The Ways of Walls and Words April 15, 2015 The Ways of Walls and Words Sabrina Vourvoulias Can the spirit truly be imprisoned? Ballroom Blitz April 1, 2015 Ballroom Blitz Veronica Schanoes Can't stop drinking, can't stop dancing, can't stop smoking, can't even die. Dog March 25, 2015 Dog Bruce McAllister "Watch the dogs when you're down there, David." The Museum and the Music Box March 18, 2015 The Museum and the Music Box Noah Keller History is rotting away, just like the museum.
From The Blog
April 17, 2015
Spring 2015 Anime Preview: The Hellish Life of a Pizza Delivery Boy
Kelly Quinn
April 16, 2015
The Disney Read-Watch: Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
Mari Ness
April 15, 2015
Recasting The Rocky Horror Picture Show
Stubby the Rocket
April 15, 2015
The 10 Strangest Transports in Non-Driving Games
N. Ho Sang and Peter Tieryas
April 14, 2015
An Open Letter to HBO from House Greyjoy
Theresa DeLucci
Showing posts by: Grady Hendrix click to see Grady Hendrix's profile
Fri
Apr 17 2015 11:00am

Evil Eighties: The Killer Kids of Somebody Come and Play

Clare McNally Somebody Come and Play

Kids: you can’t live with ‘em, you can’t kill ‘em. Whether it’s an unhappy baby that keeps you awake for days until your mind snaps, a demented infant that seems determined to drown you in its own poop, or a toddler who screeches a high-pitched wail until your face explodes, children are the ultimate evil.

In the 70’s and 80’s creepy kids became a mainstay of horror fiction, with one stepback cover of an evil child blurring into another on the racks. John Saul swung between putting kids in peril and making them evil, Ruby Jean Jensen was a one-woman evil baby machine, and Andrew Niederman gave us Brainchild, Child’s Play, Playmates, Teacher’s Pet, and Sister, Sister. Slogging it out down there in the trenches with them was Clare McNally, who wrote about 13 books between 1980 and 1997. Killer kids were an industry because, as Alain Robbe-Grillet once said, “What do little girls dream about? Knives and blood.”

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Fri
Apr 3 2015 11:30am

Evil Eighties: The Mysteries of Norah Lofts

The ClawIn this series, Grady Hendrix, author of Horrorstör, and Will Errickson of Too Much Horror Fiction are back to uncover the best (and worst) horror paperbacks from the 1980s.

Historical romance novelist Norah Lofts wrote over fifty novels in her lifetime, working under her own name and the pseudonyms Juliet Astley and Peter Curtis. She wrote novels about Isabella of Spain, and Anne Boleyn, and Katherine of Aragon. She wrote a long series of interconnected novels about village life in the fictitious East Anglia town of Balidon. She wrote several novels that trace the lives and deaths of the inhabitants of some of England’s grand homes.

And, in 1982, she wrote The Claw about a living dead serial rapist who terrorizes an entire town, mutilating his victims with a massive iron claw.

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Fri
Mar 20 2015 11:00am

Evil Eighties: The Finicky Details of Linda Crockett Gray

Tangerine Linda Crockett GrayIn this series, Grady Hendrix, author of Horrorstör, and Will Errickson of Too Much Horror Fiction are back to uncover the best (and worst) horror paperbacks from the 1980s.

In Tangerine by Linda Crockett Gray, you haven’t reached page 34 before you reach this passage about a ring of porn kings who shoot specialty videotapes. Their latest commission is pricey because the fantasy they’re realizing involves a woman suffocating an 11-year-old boy to death with her breasts. Then she covers the boy in flowers and eats them off his dead body. The customer? A podiatrist in Utah who paid $2,000 for this masterpiece of cinema.

With sleaze this deep so early in a book, you kind of feel like you’ve won the lottery. Then you read the rest of this 344 page novel and you realize: no. Reading Linda Crockett Gray is like the lottery, only it’s the real one, where you always lose.

