Bad Movies Double Feature: Buck Wild and In Fear

Look at this shit.

Look at this shit.

Buck Wild

What happens when you make a horror comedy with actors that possess no comedic talent. Extremely awkward, rarely funny and too long by half.

”When their originally planned outing is cancelled, four friends go on a hunting trip in Texas. They include Craig, a straitlaced man; Jerry, a mysterious relative of Craig’s from New York; Tom, a nerd; and Lance, a hedonist. When they arrive, they discover that a chupacabra has bitten their guide Clyde, and, unknown to all, he has begun to slowly turn into a zombie.”

 

The synopsis doesn’t inform you how ~*wacky*~ the movie is. There’s a flaming gay redneck mafia dude that shows up at the beginning. At some point there’s conflict between the protagonists and him and one of them get paddled by the mafia boss’s cronies. This is the height of comedy this movie is trying to attain.

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Between painful jokes about Craig’s unfaithful girlfriend, shitty sex scenes with the ”dumb slut” stereotype neighbor and the meandering plot, there’s very little of value here. You might enjoy it more if you’re into gore and zombie stuff, but I was just waiting for the whole thing to end.

1 out of 5 redneck zombies.

 

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infearjpeg-e9500dIn Fear

This is a movie so boring, so bland, so incredibly shitty, that I feel as if I’ve already reviewed it in the past and I’m stuck in a kind of purgatory where I have to talk about this piece of shit forever. Harsh words, you might think, but I’m 100% serious, this is an offensively stupid movie, made even more agonizing by the fact that the director think he’s some kind of auteur making cinema. It seems to have worked as the movie has a 86% on Rotten Tomatoes, which is idiotic at best. Fuck you.

 

”Tom and Lucy have decided to go on their first trip as a couple, to a music festival and a secluded hotel. However they soon find themselves unable to actually locate the hotel and spend much of their time getting lost in a labyrinthine series of forest roads. As they continue to drive, their tensions rise as they realize that something or someone is deliberately toying with them and enjoying their torment. They pick up Max, a strange hitchhiker that may be connected to everything that is going on.”

Get used to this image, you're gonna see a lot of it in the movie.

Get used to this image, you’re gonna see a lot of it in the movie.

Probably the couple with the least chemistry in the world, you’ll spend the first half hour trying to figure out if these two idiots have just hooked up for a weekend getaway or if they have actually met before. After a series of increasingly improbably events and choices, they get lost in some sort of maze made out of hedges. Why at no point does anyone say ”fuck it, I’m off-roading this bitch” is a question that will torment you as the minutes tick on by.

Realizing at some point there’s only so long you can go without having anything remotely interesting happen and also that your actors are just not good enough to prop the whole thing up, a weird guy they find on the road is added and that’s really where the terribleness of the movie ramps up into nonsense.

This is devoid of value.

0 out of 5 idiots in a car

Mr. Jones Review

Mr-JonesMr. Jones

Hey look, it’s a horror movie I didn’t hate. I mean I didn’t like it especially much, but that’s rare enough on it’s own when your movie watching is the equivalent of a garbage disposal system.

The IMDB synopsis is pretty unhelpful, so I’ll get you up to speed myself. Probably massive spoilers follow because I have no filter.

A couple decides to move to the middle of nowhere because they have artistic aspirations. This eventually becomes an issue when they start arguing about how they left perfectly good jobs so the guy can make a stupid documentary or whatever. At the same time they find weird sculptures around their property and adjacent areas, eventually realizing they are the work for an artist that’s a bit of a underground sensation. Unfortunately he’s well known for the fact that everyone who buys his sculptures has terrible shit happen to them.

The movie is basically about solving the mystery of this artist and his creations, via the medium of found footage.

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Mostly but the numbers for the first half, it turns into some serious what-the-fuck territory in the latter half. Don’t watch this while high or tired, it’s pretty nightmarish. The movie as adequate at most things, managing some creepy moments here and there by actually utilizing the whole handheld camera aesthetic. The couple is kinda irritating, but what horror movie couple isn’t. I wasn’t gnashing my teeth while watching it so it must not have been too bad.

The ending…well… I don’t know what to say about the ending. It wasn’t disappointing exactly, but it was so convoluted and messy that I’m not sure what the hell supposedly happened. It kinda tries to throw a twist at you but it’s all very confusing and open to interpretation. Feels like they tacked on some wtf-ness to make it more interesting, but I don’t think they landed it.

