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Slashers & Serial Killers In Review : The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974)

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Starring: Marilyn Burns, Allen Danziger, Paul A. Partain, William Vail, Teri McMinn, Edwin Neal, Jim Siedow, John Dugan, and Gunnar Hansen as Leatherface.

Written By: Kim Henkel and Tobe Hooper

Directed By: Tobe Hooper

Synopsis: A brother and sister set out with their friends to check on the grave of their grandfather after hearing about instances of grave robbing and vandalism. After taking a detour to their family’s old farmhouse, they discover and soon become victims to a family of crazed, murderous cannibals.  Continue Reading

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For Tom

I hope you will forgive me the indulgence of sharing some personal thoughts with you this week. Don’t worry, it won’t be long before we return to the blood and guts as normal.

This past week, an old friend of mine passed away after a long struggle with an illness. I don’t want to use his full name out of respect for his privacy so I’m just going to call him Tom, enough that family and friends of mine should know who I’m talking about.

I found out this past Friday that he had passed the night before and it was a pretty tough gut shot to hear. Obviously, when someone has been sick for some time, the end shouldn’t come as a shock on an intellectual level. Still, when the moment passes you are inevitably left with the feelings of depressive regret for all the things you wish you had done differently, as if fate grabs you by the head and wrenches it around backward, forcing you to devote all your attention to what is behind, now gone forever.

Essentially, the exact opposite of what I suspect Tom would have wanted from us.

I worked closely with Tom, starting in the mid-nineties. He came into my life in that informative phase, when you are just starting to get some legs under you and figuring out what the hell the world is (as an adult). I think for most of us, if you cast back, you can come across certain key people in your life who, maybe without their knowing it, had a profound effect on your development. Not in the same way children grow but in the sense that you float about in the world, striving for examples of what you think you would want to be seen as, in the prime of your adulthood.

I wanted to have Tom’s mind. He had one of the sharpest, most intuitive intellects I think I have ever had the luck to come across. He could carry on an informed discussion on just about everything. His knowledge of wine and food was unmatched in my experience as well as his passion for culture. He could talk about philosophy or he could talk about sports. What I remember learning the most from Tom is that it can be cool to be smart. And he carried his intellect with an equal weight of humility. I don’t think I ever felt a sense from him that he thought he was special or above anyone else.

I wanted to have Tom’s books. He was an avid reader and I always saw him with a book in his hands, whether it be at work or when he was out and about, walking from point A to point B (in all the time I knew him, Tom never owned a car. Or if he did, he never used it). Tom was well read and well spoken. I saw in tribute that compared him to Bukowski and I think it’s actually a pretty astute comparison. This was a man who struck out into the world and made it his, in turn introducing all of us to the person that could only ever be him. I never had the guts to show Tom any of my writing, mostly because I was sure he would call it out for the unparalleled, putrid shit that it really was. Because if there was one thing that described Tom to the letter, it’s that he was honest. If he thought something, he would tell you.

I wanted to have Tom’s music collection. Before I met him, Tom worked at one of the respected indie music stores in town and I can only imagine how extensive and eclectic his collection might have been. I have always held the belief that flipping through Tom’s records would be like taking a walking tour of rock and blues, probably some country and jazz, most of which I would not have ever heard of. I always thirsted for Tom’s knowledge and awareness of music and on more than one occasion, I tried to pick his brain to get some tips on the cool bands to check out.

I wanted to have Tom’s wine collection. This is the big one because I’m willing to bet those that knew him would agree that there would be some pretty phenomenal bottles in there. He practically built the wine department at our store single-handed, building a network of loyal customers, many of which are still with us to this day. He blazed out with a refined palate and built things of greatness.

Nothing in our life is permanent. We all know this, and we get reminders of it all the time. I can still remember the last conversation I had with Tom, mostly for the triviality of our encounter, more than anything else. How much I would like to drop down into myself in that moment and really tell him how I felt, how important of a friend I had always considered him to be.

