Friday, February 5, 2016

Women in Horror: part 1

This year to acknowledge Women in Horror month, we've asked/borrowed blog posts from our female fiends... friends.  The first post is "borrowed" from Larissa Glasser.  Read on and enjoy.

Let the Bad Guys Win!

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Let the Bad Guys Win! Finally back!
And just in time for Women in Horror Month!

Much like NaNoWriMo, this celebration of womens’ contributions to the SF/H field provides me with bonus incentive to get as much reading and writing done in relatively short time period (erm–and WiHM celebrations take place during the shortest month of year). But 2016 is a leap year, so that gives me an extra fucking 24-hours to finish the  Rabies draft! I know–whoosh! Stadium lighters in the air, right?
Haha, no seriously, it’s nice to have the month of commemoration, but we can all uphold the same visibility and appreciation during the entire year. Mary Shelley lays a wholly legitimate claim to the most auspicious origins of our genre, after all. And don’t forget that Gamergate tripe from last year–it seems to have accelerated–the same flaccid, sexist bullshit still wheezes right along, egregiously in some SF/H circles like some New [Old] Right Warrior principle-crusade. Pfffffft lame.
So keep the legends alive, discover and share new ones, contribute reviews of authenticity, and kick ass moving forward. Women destroy, men destroy, queers destroy, trans destroys, metal destroys, ALL DESTROY.

I spent part of January 2016 enrolled in my first LitReactor class “The Choreography of Violence” with John Skipp, an auspicious workshop experience that provided some clear-cut, indispensable tech pointers I was able to apply towards the next installments of Imperator–Terror Lizard along with the new Rabies project. I don’t know long the latter will be–with the scope of WTF I’ve been plotting for her ladyship, she’ll likely exceed 10K. We’ll see–there’s the Cut 10% [MINIMUM] rule, all told.
So while I was away (sort of), I was hardly idle in late 2015. I was grinding edits and heavy macro-development into my novel, submitted it around a bit. I’ve decided moving forward I’m changing the title to The Night Faith, because that fits in much better with the newly-accelerated cult violence and mortal trauma I put my narrator through. I’m hoping to put him through even worse for the next two books. Be careful what you wish for.

Writing a narrator of the opposite gender is always a fun voice to summon. I like to throw chainsaws at his flailing arms. It’s nice character building–after all, we are what we do in reaction to fucked-up things.
I also think Night Faith sounds much appropriate for the evil forces in the story–I kept thinking of perfect soundtrack accompaniment and that Melvins classic “Night Goat” kept coming back at me. That bass riff just oozes atonal filth, evokes wide vistas of corrupt and diseased flesh/spirit, and somehow just makes me keep thinking of the lengths kids might go to stave off their boredom in suburbia. I was a suburban kid who got into my share of River’s Edge mischief, but never to the extent of ritual sacrifice (not even in my nightmares, trust me folks). But looking back at that time, I kept thinking about how things could have gone differently, had I fallen in with a hypothetical group of kids who actually wanted to act out some of those Slayer lyrics –“hey why not just kill that whole family next door and hold their souls captive? Spark up a fatty behind the K-Mart afterwards?”

That’s the level of crassness, viciousness, recklessness I was going for with these kids. Oh, and speaking of which, they do of course have their Pied Piper — multiple edit passes also made me see I had to really also crank up the Iago-maliciousness of the book’s main antagonist, and when I realized that anger and envy motivated many of the enemy actions against my main character, that evil became much more fun to pin down. Anger and fear makes people do shitty (and stupid) things, then the cycle of victimhood revolves as the main character seeks retribution. Icelandic sagas are stacked with this revolving moral ambiguity.
But even as any neatly-wrapped story of good vs. evil will come out with one on top, I’m so tempted to let evil win. Like I said, The Night Faith is first book of a trilogy, and I’ve got the series plot nailed pretty tight, but I’m also harboring a lingering doubt as to who will (or should) really win this fight in the end.
So okay then, let’s say I decide to give evil the day—why would I even be tempted to let the bad guys win? Perhaps because there’s a part of me that finds an evil victory oddly satisfying, and wanting more to come back for more and eventually achieve the goodness of true justice (perhaps in the hopes of eventually arriving at a Purple Wedding moment, a less morally ambiguous conclusion?).

I admit my favorite part of The Lord of the Rings is when Sauron ultimately topples, and he realizes he fucked up BAAAADLY because it hadn’t even occurred to him that by investing all of his power, greed, and hunger into The One, he effectively murdered himself. But another part of what makes the buildup to that so awesome is that he almost wins several times over! Part of me wants evil to prevail even in my most extravagant fantasy, because in real life, we don’t live in a reliable meritocracy. The vicarious satisfaction through fiction is such a relief, because we observe from a fairly safe distance.
Sometimes the worst evil is rewarded, encouraged. Tolkien’s saga is often criticized, rightly so, for having an ingenuously binary view of good vs. evil.

