Movie Review – The Appearing (2014)

The Appearing
Directed by Daric Gates
Courtesy of Lionsgate
Release Date: March 25, 2014

appearing

Is it just me or is every horror movie released nowadays based on a true story or true events? It seems like every other tagline I run across states that very thing. As such, it’s getting difficult to differentiate between actual legends and/or myths and those created specifically for films. THE APPEARING is a movie that falls into this category. But what makes this one so interesting is that neither the film nor the supposed story it is based on make much sense at all. As a result, this lackluster horror flick contains few scares and even fewer enjoyable moments.

If you are not familiar with THE APPEARING, here is the plot synopsis courtesy of Lionsgate:

After suffering a tragic loss, a city detective named Michael and his wife move to a small town, where Michael joins the town police force. His first case, involving a missing person, leads him to discover that the town is plagued by a dark supernatural force. Michael will have to summon every ounce of courage in order to fight this darkness before it takes everything from him.

Normally, I’m foaming at the mouth after watching a demon or possession flick. After all, who doesn’t enjoy that subject matter? Earlier this week, I mentioned this very thing in a book review of David Bernstein’s DAMAGED SOULS (click here for that review). I said, “I love stories about demons because there seem to be no boundaries. With zombies, you have specific guidelines to stay within: they have to be dead, they are usually rotting, they don’t have cognizance, etc. Similarly, vampires usually cannot be out in daylight, they drink blood, etc. You see where I’m going. But with demons, all bets are off. Authors can pretty much do what they want and make them as sadistic as they want to be.” This certainly fits for the most part…but unfortunately not here with THE APPEARING.

The cinematography and production value of this film look ok, although the budget looks lean and the quality of film is about that of a Syfy Channel film. The acting is so-so, and the characters themselves are decent. So everything up to this point should provide a decent movie experience.

But the story is where THE APPEARING fails. There’s no cohesion to much of anything, just a random assortment of story lines that never quite mesh together. Now that it is over, I think I see where the filmmaker was trying to go…but the film never gets there. I am left with a bunch of questions and nothing that ties them up.

I cannot recommend THE APPEARING, unless you really want to see Patrick Swayze’s brother, Don, onscreen. Although he does a decent job with his role, the movie itself flops too greatly to appreciate him. I would simply give this one a pass.

MSB

Book Review – Apocalypse by Dean Crawford

Apocalypse
by Dean Crawford
Release Date: March 18, 2014
Publisher: Touchstone

Apocalypse_scn

I LOVE my job…especially when publishers approach me about reading books and series’ that I’m not familiar with. This latest release from author Dean Crawford is a perfect example; I have not read anything else he has written, nor have I heard of his protagonist, Ethan Warner, before. But I am now a devout fan of both, and I cannot wait to see what happens next with them. If you love mystery and intrigue with a nice dose of science, you will love APOCALYPSE!

If you are not familiar with APOCALYPSE, here is the plot synopsis courtesy of the Touchstone press release:

In the notorious Bermuda Triangle, a private jet vanishes without a trace, taking with it scientists working for the world-famous philanthropist Joaquin Abell. Meanwhile, Captain Kyle Sears is called to a murder scene in Miami. A woman and her daughter have both been shot through the head. But within moments of arriving, Sears receives a phone call from the woman’s husband, physicist Charles Purcell.

“I did not kill my wife and child,” he says. “In less than twenty-four hours I will be murdered and I know the man who will kill me. My murderer does not yet know that he will commit the act.” With uncanny accuracy, Purcell goes on to predict the immediate future just as it unfolds around Sears, and leaves clues for a man he’s never met, former war correspondent Ethan Warner.

The hunt is on to find Purcell, and Warner is summoned by the Defense Intelligence Agency to lead the search. But this is no ordinary case, as Warner and his partner, Nicola Lopez, are about to discover. The future has changed its course, and timing is everything. The end is just beginning…

Relentlessly fast-paced and action-packed, Apocalypse combines realistic science, suspense, and intrigue to create an ingenious blockbuster thriller.