I never had that chance, obviously. So, I do the best I can with what has been left behind, to earn the life I have and to enjoy the things which Tom no longer can. I always held Tom in the highest regard and respect. I consider myself privileged to have been able to spend time with him and to take away some of that vast bank vault of wisdom and knowledge contained in that head of his. He was an individual who dared to be himself in a world that often seems to worship normality, a reminder that sometimes it’s important to question things and think about things.

Thank you, Tom. May whatever waters you now sail across be forever a source of peace and comfort to you. Thank you for being a part of our lives. Yours is a mark that will stay with me for a long time to come.

Thank you.

D3mini

Chad A. Clark is an author of horror and science fiction. For more information on his literary universe, check out his official website or take a peek at his Amazon author page


Winward, Chapter One

Chad A. Clark’s newest novella is now available for sale. Take an exclusive look at the first chapter. Follow the link below to get your copy today!

WINWARD COVER

Dianne sprinted through the front door. Her gaze fell on the outline of her car in the dark but before she could fish her keys out of her pocket, she tripped and pitched forward. The rotting wood of the steps splintered, and her arms ripped over exposed nails, drawing blood in deep gashes. The impact at the bottom caused her to bite down hard on her tongue, followed by the rusty taste of blood filling her mouth. She wanted to curl up on the ground, beg for sympathy that she knew would not be offered.

But she had to keep moving.

Gripping the keys tightly in her hand, she pushed herself to her feet and staggered to the car. It took several stabs before she scraped the key in, shoving it home as she finally lined it up.

Something was in the lock.

Dianne stared at it, shaking her head. This was the exact same thing she did every day when she left for work in the morning. Position the key, insert and turn. She didn’t understand what wasn’t working. Bending down, she peered into the tiny opening, squinting through the low light. She could just catch a reflection off of metal. Something had been jammed into the lock and snapped off. She ran around to the other side, only to find the lock filled there as well.

“God dammit!” she screamed, looking for anything on the ground she could use to smash the glass. A broken window in the grand scheme of things would be preferable if it meant she could get out of town and stay safe.

A popping sound rang out through the night, one she did not fully identify until she felt the impact. She blinked, suddenly on the ground and on her back as she heaved, trying to catch her breath. Pain flared out from her shoulder and she looked at the burned and collapsed flesh, now oozing darkened blood into her shirt. She reached over to touch the wound but before her fingers even made contact, her head filled with a high-pitched ringing and the pain made the world spin. She tried to move the arm, but the injured shoulder seemed to be blocking all signals as it proved to be unresponsive.

Dianne rolled over onto her good shoulder and pushed up, leaning against the car to struggle back to her feet. There wasn’t time. All she had left was to run. Gravel scraped under her feet as she shuffled towards the road, much slower than she had been running before. The pain flared with every step and she gritted her teeth to keep from screaming. If she could get away from the house, she would have a chance. She might be able to get away from this maniac.

She heard the engine revving before she felt the impact. Half turning, she had just enough time to see the car door swinging open to meet her, lifting her off her feet. She spun in the air, landing on her side. Rolling out of control, she began to tumble down the embankment. From somewhere within herself, she heard a snapping sound and wondered vaguely what she had broken.

On the road above her, she heard the sound of his car coming back. It crunched the rocks and debris as it came to a stop and the headlights speared out into the dark above her as she caught the sound of the door opening.

Broken bones or not, she had to get away. Lying there would only get her killed. She couldn’t just give up. Pain lanced up her leg when she tried to stand and she dropped back to the ground. She rolled over, grabbing fistfuls of grass and weeds as she tried to pull herself away. The will to live propelled her, even as she listened to the sound of his footsteps approaching.

“Son of a bitch.” She heard herself starting to cry. How had she ever thought she could get away from him in the first place? Even if she did elude him, she would likely just end up passing out somewhere.

A work boot came down on her shoulder and applied pressure. Pain surged through her as the wound pulled open. After several seconds, the foot let up, but just enough to hook underneath her arm and roll her over onto her back. She heard the dry click of a revolver.

“Please.”

She knew it was pointless, hated herself for being so weak, for giving him the satisfaction of seeing that weakness. But in the end, her panic forced her to grab for whatever straw she could think of. “Please. Please don’t, I—”

He knelt and brought the barrel of the gun down until she felt the cool metal against her forehead. Her pleading increased in pitch, rushing up towards panic.