We are all capable of good or evil, degrees of both, intentionally or not. Simultaneous attraction and revulsion. Horror at its deepest, roiling, wonderful core.
So in lieu of anymore pedantic reflection on why evil in literature and film is, in its own devious way, very appealing even to the best angels of our nature–here is a list of my Top Five Bad Guy Wins in film.
I’ll try to keep this as spoiler-free as possible. Still–if you haven’t seen any of these, look away, close this window, watch them and then please come back, comment, contribute your own lists also. Life is a motherfucker so I don’t like to flinch from the realities (and appeal) of letting the bad guys win. Often, these victories border on the heroic, and that is pretty fucking disgusting. Nom nom.

1.) The Vanishing a.k.a. Spoorloos (1988)
This story is glorious in its portrayal of obsession and the psychology of a murderer. Most people who have seen “The Vanishing” tend to agree it’s one of the most messed up, glorious endings in the history of horror. Based on Tim KrabbĂ©’s 1984 novella The Golden Egg, the story centers on a man who, after years of public campaigning to find out what happened to his girlfriend (she’d gone missing during a petrol stop), finally meets and confronts her kidnapper. The man only wants to know what happened to her. The suspect agrees to show him what she experienced.

2.) Arlington Road (1999)
At first, “Arlington Road” follows a somewhat pat, milky “Rear Window” scenario. A widowed history professor, played by Jeff Bridges, greets new neighbors (played wonderfully against type by Tim Robbins and Joan Cusack) and comes to suspect by degrees that they are planning to bomb the FBI headquarters in Washington. The story becomes increasingly more compelling, however, as false threads are unraveled, re-strung, tightened wherein Bridges’s girlfriend and son are drawn into the domestic terror web. As the story becomes more frenetic, and drenched with even more distrust and paranoia, Bridges falls victim to a ploy of “Wicker Man”-like proportions and the final beat made me sit back and exclaim “Holy Shit!” And then history is written by the victors, and that freaked me out even more. It’s worth seeing at least once. Evil walks!

3.) The Collector (1965)
William Wyler directed two overwrought, mewling melodramas that I love dearly–“Ben Hur” (1959) and “The Children’s Hour” (1962). He also directed one of the most disturbing films I’ve ever seen. “The Collector” is so beautiful, and so infuriating.
The main character Frederick (Terence Stamp) is the real deal–sociopathic, self-absorbed, cold, and so unpredictable he makes the pathology of that boring cisgender dingleberry Buffalo Bill from “The Silence of the Lambs” seem like a feminist icon.
After coming into a sudden, fateful torrent of fortune, Frederick buys a fortified estate and kidnaps a young art student Miranda (Samantha Eggar, who you MUST also see in “The Brood”) whom he’s obsessed over for years. A duel of wills, propriety, manipulation, and abject cruelty ensues. It is very uncomfortable to watch.

“The Collector” is gendered horror is its most profane and malignant form–“I’m going to make you do want I want, because that’s what I want, and you have no say in the matter. I know I promised to let you go. I changed my mind. That’s my right, and not yours.”

4.) Chinatown (1974)
Noah Cross = Father of the Year?
Vomit–the horror of that final girl Katherine Cross’s fate after the police “deal with” her mother, the very person they should have been protecting, sets this story apart from the rest. Polanski has his personal baggage, of course, but that soul-sucking ending belongs to Robert Towne. I should add, in fairness, that “Chinatown” also offers some of the funniest moments in 1970s cinema, carried brilliantly by Jack Nicholson. These interspersed clown-penis jabs at the expectations of the audience are another caustic element of Polanski’s work that, despite his obvious character flaws and the disturbing nature of his subject matter, makes his accomplishments in eliciting horror difficult to deny.

5.) A Clockwork Orange
Alex doesn’t just get away with it all–he becomes a scion of the state. No ill deed goes unrewarded. Alex’s journey grinds him through the gears, to be sure, but his ultimate triumph is a modern dystopian fairytale, and of course Patrick Bateman (American Psycho) also gives me the shudders, but IMHO he is a lightweight by comparison.
I welcome information on anything you know of–any character trajectory that’s more fucked-up than that of Alex. Because I think I would like to get away from him, even if that means falling out of the frying pan and into the fire. Comment away.
Pleasant dreams.

Please DO visit Larissa at http://larissaglasser.com

Monday, November 16, 2015

End of Days or... End of 2015 at least

The convention season for the NEHW as a group is winding down with 2 shows left this year.

Super Mega Fest and Northeast Comic Con.  After that unless something hits us in the head we'll likely be taking a couple months off from the rotation.  But we are always looking for new shows to do - no craft fairs though - if you have any ideas, feel free to run them past us via email.