2 out of 5 creepy-ass branch sculptures (I’d say 2 and a half, but I don’t like decimals)

7 Awesome Made-for-TV Horror Movies

I unironically love trash TV movies. We got a lot of those growing up where I’m from and sometimes it was all you can get outside of video rentals that were few and far between. Some of these I only saw as an adult and thus I didn’t enjoy as much. Sometimes the medium is the message, and staying up late on a school night and watching a scary movie on TV is probably the best medium there is for less-than-stellar acting and cinematography.

Salem’s Lot
”Vampires are invading a small New England town. It’s up to a novelist and a young horror fan to save it.”

Based on the fantastic Stephen King novel of the same name, it’s probably my favorite made for TV horror flick. Of course it takes the #1 spot. The scene with the kid floating outside his friend’s window is iconic for a reason (and still terrifying today).

Dark Night of the Scarecrow
”In a small town, a wrongfully killed man exacts revenge on those who murdered him beyond the grave.”

It’s been a while since I’ve seen this, but it’s a pretty solid revenge/horror flick.

Dont be Afraid of the Dark
”A young couple inherits an old mansion inhabited by small demon-like creatures who are determined to make the wife one of their own.”

Has aged remarkably well, in all honesty. The remake was terrible, so I’d rather watch this instead.

It
”In 1960, seven outcast kids known as “The Loser Club” fight an evil demon who poses as a child-killing clown. 30 years later, they are called back to fight the same clown again.”

Hey, another King adaptation. Arguably the TV movie that has scared more kids than any other. I like the book a lot and while I don’t love the movie, Tim Curry is pretty cool and it features some creepy ass scenes.

Duel
”A business commuter is pursued and terrorized by a malevolent driver of a massive tractor-trailer.”

Langoliers
”Most of the passengers on an airplane disappear, and the remainder land the plane in a mysteriously barren airport.”
I’m gonna get flack for this one, but I enjoyed it as a kid, back when I worshiped King. It’s goofy as hell, but hey, this was Lost before Lost.

Body Bags
”Three short stories in the horror genre. The first about a serial killer. The second about a hair transplant gone wrong. The third about a baseball player.”

After (2012)

After-2012-Movie-Poster-e1342638056815Oh boy. I don’t even know. A cut rate Silent Hill clone that somehow manages to be completely boring and predictable. Hell, it even gives away its own twist in the first 20 minutes. Plot synopsis says ”When two bus crash survivors (Steven Strait, Karolina Wydra) awake to discover that they are the only people left in their small town, they must form an unlikely alliance in a race to unravel the truth behind their isolation. As strange events begin to unfold, they start to question whether the town they know so well is really what it seems.”

These two end up in their hometown who is suspiciously devoid of people, except for when they seem to travel back in time and there’s a bunch of people they can’t interact with. It takes them about half an hour to figure out what’s going on, because at no point do they think about reaching out and touching one of these phantom people. Imagine the frustration as they go ”Hello? Hello?” for the duration of each scene while everyone around them ignores then. Everything looking like a totally radical 70s sitcom doesn’t give it away either. Mystifying.

A situation that could have been creepy as hell becomes completely toothless at the hands of this director and actors. Ugh, I can’t even go on.

Just watch the trailer, it’s enough to give you a migraine.

0 out of 5 Silent Hills.

 

Top 10 Horror and Fantasy Covers for May and June 2014

A bit late and also spanning two months instead of one, but here are the Top 10 Cover for May and June 2014!

 

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1. The Walking-stick Forest

Artist: Karla Ortiz
Author: Anna Tambour
Publisher: Tor.com

“The Walking-Stick Forest”, by Anna Tambour, is a dark fantasy about a recluse who creates collectible walking sticks in post WWI Scotland by manipulating the woods somewhat like bonsais. He refuses a commission from a very rich, powerful man, never considering or caring about the consequences.

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2. Authority: A Novel (The Southern Reach Trilogy)

Artist: Eric Nyquist
Author: Jeff VanderMeer
Publisher: FSG Originals

After thirty years, the only human engagement with Area X—a seemingly malevolent landscape surrounded by an invisible border and mysteriously wiped clean of all signs of civilization—has been a series of expeditions overseen by a government agency so secret it has almost been forgotten: the Southern Reach. Following the tumultuous twelfth expedition chronicled in Annihilation, the agency is in complete disarray.

