Book Review for Forging Truth by Raymond F. Masters

Posted in Alexander S. Brown, Amazon, author reviews, authors, Book Reviews, books, discussion, entertaining, entertainment, fandom, Fiction, literature, Literatures, Pro Se Press, Raymond F. Masters, Read, readers, reading, Readings, south, southern authors, superheroes, Uncategorized on August 25, 2016 by Alexander S. Brown

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Forging Truth: The Truth Saga, Book One is a good opening for a superhero series. Although superheroes aren’t what I’m used to reading about, I was pleased that my first exploration in the genre provided enough adventure to hold my interest.

In book one, Masters spends most of his time developing characters and scenarios that I could see being crucial as the series unfolds. The characters that drew me into this tale include: Kade Truth and Caduceus. Later in the book, I found myself becoming enthralled by the female character, Mao F’Yang, which I’m hoping will receive more book time in future volumes, as she is too likable to be dismissed.

With Caduceus, I was drawn to him because of his mentor styled personality. I loved how he was stern, yet wasn’t afraid to be playful with his dialogue. Kade was also fun to read about.  He was a determined character who strived to learn and rise above. Due to his actions, and how he grew as a hero in volume 1, I am eager to see how he will continue to grow and strengthen in the following book. Although the personalities of these men were likable and felt real, I would be lying if I said they weren’t attractive. I’m not certain if the author willingly gave them sex appeal or not, but I gained a mancrush for Caduceus and Kade. Mao F’Yang is a different circumstance to why she was a favorite. Although she is mentioned very little in this book, I have a feeling she will continue to grow. For me, she has a deep sense of mystery and quirkiness that cannot be ignored.  I feel, in time, she will reveal an intriguing backstory.

With my favorite characters aside, I found myself sucked into the concept of this book. It opens with a near death experience, gives a background story regarding how the Statue of Liberty was bombed, and it provides us with villains who are capable of doing worse acts than their current crimes. But the concepts that captivated me most weren’t even the events that I spoke of. What intrigued me was how Masters focused on the never ending battle between good and evil, in a spiritual sense. Of course, our main heroes are angels. However, they do have a human background, which is revealed through flashbacks. As the story is continuing to unfold, the reader is given not only an alternative world of existence, but an existence that defies space and time.

By the conclusion of Forging Truth, I was pleased to see all of the conflict that unfolded. The book resolves very little in regards to the evil doings of the villains, and due to the loose ends being left untied, I am anticipating what the upcoming sequel has in store.

Out of a scale of 1 to 10. 1 being poor, 10 being great. I would rate Forging Truth an 8. The audiobook experience was a 6 1/2. The overall experience, between audio and story, remains at an 8.

Order Forging Truth Here!

 

 

 

Interview with Actress Chelsea Downs

Posted in Alexander S. Brown, Amazon, books, chuck jett, cult books, cult classic, cult classics, cult favorites, Cult horror, discussion, entertaining, entertainment, fandom, Fiction, Horror, horror art, horror artist, Horror Authors, Horror Book, Horror Books, Horror Fans, Horror Fiction, horror literature, Horror Lovers, Horror Movies, Horror Punks, Horror Readers, Independent Horror, interviews, literature, Mississippi, mississippi art, mississippi authors, mississippi horror artists, Mississippi Horror Author, movie discussion, new horror movies, Read, readers, reading, Readings, scary, scary movies, south, southern authors, Splatterpunk, Uncategorized on August 15, 2016 by Alexander S. Brown

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The Acquired Taste is a short film written for screen and directed by Chuck Jett, creator of Empty Coffin Studio Films.  It was tastefully adapted by the short story of the same title by author and producer Alexander S. Brown.  Fans can anticipate a free viewing of the film in 2017.  It is currently being shown at conventions throughout the Southern states.  Its next appearance will be at Contraflow Convention in New Orleans, LA.

