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Posts tagged “Sisters of Slaughter

Fright Fest: Dead Alive/Brain Dead (1992)

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The most brutal lawn mower ever filmed: Deal Alive.

When I was a child I watched the original Night of the Living Dead one Fourth of July and totally regretted it. We parked out in the desert to watch the fireworks show taking place over at a local high school, something I usually enjoyed, but I couldn’t help but cower in fear wondering if a pack of flesh eating zombies were going to come eat my entire family. For years after that I shied away from watching zombie flicks because they scared the shit out of me. When I became a teenager I decided to stop being a wussy and began educating myself in the world of the walking dead.  Continue Reading

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Book Featurette: Mayan Blue

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Xibalba, home of torture and sacrifice, is the kingdom of the lord of death. He stalked the night in the guise of a putrefied corpse, with the head of an owl and adorned with a necklace of disembodied eyes that hung from nerve cords. He commanded legions of shapeshifting creatures, spectral shamans, and corpses hungry for the flesh of the living. The Mayans feared him and his realm of horror. He sat atop his pyramid temple surrounded by his demon kings and demanded sacrifices of blood and beating hearts as a tribute to him and his ghostly world. These legends, along with those that lived in fear of them, have been dead and gone for centuries. Yet now, a doorway has been opened in Georgia. A group of college students seek their missing professor, a man who has secretly uncovered the answer to one of history’s greatest mysteries. However, what they find is more than the evidence of a hidden civilization. It’s also a gateway to a world of living nightmares.

Mayan Blue according to reviewers:

“Mayan Blue is my first exposure the authors, who seem to have built up their reputation far prior to my reading of this. Frankly, I’m kicking myself in the butt for it. I’m not sure if anyone has seen the Fred Olen Ray film SCALPS, but if that film had been made with some artistic ability, 20 times the budget and production value…I am pretty sure we would have Mayan Blue. This is a very, very good thing. I love the hell out of this book, and if you’re a fan of the gorier, faster-paced stuff, I’m pretty sure you will too. Subtle and gentle horror? It’s not for you. For me, MAYAN BLUE has me anxiously awaiting the sister’s next book!” -Brandon St. Pierre

“I thoroughly enjoyed Mayan Blue, the debut novel from sisters Michelle Garza and Melissa Lason. This fast-paced, action-packed thrill ride is guaranteed to entertain and scare readers. The characters are well-developed and relatable, especially Wes. His desire to protect Alissa is heartfelt and compelling. I loved the detail and effort put into creating the mythos and creatures. The gory details are what make horror lovers like me smile. I can’t wait for their next release” -Amazon Reviewer.

“Let me start off by saying, this book is bonkers. And I mean that in the best possible way. Quick synopsis: A small group of students search for their missing professor, who has opened a portal to the Mayan Underworld somewhere in Georgia. Mayan Blue is a lot of things. It’s horror, dark fantasy, and adventure all rolled into one kick-ass, balls-to-the-wall action story. It’s like if Tomb Raider and The Ruins got frisky with Nightbreed and the three of them had a baby. If there’s one thing you need to know going in, note that it’s a bloodbath. You’d think the Sisters of Slaughter would be a dead giveaway, but just when you think there can’t possibly be more blood to spill, these authors find away to cut and slice, rip and mutilate. While the story borrows some cheesy 80’s slasher cliches (which I love), the book manages to stay fresh and imaginative, and that’s due to the writers’ keen eye for world-building. I loved the way they painted the Mayan underworld, Xibalba, with such detail. Rich descriptive narratives and beautiful dark prose elevate what could have been a very routine, gore-reliant killfest into one of the most impressive debut novels I’ve read in quite some time. Debut novels often sport flaws, and while Mayan Blue isn’t perfect, it’s a damn fine story with great pacing, perfect for killing off an afternoon or two. I enjoyed Mayan Blue and recommend it to anyone who’s a fan of old-school Brian Keene novels, horror that goes for the throat instead of chills. There’s not many lulls between the action. Bloody entertaining. I can’t wait to see what the Sisters of Slaughter come up with next. So, in all – READ THIS BOOK. Just remember to bring a barf bag. You might need it. This book is metal” -Tim Meyer. 