John Rodrigues (aka “Control”) is the Southern Reach’s newly appointed head. Working with a distrustful but desperate team, a series of frustrating interrogations, a cache of hidden notes, and hours of profoundly troubling video footage, Control begins to penetrate the secrets of Area X. But with each discovery he must confront disturbing truths about himself and the agency he’s pledged to serve.

In Authority, the second volume of Jeff VanderMeer’s Southern Reach trilogy, Area X’s most disturbing questions are answered . . . but the answers are far from reassuring.

 

Boy Eating

3. Irregular Verbs and Other Stories

Artist: Erik Mohr
Author: Matthew Johnson
Publisher: ChiZine Publications

keluarga: to move to a new village

lunak: to search for something without finding it

mencintai: to love for the last time

Meet a guilt-ridden nurse who atones for her sins by joining her zombified patients in exile; a lone soldier standing guard on a desolate Arctic island against an invasion that may be all in his mind; a folksinger who tries to unionize Hell; and a private eye who only takes your case after you die. Visit a resettlement centre for refugees from ancient Rome; a lost country recreated by its last citizen on the Internet; and a restaurant where the owner’s ghost lingers for one final party. Discover the inflationary effects of a dragon’s hoard, the secret connection between Mark Twain and Frankenstein, and the magic power of blackberry jam-all in this debut collection of strange, funny, and bittersweet tales by acclaimed writer Matthew Johnson.

libretto_cover_a_p

4. Libretto Volume 1: Vampirism

Artist: menton3
Author: Multiple
Publisher: IDW Publishing

Libretto Volume 1 is curated/edited by Kasra Ghanbari with a theme of Vampirism, being the misuse of power, as well as the objectification and exploitation of others. Featured contributors include Ben Templesmith, David Stoupakis, Riley Rossmo, Christopher Mitten, George Pratt, menton3, and others.

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5. Sword and Mythos

Artist: Nacho Molina
Editors: Silvia Moreno Garcia and Paular R. Stiles
Publisher: Innsmouth Free Press

The blades of heroes clash against the darkest sorcery.

Aztec warriors ready for battle, intent on conquering a neighboring tribe, but different gods protect the Matlazinca.
For Arthur Pendragon, the dream of Camelot has ended. What remains is a nightmarish battle against his own son, who is not quite human.
Master Yue, the great swordsman, sets off to discover what happened to a hamlet that was mysteriously abandoned. He finds evil.
Sunsorrow, the ancient dreaming sword, pried from the heart of the glass god, yearns for Carcosa.

Fifteen writers, drawing inspiration from the pulp sub-genres of sword and sorcery and the Cthulhu Mythos, seed stories of adventure, of darkness, of magic and monstrosities. From Africa to realms of neverwhere, here is heroic fantasy with a twist.

 

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6. The Girls at the Kingfisher Club

Artist: ?
Author: Genevieve Valentine
Publisher: Atria Books

The Hamilton sisters live a double life—caged in their house by day, they break free at night to hit the dance floors of New York. Following her debut novel, Mechanique (2011), Valentine offers this fanciful reimagining, set in the Roaring Twenties, of the fairy tale of the 12 dancing princesses. The princes have been replaced by bartenders and bootleggers, and the girls wear out catalog-ordered shoes. Their dominating father has kept them shut up at home, virtual prisoners, for their entire lives. When he gets wind of what they’ve been doing, he works to find them more permanent positions as wives—whether or not they like it. The narrative is simple, as befits a modern fairy tale, and the characters are drawn in broad strokes, each dominated by one identifiable personality trait. When the novel shines, it does so by juxtaposing the tension of the imprisoned daughters’ plight against the gimlets and glitter of the underground dance halls they frequent. The Girls at the Kingfisher Club is like a jittery Charleston—loose, fast, and fun.