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For the fourth interview from this dark comedy, I would like to welcome actress Chelsea Downs, so that she may elaborate on her part in The Acquired Taste and her life.

  1. What made you want to be a part of The Acquired Taste?

I wanted to act in one of Chuck Jett’s movies and it happened to be Alex’s book that he was doing, so it was perfect. I also really loved the story, as well.

  1. What was your experience like on set?

It was so much fun, like a lot of friends hanging out.

  1. What other projects have you been a part of?

I haven’t been a part of any other movies.  But I help chuck Jett when he wants someone to critique his work.

  1. Are there any roles that you would turn down? Or are there any roles that would make you uncomfortable?

I don’t think so. I haven’t had much experience to know for sure just yet.

  1. What role is more fun? The victim, the hero, or the villain. Why?

I think it would be fun to be a villain, just so I can be out of my everyday element.

  1. What got you into acting?

Ever since I was little, I wanted to act. Who doesn’t want to play pretend for a living?

  1. What are some of your favorite movies?

I’ll watch pretty much anything, but my favorite movie is, Now and Then. I don’t know why, but I have always loved that movie.

  1. Who are your favorite actors/actresses? How do you draw inspiration from them?

Johnny Depp because he can be anything anyone asks him to be, and I love that.

  1. Who are your favorite directors?

Jerry Bruckheimer, I love what he did with pirate movies.  Also, Tim Burton, I love his dark side to his movies.

  1. What future projects are you working on?

Nothing as of right now.

  1. Tell us about yourself.

I’m in my late twenties. I love to cosplay and become characters, going to cons is one of my favorite things to do, it’s like hanging out with my other family. I’m a huge geek who watches any and every movie. I love reading comics and books. I’m just your geeky girl next door.

 Connect with Chelsea Downs by clicking on the following social media names:

Facebook

Purchase a copy of Traumatized HERE!

Watch Chuck Jett’s first short film, PINKY SWEAR HERE!

Interview with Director Chuck Jett

Posted in Alexander S. Brown, Amazon, artist interview, books, chuck jett, cult books, cult classic, cult classics, cult favorites, Cult horror, discussion, entertaining, entertainment, Fiction, Horror, horror art, horror artist, Horror Authors, Horror Book, Horror Books, Horror Fans, Horror Fiction, horror literature, Horror Lovers, Horror Movies, Horror Punks, Horror Readers, Independent Horror, interviews, Mississippi, mississippi art, mississippi authors, mississippi horror artists, Mississippi Horror Author, movie discussion, movies, new horror movies, Read, readers, reading, Readings, scary, scary movies, south, southern authors, Splatterpunk, Uncategorized on August 9, 2016 by Alexander S. Brown

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The Acquired Taste is a short film written for screen and directed by Chuck Jett, creator of Empty Coffin Studio Films.  It was tastefully adapted by the short story of the same title by author and producer Alexander S. Brown.  Fans can anticipate a free viewing of the film in 2017.  It is currently being shown at conventions throughout the Southern states.  Its next appearance will be at Contraflow Convention in New Orleans, LA.

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For the third interview from this dark comedy, I would like to shine the spotlight on director Chuck Jett, so that he may elaborate on his part in The Acquired Taste and his life.

  1. What made you want to be a part of The Acquired Taste?

Originally, I was seeking a project in which pre-production could be handled in a few short weeks and filming could be done within the span of a weekend. I had some scripts in the works, and pre-planning other projects was well underway, but I had around a two-month gap to fill and badly wanted to be ­filming.

I asked my friend, horror author Alexander S. Brown, if he had anything he thought might work for a 5-15 minute short. He recommended a few of his stories that he would like (or not mind) to see in ­film.

Ultimately we zoned in on “The Acquired Taste” for a variety of reasons due to creative and pragmatic vantage points. We made a quick screenplay, ripped a lot of flesh from it, scaled it down to 2 locations without losing much of the original pertinence and it became something “doable” within the time limitations.