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Fri
Mar 6 2015 12:00pm

Evil Eighties: The Creepy Nursery Rhymes of Elizabeth Engstrom

Elizabeth Engstrom Black AmbrosiaIn this series, Grady Hendrix, author of Horrorstör, and Will Errickson of Too Much Horror Fiction are back to uncover the best (and worst) horror paperbacks from the 1980s.

Reading horror paperbacks from the 80s is like buying drugs off the street. You wind up with so many bags of oregano that you lose hope, and then, suddenly, you’re clutching the real deal and the top of your head is lifting off and you can’t remember your name, your address, or whether you’re biologically human.

But finding the real deal brings its own flavor of depression because it raises questions like, “Why isn’t this author better known?” and “What happened to their careers?” Which is exactly how I felt when I stumbled across Elizabeth Engstrom’s Black Ambrosia and When Darkness Loves Us and realized I had never heard of them, or their author, before. It made me want to scream to the heavens, “Who’s responsible this???

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Fri
Feb 20 2015 11:00am

Evil Eighties: The Paperback Horrors of Lisa Tuttle

Lisa Tuttle Familiar SpiritStarting last Friday the 13th, Grady Hendrix, author of Horrorstör, and Will Errickson of Too Much Horror Fiction are back to uncover the best (and worst) horror paperbacks from the 1980s.

Who is Lisa Tuttle and why is she such a pervert? We may never find an answer to that second question. After all, what drives an author to write some of the most psychologically harrowing, squick-inducing, “find your soft places and dig in with my fingernails” mass market paperbacks of the 1980s? Why does she seem to delight in our discomfort? But maybe the answer is easy.

Why is Lisa Tuttle so perverse? It might be because her books taste better that way.

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Mon
Dec 1 2014 5:00pm

Exploring Age as the Reason No One Gets Out Alive. Stephen King’s Revival

Stephen King RevivalAccording to the press release, the new Stephen King novel, Revival, features “the most terrifying conclusion Stephen King has ever written.” The Independent says it “practically screams ‘return to form’.” Critics say it’s a riff on Frankenstein, it’s King’s mad scientist book, it’s a tribute to H.P. Lovecraft. Stephen King books arrive in a cloud of advance hype with everyone, from his marketing department to his critics, telling us what each book is really about. But the joy of Revival lies in going in cold. So stop reading now, and just go read it for yourself. You won’t be sorry. But for a longer, spoilery discussion of where it fits into The King’s Canon, hit the jump.

[Read more]

Fri
Nov 7 2014 2:00pm

The Bloody Books of Halloween: Fatal Beauty and Small World

Fatal Beauty William SchoellGrady Hendrix, author of Horrorstör, and Will Errickson of Too Much Horror Fiction are digging deep inside the Jack o’Lantern of Literature to discover the best (and worst) horror paperbacks. Are you strong enough to read THE BLOODY BOOKS OF HALLOWEEN???

During the horror boom of the 70s and 80s the aesthetic was fast, cheap, and out-of-control. Covers were lurid, titles were embossed in gold that dripped reflective ruby blood, back cover copy was pumped into delirious word poetry that oversold whatever was inside. High concept was king, and publishers were glutting the marketplace with product. Good writers towered over the landscape, but for every Ghost Story or Cujo there were a million B-books, churned out to plug publishing schedules with lurid thrills.

Some of these were from writers who were accomplished hacks, enthusiastically delivering schlock with gusto, while others were written by frustrated literary novelists who pinched their noses and couldn’t quite embrace the game. Today we’re talking about one of each: William Schoell and Tabitha King.

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Fri
Oct 24 2014 11:00am

The Bloody Books of Halloween: Wurm

Wurm Matthew J CostelloGrady Hendrix, author of Horrorstör, and Will Errickson of Too Much Horror Fiction are digging deep inside the Jack o’Lantern of Literature to discover the best (and worst) horror paperbacks. Are you strong enough to read THE BLOODY BOOKS OF HALLOWEEN???