–Bridget Thoreson

the-bees-cover

7. The Bees

Artist: ?
Author: Laline Paull
Publisher: Ecco

Flora 717 is a sanitation worker, a member of the lowest caste in her orchard hive, where work and sacrifice are the highest virtues and worship of the beloved Queen the only religion. But Flora is not like other bees. With circumstances threatening the hive’s survival, her curiosity is regarded as a dangerous flaw, but her courage and strength are assets. She is allowed to feed the newborns in the royal nursery and then to become a forager, flying alone and free to collect nectar and pollen. A feat of bravery grants her access to the Queen’s inner sanctum, where she discovers mysteries about the hive that are both profound and ominous.

But when Flora breaks the most sacred law of all–daring to challenge the Queen’s preeminence–enemies abound, from the fearsome fertility police who enforce the hive’s strict social hierarchy to the high priestesses jealously wedded to power. Her deepest instincts to serve and sacrifice are now overshadowed by a greater power: a fierce maternal love that will bring her into conflict with her conscience, her heart, and her society–and lead her to perform unthinkable deeds.

Thrilling, suspenseful, and spectacularly imaginative, The Bees and its dazzling young heroine will forever change the way you look at the world outside your window.

 

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8. The Devil in the Details

Artist: Dominick Saponaro
Author: Debra Doyle, James D. Macdonald
Publisher: Tor.com

A new adventure of Peter Crossman, special agent of the Knights Templar — a man prepared to administer last rites with one hand while wielding a flamethrower with the other. Now an ancient manuscript of peculiar power has surfaced, and Crossman’s assignment is simple: Get it for the Temple at all costs. This will lead to conflict with entities secular and otherwise — and to a new encounter with Sister Mary Magdalene of the Special Action Executive of the Poor Clares.

 

in-the-dark

9. In the Dark

Artist: ?
Publisher: IDW Publishing

In The Dark is a monstrous collection of all-new original terror tales from the darkest and most brilliant minds in comics and prose. Featuring an introduction by American Vampire, The Wake, and Severed writer Scott Snyder, and a frightful feature on the history of horror comics, through their rotten rise and dreadful decline by comic book historian Mike Howlett!

GARCIA_Unbreakable_HC

10. Unbreakable

Artist: ?
Author: Kami Garcia
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

I never believed in ghosts.
Until one tried to kill me.
 
When Kennedy Waters finds her mother dead, she doesn’t realize that paranormal forces are responsible–not until mysterious identical twins Jared and Lukas Lockhart break into her room and destroy a deadly spirit sent to kill her.
Kennedy learns that her mother’s death was no accident, and now she has to take her place in the Legion of the Black Dove–a secret society formed to protect the world from a vengeful demon. A society left in the hands of a misfit group of teens with unique skills: Jared, combat trained, with a temper to match; Lukas, rogue hacker and code breaker; Alara, whose attitude is as powerful as her voodoo protections; and Priest, an engineer capable of making a weapon out of a soda can.
As the teens use their individual talents to battle paranormal entities, they earn their rightful places in the Legion–except for Kennedy, who is left wondering if she is truly one of them.
Can she stay alive long enough to find out–without losing her heart in the process?
Protect Yourself.
What you can’t see CAN hurt you.

 

The Day the Weird Tales Facebook Page Got Hacked

The Weird Tales Magazine Facebook page got hacked the other day and has been mostly posting clickbait content that seems to lead to a spammy website. With more than one million likes, the peanut gallery of the page fans came out in force in order to share their insight into this situation.

Update: Weird Tales is back! Praise Cthulhu!

Here’s an example of the content that has been going up.

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And here are some choice comments.

The Supportive, if a little sociopathic.

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The Mixed Priorities One

9

 

The NSFW

8

 

The Political

7

 

The Frustrated

6

 

The Mixed Messages One

5

 

The Activist

3

 

The Smug One

2

 

The WTF

1

Insensibles

insensibles_xlgOh Insensibles. A movie I saw the trailer for ages ago and tried really hard to find, but failed at the time. I was into occult horror movies at the time. Alas, it was not meant to be. Until now.

Set in Catalonia, Painless weaves two stories: in one, starting during the Spanish Civil War and running through to the ’60s, an asylum attempts to rehabilitate children who feel no pain, by teaching them physical suffering. For some reason these kids habitually injure themselves and others and this is why they need to be locked up in solitary. Hm… In the second, in the present time, a brilliant neurosurgeon who needs a bone marrow transplant, discovers this dark past when he searches for his biological parents.