“Please don’t do this. You don’t have to…you can’t—”

The single shot drowned out Dianne’s screams and silenced her forever.

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Winward is available for the Kindle and in paperback. It is also available to read for free for Kindle Unlimited subscribers. 

 


Slashers & Serial Killers In Review: Friday The 13th (1980), part two

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As today is Friday, the Thirteenth, we had a moral and ethical obligation to pay homage to one of the biggest slasher films of all time. So of course we had more than  one angle on the issue.

What scares me?

That’s a big question, one that I would have a hard time capturing in one essay. So in the context of this review, what originally scared me when I was introduced to this horror genre in which I now reside?

Horror has had a long and storied history in the cinema, dating back over a hundred years of style, mood and atmosphere. And I was lucky enough to board the ship right in the middle of one of the renaissances of the genre.

What scared the hell out of me was the realism of movies in the late seventies and eighties. Check out the work of George Romero and Wes Craven and you can see what I’m talking about.  These films weren’t about the beautiful fantasy and magic of Hollywood. This was about making you feel like you stumbled across a crime in progress and you don’t dare move, lest you be spotted yourself. This is about being placed in front of something that you can’t bring yourself to turn away from.  Continue Reading


Slashers & Serial Killers In Review : Friday The 13th (1980), part one

F13 4Tonight we take a look at one of the big four.  I mean, really, when one hears the word SLASHER, four characters jump to mind, right? Freddy Krueger, Michael Meyers, Leatherface and of course, Jason Voorhees.

There are countless other stalker killers out there, but for some reason, these four are synonymous with the word slasher.  It doesn’t seem to matter that there were slashers before and after these classics were made, these are the Grandaddies of the slasher family. Take it or leave it.  One might make a case for Chucky, The Firefly Clan and others, and while terrifying and time-tested, in my opinion, Chucky has become a lampoon of himself and The Fireflys were only in two(?) movies.  That’s not to say that Jason and Freddy haven’t become parodies either, but that’s a topic for another day.  Today we talk about the birth of all things Camp Crystal Lake and why teenagers of the 80’s didn’t want to go to camp.  Continue Reading


Routine Reports, by Chad A. Clark

Routine Reports

“I’m telling you, it was dead bodies.”

Larry looked up from the coffee, now halfway between the desktop and his mouth and decided to set it down.

“You’re going to have to run that one past me again, Gervais.”

“Dead bodies.”

“You mean like road kill? I guess you need permits to transport stuff like that, but I can tell you that stretch of road has been due for a cleanup since—”

“Not animals, you idiot. Human bodies. Flatbed trailer piled high with human bones.”

Larry dropped the pen onto the desk and took his glasses off. He looked around the mostly empty station, wondering why he had passed on the opportunity to go home early when it had been offered. No, he had to stick around for the shit-bird shift, because a few extra hours of crap pay would surely make it all worthwhile. He had taken some crazy complaints over the years, including one person who insisted that aliens had sucked his eyeballs out through his nose, to replace them with new ones that they had made out of melted jello. This was already shaping up to be one of the top five.

“Gervais, just…just go over it again for me, all right?”

Gervais rolled his eyes and shook his head, clearly never having been so put out as this. “I was driving south, down the I-ten. I’m workin’ that graveyard again, so I’m used to pretty much having the road to myself.”

“Okay, with you so far.”

“I had just passed that big, old oak tree, the one out Cider Lane? Anyway, I’m driving along when all of a sudden, this big ass truck is right next to me, weaving in and out of my lane. I almost pulled off onto the shoulder just to get away from the idiot.”

“Uh-huh.”

Big son of a bitch. The truck I mean. I couldn’t believe it could even go that fast.”

“Yeah, I bet.” Larry paused in the middle of the tiny sketch on his notepad long enough to write, “Big son of a bitch,” saying it out loud to satisfy Gervais.

“It was just a flatbed, no covered trailer and when it passed, I figured he was just hauling firewood or something. But I looked again, and I shit you not, that thing was covered in human bones.”