  1. What was your experience like on set?

In my limited experience in independent ­filmmaking, I have done some cinematography, limited amounts of directing, art direction, propmaster work, set designing, and very little editing.

For this ­film I was tasking myself with the lionshare of all of these duties and it was the ­first time I directed and did all of the ­filming simultaneously. I had lots of help from the wonderful and multi-talented actors on the set with doing makeup and general creative input.

Kerry (not in the ­film) did an amazing job as a grip, running slate (with notation) and general assistant (he is a workhorse and loaded with creativity). Everyone knew their parts and it was easy getting the performances I needed. Filmmaking is an arduous and extremely collaborative task!

  1. What other projects have you been a part of?

“Pinky Swear” was my directing debut and is still being shown in ­film festivals and has won a few awards. It will be showing in a small festival in Brookhaven, Mississippi on September 10th (2016) as an ensemble of ­films leading up to the premier of “Porches and Private Eyes”, a feature which was shot in the area by Arizona production company “Running Wild Films”, directed by Travis Mills.

Before “Pinky Swear” I worked on several independent shorts and a few features, just helping out where I could. I actually acted in a few of them, supplied art direction in others and worked crew on a few. We have a friendly and active fi­lmmaking society growing in the area.

  1. Are there any roles or manuscripts you would turn down? Why?

I won’t work on a project that I don’t believe in. I have to feel a bond with the material and feel that I can do it justice. I am in no hurry, nor do I have time or budget to tackle a feature length project at this time.

I’m not interested in “preachy” ­film projects which try to illustrate or teach a moral lesson, I simply want to entertain my viewers … or “disturb” them in some way that entertains them for a little while.

  1. Why do you enjoy filming horror?

Horror is very challenging. Finding fresh material that entertains a horror fan (Very harsh critics) is NOT easy! I hope I somewhat succeed in this notion from time-to-time. I guess the simple answer is – I LOVE HORROR; therefore, I wish to CREATE HORROR. – I’m sure there are some psychological aspects of this I’m not realizing. Lol

  1. What got you into directing?

Oddly, it just seemed like a natural transition for me. I’ve been a professional visual artist and art “DIRECTOR” since 1988ish. I’ve always loved movies (we ALL do) and have wanted to get involved in ­filmmaking for decades.

It took an actor friend of mine, Joshua “Maurice” Powell to tell me to get into fi­lmmaking. I don’t exactly remember the moment or conversation, but it was one of those “What are you waiting for?” moments. Sort of what alcoholics call a “moment of clarity” .

I come from an age where “fi­lmmaking” was not taught in college. Yes, you could get involved in “media” classes, but no real “fi­lmmaking” options were discussed much around central Mississippi in the late 1980s/ early 1990s. I was busy with my painting, drawing and design classes (I remember when the old Computer graphics typesetter was replaced by the early Apple MacIntosh) and shooting and developing my own 35mm SLR photos.

“Making Movies” was something only rich people could get training in back then, and you weren’t going to receive that training in central Mississippi. But yeah, long story short: you can get involved in ­filmmaking with very little money involved nowadays and my visual arts background has made it a fairly easy transition.

  1. What are some of your favorite movies?

Since we’re on the subject of horror, I would have to say my earliest love for the genre came from staying up late at night and watching some of the Ray Harryhausen stop motion fi­lms, and “Dark Shadows” and the old Universal Bela Lugosi ­films like “White Zombie” and of course the classic Universal takes on Dracula, Frankenstein, The Werewolf and the Invisible Man.

In my teen years I discovered Hammer Film Productions with “Dracula”, The Satanic Rites of Dracula”, etc… I immediately knew that I wanted to be Peter Cushing (well, I wanted to be Van Helsing) and Christopher Lee was an AMAZING Dracula! There are so many great horror ­films!