You can purchase your copy of Mayan Blue for the low price of $2.99.

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Michelle is from Arizona. She writes alongside her twin sister, Melissa Lason. They have been dubbed The Sisters of Slaughter. They write horror, science fiction and dark fantasy. Their work has been featured in FRESH MEAT by Sinister Grin Press, WISHFUL THINKING by fireside press, WIDOWMAKERS a benefit anthology of dark fiction and Michelle had a poem included in the POETRY SHOWCASE VOLUME ONE put out by the HWA. They have stories soon to be released in anthologies by JEA, including REJECTED FOR CONTENT 3, FATA ARCANA and MALES VS FEMALES.

Fright Fest: The Curse of the Werewolf (1961)

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We were introduced to the beast in the form of the original The Wolf Man. Lon Chaney Jr. captured our attention at the age of five. We were intrigued by this seemingly average man who by a stroke of bad luck is cursed to become a wolf when the wolfbane blooms and the autumn moon is bright. After watching the stop-motion magic of his transformation there was no going back, we became lifelong werewolf fans. This article, however, is a tribute to another beast that reached out through our television screen to grip our hearts. We don’t hold back on this one, we absolutely love The Curse of the werewolf starring Oliver Reed. It has become a staple of our horror viewing, especially around Halloween. We sat back to enjoy it again with a few drinks, so here it is, our completely biased review and a rundown of a classic werewolf flick.

It’s a hammer horror classic, which should indicate that it’s going to be super amazing. It begins by opening on a view of beastly eyes as credits roll over them, tears fall from them signifying the torment in the monster’s heart. The story is set in Spain, telling the tale of a beggar in times long ago, over two hundred years ago in fact. The wanderer comes upon a village and is not well received. The beggar is refused food and drink and is sent to the castle to see if the Marques was in a charitable mood…of course, he’s not, that powdered wig wearing asshole!

The Beggar is humiliated before everyone at the Marque’s wedding feast. The Marque’s new bride isn’t impressed by his dickery as her new husband proceeds to get the poor homeless guy drunk and make him sing and act the fool for food. The beggar says some offhanded comments and is then thrown in the dungeon and time passes.

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The only people who look after the poor bastard is the jailor and his daughter, who grows up to be a total babe. She fends off the Marques who tries to get touchy feely by biting the old turd but gets thrown in the dungeon. They force her into the same cell with the old beggar who by this time is animalistic from years of being on lock down. The ungrateful old shit-ass repays her years of feeding him by forcing himself on her. At this point we don’t feel sorry for him, it doesn’t matter how he was treated by the Marques it’s no excuse for attacking the poor girl. So when he dies right after violating her it actually makes us cheer on the grim reaper. She is then forced to “Apologize” to the Marques. He thinks it’s his lucky day until she stabs him to death! YEEESSSSSS!!

She flees into the night and lives in the forest until the narrator, Don Alfredo, finds her and takes her home so he and his housekeeper, Teresa, can care for her. They discover she’s pregnant and that she can’t speak. The baby is born on Christmas day; many who follow the mythology of werewolves will tell you that is a bad omen. The poor young woman dies soon after giving birth, leaving the child in the care of Don Alfredo and his housekeeper. When they try to baptize the baby, the bath of holy water gets all crazy…some serious foreshadowing as to the child’s future.

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It flashes forward to a slaughtered goat, its throat was torn open. Young Leon has grown into a boy, who gets squeamish at the sight of blood and oddly doesn’t seem hungry though his adoptive aunt tries to coax him into eating. That night the watchman, Pepe, waits beneath a full moon hoping to kill the wolves or wolf that has been plaguing the village. A howl makes him jumpy and he shoots at something. The audience finds out that mysteriously the boy has been seriously injured. His aunt and uncle care for him and discover he was shot which seems impossible since they never saw the boy leave his bedroom the night before. They both know then that there is something strange about the boy. His uncle doesn’t want to believe he could be a werewolf so he questions the boy who swears he was in bed and had a bad dream. He tells his uncle he’s had many bad dreams after going hunting with Pepe and seeing a poor squirrel get shot. Leon admits to Alfredo he picked the dead animal up and kissed it, he could taste its blood and after that, he dreams of being a wolf and drinking blood. Alfredo is desperate and seeks advice from a holy man. The priest tells Leon’s uncle that sometimes people are possessed by evil at birth and that the boy may be a werewolf. The priest says they need to love the boy, their love could keep the beast at bay while he’s young and when he is older once he falls in love with a young woman that her love could save his soul if she truly loved him in return.