I finally got a chance to watch it the other night and was mostly disappointed. There wasn’t a lot of supernatural or occult elements in it and they never really did show up either. I’m not sure why it was such a big deal those kids couldn’t feel any pain. It’s a disease that is real and as far as I know, people who have it don’t light themselves on fire or eat their own flesh on purpose. They just have to be careful to not injure themselves and unwittingly die from blood loss or something. The plot mostly follows one of the kids, probably because he’s the most hardcore of all (dude cuts a nurse’s Achilles tendon for slapping him around).

One of the writers of Insensibles is behind Rec (not bad!) and Rec 3 (kinda bad), but I’m not sure who to place the blame on for the pacing of this flick. You could have easily cut out twenty minutes before Berkano (nurse slashing kid experiences a rebirth as a torturer) shows up.

alexbrendemuhlinsensibles

I don’t want to say it was closer to Hellboy than say, Ninth Gate, but… it could easily have been a BPRD case, what with the Nazis and the super creepy torturer guy who can’t feel pain and lives in the ruble of an old prison. In that sense, it wasn’t bad. The Berkano dude was pretty creepy (he was also in Snowpiercer) and I really wish we had gotten to that point sooner and given him more screen time.

Spoilers after the break.

Painless_1_7_31_12

The point the movie largely fails for me is the ending. Such a cop-out. It doesn’t really resolve anything, and whatever meaningful implication they tried to point out by showing the protagonist’s baby isn’t enough to save it. So the non-pain feeling guy had a kid and that kid grew up to be a great surgeon but as far as I can see, he fails pain normally and his eyes are fine. So his kid will also…be a surgeon? I don’t know and really, who cares. Bit of a letdown for what could have been pretty interesting.

That aside, the movie had some solid directing and acting, though no real outstanding performances. I can’t stay mad it, but I probably wouldn’t watch it again.

2.5 out of 5 creepy bald fuckers

I Hate Anime: A Guide to Watching Horror Anime – Kore wa Zonbi Desu ka?

A new weekly feature for the blog!

I Hate Anime: A Guide to Watching Horror Anime is the result of my desperate attempts to watch horror animes while at the same time hating anime of any kind with a passion. You ask ”Why do you want to watch it if you don’t like it?”

I don’t have an answer for that. After you find yourself watching ”horror” TV shows from the early 90s because you’ve already seen everything else, watching some anime sounds like an okay proposition. Have you watched the Friday the 13th TV show? Anime should be a breeze.

Why I don’t usually enjoy anime

It’s probably just aesthetics. The animation style is usually lazy and puts me to sleep. More importantly, a lot of anime is creepy as fuck and I feel ashamed after watching it. I am aware there’s ”good” anime out there, I’m not debating that. I’m just talking about large swaths of it. Most of it. You know.

But hey, enough about me, let’s get started.

 

Is This a Zombie? (Kore wa Zonbi Desu ka?)

Ayumu Aikawa is a zombie resurrected by a necromancer named Eucliwood Hellscythe after being killed by a serial killer. As he tries to make the best of his undead life, he encounters a Masō-Shōjo (魔装少女?, lit. Magical Garment Girl, a pun on “mahō shōjo”, meaning magical girl) named Haruna and inadvertently takes her magic powers, being forced to become a Masō-Shōjo (and thereby crossdress) in the process. With Eucliwood, Haruna, and a vampire ninja named Seraphim living with him, Ayumu helps battle demons known as Megalos while trying to figure out the mystery behind his own death.

577778-640x250Episode 1 synopsis, spoilers abound.

So uh…yeah. This kid is a zombie and can’t go out when the sun is up because he’ll dry out. He’s more of an undead guy than a zombie to be honest, since I don’t think he eats any flesh or brains and hasn’t rotted yet. But he can’t be killed, so I guess that makes him a revenant of some kind. For some reason he’s basically the help for a ”necromancer” that looks like a 7 year old girl in knight’s armor.

On his way home he ends up at a cemetery where a huge ass monster of some kind shows up. After being chomped on for a while, another underage girl shows up with a chainsaw and kills the monster. We see her panties a lot. It’s weird as fuck.

[HorribleSubs] Kore wa Zombie desu ka - 01 [720p][12-17-31]

Apparently her dress gives her superpowers? Whatever. She tries to heal the zombie guy (who got chopped in half during the battle) but this makes her dress disappear (because, why not). She follows him home since she is now homeless and destitute. Then more things happened but I zoned out.