Believe me when I say this is one of those books you simply cannot put down. I tore through it in four days, and that is saying something given it is 400+ pages in length. Once you start it, you won’t want to stop.

APOCALYPSE is written well with verb-stomping prose and action that truly packs a punch. Crawford does a masterful job of weaving storytelling in with legend and science. This aspect is particularly delightful for me, and I found myself comparing the author to names like James Rollins and Matthew Reilly.

The characters are damaged and believable, and although the villain sometimes seems a bit fantastical, it’s nothing that detracts from the book. If anything, it lightens it up a bit, almost in a James Bond villain sort of way. I like how Crawford did this, so as to not burden down the reader with someone too emotional heavy.

If I were forced to find a flaw with APOCALYPSE, I might have to confess that some of the concepts within the book seem a tiny bit over the top in some cases. This is in particular aimed towards the action. Some of the escape-from-certain-death scenarios seem…well…forced in a couple of places. Readers will have to suspend some major belief in a couple of these places.

Still, APOCALYPSE is a great novel and a fun read. Fans of action-packed mystery-thrillers will love this one. I enjoyed it immensely, and I suggest you give it a look for sure.

MSB

Graphic Novel Review – A Frozen World by Nick Andors

A Frozen World
by Nick Andors
Release Date: 2013
Publisher: Eyekon Publishing

A Frozen World

The world of graphic novels and comics is sometimes more fantastic than that of books and movies. This is primarily because artists can put their stories into visual form, whereas authors have to spell their stories out (pardon the pun). But if you can find an artist who also writes…well, you’ve struck gold. Such is the case with Nick Andors, the author and illustrator of the graphic novel A FROZEN WORLD. Andors weaves an intricate web of stories that intertwine within the backdrop of Irongates, the fictional, surrealistic landscape in which this book is set. And while some of the book is symbolic and some of it is straight-forward, all of it is great and worth reading.

If you are not familiar with A FROZEN WORLD, here is the plot synopsis courtesy of the book’s official website:

A Frozen World is a full length graphic novel, an action-packed thriller with a psychological edge—the story of a place known as Irongates, the belly of the beast. The tales conceived in its icy womb leave even the most cold-hearted frozen.

A FROZEN WORLD is written very well and flows with a smooth pace. The stories are separate but all share a common bond with the setting. And they are all bleak and gloomy, stark contrasts to the bright and sunny (for the most part) world of reality.

The artwork is well done as well. I particularly like how Andors chose to do the stories in black-and-white. This helps to set the dark tone of the stories and even puts off a foreboding vibe that the envelops the reader like a menacing blanket.

My favorite story in A FROZEN WORLD is the second one, in which a man tries desperately to deal with the death of his pregnant wife from years before. There’s a lot of emotion put into this story, and Andors conveys it like a pro. The ending is chilling, and it will linger in your memory long after you finish reading it.

A FROZEN WORLD is a vibrant graphic novel that is worthy of notable recognition. I highly recommend it, although be warned it is for Mature Audiences due to its content. But give this one a look, and I think you’ll enjoy it.

MSB

Book Review – Damaged Souls by David Bernstein

Damaged Souls
by David Bernstein
Release Date: September 3, 2013
Publisher: Samhain Publishing

DamagedSouls72lg

Author David Bernstein has quite an imagination, and I enjoy what he digs out of it. His previous book, AMONGST THE DEAD, was a refreshing jolt of originality in a genre filled with rehashes and overused literary tropes. Likewise, his most recent publication, DAMAGED SOULS, also brings something new to the table; and while it does not deal with zombies, this engaging tale of demons and devilry will certainly keep you captivated.

If you are not familiar with DAMAGED SOULS, here is the plot synopsis courtesy of Samhain Publishing:

Only he can stop the gates of Hell from opening wide.