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Pepe and many of the town folk are freaked out over what seems to be more than an ordinary wolf killing their livestock after a drunkard rambles on about how evil is afoot. Leon’s uncle puts iron bars on the boy’s bedroom window to keep him from killing and getting killed himself as well. Pepe makes a silver bullet and waits for the beast once more. He sits beneath the light of the moon and watches over his flock and kills a dog that he suspected in the first place. Young Leon tries to break through the bars on his window in a scene most might find creepy or cheesy but to us, the kid looks cute with his little wolf fangs bared. His uncle and aunt calm him and he goes back to sleep. Flash forward now to many years later. This is when Oliver Reed first appears in the movie, just before the forty-nine-minute mark. Their love seemed to cure him of his lycanthropy and now as a young man, Leon is ready to go out into the world. Oliver Reed is dashing as usual as he makes his way begin work at a vineyard.

Of course, poor Leon falls in love with a girl who’s wealthy father already has her betrothed to a stuck up douche bag. Leon asks his love, Christina, to run away and marry him but she says she can’t because her father would catch them and send Leon away forever.

Leon is talked into partying one night, why not, its payday. The place is a rowdy bordello, raucous and full of drinking and beautiful women…but it’s also a full moon and he’s in a terrible mood because Christina refused to run away with him. He begins to feel sick and goes outside for fresh air, a lady follows him and tries to talk him into banging but the beast he unleashes is one she didn’t expect even being a hooker. Unfortunately, she’s not the only causality of Leon’s wolf out, he also murders his friend and coworker that took him to party and that’s fucked up. Leon is soon after accused of the murders and is put in jail. He begs to be executed, not wanting to go on letting the beast take control but is denied. He gets all twitchy and sweaty and you know things are gonna get ugly again. He wolfs out, becoming in our opinions, one of the coolest looking werewolves ever to rampage across the silver screen. He then escapes running amok, causing a panic. Don Alfredo is forced to shoot his adopted child with a bullet made from a silver crucifix that was blessed by the archbishop.

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The Curse of the Werewolf was released in 1961; its story was based on the novel The Werewolf of Paris by Guy Endore. It was the first big role for Oliver Reed. The cast in this Hammer film production is a fine group of actors, including Yvonne Romaine and Catherine Feller, as well as Clifford Evans a Don Alfredo Corledo. The werewolf makeup was spectacular and looked very real, a true art form especially when practiced in those times when they were still pioneering makeup and special effects techniques. The Curse of the Werewolf was also adapted into a fifteen-page comic strip for the January 1978 issue of The house of hammer, that’s something we’d like to get our paws on.

From the moment that sweat began to bead on Oliver Reed’s brow and he got all twitchy and had that paranoid look in his eyes, you knew shit was about to get crazy. In our minds Oliver Reed was the perfect man to play the role of a werewolf, he was ruggedly handsome with a dangerous air about him yet seemed to guard a passionate side that would attract any woman, a true big bad wolf. Fangirling and wolf crushing aside, we are confident that anyone who hasn’t seen this will definitely enjoy it. It is a classic and holds the same quality of old school horror as any of the other Hammer films and truly stands the test of time.

 

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Sisters of Slaughter are no strangers to Machine Mean, having reviewed for us She Wolf of London (1946) during our Universal Monsters in Review series. Michelle Garza, one-half of the writing team based out of Arizona, and her sister, Melissa Lason, have been dubbed The Sisters of Slaughter by the editors at Fireside Press. Since a young age, they have enjoyed crafting tales of the dark and macabre. Their work has been included in anthologies such as WIDOWMAKERS a benefit anthology of dark fiction, WISHFUL THINKING by Fireside press and soon to be published REJECTED FOR CONTENT 3 by JEA. To be included in FRESH MEAT 2015 is an incredible honor for the sisters. Their debut novel, Mayan Blue, released with Sinister Grin Press. You can keep track of the Sisters of Slaughter’s budding writing career by following them on Twitter and Facebook. You can read their review of She Wolf here.

