My favorite horror franchise gets a fifth entry, so here is a quick ranking of the previous movies.
I resisted watching the films in the Final Destination franchise for a long time because I was afraid of how extreme the gore might be. I'm getting a little braver and I kept hearing good things about the first one, so I finally watched the first film last night.
And then binge-watched the other four films today.
I really love every story in this issue. Everything had the right amount of tension, chills, and ambiguity. There's an image of attendees at a party after the party is over in "Girls Without Their Faces On" by Laird Barron that will haunt me forever. As will the Dorset Ooser from "We, the Folk" by G.V. Anderson, which can you can find on Wikipedia and elsewhere. It's real. AHHH!
Know that this franchise is mostly awful and an embarrassment to horror. I honestly don't know why this franchise is popular. Terrible. Just terrible.
My flash fiction story "A Bird Watcher's Guide to Malformed and Buzzing Things" earned a spot on the close-but-no-cigar shortlist shout-outs for the annual Flash Monster contest from The Molotov Cocktail!
I truly love Autumncrow by Cameron Chaney, a perfect-for-October and Autumn book, with fun and wicked, but frequently dark and troubling, stories that whisper to me about my own trauma and personal history, suggesting dark and light new ways for me to look at things. Chaney has a knack for seeing right into the soul.
A mix of flash and short fiction, Stories We Tell After Midnight from Crone Girls Press and editor Rachel A. Brune is an uneven mix, with several gems.
True Crime by Samantha Kolesnik is a difficult book to read, for sure, but what's so remarkable about it and why I continued reading is how the author navigates this brutal material.
One of the most exciting and enjoyable reading experiences I’ve had this year. I’m enthusiastic because in a year of great anthologies, Coppice & Brake from Crone Girls Press and Editor Rachel A. Brune is an absolute favorite. I love every single story, which I cannot say about most anthologies.
"Beyond the scarred surface, I saw the bones of the Moon, / the geology of a crime. He would not speak of it."
The 2020 SFPA Poetry Contest runs from June 1 through August 31, 2020 and is open to both non-members and members.
My flash fiction story "The Canal" was shortlisted for The Molotov Cocktail's latest quarterly flash contest: Flashpocalypse!
At 94 pages, In the Scrape by James Newman and Mark Steensland is a quick read, but be warned that the mounting tension might require an occasional break to catch your breath. You’re going to need the oxygen: the final third of the book, when the breathless pace escalates and characters become even more desperate, becomes unputdownable.
Cricket Hunters subverts the usual tropes and nostalgia of coming-of-age horror by reaching for something even darker in this tale of friendship and rivalry
I have definitely been in the mood for ghost stories, and Midnight in the Graveyard, the first anthology from Silver Shamrock Publishing, delivers the ghostly goods!
This little novella full of big revelations and emotions really got to me.
The rapid pace doesn’t get in the way of good details and atmosphere; I felt the cold, eeriness, and rising tension along the way. What they encounter is creepy as hell and led to heart-pounding horror and heartbreaking deaths.
It took me several pages to adjust to the direction Kirk takes later in the novel, but I was rewarded with an unexpectedly humane, emotional, and satisfying ending. Despite its challenges, We Are Monsters left me with a lot to enjoy and think about.
"Little girls in white dresses skipping rope / & chanting singsong in slow motion we stole / from an 80’s horror film."
So this is what today's pro-level horror looks like.