John Crawford wasn’t able to deal with the pain and took the easy way out. At least he thought he did. Instead, he’s been offered a deal by a nightmarish creature and given a second chance at life. But he’s no longer human. And he’s been assigned an impossible task. He must kill a demon before it opens the gates of Hell and brings about the apocalypse. If John succeeds, the human race will be safe and he can become human again. If he fails, mankind will perish and he will be lost for all eternity.

I love stories about demons because there seem to be no boundaries. With zombies, you have specific guidelines to stay within: they have to be dead, they are usually rotting, they don’t have cognizance, etc. Similarly, vampires usually cannot be out in daylight, they drink blood, etc. You see where I’m going. But with demons, all bets are off. Authors can pretty much do what they want and make them as sadistic as they want to be.

With DAMAGED SOULS, Bernstein introduces us to a demon named Munyok, an ambitious soul-sucker who wants to open a portal to Hell…and let his brethren run free on Earth. Munyok is pure evil incarnate and relishes in the gory, brutal killing of humans. Bernstein creates a solid character with Munyok, an enemy truly in need of a righteous comeuppance.

As with his previous novel, Bernstein writes well, and his prose flows fluidly. I particularly like his writing style because he tends to focus more on progressing the story than filling page after page of overly descriptive passages. This obviously allows for a more immersive story and gives a more enjoyable reading experience.

The characters in DAMAGED SOULS are well thought-out and believable. I am a father of a daughter who is nearly Melanie’s age, therefore I can relate very well to how John reacts when he hears of her death. This book is not just horrific because of the demon…it’s also because of the tragedy the main characters have to endure with the loss of their daughter. This touching, humanistic element reaches the reader on several levels and forces each page to be turned with more and more eagerness.

If I were forced to find a flaw with DAMAGED SOULS, I might have to say it could have been a bit longer. The book measures in at 232 pages, which is not necessarily short…but I think a couple of characters could have been fleshed out more (for example, we could learn more about Michael Jacobs, the drunk who killed Melanie). The book is great as-is, but this is simply my personal opinion.

DAMAGED SOULS is a heck of a book, and I highly recommend giving it a read. If you are new to Bernstein’s work, then you’re in for a real treat; and if you’re a returning fan, you’ll get more of the great work that you’ve come to expect. This book is available now in a variety of formats.

MSB

Movie Review – Buck Wild (2014)

Buck Wild
Directed by Tyler Glodt
Courtesy of Millennium Entertainment
Release Date: March 18, 2014

buck wild

Don’t let the title fool you; this is not a new addition to the AMERICAN PIE franchise, nor is it the suggested title for the next HANGOVER film. BUCK WILD is a rowdy, darkly humorous venture into zombie-comedy territory, filled with gore and goofs alike. And while it is not perfect, it is a lot of fun and certainly worthy of attention.

If you are not familiar with BUCK WILD, here is the plot synopsis courtesy of Millennium Entertainment:

BUCK WILD is a tongue-in-cheek adventure that turns the buddy comedy upside down while tearing zombies inside out! Craig Thompson’s idyllic hunting trip with his two buddies and unstable cousin is wrecked after hearing that his fiancée and best man-to-be have been cavorting behind his back. To make matters worse, Craig’s cousin appears to be on the verge of a murderous rampage, while a rapidly spreading Chupacabra virus is transforming locals into the undead. After taking drastic measures to protect themselves, the boys must put aside their differences to survive an insidious hillbilly gang and impending zombie melee. Things are about to get BUCK WILD!

As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, I love horror-comedies. I’m always fascinated to see how humor can be interjected into some of horror’s most popular and intense concepts. And because I’m a huge zombie fan, finding humor with them makes a film that much better.

BUCK WILD is shot well for the most part and looks good onscreen. There are a couple of camera shots that made me raise an eyebrow and wonder why that particular spot was chosen; but otherwise, the cinematography is pretty solid. Likewise, the acting is good, too. I particularly like the diversity of the cast. Director Tyler Glodt did a great job in casting the four primary characters, and each actor is to be commended in their roles. They are an over-the-top bunch with larger than life personas, but that works perfectly in a film like this.

