Author Spotlight March 2009: Richard Laymon
"If you've missed Laymon, you've missed a treat" --Stephen King
Richard Laymon (1947-2001)
Laymon had already passed away by the time I discovered his books. For most of his writing career, Laymon was considerably more well-known in Europe (particularly the UK) than in North America. This all changed when an American publishing company -- Leisure Books -- began to re-release many of Laymon's novels in mass market paperback. Good news for horror fans; because his books were now inexpensive and easy to find, a whole new generation of readers discovered Laymon's unique storytelling style.
Find Richard Laymon in the RPL catalogue.
Laymon's writing is not for the faint of heart. His books are rip-roaring reads punctuated by graphic violence and sexual content. The best of escapist fiction, Laymon is not trying to save the world with his writing, nor offer any great moral insights. What he does do, and very well, is give readers a page-turning tale that will scare the life out of them. So if you're looking for a fine dining experience, keep away from Laymon; but if you long to indulge in a greasy cheeseburger with fries, then Laymon is your man.
by Richard Laymon
Chilling twist on the Jack the Ripper case. Fifteen-year-old Trevor Bentley is trapped under Mary Kelly's bed, as she is eviscerated by the most notorious serial killer in history. After that night, Trevor becomes obsessed with stopping Jack the Ripper dead in his tracks. To do so he must follow clues along a bloody trail from the fog-shrouded alleys of London to the streets of New York and beyond. Review coming soon.
The Woods are Dark New!
by Richard Laymon
Book Description: Neala and her friend Sherri only wanted to do a little backpacking through the woods. Little did they know they would soon be shackled to a dead tree, waiting for Them to arrive. The Dills family thought the small motor lodge in the quiet town of Barlow seemed quaint and harmless enough. Until they, too, found themselves shackled to trees in the middle of the night, while They approached, hungry for human flesh...When this classic novel was first published in 1981, it was heavily cut, with nearly fifty pages removed. Now, for the first time ever, the missing text has been completely restored and every horrifying page is back! Review coming soon.
The man behind the hockey mask is back!
Friday the 13th (1980)
Directed by: Sean S. Cunningham
In the spirit of next week's theatrical release of the Friday the 13th (2009) remake, let's take a nostalgic walk down Crystal Lake memory lane and consider the original slasher flick that ignited the franchise three decades ago.
In 1980, Friday the 13th introduced audiences worldwide to uber-psychopath Jason Vorhees (except not in the way you think, and for those 13th virgins out there, I won't spoil the twist). Adhering to the slasher formula already popularized in 1978 by John Carpenter's Halloween, and in 1973 by Tobe Hooper's The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Friday the 13th is the nightmare tale of a group of rowdy teenagers getting stalked and killed off one by one (never in the same way) by a deranged lunatic with a lust for misplaced revenge. Sound familiar? Well in 1980 this formula was still pretty fresh and Cunningham's film is genre-defining. For all it's cheese and mediocre acting, Friday the 13th is a classic that you don't want to miss!
Watch trailer on YouTube!
Awsomest zombie movie ever!
The Return of the Living Dead (1985)
Written and Directed by Dan O'Bannon
They're Back From The Grave and Ready To Party!
Return of the Living Dead is really something special and so friggin' hilarious in parts it will make you pee your pants. I LOVE Frank (classic James Karen) as the crotchety, neurotic manager at a medical supply warehouse. His nervous, over-the-top performance makes this movie. So does his on-screen chemistry with his bumbling young sidekick Freddy (Thom Matthews). The only movie that trumps this one for that perfectly realized, addictive blend of horror-comedy-gore is Evil Dead II (and there's no shame in coming runner-up to Sam Raimi and Bruce Campbell).
How's this for classic movie dialogue?
Burt: If that is a re-animated body, we're gonna have to kill it.
Freddy: How do you kill something that's already dead?
Burt: How do I know, Fred? Let me think!
Frank: It's not a bad question, Burt.