And as always, if you enjoyed what you’ve read here on Machine Mean, please subscribe to our author mailing list by clicking on the FREE BOOKimage below to not only receive updates on sales and new releases, but also a free anthology of dark fiction.

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Universal Monsters in Review: Our Awesomely Horrifying Guest Authors

And that’s a wrap. The end of Universal Monsters in Review has come. Much as I said during last week’s review on the silent era of horror, I will certainly miss my weekend screening of these horrible yet awesome classic black and white pictures from the vault of Universal. I’d like to actually start making this a thing, something set aside for my weekend leisure, putting in ole Frankenstein or his Bride or The Wolf Man or The Mummy or Dracula, or even some of the lesser-known flicks, like Invisible Agent or any of the A&C ones. To think of the impact these movies had on future movie makers, and not just those dark producers and directors, but also the writers, both on screen and on print, is mind boggling. Personally speaking, the Universal classics have impacted some of my own creature/monster creations. And still do. The underlying mythos is nearly too much to avoid. These are the pillars for a reason. Certainly the same could be said of this up and coming generation of young writers and even the guest authors we’ve had during this series, tackling the movies that inspired them in some way. So, on this very last Universal Monsters in Review review, I’d like to shout out to all my guest authors that participated, the movie(s) they reviewed and a little bit about them and where you can buy their work.

Our Guests

(in order of appearance)

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Daniel Marc Chant – Reviewed for us both The Mummy (1932) and The Creature Walks Among Us (1956). Mr. Chant is the published author of several terrifying tales, including Maldicion, Burning House, and his newest venture, Mr. Robespierre.  Daniel is also one of the founders of The Sinister Horror Company, the publishing team that brought us such frights as, The Black Room Manuscripts and God Bomb!. You can follow Daniel on his blog, here. And you can read his review on Mummy here.

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Jeffery X. Martin – Reviewed for us The Wolf Man (1941) and The Invisible Man’s Revenge (1944) and Revenge of the Creature (1955). Mr. X is the published author of several stories that are sure to shock, including those in the Elder’s Keep universe and Tarotsphere. He also published a fantastic tale in The Black Room Manuscripts. His latest novel, Hunting Witches, is now available on Amazon’s blood-soaked altar. You can find his work on Amazon. When Mr. X is not writing creep mind-benders, he’s the host and/or contributor to several podcasts and blogs, including, but not limited to, Pop Shiftier and Kiss the Goat. You can read his review on Wolf Man here.

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Duncan Ralston– Reviewed for us The Invisible Man (1933). Mr. Ralston is not just a wonderful human being, but also the author of gruesome tales like Salvage: A Ghost Story, and the horror collection, Gristle & Bone. He’s been published in a various of anthologies, including The Black Room Manuscripts and The Animal, and the anthology,Easter Eggs and Bunny Boilers. His latest book will sure to knock your socks off, Woom. You can follow and chat with him atwww.facebook.com/duncanralstonfiction and www.duncanralston.com. You can read his review on Invisible Man here.

Dawn Cano – Reviewed for us legendary Frankenstein (1931). Miss Cano has always been a fan of horror, she loves everything about the genre and has just begun her journey into the world of horror writing. When not pounding away at the keyboard, she can be found reviewing books and movies for The Ginger Nuts of Horror and wasting time on Facebook. Dawn has also started what will no doubt be a fantastic career as a storyteller. You can find her books, including Sleep Deprived and Bucket List, *Warning: Some Scenes May Disturb for both of these wonderfully gruesome tales. And you can check out her review of Frankenstein here.

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Kit Power – Reviewed for us both The Bride of Frankenstein (1935) and Monster Mash Pinball Game. Mr. Power lives in the UK and writes fiction that lurks at the boundaries of the horror, fantasy, and thriller genres, trying to bum a smoke or hitch a ride from the unwary. In his secret alter ego of Kit Gonzo, he also performs as front man (and occasionally blogs) for death cult and popular beat combo The Disciples Of Gonzo. He is the published author of such works as, GodBomb!, Lifeline, and has contributed to numerous anthologies, including The Black Room Manuscripts, Widowmakers, and upcoming Easter Eggs and Bunny Boilers. You can read Kit’s review of Bride here.