New ground was broken with “Night of the Living Dead”, campy, cool horror was created by “Evil Dead”, “ZombieLand” added a rebirth of this mixed genre. I actually still love to watch “Nosferatu”. “The Hills Have Eyes” (2006) is probably my favorite visual effects horror film because of their predominantly “practical” effects with just a little overlay of digital enhancement. This answer is barely scratching the surface.

  1. Who are your favorite directors and how do you draw inspiration from them?

Stanley Kubrick, Wes Craven, Alfred Hitchcock, David Lynch, for starters. I draw inspiration from them primarily from watching their work and dissecting it a little, but not overly “studying” their work.

I love all the interview footage of directors and cinematographers, even from directors I’m not really familiar with. The wealth of knowledge on the internet is priceless!

  1. What future projects are you working on?

I have one finished psychological horror script of my own with production on hiatus for now. Another script I am writing is a WWII period piece of ­fiction. There is an adaptation of Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Tell Tale Heart” I’m trying to develop now and I’m looking at the works of author Kimberly Richardson for a possible short film adaptation. There is no shortage of ideas!

  1. Tell us about yourself.

Not much to say about me. I am a creative artist currently delving into ­filmmaking. I love the collaborative nature of making films. I have been honored to have a plethora of extremely talented friends who have helped me along my creative path. I’ve learned from seasoned professionals and I’ve been taught a few things by small children at play. Wisdom wears many disguises.

I work out of my studio in Jackson, Mississippi. I call my work space “Empty Coffin Studio”. I do most of my film shoots on weekends because I have a solid day job and am nowhere near ready to leave the stability of a regular paycheck.

I paint, draw, write, sculpt and do whatever is necessary to see a project to fruition. I am very passionate, but I NEVER take myself very seriously. I enjoy the creative pathway and the creative process. I wear glasses and eat my vegetables.

Connect with Chuck Jett by clicking on the following social media names:

Facebook

Facebook FanPage

Instagram

Purchase a copy of Traumatized HERE!

Watch Chuck Jett’s first short film, PINKY SWEAR HERE!

 

The Acquired Taste Interview Featuring Kat Axtell

Posted in Alexander S. Brown, books, cult books, cult favorites, Cult horror, discussion, entertaining, entertainment, Horror, horror art, Horror Book, Horror Fans, Horror Lovers, Horror Movies, Horror Punks, Independent Horror, interviews, mississippi horror artists, Mississippi Horror Author, movie discussion, movies, new horror movies, scary, scary movies, south, southern authors, Splatterpunk, Traumatized by Alexander S. Brown, Uncategorized on August 2, 2016 by Alexander S. Brown

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The Acquired Taste is a short film written for screen and directed by Chuck Jett, creator of Empty Coffin Studio Films.  It was tastefully adapted by the short story of the same title by author and producer Alexander S. Brown.  Fans can anticipate a free viewing of the film in 2017.  It is currently being shown at conventions throughout the Southern states.  Its next appearance will be at Contraflow Convention in New Orleans, LA.

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For the second interview from this dark comedy, I would like to grant actress Kat Axtell the stage, so that she may elaborate on her part in The Acquired Taste and her life.

  1. What made you want to be a part of The Acquired Taste?

K.A.: I wanted to be a part of “The Acquired Taste” because I enjoy Alex, as a person and as a writer, and I felt honored to showcase one of his characters.  I really loved getting to make his story come to life.

  1. What was your experience like on set?

K.A.: It was a great set to work on.  No tension or nothing negative, which I love!!!! I felt like I was around some of my best friends.

  1. What other projects have you been a part of?

K.A.: I work as an actress, as well as a production designer for movies.  Acting wise, I have been in many shorts.  I was one of the leads in the short “Harvest Night”.  Soon, I will be in a sci-fi miniseries as one of the lead roles.  Also, I will be starring and directing an upcoming short called “Request”.