“Gervais—”

“Just shut up one damn minute. I’ve been hunting these woods my whole life. I know the God damned difference between animal and human bones.”

“Gervais, what are you expecting me to do here, really? I know for a fact that you were at Rusty’s Tap tonight.”

He put out a shaky finger as he spoke, “Hold those horses there, that got nothing to do with—”

“Now you’re telling me you were driving home, probably shit-faced, and that you saw a flatbed truck covered in human bones.”

“It’s what happened.”

Larry let out a sigh. “Gervais, I’m sure you actually believe that. But what do you think is going to happen if I were to put all of that in an official report? I end up eating government cheese and you end up sucking your meals through a straw.”

“I saw what I saw.”

“Can you at least tell me anything about the truck? Make and model? Any markings? Did you get a clear look at the driver? Any logos on the mud-flaps? Flag in the window? Did you catch the plate number?”

“No, but—”

Larry put his hand out again to stop him. “No, to which question?”

“Any of ‘em, I guess. I didn’t see anything else, otherwise I’d tell you about it.”

Larry closed the notepad and clicked the pen shut. He straightened his tie as he pushed back from the desk.

“Gervais, I’m going to do you a favor. I’m not taking this report. No one would believe whatever it is you have to say and to be honest, I don’t want my name attached to it. Go home, sleep it off. Trust me, you’ll thank me in the morning, if you even remember any of this.”

“If I’m even here in the morning,” he muttered.

“What?”

Gervais shook his head, gaze still dropped to the floor. “Don’t matter none.”

“Come on, it’s one thing to come in here, spouting off about seeing dead bodies on a truck, but now you’re saying someone is actually after you?”

“You don’t see something like that—”

“Gervais, you didn’t—”

“You don’t SEE something like that without getting yourself into some bad trouble in the long run, see? They won’t let me stick around, not after what I saw.”

“Who are you talking about?”

Gervais leaned in so close that Larry reflexively winced at the chariot of scotch fumes driven out of his mouth, with the stench of tobacco at the reins.

“Don’t matter who ‘they’ is, you dummy. It’s all the same in the end. As it stands, I’ll do what I can, head for home and grab whatever I need. Then I’m smackin’ pavement.”

“Gervais, don’t do anything stupid.”

“Stupid would be staying here. So, unless you’re planning on arresting me…” Larry shook his head and nodded towards the door. He frowned at the sight of Gervais struggling to stand up.

“Are you hurt?”

“Naw. God damned, son of a bitching prosthetic in my knee. Titanium, my ass. Might as well be made out of paper clips.”

Larry watched him stumble out of the station, fairly sure that it was the booze making him wobble, more than the prosthetic.

The rest of the night was boring, by comparison. More drunks, a few domestics, a dog attack. No trucks. No bodies. Not that he was expecting any.

It was late before he got onto the road, choosing to take the I-ten south to avoid the stoplights. For a change, there was no traffic for him to contend with as he made his way up to cruising speed. His autopilot had kicked in so strongly that he almost didn’t see the truck. He heard it before he saw it, the heavy sound of springs protesting, the flatbed jerking forward and clanking against the cab. He glanced to his left as the truck passed, rust glaring in the moonlight. Somehow, the truck was managing to accelerate past him and in a moment, he felt his jaw start to go slack and he immediately wished that he had taken the report more seriously.

The flatbed was covered in human remains.

Bones and skulls with bits of flesh and blood, clinging to what was left of the their former bodies. He had written off the whole thing as a joke, a drunken delusion and now he found himself having to focus well enough to keep his car on the road. Then, as the back end of the truck passed he saw, perched on the very top of a pile, wobbling as if it was about to fall off, what looked like a leg bone. It lay there, mocking him, polished to a near sheen. The lights from his high beams reflected back at him, off of the titanium prosthetic where the knee had once been.

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To see more short fiction like this, take a look at Chad’s collections, A Shade For Every Season and Two Bells At Dawn.

