Guest Post: Carl R. Moore

On THE RITUAL, “The Reveal”, and When to Show the Blood

I’ve recently seen some buzz on Netflix’s THE RITUAL that is quite disparate in nature—some are praising it as amazing neo-Lovecraftian horror with a dash of Norse mythology. Others are decrying the wimpy behavior of the group of adult male characters, who clearly could be beat up by kids younger than the gang in STAND BY ME. The movie attempts to combine the inner conflict of a main character trying to deal with his inner-demon of cowardice, with the outward attack of a monster stalking his group of friends in a Scandinavian forest.

This is where the story begins to intrigue me, as I find the setting, the woods itself, the abandoned cabins, and the physical appearance of the monster to be pretty original and interesting. And as the monster’s attacks increase in their frequency, it places the film’s narrative structure in an unusual place on what I’ll call “the reveal spectrum”. Where a story lands on this spectrum can make or break it with a given audience. For example, if we described the reveal scale in terms of “low” meaning we never see the monster or the blood, and “high” meaning there is frequent graphic imagery and action, I’d put THE RITUAL somewhere in the middle, as we don’t see much during the first half, but get to see the entire monster attacking the characters by the end. I’d put something like THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT as being extremely low reveal. On the other end of the spectrum, you have a movie like THE THING. In this story, the monster attacks early. What some would call “splatter” violence, I would instead call ‘high reveal’, and then any ensuing subtlety does not revolve around glimpses of a menace to come, but intricacies in how the characters interact with each other and their situation.

As an author, while my stories tend to be high on the reveal scale. And yet I like to play a lot with the how and when. What might look like a big reveal when a corpse rises from a coffin, might instead be concealing something the alchemist doesn’t want you to see in another part of the root cellar. In my novella SLASH OF CRIMSON, the reveal is as much about who someone really is as the blood that gets spilled in the discovery.

Carl R. Moore is the author of Slash of Crimson and Other Tales, published by Seventh Star Press and available for purchase on

Book Synopsis for Slash of Crimson and Other Tales:  SLASH OF CRIMSON AND OTHER TALES offers two novellas and six short stories that combine an intoxicating mix of horror, crime noir, and alt-mythology. Its title story spins a dark maritime yarn about Drew Aldrin, a young guitarist and street rough, who takes a harrowing journey with a red-eyed beauty who claims she’s from Atlantis. The half-dozen brutal and sardonic short stories that follow tell of lost souls tortured by demons and far worse. The final novella, Torn from the Devil’s Chest, serves unsuspecting Sociology student Lyla Banes a deliciously disturbing feast of deception and trust-destroying lust. Indulge yourself in a collection that guarantees to thrill the senses while it shocks the nerves

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Yard Full of Bones Release Date And More!

Coming From Unnerving

May 22: Yard Full of Bones (a novel) by Armand Rosamilia and Jay Wilburn $4.99

PLUS several other great releases!

2018 J.F. Gonzalez Lifetime Achievement Award Winner Announced

via Brian Keene




DAVID J. SCHOW will be the recipient of  the inaugural J.F. Gonzalez Lifetime Achievement Award, which will be presented during the first annual Splatterpunk Awards ceremony later this year. Schow is the person who first coined the term “splatterpunk,” which has been in the Oxford English Dictionary since 2002.  His seminal body of work includes such novels as The Kill RiffThe Shaft, and Upgunned; his nine short story collections include Seeing Red, Black Leather Required, Havoc Swims Jaded, Eye, and the 40-year anniversary volume DJStories: The Best of David J. Schow. As editor he brought us the classic Silver Scream anthology and the three-volume Lost Blochseries (celebrating Robert Bloch rarities). As scenarist he has written prodigiously for film (The Crow [with John Shirley], Leatherface: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre III, The Hills Run Red) and television (Masters of Horror, Mob City). His non-fiction includes two books exploring The Outer Limits TV series, The Art of Drew Struzan, and Wild Hairs, a compendium of his popular “Raving and Drooling” columns for Fangoria Magazine. He can be seen on various DVDs as expert witness or documentarian on everything from Creature from the Black Lagoon and Psycho to I, Robot and King Cohen: The Wild World of Filmmaker Larry Cohen, and was lead researcher and commentator on the recent Outer Limits Blu-Ray set. His previous honors include the World Fantasy Award (Best Short Fiction), the Rondo Hatton Classic Horror Award (Book of the Year), the International Horror Guild Award (Best Non-Fiction Book), and the ultra-rare Dimension Award from Twilight Zone Magazine. Despite what the internet says, he has never won a Bram Stoker Award, and he’s okay with that.