The special effects are mostly well done, and there’s plenty of gore to go around. From mutilated animals to gunshot blood-sprays, we get a nice dose of carnage onscreen. I say the effects are mostly well done because some of the zombie effects looked a bit cheap. The close-up shots look great…but there are several background zombies that barely look made up at all. I figured this was due to budget constraints, but it was noticeable enough to bring up.

Despite it’s small flaws, BUCK WILD is entertaining and funny. The characters are boisterous and full of life, which injects a lot of energy into this production. I recommend giving the film a look if you’re looking for off-the-wall fun and zany, gory comedy. The film is available now in a variety of formats.

MSB

Movie Review – Metallica Through the Never (2013)

Metallica Through the Never
Directed by Nimrod Antal
Courtesy of Blackened Recordings & Alliance Entertainment
Release Date: January 28, 2014

Metallica_ThroughTheNever_iTunes_Poster

If you are anything like me, the music of Metallica helped define your teenage years. Back in the late 80s and early 90s, this band’s music was a constant on my stereo, and as such, helped me through some bad times. With heavy riffs and darkly poetic lyrics, Metallica poured life into me when I thought I wasn’t going to make it. And as a result, I’ve been a huge fan ever since. But imagine my surprise when I heard the band had teamed up with director Nimrod Antal to create a film within one of their concerts! I’ve been a fan of Antal for a while now, and his film PREDATORS is a huge favorite of mine. This collaboration produced one of the greatest concert films ever made, and regardless of whether you are a fan of the band or not, you’ll want to see this!

If you are not familiar with METALLICA THROUGH THE NEVER, here is the plot synopsis courtesy of Blackened Recordings:

METALLICA THROUGH THE NEVER is a groundbreaking music-driven motion picture event. The film combines a spectacular concert performance created exclusively for the film and a suspenseful narrative to produce a bracing, raw and visceral cinematic experience. Emerging young star Dane DeHaan portrays Trip, a young roadie sent on an urgent mission that turns into a surreal adventure, while Metallica performs its most iconic songs during a roaring live set in front of a sold-out arena. METALLICA THROUGH THE NEVER features the most elaborate live-performance stage ever built and was filmed with state-of-the-art 3-D photography captured using up to 24 cameras simultaneously. The film is written and directed by award-winning filmmaker Nimrod Antal.

Several bands have used music to tell stories before (i.e. Queensryche with Operation: Mindcrime), but few have ever used an actual concert as the basis for a film. But METALLICA THROUGH THE NEVER is not just an eye-popping spectacle of raw power…it’s also a riveting and bizarre story that takes young Trip on a journey he’ll never forget. Nor will we, the audience, for that matter.

METALLICA THROUGH THE NEVER is shot extremely well, and I would daresay it looks amazing. As mentioned above, multiple cameras are used to document the stage performance, and the result is spectacular. The viewer is onstage with the band for almost its entire performance, allowing for full immersion into the concert and giving an experience like no other.

Likewise, Trip’s journey, which is intermixed with the concert, showcases even more expert cinematography. Set against the backdrop of a dark and foreboding landscape, the events that happen outside of the stadium are shocking and filmed in a visionary style. I never once felt like I was watching two separate entities; Trip’s experiences and the concert are woven together like an intricate tapestry, and the final product is nothing short of amazing.

It is this bold and unique experience that truly sets METALLICA THROUGH THE NEVER above all other concert films. Despite the excellent soundtrack that features classic Metallica songs like “Creeping Death”, “For Whom the Bell Tolls”, “Fuel”, Wherever I May Roam”, “Master of Puppets”, and so many others, the originality of this movie alone makes it a must-own. Regardless of whether you are a new fan or an old veteran of the band’s music, pick this up today. And be sure to snag it on Blu-ray for the out-of-this-world sound and picture quality. You won’t regret it.