Burt: I thought you said if we destroyed the brain, it'd die?
Frank: It worked in the movie!
Burt:Well, it ain't workin' now, Frank!
Freddy: You mean the movie lied?
The nightmare that started it all
A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)
Written and Directed by Wes Craven
Starring Robert Englund, Heather Langenkamp, Johnny Depp
Whatever you do, don't fall asleep...
A spectral killer seeks revenge by stalking teenagers in their dreams. The only chance for survival is to stay awake, but how long can the human body go without sleep?
A Nightmare on Elm Street made Wes Craven a household name and launched a horror movie franchise worth millions. Those of us who grew up on the Freddy franchise will be shocked to realize the movie that started it all is turning 25 next year! I can't believe it. Despite its age, the film still views as edgy and unique. While in essence a teen slasher flick (followed by some dreadful sequels), Craven's original Nightmare achieves genuine chills and thrills. It's funny and scary, a heady combination for horror. Johnny Depp makes his film debut here too (and how many of us fell in love at first sight?) Of the long line of slasher movie villains -- Leatherface, Pinhead, Jason Vorhees, Michael Myers to name but a few -- Freddy has got to be the bestest, baddest of them all.
Look for Contagious coming in the New Year!
Scott Sigler is an internet phenom, a podcasting maniac. His first novel Infected was published to rave reviews (see previous post Sigler debut completely infectious). Now get ready for the highly anticipated sequel, Contagious, release date December 30, 2008. Watch cool trailer on YouTube!
Summary: Across America, a mysterious pathogen transforms ordinary people into raging killers, psychopaths driven by a terrifying, alien agenda. The human race fights back, yet after every battle the disease responds, adapts, using sophisticated strategies and brilliant ruses to fool its pursuers. The only possible explanation: the epidemic is driven not by evolution but by some malevolent intelligence.
Standing against this unimaginable threat is a small group, assembled under the strictest secrecy. Their best weapon is hulking former football star Perry Dawsey, left psychologically shattered by his own struggles with this terrible enemy, who possesses an unexplainable ability to locate the disease’s hosts. Violent and unpredictable, Perry is both the nation’s best hope and a terrifying liability. Hardened CIA veteran Dew Phillips must somehow forge a connection with him if they’re going to stand a chance against this maddeningly adaptable opponent. Alongside them is Margaret Montoya, a brilliant epidemiologist who fights for a cure even as she reels under the weight of endless horrors.
These three and their team have kept humanity in the game, but that’s not good enough anymore, not when the disease turns contagious, triggering a fast countdown to Armageddon. Meanwhile, other enemies join the battle, and a new threat — one that comes from a most unexpected source — may ultimately prove the most dangerous of all. (Plot Summary taken from www.scottsigler.com)
Oh Grandma, what big teeth you have!
Teeth is the most alarming cautionary tale for men with wandering libidos since Fatal Attraction....
Mitchell Lichtenstein's female revenge tale can't quite decide whether it wants to be a comedy, horror flick or social satire so it does all these things. --Kirk Honeycutt, The Hollywood Reporter
All you need to know about this movie to decide whether you should watch it or not, is that it's about a young girl who discovers she has a toothed vagina. Yup, you read that right. Teeth falls into a rare but well-loved category, the black comedy horror. A true horror movie for men, whom I doubt very much will see the humour in this one.
Sigler debut completely infectious
Infected: A Novel (2008)
by Scott Sigler
The Cryptkeeper says:
I worried about starting this one. It's tough for a book with so much hype surrounding it to meet reader expectations, but it did that and more. Sigler's writing style is lean and mean. Several scenes rank among the grossest I've ever read, to the point where I'm laughing and cringing at the same time. Funny and scary, my favorite combination.
This book is 90% plot-driven. It moves from one action sequence to the next, and I usually tire of that type of story-telling pretty quickly. But not so with Sigler. What a ride. His powers of description are enormous. If Hollywood doesn't option this for a movie I'll be gob-smacked. So this book won't change your life or anything, but it's a fun, high-octane read, and there's nothing wrong with that. Beware the triangles!