Chelsea Avenue 2 Release

Chelsea Avenue 2

Armand Rosamilia

Evil Never Dies.

The vacant lot on Chelsea Avenue, site of so much death and horror in Long Branch New Jersey, has been purchased by a mysterious developer.

No one knows what plans are in store for the dark corner of the city.

Can Tammy, Stephanie and Mark fight off another July 8th against the monstrous entity lying in wait on Chelsea Avenue?

Get your copy of the sequel today!







Guest Post: D.W. Gillespie

Horror for the Kiddos

D.W. Gillespie

For some of us, horror is just in our DNA. With the release of my first novel, Still Dark, I can see how the progression of my life has all led to this point. It’s Universal Monster books in the grade school library. It’s scanning the Scholastic order form for anything remotely scary and perking up when you see a new Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark. It’s Monstervision with Joe Bob Briggs, Tales from the Darkside on Saturday nights, and EC Comics in the dark with a flashlight.

It’s not exactly something you learn, though being exposed to it can certainly help it bloom. I was always drawn to the spooky side of things, and it’s no big surprise that my son is as well. Now that I’m a dad, I’ve seen the question pop up on message boards, in internet think pieces, and even occasionally in person.

How young is too young to start enjoying horror?

There’s no set answer of course. For starters, the world I grew up in is so amazingly different from the one my son is growing up in. If you’re interested in it, now is a remarkable time to be a fan of horror. You can walk into a Toys R Us and walk out with a Freddy Krueger plush toy and a RJ MacCready action figure. The most popular show on plain old TV is gorier than most of the hardest R rated movies I grew up with. There are cutesy, family friendly Pop figures of cinema’s greatest monsters, and kids born decades after the fact just eat them up.

In other words, it’s a good time to be a kid who loves this stuff. I can only imagine with our endless stream of content that this era will spawn the perfect storm of horror writer, somebody a lot like my son who is as well-versed in the history of horror as any seven-year-old has ever been. He’s already starting to write his own stories, and they’re pretty damn good.

My guess is, there’s always been kids like us, drawn to the slightly darker side of things. I can imagine cavemen huddled around a fire, taking turns telling stories to the children about all the awful things hiding out there in the dark, waiting just out of sight to get them. Those stories were warnings and promises, a window into how dangerous the world could really be, and most of the kids responded accordingly, leaning away in terror.

But I’d guess, there was one in every group, leaning forward with a smile.

Still Dark

D.W. Gillespie

When a thunderous explosion rocks an idyllic cabin resort in the Great Smoky Mountains, animals and humans alike begin to act strange. Jim, along with his wife Laura and son, Sam, are cut off from the outside world, but they soon realize the true nightmare is just beginning…

Deep in the snow-covered woods, something is waiting. The creature calls itself Apex, and it’s a traveler. Reading the minds of those around it, Apex brings the terrifying fears hidden in the human psyche to life with a singular purpose: to kill any that stand in its way.

Locked in a fight for their lives, Jim and his family must uncover the truth behind Apex, and stop the creature from wreaking a horrifying fate upon the rest of the world!

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR — D.W. Gillespie has been writing dark fiction in one form or another since he was old enough to hold a pencil. He’s been featured in multiple horror anthologies, both in print and online. Still Dark is his debut novel, and his second book, a short collection titled Handmade Monsters, arrives in 2017. He lives in Tennessee with his wife and two children.

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