MSB

Movie Review – Return to Nuke ‘Em High, Volume 1 (2014)

Return to Nuke ‘Em High, Volume 1
Directed by Lloyd Kaufman
Courtesy of Anchor Bay Entertainment
Release Date: March 18, 2014

return-to-nuke-em-high-212x300

Buckle your seat-belts, Troma fans! The infamous Lloyd Kaufman is back with a new addition to the Troma family, and let me tell you: it’s a blast!! Chocked full of the low-budget / high-craziness fun that you’ve come to expect from Kaufman’s empire, RETURN TO NUKE ‘EM HIGH VOLUME 1 is beyond outrageous and a worthy follow-up to the original film, 1986’s CLASS OF NUKE ‘EM HIGH. If you’re any kind of fan of Kaufman or Troma, you will absolutely love this film!

If you are not familiar with RETURN TO NUKE ‘EM HIGH VOLUME 1, here is the plot synopsis courtesy of Anchor Bay Entertainment:

Return to Nuke ‘Em High Vol. 1, directed by cult movie legend Lloyd Kaufman, is a satirical sci-fi comedy event film with themes ripped straight from today’s headlines: the contamination and degradation of the world’s food supply, rampant bullying, love triumphing over prejudice. Nuke ‘Em is in the same vein as other classics such as Class of 1984, Rock ‘n’ Roll High School, and Carrie, but seen through the unique vision of Lloyd Kaufman and the Troma Team. Welcome to Tromaville High School where, unfortunately, the glee club has mutated into a vicious gang of Cretins. Chrissy and Lauren, two innocent bloggers, must fight not only the Cretins, mutants and monsters but also the evil Tromorganic Foodstuffs Conglomerate. Will they save Tromaville High School and the world? Find out in this brand-new, unhinged classic from beloved Troma Films!

I saw the original CLASS OF NUKE ‘EM HIGH a long time ago, way back in 1988 or so, on VHS, and I loved it. There was so much campy but well done gore and a zany storyline that kept me cringing as I laughed. I knew from that point on that I was a Troma-fan.

RETURN TO NUKE ‘EM HIGH VOLUME 1 is an epic return to those 80s-style films. Kaufman has truly outdone himself with this one. Watching this film made my mind drift back to those golden days, and I actually found myself in a state of euphoric nostalgia as the movie progressed.

The film is shot in the standard Troma-style: it looks good overall, but you can tell right away it’s a low-budget feature. This is not a bad thing, either; in fact, it’s a testament to how well Kaufman can use a minuscule budget. This is an art form that he has perfected over the years, and it is one of the reasons for his success.

The acting is pretty good, but the special effects win me over here. There’s a ton of gore, and it all looks like high-budget stuff. From melting bodies and faces to detached members to mutant ducks, there’s a little bit of everything (literally) in this movie…and it all looks great, especially when you consider the budget the crew had to work with. I am particularly impressed with the melting body effects in the opening scene; gruesome and cringe-worthy, these could be in an Eli Roth film!

If you’re not a fan of Troma films already, you might not enjoy RETURN TO NUKE ‘EM HIGH VOLUME 1. It is certainly not a film for everyone. It is raunchy and darkly comedic, therefore some folks might be offended or put off by its tone. But if you’re willing to give it a look, I highly recommend doing so. Troma is renowned for it’s uniqueness, and that is part of what draws fans like me. The film is available now in a variety of formats, but be sure to check it out on Blu-ray; there’s a bunch of behind-the-scenes Special Features that you’ll want to watch.

MSB

Movie Review – Devil’s Pass (2013)

Devil’s Pass
Directed by Renny Harlin
Courtesy of Aldamisa Entertainment & IFC Midnight
Release Date: December 17, 2013

Devils pass

Director Renny Harlin is responsible for some of my favorite films from the past two decades. Several of these movies were hated by critics, but I personally loved them. Titles in this list include DIE HARD 2, CLIFFHANGER, THE LONG KISS GOODNIGHT, and DEEP BLUE SEA. I’m very happy to include a new title to this list: DEVIL’S PASS. This found-footage horror flick delivers on many levels and will give even the heartiest of horror fans something to enjoy.