Summary: CIA operative Dew Phillips, working together with CDC epidemiologist Margaret Montoya, race to stop the spread of a mysterious disease that is turning ordinary people into murderers. A former football player who has become infected with the deadly bioengineered parasite may carry the cure.
Reviews for Infected:
Infected blends science fiction and horror into a pulpy masterpiece of action, terror, and suspense.
—James Rollins, New York Times bestselling author of The Judas Strain and Black Order
Sigler has a unique talent for keeping readers on the edge of their seats...Infected is full of mayhem, action, and gore--and you won’t be able to put it down."
— Dave Wellington, author of 13 Bullets and the Monster Island trilogy
Infected is as unnerving as a scream in a morgue...
New Jack Ketchum!
"Who's the scariest guy in America? Probably Jack Ketchum" --Stephen King
Old Flames (includes the bonus novella Right to Life)
Jack Ketchum is one of the best horror writers publishing today. Thanks in large part to Leisure Books, many of his novels are now available in easy-to-find paperback. His prose is tight, descriptive and puts you right into the story. Considering the brutal content typical of his novels, that can make for disturbing reading. His books are not for the squeamish!
"Burned again. Men never treated Dora well. This latest cheated on her and dumped her. The last decent guy she knew was her old high school boyfriend, Jim. He'd said that he loved her. Maybe he did. So with the help of Flame Finders, Dora's found him again. Turns out he's married with two kids. But Dora isn't about to let that stand in her way..."
Find Jack Ketchum in the RPL catalogue.
SAW IV available on DVD
Directed by Darren Lynn Bousman
"You think it's over...but the games have just begun" --Jigsaw, Saw IV
SAW (franchise) at Wikipedia.org
The torture and psychological mind games continue in this fourth installment of the infamous SAW franchise. Don't try to watch this one without having seen the others -- you will be totally confused and wondering what the heck is going on.
While nothing will ever compare to the original SAW, for the fourth in a series this one's not bad (although I've seen them all and still had questions when this one was over). I guess it's going to take a second viewing on my part. Jigsaw is back and up to his old tricks...yet, how can this be since he supposedly died of a brain tumor? The movie begins with Jigsaw's autopsy and yet another cassette tape to continue "the game" and the horror. The action unfolds in a fairly disjointed manner and the intricate plotting and timing of events somehow don't add up at the end. In spite of this, I would still recommend the movie if you are a fan of the franchise. The payoff is big if you can overlook some inconsistencies.
For those unfamiliar with the series, the movies pose the question how far will you go to save your own hide? Who will you maim / kill? What pain will you inflict on your own person? The franchise is gory, and not for the faint of heart, so if you've got a weak stomach at all, you might want to skip these altogether.
Movies in order of their release:
SAW (currently unavailable)
The Hills Have Eyes 2: more torture schlock
The Hills Have Eyes 2
Directed by: Mark Weisz
Written by Jonathan and Wes Craven
Last year the lucky ones died first. On March 23rd the lucky ones die fast
Are there any original ideas left? The boom in remakes lately (especially in the horror genre) has really got me wondering. Don't get me wrong -- I'm not anti-remake by any stretch, but if you're going to do it, at least improve upon the original, or what's the point?
The original The Hills Have Eyes dates back to 1977, starring Dee Wallace. It has a gritty, under-produced charm that puts it firmly in the cult classic arena. It is the ultimate family vacation nightmare -- trapped in the desert and being hunted by a group of deranged lunatics. This sequel is a lot of gore with no beating heart. If you are seeking a purely gross-out experience, than by all means check this one out. But I find when the blood is over-the-top and overused, you get numb to it and it loses its power to horrify. Dare I say, it becomes b-o-r-i-n-g. Yawn.
The remake of the original released in 2006 and directed by Alexandre Aja, is by far the better film. While also exceptionally graphic and gory, there is a real story and I cared about the characters.
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