  1. Are there any roles that you would turn down? Or are there any roles that would make you uncomfortable?

K.A.: I would not turn down a role.  As an actress, you do what you can for that role 100%.  Also remember this person is not you, you are playing a character.  I think people tend to forget that.

  1. What role is more fun? The victim, the hero, or the villain.  Why?

K.A.: I love playing the villain.  When playing a villain, you really have to tap into the mind of this villain.  You have to create a back story for this person and do research.  You really have to immerse yourself in your dark side.  Villains are challenging to play but very rewarding.

  1. What got you into acting?

K.A.: I sang for years and I was once at a crossroads with that.  Acting was suggested to me.  Once I got that first role, I became addicted to method acting.

  1. What are some of your favorite movies?

K.A.: This is a hard one, but I will say one of my favorites is “Psycho” by Alfred Hitchcock.  “Psycho” is a very inspiring movie from a director stand point, as well.  “Route 66” would have to be another pick. If I name any more titles, it might take all day.

  1. Who are your favorite actors/actresses? How do you draw inspiration from them?

K.A.: I don’t really have any favorites, but I watch how people become those characters, how they go from calm to crazy in a matter of seconds.  I watch for the seamless feeling an actor is supposed to give a character.

  1. Who are your favorite directors?

K.A.: This would be a long list, but some I will name is: James Wan, Quentin Tarantino, and Steven Spielberg.

  1. What future projects are you working on?

K.A.: Right now, a mini series called “The Unusual”, a short called “Requests”, and one other movie.

  1. Tell us about yourself.

K.A.: My name is Kat Axtell, I am an actress.  I also work behind the scenes as a production designer.  I direct, and do special effects.  I am a movie junkie, a book nerd, talkative, sensitive, and I love life.

Connect with Kat Axtell by clicking on the following social media names:

Facebook

Instagram

Purchase a copy of Traumatized HERE!

Watch Chuck Jett’s first short film, PINKY SWEAR HERE!

Book Review of And a Madman Mumbled

Posted in Uncategorized on July 28, 2016 by Alexander S. Brown

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Although I have read short fiction by H. David Blalock before, this is my first opportunity to read a collection by him.  My first discovery of his work was found in the short story anthology, Dragons Composed. After reading his submission to that anthology, I knew I needed to grab him for the Southern Haunts books which I co-edit.

After reading his submissions and seeing the versatility he was capable of, I was excited when his collection, And a Madman Mumbled, was released in print, ebook, and audiobook.  Although I opted for the audiobook, I purchased a hard copy to go on my shelf, due to how well his stories entertained me.

And a Madman Mumbled is a wonderful opportunity for new readers to become acquainted with how Blalock’s mind works. In this collection, six speculative fiction stories are provided.  Not only, do these works allow the reader to debate and think outside the box, but they allow the reader to see Blalock is capable of writing in any genre he pleases.

The first story, Camouflage, is a cerebral piece based in an insane asylum.  Our protagonist is a mental patient by the name of Jason. Although this story is chilling in nature, I found dark humor in the antagonist being a man eating tree.  As the story spirals out into its nightmarish ending, the reader is left questioning what actually happened. For those familiar with Ray Bradbury or Richard Matheson, one might appreciate how Blalock has channeled their literary talents into his own vision.

The second tale, Face of the Enemy, is sci-fi/fantasy themed and has a feeling compared to Robert Heinlein. This story takes place in our galaxy, and poses a catastrophic possibility that could be fatal for Earth. Such as most brilliant sci-fi stories, this segment lightly touches on politics. As Blalock proves to be the master of speculative fiction, the subject he touches here is simply presented for thought and not utilized as a soapbox speech.

The third story, The Last Drive, is a disturbing sci-fi genre piece. Not since watching the original Terminator have I felt so unnerved about technology. The way Blalock describes the antagonists here shows a degree of originality that is sure to leave an impression in one’s mind.