Later on he’s at his school when another monster shows up, this one a cool-looking lobster guy that sounds like Zoidberg. I’m not sure what these monsters have against him, but there you go.

[HorribleSubs] Kore wa Zombie desu ka - 01 [720p][12-13-19]

The underage monster hunter ends up without clothes again, but somehow the zombie guy ends up in the dress and proceeds kicks the monsters ass. Everyone in school sees the aftermath and laughs at him, forever branded a pervert.

[HorribleSubs] Kore wa Zombie desu ka - 01 [720p][12-13-53]

 

I chuckled a couple of times at the bizarre antics, but the passive protagonist was grating on me the whole time. This isn’t really a horror anime, it’s definitely a comedy with some ”monsters” thrown in. I doubt the storyline will be at all interesting, but I don’t care enough to find out anyway. Overall, a painless watch, mildly funny but still has all the weird anime tropes.

 

Weirdness Factor: Kinda weird. Girls look underage. The usual panty shots.

Will I watch another episode: Probably not. I laughed when the guy put the dress on like a deranged Power Ranger, but I didn’t really enjoy anything else.

Music: Utterly Forgettable.

Overall: 2 out of 5 Anime Chainsaws.

 

.

Vox Day is up for a Hugo.

It’d be funny if it wasn’t depressing.

Things that Vox Day has said:

 

Jemisin’s disregard for the truth is no different than the average Chicago gangbanger’s disregard for the traditional Western code of civilized conduct. She could, if she wished, claim that privileged white males are responsible for the decline of Detroit, for the declining sales of science fiction, even for the economic and cultural decline of the United States, but that would not make it true. It would not even make it credible. Anyone who is paying sufficient attention will understand who is genuinely responsible for these problems.

Unlike the white males she excoriates, there is no evidence to be found anywhere on the planet that a society of NK Jemisins is capable of building an advanced civilization, or even successfully maintaining one without significant external support from those white males. If one considers that it took my English and German ancestors more than one thousand years to become fully civilized after their first contact with advanced Greco-Roman civilization, it should be patently obvious that it is illogical to imagine, let alone insist, that Africans have somehow managed to do the same in less than half the time at a greater geographic distance. These things take time.

Being an educated, but ignorant half-savage, with little more understanding of what it took to build a new literature by “a bunch of beardy old middle-class middle-American guys” than an illiterate Igbotu tribesman has of how to build a jet engine, Jemisin clearly does not understand that her dishonest call for “reconciliation” and even more diversity within SF/F is tantamount to a call for its decline into irrelevance.

 

and

Further evidence in support of my time-to-civilization hypothesis. At this point, the debate competitions may as well bring in gorillas from the zoo and distribute the “debate” awards on the basis of which primate was able to throw the most fecal matter. That “alternative-style” of debate is no less dialectically legitimate than hip-hop, spoken-word poetry, and appeals to “nigga authenticity”.

If I were a college student these days, I would show up for a debate wearing a dress and smeared red lipstick, and no matter what the resolution was, start rapping very passionately about how the more pressing issue was how the U.S. government refused to let me marry a silverback gorilla. Then I’d turn it over to my partner, Baraka from the National Zoo, who would take a massive dump on the stage before chucking large handfuls of it at the other competitors, hooting and howling all the while.

Best Fantasy and Horror Book Covers for April 2014

A new feature for the Aghast blog: A Book Cover Top 10 of the month. Each month, I check out the upcoming releases in the genres of horror, fantasy and sci-fi and pick my favorite 10 covers to feature.

Tracking down the artists is the hardest part of the whole thing and I have failed in more than one case this month. A few words about the list: I included only novels, novellas and anthologies. So no comic books or magazines. I tried to link to each book’s Amazon page, each artist’s portfolio and each publisher’s website. I didn’t always succeed in finding them.

If you find an omission, please let me know.

In any case, check out these covers and maybe buy some cool books!