Matthew J. Costello! He consulted on Titanic! He was a Bram Stoker Award finalist for his 1992 novel Homecoming! He writes children’s television! He writes videogames! He wrote an original prequel for Peter Jackson’s King Kong! And in 1991, between banging out the novelizations for Child’s Play 2 and Child’s Play 3 he published one of the funnest, dumbest, goopiest riffs on Alien I’ve ever read.

Imagine the xenomorph as a giant phallic symbol living in a pineapple under the sea and say it with me in a German accent… Ladies and gentlemen, Wurm.

[Read More]

Fri
Oct 10 2014 10:30am

The Bloody Books of Halloween: Dead White and Black Christmas

Dead White Alan RyanGrady Hendrix, author of Horrorstör, and Will Errickson of Too Much Horror Fiction are digging deep inside the Jack o’Lantern of Literature to discover the best (and worst) horror paperbacks. Are you strong enough to read THE BLOODY BOOKS OF HALLOWEEN???

By 1983, horror had started to eat itself. Stephen King had published almost all of his major early novels, and was a bonafide mainstream pop culture phenomena. E.T., Tootsie, Rocky III, and 48 Hrs. were huge at the box office, whereas the Halloween, Friday the 13th, and Amityville Horror franchises were already spitting out inferior sequels. The paperback horror boom was in full bloom, and books were coming out so quickly that they were showing the anxiety of their influences. Nowhere is that more obvious than in two 1983 books, both set in snowy upstate New York, one black and one white: Dead White and Black Christmas.

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Wed
Sep 24 2014 2:00pm

Under the Dome: “Go Now”

Under the Dome Go Now

In a rousing speech delivered at the edge of what Fivehead Norrie describes as “A Giant Killer Suck Hole,” Dale Barbara tells the residents of Chester’s Mill, “For the last two weeks we have fought together for the survival of this town!” In those 14 days an underground fight club has opened (and closed), there’s been a drought, a food shortage, a missile attack, a terrorist attack, a plague of butterflies, an actual plague, a blood rain, a real rain, war with propane hoarders, a windmill has been built, hoses have been sprayed, gasoline (but not diesel) has run out, and we’ve experienced the drastic depopulation of the entire Chester’s Mill police department.

Is there any way that tonight’s season finale can possibly pack in more nonsense? “I have no idea,” Dale Barbie says about one minute before this episode ends. Dale, you took the words right out of my mouth.

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Mon
Sep 22 2014 4:00pm
Excerpt

Horrorstör (Excerpt)

Grady Hendrix

Grady Hendrix Horrorstor Something strange is happening at the Orsk furniture superstore in Cleveland, Ohio. Every morning, employees arrive to find broken Kjerring bookshelves, shattered Glans water goblets, and smashed Liripip wardrobes. Sales are down, security cameras reveal nothing, and store managers are panicking. To unravel the mystery, three employees volunteer to work a nine-hour dusk-till-dawn shift. In the dead of the night, they’ll patrol the empty showroom floor, investigate strange sights and sounds, and encounter horrors that defy the imagination.

Grady Hendrix’s latest novel, Horrorstör, is traditional haunted house story in a thoroughly contemporary setting—available September 23rd from Quirk Books. It comes packaged in the form of a glossy mail order catalog, complete with product illustrations, a home delivery order form, and a map of Orsk’s labyrinthine showroom.

[Read an excerpt]

Wed
Sep 17 2014 11:30am

Under the Dome: “Turn”

Under the Dome Turn

There are two very important things that Under the Dome would like you to know. First, the Dome is shrinking. In the first five minutes of this episode Scarecrow Joe mentions it, Computer Hacker Guy mentions it, Fivehead Norrie mentions it, and so does Creepy Lyle, Rebecca Pine (high school science teacher and triage center setter-upper), Junior Rennie, Dale Barbie, and Julia Shumway. So guys, THE DOME IS SHRINKING OKAY?