If you are not familiar with DEVIL’S PASS, here is the plot synopsis courtesy of the Aldamisa Entertainment website:

Blockbuster Director, Renny Harlin, brings one of the greatest unsolved mysteries of the 20th century to the big screen–the controversial Dyatlov Pass Incident.

Fact: In February of 1959, nine Russian hikers ventured into a remote area of the Ural Mountains in Russia.

Fact: Two weeks later, all nine were found dead.

Fact: What happened to them is a mystery that has baffled investigators and researchers for decades. It has become known as the Dyatlov Pass Incident.

Rumors have attributed their deaths to everything from alien encounters and government conspiracies to supernatural causes. To date, no one has been able to adequately explain what drove nine experienced hikers from their tents so frantically that they ripped through the material from the inside; or how their bodies came to be exposed to such dangerous amounts of radiation that it was still detected weeks later. And no one knows why they were discovered hundreds of yards from their camp, half dressed and with internal injuries including broken ribs and fractured skulls, but with no external wounds at all. The body of one young woman was even found missing her tongue.

Present Day: Five ambitious American college students are issued a grant to return to the site of the orignal events in the belief that they can uncover and document the truth of what happened at Dyatlov’s Pass. But what they find is more shocking than anything they could have imagined. Their trek through the Ural Mountains, retracing the steps of that ill-fated journey, is plagued by strange and increasingly terrifying phenomena, all of which suggest that in spite of their desolate surroundings, they are not alone. The forces behind the Dyatlov Pass Incident have been waiting for them.

Many horror fans are tired of the found-footage genre, but I still enjoy it. There are so many things you can do within this subsection of horror…I enjoy seeing the diversity that filmmakers can come up with.

DEVIL’S PASS is shot well, and I have to specifically commend the camera work. Whereas many found-footage films are shaky to the point of annoyance, this film keeps the picture on a pretty steady keel. This makes for a much more enjoyable movie experience, especially in terms of suspense.

And speaking of that, there’s plenty of terror in this little gem. Granted, much of it doesn’t hit until the last third of the film…but that’s perfectly ok here; the build-up is worth the wait. Once things get going on the mountain, they never slow down.

The special effects are minimal but good. I cannot go into much detail because I don’t want to give away the plot. But let’s just say we don’t get to see much, but what we do get is well done.

And speaking of the plot, DEVIL’S PASS will certainly make you think. This flick is a conspiracy theorist’s dream. I would not completely dismiss things like this as out of the realm of possibility at all, especially given what science has been able to accomplish recently. The ending is superb, but I again cannot say anymore…I sure don’t want to spoil it at all!

DEVIL’S PASS is a heck of a film, and I highly recommend giving it a look. It is available now in a variety of formats.

MSB

Have you met horror author Jasper Bark?

The fine folks over at Crystal Lake Publishing have managed to strap down horror author Jasper Bark for a new story that is due out soon titled STUCK ON YOU. This book promises to be a monster, and I am itching to check it out!

Stuck-on-You-Jasper-Bark

For those of you who don’t know Jasper, he is an acclaimed author and media personality who is noted for his outrageous personality and lack of fear. Crystal Lake managed to get him to answer a few questions, and they were kind enough to share them here. Check out the interview below, and then make a note to check out his new book, STUCK ON YOU AND OTHER PRIME CUTS, when it hits store shelves in May.

=============================================================================================================

What first attracted you to horror writing?

The fact that it’s the genre you go to when you want to think the unthinkable. The genre where all our worst fears and neuroses bubble up to the surface. What if my child doesn’t come home one night? What if my home, my body or my mind is invaded and I’m powerless to stop it? What if consensus reality is just a cosy fiction that masks a deeper more irrational universe than we can ever understand?