The fourth installment, The Moment Frozen, is a chilling encounter about a man named Dan who is diving peacefully, until his car suddenly stops for no reason.  After he has become stranded, he catches a glimpse of a creature that could possibly be a gremlin. In this white knuckled tale, I quickly became married to its suspenseful originality, as Mr. Blalock paints a subtle nightmare with hints of Lovecraft. What impressed me most, was his explanation of how gremlins come into our world and why they destroy our machines.

The fifth segment, No Pay, No Pass, is the only light hearted story in this collection. However, don’t let what I just said fool you, as it is a dark humor piece. In this simple, yet grin invoking story, our characters are a knight and a troll.  The humor is found in their argument, as the knight wants to cross the bridge that the troll guards without paying its required toll. For fans of Christopher Moore, this has the humor one might need to recover from The Moment Frozen.

The final story, Revenge, is a dark fantasy piece that introduces a necromancer named Tsiel, Lord Djemo.  On the scene of a battlefield, Taiel raises the body of a dead nobleman belonging to his enemy. By doing this, he is hoping to command the reanimated corpse to assassinate his opponent. The imagery crafted within the prose is haunting and feels similar to the tense scenes one might find in in a book by George R. R. Martin or Tolkin.

My overall experience with this book was an adventure. From a scale of 1 to 10, one being the worst and ten being the best, I can easily rate this a 9 1/2. The audiobook experience was a 6.

To order a copy of And a Madman Mumbled, CLICK HERE.

Interview with Actor Chris Copeskey

Posted in Alexander S. Brown, Amazon, books, cult classic, cult classics, Cult horror, discussion, entertaining, entertainment, fandom, Fiction, Horror, horror art, Horror Fans, Horror Fiction, horror literature, Horror Lovers, Horror Movies, Horror Punks, Independent Horror, interviews, Mississippi, mississippi authors, mississippi horror artists, Mississippi Horror Author, movie discussion, movies, new horror movies, scary, south, Splatterpunk, Traumatized by Alexander S. Brown, Uncategorized on July 25, 2016 by Alexander S. Brown

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The Acquired Taste is a short film written for screen and directed by Chuck Jett, creator of Empty Coffin Studio Films.  It was tastefully adapted by the short story of the same title by author and producer Alexander S. Brown.  Fans can anticipate a free viewing of the film in 2017.  It is currently being shown at conventions throughout the Southern States.  Its next appearance will be at Contraflow Convention in New Orleans, LA. Click here to learn more about Contraflow.

For the first interview from this dark comedy, I would like to grant actor Chris Copeskey the stage, so that he may elaborate on his part in The Acquired Taste and his life.

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  1. What made you want to be a part of The Acquired Taste?

C.C: I thought it was a very unique story. And I wanted to help one of my closest friends, bring his work to life.

  1. What was your experience like on set?

C.C: Being on set was a lot of fun. Everyone got along really well and fed off of each other (no pun intended) which really helped the scenes flow smoothly. Chuck Jett, who was the director, was a blast to work with.

  1. What other projects have you been a part of?

C.C: I was in a short called “Harvest Night”, in which I played the character, Eric. It was directed by Joey Crocker, who in my honest opinion has an incredible gift at directing.

  1. Are there any roles that you would turn down? Or are there any roles that would make you uncomfortable?

C.C: I wouldn’t turn down any roles because at the end of the day, I’m an actor. That’s what I do.

  1. What role is more fun? The victim, the hero, or the villain.  Why?

C.C: I think the villain role is a lot more fun because you get to play the bad guy. I love when people see me on the screen and then in real life and are like “You’re not mean like the guy you played in the movie!”.

  1. What got you into acting?

C.C: I got into acting because I had to take an elective my freshman year of high school and I chose Theatre. After being on stage the first time and seeing the audience’s reaction, I was hooked.

  1. What are some of your favorite movies?

C.C: Some of my favorite movies are “A League of their Own”, “One Hour Photo”, “The Sandlot”, most Rob Zombie movies, the list goes on.