 

dragon-age-masked-empire-large

1. Dragon Age: The Masked Empire

Artist: Ramil Sunga
Author: Patrick Weekes
Publisher: Tor Books

Journey into the darkest and deadliest part of Orlais, where the weight of titles matters less than the strength of blades. Empress Celene of Orlais rose to the throne of the most powerful nation in Thedas through wisdom, wit, and ruthless manipulation. Now the empire she has guided into an age of enlightenment is threatened from within by imminent war between the templars and the mages, even as rebellion stirs among the downtrodden elves. To save Orlais, Celene must keep her hold on the throne by any means necessary.

lovecraftsmonters

2. Lovecraft’s Monsters

Artist: John Coulthart
Editor: Ellen Datlow
Publisher: Tachyon Publications

Prepare to meet the wicked progeny of the master of modern horror. In Lovecraft’s Monsters, H. P. Lovecraft’s most famous creations—Cthulhu, Shoggoths, Deep Ones, Elder Things, Yog-Sothoth, and more, appear in all their terrifying glory. Each story is a gripping new take on a classic Lovecraftian creature, and each is accompanied by a spectacular original illustration that captures the monsters’ unique visage.

Contributors include such literary luminaries as Neil Gaiman, Joe R. Lansdale, Caitlín R. Kiernan, Karl Edward Wagner, Elizabeth Bear, and Nick Mamatas. The monsters are lovingly rendered in spectacular original art by World Fantasy Award–winning artist John Coulthart (The Steampunk Bible).

Legions of Lovecraft fans continue to visit his bizarre landscapes and encounter his unrelenting monsters. Now join them in their journey…if you dare.

 

GALLOW

3. The Crimson Shield

Artist: Alejandro Colucci
Author: Nathan Hawke
Publisher: Gollancz

I have been Truesword to my friends, Griefbringer to my enemies. To most of you I am just another Northlander bastard here to take your women and drink your mead, but to those who know me, my name is Gallow. I fought for my king for seven long years. I have served lords and held my shield beside common men. I have fled in defeat and I have tasted victory and I will tell you which is sweeter. Despise me then, for I have slain more of your kin than I can count, though I remember every single face. For my king I will travel to the end of the world. I will find the fabled Crimson Shield so that his legions may carry it to battle, and when Sword and Shield must finally clash, there you will find me. I will not make pacts with devils or bargains with demons for I do not believe in such things, and yet I will see them all around me, in men and in their deeds. Remember me then, for I will not suffer such monsters to live. Even if they are the ones I serve.

HouseIvySorrow_front

4. House of Ivy and Sorrow

Artist: God forbid HarperTeen mention their artist
Author: Natalia Whipple
Publisher: HarperTeen

Transparent author Natalie Whipple is back with another refreshing blend of realistic romance and light-hearted humor with a one-of-a-kind paranormal touch. Fans of Charmed, Kiersten White’s Paranormalcy trilogy, and Maggie Stiefvater’s The Raven Boys won’t want to miss this spellbinding contemporary tale of magic, first love, and high-stakes danger.

Jo Hemlock is not your typical witch. Outside the walls of her grandmother’s ivy-covered house, she’s kept her magical life completely separate from her life in high school. But when the Curse that killed her mother resurfaces, it threatens to destroy not only her life but her grandmother’s too—and keeping her secret may no longer be an option.

 

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5. Masters of the Weird Tale: Carl Jacobi

Artist: David Ho
Author: Carl Jacobi
Publisher: Centipede Press

This title in our Masters of the Weird Tale series focuses on the weird fiction of pulp master Carl Jacobi, and is introduced by John Pelan. Over sixty stories are collected in a large hardcover edition, featuring original artwork. A large number of stories have never before been collected in book format.

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6. The Last Weekend

Artist: Pedro Marques
Author: Nick Mamatas
Publisher: PSPublishing

Meet Vasilis ‘Billy’ Kostopolos: Bay Area Rust Belt refugee, failed sci-fi writer, successful barfly and, since an exceptionally American zombie apocalypse, accomplished ‘driller’ of reanimated corpses. Now that all the sane, well-adjusted human beings are hunted to extinction, he’s found his vocation trepanning zombies, peddling his one and only published short story and drinking himself to death—that is, until both his girlfriends turn out to be homicidal revolutionaries, he collides with a gang of Berkeley scientists gone berserker, the long-awaited ‘Big One’ finally strikes San Francisco, and what’s left of local government can no longer hide the awful secret lurking deep in the basement of City Hall. Can Bill unearth the truth about America’s demise and San Francisco’s survival—and will he destroy what little’s left of it in the process? Is he legend, the last man, or just another sucker on the vine? Nick Mamatas’ The Last Weekend takes a high-powered drill to the lurching, groaning conventions of zombie dystopias and conspiracy thrillers, sparing no cliché about tortured artists, alcoholic ‘genius’, noir action heroes, survivalist dogma, or starry-eyed California dreaming. Starting in booze-soaked but very clear-eyed cynicism and ending in gloriously uncozy catastrophe, this tale of a man and his city’s last living days is merciless, uncomfortably perceptive, and bleakly hilarious.