We invaded Maine this year for the first time.  Next year we're hoping to hit VT and CT.

We're also looking for a location for the holiday party, that doesn't involve someone's house or apartment.



Saturday, October 3, 2015

October - our time of the year.

When people think October I know lots lean towards box-store costumes and bulk bags of candy.  I for one (Scott) lean towards how many horror movies can I cram in this month, along with working, writing/editing and of course reading.  As I look over the crowded bookshelves I think "What next?"  And I don't know.  So in celebration of "What's Next?" The NEHW will have a small table at the Merrimack Valley Halloween Book Festival.  The brain child of Christopher Golden, this 1/2 day event will feature local and some not so local authors. 

The event runs today from 1-730 in North Andover and I am very happy (?) to say the thing is sold out.  It is a free event, and the free tickets were for crown control.  So sadly if you don't have a ticket, you won't be getting in.

"What's next?" I know several friends have new releases out, so as I'm looking through tables, maybe I'll find the "What's next?" book or maybe dig a little deeper into my Kindle and check out what I have forgotten about buying.

At the NEHW table is Jan Kozlowski, Kristin Dearborn, TT Zuma, Phil Perron and Scott Goudsward.  Holly Newstein will be signing at the table for a short while also.  Here is the panel/reading schedule for today:

1pm: Childhood Horrors—Paul Tremblay, Thomas Sniegoski, Holly Newstein Hautala, Scott Goudsward, Mallory O'Meara (M)
2pm: Seize the Night: New Tales of Vampiric Horror—Christopher Golden (M), Rio Youers, John Langan, Leigh Perry, Dana Cameron
3pm: The New England Horror Tradition—Jack M. Haringa (M), Caitlin Kittredge, Jason Ciaramella, Glenn Chadbourne, John M. McIlveen
4pm: The Anatomy of Horror: What is Scary?—Sarah Langan, Kelly Link, Myke Cole, Errick Nunnally (M), Kat Howard
5pm: We Get the Horror We Deserve—Joe Hill, Brian Keene, Izzy Lee, Mary SanGiovanni, Bracken MacLeod (M)
6pm: Live Reading THE STRANGE CASE OF DR. JEKYLL & MR. HYDE—Jack M. Haringa, Bracken MacLeod, Brian Keene, Kat Howard, John Langan, Gardner Goldsmith

Hope to see you there.

 

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Updates

So we're a little "late" with updating the page.  We as a group have surpassed 400 members across the six states.  We have released our third anthology Wicked Tales.  And we keep on growing and getting better.

Some general group news, several of our members were asked to participate in the anthology Snowbound With Zombies, a charitable book, with all proceeds going to the John Greenleaf Whittier foundation.

Snowbound with Zombies

We have had great showings at a number of conventions recently, NECON, Anthocon, we had our first Maine excursion to Portcin Maine, Necronomicon - Providence, NH Comic Con.  What's next?

On October 3rd, several members will be participating in the first Merrimack Valley Halloween Book Festival .  It runs from 1PM to 7(ish) PM there will be all day paensl, ending with a live reading of Jeckyll and Hyde.  Do visit the FB page (follow the link) and check out the list of authors and the schedules.  Books will be on sale from most of the guests, some from The Andover Bookstore and some of the guests will have their own tables.

October 16-18 brings us to Rock and Shock.  The NEHW will be giving a free workshop on Short Story Writing and we'll also be involved in the Saturday Writers' Panel.

11/6 - 11/8 we're at Rhode Island Comic Con

11/21 - 11/22 we're at SuperMegaFest We're giving two panels during the course of the weekend.

And the last show (in theory) of 2015 is North East Comic Con

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Wicked Tales

The book will drop on Saturday 6/6 at Anthoncon in Portsmouth NH

http://www.anthocon.com/

We'll be doing a reading on 6/7 at 11AM from Wicked Tales.  Reading will will be:

EA Black, Trisha Wooldridge. Rob Smales, David North-Martino, John McIlveen and Kristin Dearborn.


Wednesday, April 22, 2015

The Blog

Working on the blog site, it will change, a lot.  Trying to get this working properly.

While you ponder that, check out our FB group.

FB Group

Friday, April 10, 2015

SuperMegaFest

Next weekend we're doing our first show of the year in Marlborough MA at Supermegafest.

http://supermegafest.com/

On hand for the weekend will be David Price, T Stephens, Travis Smith, Rich Feitelberg, Gordon Bean and Scott Goudsward.  They will be on hand signing and selling books.  They're also conducting 2 panels, the first The Basics of Getting Published, the 2nd, Self Publishing 101.

Come on by, say hello.  Rumor has there will be a few more members scattered about at their own tables - Look for Chris Philbrook and Stacey Longo.