  1. Who are your favorite actors/actresses? How do you draw inspiration from them?

C.C: My favorite actor of all time is Robin Williams. It seems like every time he’s on screen, you can’t take your eyes off of him. He can be funny, serious, creepy, etc. I draw inspiration from him because I hear how much people love him and if I can get 1/10 of the love he gets, I would be happy.

  1. Who are your favorite directors?

C.C: One of my favorite directors is Rob Zombie. He pushes the envelope in his movies. He creates films that are truly unique. Wes Craven is another one of my favorite directors. He was one of the guys who paved the way for horror.

  1. What future projects are you working on?

C.C: I’m going to be doing a couple of projects in the next few months, but due to confidentiality reasons, I cannot disclose the names of the projects.

  1. Tell us about yourself.

C.C: I’m originally from Fargo, North Dakota. I have a gorgeous fiancé named Beth, who fully supports me in my path of film. I love to have a good time and make people laugh. My best friend/brother Jeremy Laird, has also helped me a lot on my path. He and Beth both motivate me all of the time.

Connect with Chris Copeskey by clicking on the following social media names:

Facebook

Twitter

Purchase a copy of the book Traumatized HERE!  The Acquired Taste can be found among its 15 short stories.

Watch Chuck Jett’s first short film, PINKY SWEAR HERE!

Book Review for State of Horror: New Jersey

Posted in Alexander S. Brown, Amazon, author reviews, authors, Book Reviews, books, entertaining, entertainment, Fiction, Horror, Horror Anthology, Horror Authors, Horror Book, Horror Books, Horror Fans, Horror Fiction, horror literature, Horror Lovers, Horror Punks, Horror Readers, Independent Horror, literature, Read, readers, reading, Readings, scary, Splatterpunk, Uncategorized on July 16, 2016 by Alexander S. Brown

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New Jersey makes the second time I have explored the State of Horror series.  In both of my trips, I have returned to normality, satisfied.  Such as State of Horror: Illinois, New Jersey opens up with an intro from the anthology composer.  In merely a few pages, the tone and theme is set for the reader, as we are reminded of some of the urban legends and horror movies produced from New Jersey.  Now, with the road to horror opened for us to cruise along, we bypass the many regional nightmares that haunt the state.

Pork Roll, Egg, and Sleaze by Frank J. Elder is a fantastic opening and a throwback to New Jersey classics such as: Friday the 13th and Alice Sweet Alice. This whodunit slasher story takes place in an abandoned factory that is being explored by a group of friends. As they wander, each character is picked off by a serial killer.  With this tale, Elder has accomplished a superb job of, “Just keeping it Jersey, bitch”.

American Gargoyle by Scott M. Goriscak chronicles the Jersey Devil’s life from its birth to current time. With this installment, Goriscak’s descriptive ability impressed me the most.  Not since The Fly (1980’s) have I encountered scenes of metamorphosis so graphic.  Also, I was pleased to see Gorisack’s smoothness, as he covered such an extensive timespan while obeying short story requirements.  This tale is not for the faint of heart.

Dying Days: Charon by Armand Rosamilia is a continuation of the zombie outbreak from State of Horror: Illinois.  The pacing in this story is fast and the action is high.  The style in which this is written, makes it a solid pulp fiction piece.

Evacuation by C.I. Kemp is a speculative fiction piece that smothers the reader with paranoia.  In this tale, Kemp provides an intriguing character study that regards a group of people who have been evacuated during an intense storm.  At first, the characters find security within the storm shelter provided to them.  Yet, the longer they are held in their refuge, the more their tension grows as they discover this shelter is their prison.  As this slow burner progresses, we realize the fate of these evacuees will undoubtedly meet a dreadful conclusion.