Second, the actors have a very special message for you. “Thank god it’s warming up again,” says Pauline. “It seems warmer,” says Melanie. “The cold snap’s over,” says Junior Rennie. And, to bring it all home, Rebecca Pine, high school science teacher, “The Dome stopped spinning and inverting the atmosphere, that’s why the temperatures warmed up.” So guys, THE DOME IS WARM NOW OKAY? THE DOME IS WARM AND IT IS SHRINKING ALL RIGHT DID EVERYONE HEAR THAT? Good? Then let us begin.

[Read More]

Fri
Sep 12 2014 11:00am

Summer of Sleaze: Guy Smith’s The Sucking Pit and The Walking Dead

The Sucking Pit Guy SmithSummer of Sleaze is 2014’s turbo-charged trash safari where Will Errickson of Too Much Horror Fiction and Grady Hendrix of The Great Stephen King Reread plunge into the bowels of vintage paperback horror fiction, unearthing treasures and trauma in equal measure.

He enjoys tobacco. He loves guns. He does not like street lights. Truly, Guy N. Smith is a man of many facets, but he’s best known for his crabs. From 1976 until 2012 he wrote Night of the Crabs, Killer Crabs, The Origin of the Crabs, Crabs on the Rampage, Crabs’ Moon, Crabs: The Human Sacrifice, and Killer Crabs: The Return. Along with about 93 other books. But apart from being a prolific writer of all things crab, what does Guy N. Smith have to offer the modern reader?

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Wed
Sep 10 2014 3:00pm

Under the Dome: “The Fall” and “Black Ice”

Under the Dome Black Ice

Watching Under the Dome is like French kissing an octopus (horrible but slightly less traumatic if you don’t resist) and as Season 2 nears its end that octopus is feeling more romantic than ever. It’s lashing my face wildly with its Plot Tentacles! It’s gnawing on my tongue hard with its Beak of Inconsistent Characterizations! It’s transferring its Spermatophores of Futility into my Mantle Cavity of God Help Us with its Hectocotylus of Awful Dialogue like a mad thing! My metaphorical make-out session with a love-crazed cephalopod has resulted in the current situation whereby I am recapping Two (2) TWO Under the Dome episodes at once.

So hold onto your Angie-Chopping Ax because you’re about to get both Barrels of Bafflement, right in the face! Prepare yourself for “The Fall” and “Black Ice.”

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Fri
Aug 29 2014 11:00am

Summer of Sleaze: The Exploitation of James Dallas Egbert III

The Dungeon Master William DearSummer of Sleaze is 2014’s turbo-charged trash safari where Will Errickson of Too Much Horror Fiction and Grady Hendrix of The Great Stephen King Reread plunge into the bowels of vintage paperback horror fiction, unearthing treasures and trauma in equal measure.

“Last night I cast my first spell…this is real power!” Debbie gloats.

“Which spell did you cast, Debbie?” Ms. Frost asks.

“I used the mind bondage spell on my father. He was trying to stop me from playing D&D…He just bought me $200 worth of new D&D figures and manuals. It was great!”

Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to 1984, the year Jack Chick published his famous anti-RPG tract, Dark Dungeons, revealing the shocking truth behind D&D: it is a gateway to Satanism and suicide! If you have rolled the polyhedral die, the only way to save your immortal soul is to burn all your monster manuals and player handbooks for Jesus. Underneath all its bluster, the moral lather B.A.D.D. (Bothered About Dungeons and Dragons) worked itself into over RPGs had a very real nougaty center: the very sad suicide of a child prodigy named James Dallas Egbert III.