D3mini

Chad A. Clark is an author of horror and science fiction. For more information on his literary universe, check out his official website or take a peek at his Amazon author page

 


Slashers & Serial Killers In Review : Bay Of Blood (1971)

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Fans of Bava’s films know they are more about style than plot. The revolutionary use of color and framing create mood and atmosphere that leave a deep impression.  A BAY OF BLOOD is loose and sometimes confusing, but it set the tone for many important films to come after it. The main film is, of course, Sean Cunningham’s FRIDAY THE 13th.

A BAY OF BLOOD centers around the inhabitants of a small bay. Countess Frida, (Isa Miranda,) is murdered by her husband, who is then himself murdered. The murders set off a chaotic chain of events as neighbors and family members fight and back stab each other for control of the bay. Among them is Simon, (Claudio Camaso,) the Countess’s illegitimate son; Renata (Claudine Auger),  his step sister, and her husband Albert (Luigi Pistilli); Frank (Chris Avram,) a greedy businessman and his secretary Laura (Anna Maria Rosati), and card reader Anna (Laura Betti), spreading doom and gloom with her insect loving husband. There is also a side story of two young couples camping out in one of the empty houses and falling prey to the killer. The ending involving Renata and Albert’s children also makes no real sense.  Continue Reading


Ittan Momen, by Chad A. Clark

Ittan Momen

Lillith hadn’t paid the thing any mind at first, just a piece of stray laundry, caught in the breeze that was floating her way. It looked like an elongated sheet, maybe a runner for an end table, something that had pulled free from the line it had been drying on.

The thought that froze her in her tracks was when it occurred to her that the sheet was floating against the wind.

She spun around at the sound of rustling fabric behind her, and she was immediately wrapped up in a flurry of white.

As she threw her arms up to try and clear the thing away, she was lifted partially off the ground and spun around several times, until her head started to swim. Her arms dropped back down to their sides, and the thing quickly wrapped around, pinning them to her body while throwing her roughly to the ground. It was almost funny to think what this must look like to a passer-by, to see her writhing around hopelessly inside of someone’s lost bed linens.

Except that it wasn’t a sheet.

It had looked like white cotton as it flitted about through the air, but as it pulled tighter around her, it felt like flesh. She tried to rip through it with her nails, but couldn’t come even close to breaking through. She tried to scream out for help, but could no longer draw in enough breath to do so. The absurdity of the situation as she toppled over backwards was infuriating. Her legs were now fully tangled up in the thing as it seemed to have unlimited length. All she could feel was the mounting pressure around her body.

Every part of her was now covered, save for her face. She thought that she could hear whispers, spoken softly in her ear in a language that she could not understand. Then, the thing moved up and around her eyes, obscuring the world around her in a translucent fog of white. It continued wrapping around, covering her nose, and now forcing its way into her mouth, down her throat. In that final moment, her last thoughts were of struggling in vain for air that she would never taste again.

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To see more short fiction like this, take a look at Chad’s collections, A Shade For Every Season and Two Bells At Dawn.

D3mini

Chad A. Clark is an author of horror and science fiction. For more information on his literary universe, check out his official website or take a peek at his Amazon author page


Slashers & Serial Killers In Review : The Devil’s Rejects (2005)

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Rob Zombie knows movies, and he takes his knowledge of and passion for film and applies it to his own projects.  Sometimes he is successful in his execution, sometimes he isn’t.  It all boils down to personal preference.  When it comes to The Devil’s Rejects, I believe he was successful.

This film came out in 2005 and is the follow-up to House of 1000 Corpses.  It follows the Firefly family as they attempt to escape the law.  The film is a mash up of different genres, including crime films and sexploitation, drawing heavily from slasher films with murder and gore to beat the band.  Continue Reading


Slashers & Serial Killers In Review : Scream (1996) DOUBLE FEATURE part 2

kinopoisk.ruFor a significant number of years, the concept of slasher movies fell away. The major horror franchises of Friday the 13th, Nightmare on Elm St. and Halloween found themselves struggling to stay relevant with the demographic that made them classics. Meanwhile, in 1996, a single question stirred a new generation:

Do you like scary movies? 

Continue Reading