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7. City of the Iron Fish

Artist: Jeffery Alan Love
Author: Simon Ings
Publisher: Gollancz

Simon Ings has written a surreal adventure probing the very fabric of existence, tearing it open to reveal a sometimes horrifying world within. It is a work that will delight any fan of China Mieville. Only a fool would question the strange magics that maintain the cool haven of the City of the Iron Fish in the middle of an inferno of scorching heat and splintered rock, for the well-watered streets of the city hide secrets in their shadows. Thomas Kemp is just such a fool…And embarks on a journey that will take him to the limits of reality. It may kill him, worse, that may not be enough. Especially as it is his only friend, Blythe, who may discover the secret of the city’s isolation.

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8. The Bird Eater

Artist: Cyanotype Book Architects
Author: Ania Ahlborn
Publisher: 47North

Twenty years ago, the mysterious death of his aunt left Aaron Holbrook orphaned and alone. He abandoned his rural Arkansas hometown vowing never to return, until his seven-year-old son died in an accident, plunging Aaron into a nightmare of addiction and grief. Desperate to reclaim a piece of himself, he returns to the hills of his childhood, to Holbrook House, where he hopes to find peace among the memories of his youth. But solace doesn’t come easy. Someone—or something—has other plans.

Like Aaron, Holbrook House is but a shell of what it once was, a target for vandals and ghost hunters who have nicknamed it “the devil’s den.” Aaron doesn’t believe in the paranormal—at least, not until a strange boy begins following him wherever he goes. Plagued by violent dreams and disturbing visions, Aaron begins to wonder if he’s losing his mind. But a festering darkness lurks at the heart of Holbrook House…a darkness that grins from within the shadows, delighting in Aaron’s sorrow, biding its time.

 

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9. The Keys to the Realms

Artist: Mark Winters
Author: Roberta Trahan
Publisher: 47North

In this sequel to The Well of Tears, the last bastion of magic standing against the dark forces threatening the prophecy of the Ancients has narrowly escaped destruction—wrought by the sorcery of one of its own. Reeling from loss and betrayal, the Stewardry at Fane Gramarye is in chaos. The young acolyte Glain is called to replace the traitor as Proctor and serve the new Sovereign. It has fallen to Alwen to lead the order and find the remaining Guardians of the Realms and their keys of power. Only then will the king of the prophecy win his throne.

When assassins breach the protective veil surrounding the Fane, an unexpected evil is revealed. The renegade mage Machreth has garnered new allies and his agents might already have infiltrated the ranks of the order. Glain must discover where the treachery lies before Machreth bends destiny to his will, but the truth is shrouded by secrets. Though her visionary powers are strong, there are things Glain can’t foresee. Can she still trust those she calls her friends—or her own heart? For even Glain has something to hide…

 

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10. Dorothy Must Die

Artist: Pokemon slave labor
Author: Danielle Paige
Publisher: HarperCollins

I didn’t ask for any of this. I didn’t ask to be some kind of hero. But when your whole life gets swept up by a tornado—taking you with it—you have no choice but to go along, you know? Sure, I’ve read the books. I’ve seen the movies. I know the song about the rainbow and the happy little blue birds. But I never expected Oz to look like this. To be a place where Good Witches can’t be trusted, Wicked Witches may just be the good guys, and winged monkeys can be executed for acts of rebellion. There’s still the yellow brick road, though—but even that’s crumbling.
What happened?
Dorothy. They say she found a way to come back to Oz. They say she seized power and the power went to her head. And now no one is safe.
My name is Amy Gumm—and I’m the other girl from Kansas. I’ve been recruited by the Revolutionary Order of the Wicked. I’ve been trained to fight. And I have a mission: Remove the Tin Woodman’s heart. Steal the Scarecrow’s brain. Take the Lion’s courage. Then and only then—Dorothy must die!