This last fear is probably what attracts me the most. Horror stories are where I first learned about people who held heretical beliefs and practiced unthinkable acts in the name of both science and religion. Who had the balls to lift what Shelley called “the painted veil that those who live call life” and peer at what lies behind it. Granted they usually came to a bad end because of it, but in the brief moments before their fall I always thrilled to their Faustian excitement, drunk on the power of forbidden knowledge.

The Gnostics used to believe that fearsome angels, known as Archons, patrolled the outer limits of reality to terrify and attack all but the bravest and most dedicated seeker after the truth from venturing into the unknown. Sometimes the deepest and most profound truths lie beyond a howling chasm of fear. To experience those truths we have to leap blindly into that chasm with no guarantee that we will get to the other side.

That moment of electrifying, near hysterical terror, when we leave behind everything we know to be true, and hurtle towards a new reality, that’s the note of cosmic terror that I love the best.

What were you thinking when you took an urban legend and turned it into a delightfully twisted story called Stuck on You?

Mostly – “Gee, I bet this will make ’em toss their cookies” I wasn’t actually sure it was an urban legend when I stumbled across it on an obscure forum while researching something else. The person posting it seemed to think it was a true story. In fact the tale first appeared on the Darwin Awards site, which is devoted to deaths that are so dumb the victim is given an award for not muddying the human gene pool with their decided lack of smarts. So there’s some debate as to whether it actually happened or not (my guess is definitely NOT).

It was one of those little snippets of information that stuck to the seamy underbelly of my imagination and wouldn’t let go until I wrote a story to get rid of it. Taking the Piss, another story that’s collected in the forthcoming collection: Stuck on You and Other Prime Cuts, was just the same. It was inspired by something hideous I read about that just wouldn’t leave me alone. I sometimes create stories as little traps for the vile and hideous notions that infest my psyche, so I can be done with them and pass them onto my unwary readers. Think of it as a public service.

Stuck on You goes to some pretty extreme places, did you ever worry that you were going too far?

All the time. The fear for a writer working on something like Stuck On You is that you’re going to lose half your readership. That what your describing is going to gross them out so much they’ll throw the story down in disgust. So I would try and slowly ease the reader into each new incident that befalls the main character Ricardo. I would build to a gross climax then scale it back a bit. The thing about the story is that just when you think it’s gotten as low as it can go I’ll find a new depth to plumb, but you have to let up a bit in between. The intense levels of eroticism helps with this as did the black humour. Many readers have said they squirmed while reading it, or felt sick, but most have also said they laughed too, which is good because there is a strong element of slapstick in the story.

There are some really erotic and sexual scenes in Stuck On You. Were they fun to write?

Yes, but they were also very hard (if you’ll pardon the pun). That’s because, in my experience, Sex and Violence are the two hardest things to write well. Not many people have first hand experience of extreme violence so their depictions of it can sometimes seem inauthentic or clumsy. While most people have first hand experience of sex, we make ourselves very vulnerable when we talk or write about it in great detail. Mainly because we’re revealing something of ourselves that’s very intimate when we do. What’s more, its very difficult to find the right language to approach sex without sounding like either a clinical sex ed. description or a euphemism laden dirty joke.

Champions of ‘Quiet Horror’ often claim that ‘anyone can throw in a bunch of sex and violence and get a response’ but I think they’re wrong about this. You’ll get a response, but it won’t always be a good one, because not anyone can write sex or violence well. That’s often why many authors stop at the bedroom door and only hint at the violence. I think they’re making a virtue out of a necessity. However, I do think you can write something of great quality that’s also extremely violent and highly erotic. That’s one of the issues I was hoping to address with Stuck On You. You’ll have to read it to see if I’ve succeeded but I can promise you that if you like either sex or violence you won’t be disappointed.

Why should people read Stuck On You?

Because it’s the sickest, filthiest and most inexcusable thing you’ll read all year. If you think you’ve read everything in horror think again this will take you to an all time low. It’s the ultimate guilty pleasure, the sort of book you have to read with one hand free, partly to hide behind and partly to do other things with.

MSB