at the towers scare maze which was equally as good.

zombies

If you go down to the woods today…..

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Not being a roller coaster fan I set myself a goal upon this visit. Ride at least one of Alton Towers worlds firsts. There is a few to choose from but mine was roller coaster 13. A rather unknown ride set in the eerie nearby woods. As you walk along the queue in remote woodland a mini van taken over by a growing tree can be seen.

thirteenBefore I knew it, I was riding the various ups and downs of th13een. But as we came to an ascent we stopped abruptly. Was this part of the ride experience? No we were stuck*. After ten minutes the ride continued and into a dark building we went. The sound of wood snapping all around us and then a sudden drop in complete darkness. Yes this is the worlds first roller coaster where the track and carriages drop together onto another track!

There we were going backwards in the dark. For someone who doesn’t enjoy rides too much this was just right for me. And it’s a world’s first!

*Side note : The ride did get stuck for around ten minutes, in this time we were looked after and reassured, I was asked at least twice If I was ok. After the ride we were then given fast track tickets to skip the queue of a ride of our choice, see below:

priority

Overall a great experience at Alton Towers resort and they even reply on twitter!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Get your broomstick : Another Harry Potter Book???

I felt compelled to write an article about a news story I saw a few weeks back, about a rather well known author. Her 7 books were converted into the most successful film franchise to date and the writing alone created the first ever billionaire author.

Yes I am talking about JK Rowling.

Of course her success is the dream for many budding writers much like yours truly. But is she living in the shadow of her past? By that I mean why not try something new?

At this point I can see the Pottermore lot throwing rotten fruit my way saying they want more wizardry from Harry, Hermione, Ron and the wand yielding gang.

HP

JK has been quoted to say that she would never match the success of Harry Potter and she has tried to bring out other stuff seemingly to no avail (remember that book she brought out under another name). Maybe sticking to what you know is the best policy in this situation and I don’t blame her. I can’t possibly see the end to my book series yet even after the 6 I set out to write. Perhaps JK was too successful.

I know how can someone be too successful, well only she can be the judge of that. But people would just buy her stuff because it’s written by her. So readers may not necessarily like what they are reading and simply buy it on loyalty to HP.

Another Harry Potter book can only do good things for the literary world and the fans would immediately sell it out. But would it be any good?

As far as I was concerned Harry’s journey was done. Maybe leaving it more open at the end would have let better grounds for an 8th book. There has been mention of a spin off series set in the same wizardy world as Potter. What do you think? Leave me a comment.

JK is a rather reclusive type of writer and doesn’t give much away, for all we know she could have already drafted the next HP book. Warner Bros. will be rubbing their hands if she has.

Back in the game!

Yesterday I began yet another edit of my first novel, Clark Thorn and the Warrior Project. This time I have seeking representation firmly in my crosshairs. By that I mean after this edit, a brand new synopsis will be constructed and a campaign to find an agent who could possibly like my stuff and offer representation.  I know I did say self publishing would be the route but right now I’m not done with trying to find someone else to do the work for me!

I will be using the writers and artists yearbook 2015 for reference (check out my review here)

Next week I shall be reviewing a few of the scare mazes at Britain’s top theme park Alton Towers, Halloween is approaching and so is their annual scare fest!!!

alton

 

 

 Shameless Plug of something non writing related but is related to me anyway

So my good friend Matt Streuli, who is vice chairman of the drama club in which I belong. Sent an invitation to the her majesty Queen Elizabeth the 2nd to come and watch our next show in early 2015. Sadly she couldn’t make it, but least they replied right!. Check that out here.

Annabelle: one creepy looking fu**ing doll!

Seeing as the leafs are turning and the darkness of winter is approaching, that means one thing! Halloween and horror movies. We in the UK don’t treat Halloween as big as the US but that doesn’t stop us from getting their movies. So the next few weeks shall be dedicated to all things horror, including an account of my up and coming trip to to UK theme park Alton Towers and their seasonal scare fest!

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The current state of Horror Films

In this age we are exposed to more gruesome and more ‘real’ style horror flicks, Notably the Saw series and of course the many ‘Blair witch’ style found footage films. But for some reason so many films of this genre fail to pack the final punch in their presentation. It gets to the last half hour and there’s nothing more to show, the creature/ghost/murderer/thing has been revealed and the ideas are wearing thin. There are no more shock moments or the shocks are so over the top they seem desperate.

A struggle is apparent in the world of telling scary stories and the cinema is the perfect setting for such things. It’s dark and theres an unavoidable screen in front of you, plus your surrounded by complete strangers. Cinemas can be eerie sometimes, playing into the hands of the genre. But the films themselves do lack in somewhat scary quality. Now I like a good scare, makes the heart beat faster, gives you a cold sweat and all that but these days that’s a rare thing.

Creepy Doll 

anabelle

Told ya it was creepy

This past weekend I went to see a new release about a possessed doll. Now many of you will think about that small red haired thing running around with a knife. But I am talking about Anabelle, a doll that comes to be possessed and causes all kinds of hell for the viewer and owner. To me this film simply delivered in all tick boxes available for the genre. It was jumpy, dark, not too gruesome and somewhat original. Creepy is a massive understatement in terms of this doll, they certainly designed this thing well. And they used it well, there are many instances when the camera is focused on the vacant yet transfixed eyes of the doll Annabelle with the viewer expecting them to move at any moment.

We have seen on many occasions an unbalance in a film whereas the killer is way to scary for the film or the concept is just too cool for the environment. But in this film they got it all right, the balance from a small cast worked wonderfully well with scary possessive concepts that coincided with the all-important matter that this could be a true story.

 

If you like your horror good and somewhat original then go and see Annabelle. Especially if you have seen the conjuring, they are kind of related in sideways kind of way.

Having purchased a ticket and being sat in the cinema I had no choice but to be exposed to some up and coming trailers and Halloween is looking good this year, with Ghostbusters being re released and Alien/Aliens in some cinemas.The Pyramid with Jay from the inbetweeners is looking good and that’s what we want to see, some choice in our modern scare films!

 

Next week I look at the potential of another Harry Potter book, stay tuned!