Doctor Nightshade Comes to Ocean County, NJ by T. Fox Dunham is a great throwback to Edgar Allan Poe’s The Mask of Red Death. I thoroughly enjoyed the depth provided to the antagonist.  By how Fox described the villain in this segment, I walked away from the story feeling like literature finally received its first true Freddy Kruegeresque boogeyman. The story’s pacing was neither slow or rushed, rather it allowed perfect timing for the reader to develop fear and dread for the protagonist.  The style in which this was written made me feel like I was reading a chilling fable for adults.

Sweets for the Sweet by Margaret L. Colton is a delicately crafted psychological piece.  In a prose that feels heavy with grief, we meet a widow who begins receiving messages from her dead husband.  At first, I felt the messages she received were nothing more than loving reminders.  However, as the tale fleshes out, we discover she is being lured to her death.  Somehow, Colton goes deeper than a mere haunting.  By her writing style, the story itself is like a sweet.  It is presented as a final course in the entrée of life.

Under the Boardwalk by Julianne Snow is a visceral tale that holds the graphicness of an early Clive Barker and the twisted mind of Chuck Palahniuk. While paying homage to 80’s slashers, Snow provides a hearty bowl of horror soup.

Monster by Christian Jensen is a splatterpunk story about the Jersey Devil. This installment is based around a survivor who encountered the Jersey Devil during his childhood.  Seeking vengeance on the creature, he dedicates his life to weightlifting, working out, and defense. When he’s ready, he returns to the spot where the Jersey Devil killed his friend for a final confrontation.  I like how Jensen was able to build a strong protagonist, one who wasn’t a weakling and wasn’t afraid to battle his childhood nightmare. The style in which this is written is tangible for most people who have wanted to battle their childhood monsters.

Road Wearier by Tim Baker is an installment that works on the creep factor. I found that the pacing of the story moved smooth and its intensity increased the further it progressed.

Rudetown Road by Blaze McRob a bittersweet story between man and monster. My favorite element to this tale was the bond between human and beast shared at the end.  In a book of horror, this was a great way to break up the pattern of fear and gore for the reader.  McRob provides the platform for the reader to feel sympathy for the monster, such as one may have felt when reading Frankenstein or watching Legend of Boggy Creek.

A Friend of the Family by Diane Arrelle is about a woman who has the powers to heal those who have been injured. This fascinating story moves like a dark fantasy, until our protagonist is raped and murdered by her boyfriend’s friend. Yet, the tale doesn’t end there. In a fashionable twist that can only be compared to Tales from the Crypt or Tales from the Darkside, the antagonist has Hell to pay.

Red Eyes by Nathanial Gass is a story that works on the senses. The way Gass describes how the Jersey Devil is hunting its prey made me look over my shoulder a few times. Gass has a knack for creating haunting imagery and providing literary scares.

Memories of Her Are Dead by Eli Constant is perhaps one of the most frightening stories in this anthology. While paying homage to old school “Man vs. Animal” horror, this story stays new and fresh as a zoo full of animals go insane and create an unrelenting bloodbath against humanity.  I have not been so excited over a tale of animal horror since reading Food of the Gods or watching movies such as: Frogs or Day of the Animals.

The Best Stories:

Pork Roll, Egg, and Sleaze

American Gargoyle

Evacuation

Doctor Nightshade Comes to Ocean County, NJ

Sweets for the Sweet

A Friend of the Family

Memories of Her Are Dead

The Good Stories:

Monster

Dying Days: Caron

Rudetown Road

The Okay Stories:

Under the Boardwalk

Road Wearier

Red Eyes

My overall experience with State of Horror: NJ was enjoyable.  From a scale of 1 to 10, 1 being the worst and 10 being the best, I would rate it an 8.  The audio experience was a solid 9.  Combining the two, I would consider the final outcome for stories and vocal performance combined is an 8 ½.

Order your copy HERE

Sweet Nightmares,

Alexander S. Brown

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Alexander S. Brown Author Page

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