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Wed
Aug 27 2014 2:00pm

Under the Dome: “The Red Door”

Under the Dome The Red Door

One day in the not-too-distant future someone will stand trial for illegally downloading Under the Dome and the judge will ask, “Is this the television program that features grown men standing in a room shouting about a make believe egg? Ham-handed Guantanamo Bay metaphors? A woman drawing pictures with poo? Dwight Yoakam in an ill-fitting white undershirt? And a gang of imbeciles running across a lawn and hiding in a root cellar?” And the prosecutor will say, “Yes, your honor. That would be episode 9.” And the judge will say, “I dismiss all charges. By watching this episode the accused has been punished enough.” And everyone in the world will cheer.

As Sam Verdreaux says, buckle up kids, it’s about to get a lot weirder. Welcome to episode 9 of Under the Dome.

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Wed
Aug 20 2014 2:00pm

Under the Dome: “Awakening”

Under the Dome Awakening

That darn Dome has been over Chester’s Mill for two weeks, and in just 14 days it has been magnetized, rained acid blood, gotten clogged with dust, been infested with butterflies, Barbie has almost been hung, Big Jim has almost been hung, Sheriff DJ Phil has been shot, Wendell has been shot, Sheriff Linda has been crushed, Angie has been chopped, a dead girl has come back to life, a plane has hit the Dome, a fire station has exploded, a locker has exploded, a pig virus has been viraled, a food shortage has shorted, a lite genocide has been planned (then canceled), and a windmill has been milled.

To better wrap your brain around these events, redditor u/Wadam1230 has edited every “previously on Under the Dome” recap into a single supercut of madness. But as Big Jim has taught us, people can change, and this week we discover...so can Under the Dome.

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Fri
Aug 15 2014 11:00am

Summer of Sleaze: The Auctioneer and Maynard’s House

The Auctioneer Joan SamsonSummer of Sleaze is 2014’s turbo-charged trash safari where Will Errickson of Too Much Horror Fiction and Grady Hendrix of The Great Stephen King Reread plunge into the bowels of vintage paperback horror fiction, unearthing treasures and trauma in equal measure.

A brief bestseller when it debuted in 1975, Joan Samson’s The Auctioneer has been totally forgotten. Sites like Will Errickson’s Too Much Horror Fiction have kept its tiny flame from becoming completely extinguished, but it’s basically a literary shooting star that flared once, and was gone. Contributing to its short shelf-life, Samson wrote The Auctioneer in her 30s and died of cancer shortly after it was published. Her death is our loss. This is one of those books you stumble across with no expectations, and when you finished reading you think, “Why isn’t this more famous?” Spare, unforgiving, and hard all the way down the line, if Cormac McCarthy had written Needful Things, you’d get The Auctioneer.

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Wed
Aug 13 2014 2:00pm

Under the Dome: “Going Home”

Under the Dome Going Home

Since the first season, the people of Chester’s Mill have been suffering from Exposition Syndrome, a terrible disease that forces them to explain things over and over again, even when everyone has just seen these things happen or, in truly acute cases, just as these things are happening right in front of them. Unfortunately, this disease is not fatal, and those suffering from it will never feel the merciful relief of death’s sweet embrace. Instead they will just keep explaining things until Under the Dome is canceled. Like the West African Ebola outbreak, this is a fast-spreading virus but, fortunately, the Dome was lowered over Chester’s Mill to keep it contained.

No longer.

In this episode, the Dome is breached.

[Now no one is safe.]

Wed
Aug 6 2014 10:00am

Under the Dome: “In the Dark”

Under the Dome In the Dark

San Diego Comic Con! Where the hottest breaking news about the hottest TV shows are thrown to excited audiences like it’s raining puppies over Shark Lake. And there was an Under the Dome panel. I have to assume the youngest exec at CBS pulled the short straw and had to call Comic Con, lower lip trembling, practically in tears, “But…we can bring our show, can’t we? I mean, people like us, too, right?” and the Comic Con programmers didn’t have the heart to say “no.”

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