The unholy trio!
Three legendary horror masters were born in the month of May: Vincent Price, Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee. So, since I’m overdue for a theme month, I’ve decided to take a look at some of their films this month. However, rather than the classics, I’ve decided to dust off some of their lesser efforts and least talked about flicks. And it all starts tomorrow at Dread Media!
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Come have a listen. If you haven’t seen this movie, you might want to give it a go despite how brutal it is. There’s a lot to be said about this one, no matter if you’re talking influences or meaning behind it all.
There’s also movie news and new horror literature releases.
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Jason and I recently talked a bit about found footage films. They have been a staple since The Blair Witch Project and a craze since Paranormal Activity. But what we rarely see is a straight-out fictional documentary—Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon and S&Man are notable exceptions (the former a horror/comedy about a media savvy serial killer and the latter a dark, disturbing look at extreme horror). The best example I have seen so far is Lake Mungo, a release from After Dark Films*.
Lake Mungo is the story of the Palmer family—parents Russell and June, and son Matthew—who’s daughter/sister, Alice, recently drowned. Her death sparks a downward spiral of events. First, June demands an exhumation, fearing—hoping—her husband misidentified the body. When no doubt remains of Alice’s death, the possibility of a haunting presents itself. Matthew sets up cameras and documents what certainly looks like the ghost of his sister. But this is a film about secrets, and every time we think we have an answer, a new question pops up. The family seeks out a psychic who isn’t quite on the up-and-up, and they later learn that their neighbors have ties to Alice they never could have imagined.
Halfway through, our expectations and beliefs are shattered. The supernatural is replaced by a real-world twist that knocks us off balance. And makes us wonder where in the world the movie will go from there. We start to see a tragedy unfold—a drama about a confused, scared sixteen-year-old who felt she had nowhere to turn. Her journey—and her family’s as they retrace her last days—culminates at Lake Mungo. The answer they find is the creepiest thing yet.
This film works because it takes itself seriously. I don’t even use the term “mockumentary” because there is not a hint of satire or dark comedy. From the crackly 9-1-1 call that opens the action, to the verisimilitude of news coverage about Alice’s drowning, to the deadpan interviews of family, friends, and police investigators, Lake Mungo’s realism makes The Blair Witch Project’s famed efforts look like the minor league.
I should warn you that this is not a movie full of scares and screams. Writer/director Joel Anderson does not present a fright-fest. Instead, this quiet movie weaves a tapestry of intrigue, not jump scares. This film looks and feels like those Halloween episodes of Unsolved Mysteries. Or a spooky version of the tremendous documentary, Dear Zachary. The story is equal parts grief and ghosts, and the Australian stoicism of the characters presents a subtle yet absorbing tale.
The real payoff for horror fans comes with the end credits. It’s too good to spoil, so I shall just tell you to stick around until it’s all over. But the end result chilled me for days after I watched this movie.
Lake Mungo is a slow burn for sure, and it won’t be for everyone’s taste. But its subtlety entranced me. The ever-evolving secrets and mysteries kept me captivated until the end. And the absolute perfection of its documentary façade is beyond impressive.
Four Dweller Heads!
*After Dark Films produces some of the best horror films out there. Check out the festival’s “8 Films to Die For” and you almost can’t go wrong!
It’s always great to sit down and read something new by Greg F. Gifune. Luckily for fans like me he’s fairly prolific. In regards to prolific writers, I always worry that they might sacrifice quality for quantity. It’s there. I’ve read it from other authors.
Greg Gifune, however, pumps out quality after quality. And Orphans of Wonderland is a great example.
The novel follows Joel Walker as he investigates the murder of an old childhood friend. While doing so he is taken down the same road he travelled twenty years ago while writing an investigative true crime book about a Satanic cult and the ritual killing they committed. The story starts off as a whodunnit with Joel interviewing people close to the case. As he does so, he is disturbed to find that people are following him, and the cops don’t want him around. At all.
Something isn’t right with his friend’s death, but Joel has to know what happened, not only for his friend, but for closure of the past that still haunts him.
After a few death threats and Joel continuing on with his investigation, the story goes from that whodunnit to classic weird and dark fiction. It’s a near 180 degree turn, but Gifune handles the change masterfully.
The result is a book that leaves you asking questions and leaving you wondering about the world we live in. It’s well worth your time, especially if you like secret societies, Satanic cults, and weirdness in your fiction.
Five Dweller Heads!
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This week, Jason and Michael discuss the Eli Roth produced Clown from 2014 and some upcoming clown horror releases. It was a circus! Join us in the fun.
Last weekend, I watched the Alien Quadrilogy. I am a huge fan of these movies (and even loved Prometheus when it came out), but taking them all together reveals a downward spiral: each film is a little worse than the one before it. Which is not to say that I didn’t enjoy (almost) every minute of my day with the Xenomorphs. Extremely talented people worked on each of the movies, from Ridley Scott and James Cameron who directed the first two, to David Fincher helming Alien 3 and Joss Whedon who wrote the script for Alien: Resurrection. However, I couldn’t help but notice that each consecutive film had a little worse dialog, a little less production value, and a general cheapening of the Alien experience. (more…)
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Welcome to Darkness Dwells, Episode 28. This week, I welcome guest writer and podcaster Jeffery X. Martin to the show where we talk everything from short writing short stories vs. novels, devil movies, and terrible snow storms.
There’s also an announcement regarding my novel and it’s release date.
Also, there’s the news, and a cool tune.
Song is Witchcraft Today by Electric Wizard from their album Witchcraft Today, available on iTunes and Amazon.
Speaking of Amazon, you can check out my work there by following the link below:
Visit Jeffery X. Martin online:
Kiss the Goat: https://www.facebook.com/groups/kissthegoat/
See ya next week!
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This week your host, Jason White, is joined by author Keith Deininger. We talk about his books, his past and future and have a great time doing so. It’s so much fun, in fact, we lost track of time and so this episode is juicy and even more awesome than usual.
All songs can be found on iTunes or Amazon.com or any respectable record store.
Somewhat Damaged by Nine Inch Nails
The Wretched by Nine Inch Nails
You can find Keith online:
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Voice Mail: 206 600 4257
Thanks for listening! Catch you next week!
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Welcome to episode 21. I am your host, Jason White, and this week we have an awesome show. We have a guest for the first time in about a month as we welcome Michael Schutz-Ryan on the show to discuss his new book. There’s also a new segment I would like to try and keep up. I’ve been meaning to do this one for a while. And that is the horror news, where I ramble on about some of the happenings going on in the horror world of movies and books.
Songs are available to purchase on iTunes and Amazon:
-Screaming for Vengeance by Judas Priest
-Shine on you Crazy Diamond by Pink Floyd
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Welcome to the 20th episode of Darkness Dwells. I will be your host tonight on this special edition. Special because we made it to number 20, and to celebrate, I thought it would be cool to read an old favorite of mine to you: The Hound by H.P. Lovecraft!
-Secrecies in Darkness by The Vision Bleak
-In the Presence of Evil by Pilgrim
Dark Ambience during story time:
-Night in the Forest by Cormi: https://www.freesound.org/people/cormi/sounds/110387/
Thank you for listening!
Contact the show:
-Voice mail: 206-600-4257