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Justin Park – Reviewed for us both Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein (1948) and Werewolf in London (1935). Mr. Park draws from the crazy worlds of exploitation cinema and pulp literature for his literary inspiration. His family are both equally proud and disturbed by his literary output dragged from a mind they helped to cultivate. He resides on the outskirts of Bristol in the UK and hopes one day they’ll let him in. Mr. Park is the author of several twisted tales of morbid doom, including Upon Waking and Terror Byte and Punch. He was also featured with a horrifyingly wonderful short in the horror anthology The Black Room Manuscripts. Besides giving his readers terrifying nightmares, Mr. Park is also one of the founding members of the up and coming UK Publishing team, The Sinister Horror Company, active in promoting other writers and attending numerous conventions. You can read his review on A&C Meet Frank here.

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William D. Prystuak – Reviewed for us Dracula’s Daughter (1936). Professor Prystuak  is an award-winning screenwriter, film producer, and teacher in higher education, as well as a published poet, and essayist. His crime thriller, BLOODLETTING, has been adapted from his script of the same name, and he is currently working on a horror series. William also co-hosts THE LAST KNOCK podcast as Billy Crash with his good buddy, Jonny Numb, and currently, has thousands of listeners in 120 countries. You can find more about horror and William on his Crash Palace Productions site. As an Assistant Professor of English at Kutztown University of Pennsylvania, William teaches business writing and public relations. You can find more about William at any of these fantastic sites: Amazon: http://amzn.to/1Fu9PHS Barnes and Noble: http://bit.ly/1GhclaJ Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/23365977-bloodletting BLOODLETTING Book Trailer One: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TVNji_G-tSI BLOODLETTING Book Trailer Two: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=glK9DiVIHT8 IMDB: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm5464477/?ref_=fn_al_nm_1 Linked In: https://www.linkedin.com/pub/william-d-prystauk/10/9a1/a55 Horror Podcast: THE LAST KNOCK on iTunes Twitter: @crashpalace. You can read Professor Prystuak’s review of Drac’s Daughter here.

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Michelle Garza – Reviewed for us She Wolf of London (1946). Michelle Garza, one-half of the writing team based out of Arizona. Her sister, Melissa Lason, and Miss. Garza have been dubbed The Sisters of Slaughter by the editors at Fireside Press. Since a young age, they have enjoyed crafting tales of the dark and macabre. Their work has been included in anthologies such as WIDOWMAKERS a benefit anthology of dark fiction, WISHFUL THINKING by Fireside press and soon to be published REJECTED FOR CONTENT 3 by JEA. To be included in FRESH MEAT 2015 is an incredible honor for the sisters. Their debut novel, Mayan Blue, released with Sinister Grin Press. You can keep track of Michelle and the Sisters of Slaughter’s budding writing career by following them on Twitter and Facebook. You can read her review of She Wolf here.

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Duncan P. Bradshaw – Reviewed for us Invisible Agent (1942). Mr. Bradshaw lives in MIGHTY Wiltshire, with his wife Debbie and their two cats, Rafa and Pepe. Their barbershop quartet days may be behind them now, but they can still belt out a mean version of ‘Deepy Dippy’ by Right Said Fred when the mood catches them right. Duncan’s debut novel, zom-com, “Class Three,” was released in November 2014. The first book in the follow-up trilogy, “Class Four: Those Who Survive,” shambled into life in July 2015. Both have received glowing reviews. In early 2016, he released his debut Bizarro novella, “Celebrity Culture”, which has been well received, despite its oddness. Not content with resting on his laurels, Prime Directive blasts off in May 2016, a sci-fi/horror novella which pleased fellow founder J.R. Park. Before the main attraction…Duncan finished writing “Hexagram” in late 2015, a novel set over five hundred years, which follows an ancient ritual and how people throughout the years twist the original purpose to their own end. You can find all of Mr. Bradshaw’s work on the bloodied altar of Amazon. And you can read his review of Invisible 007 here.

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Chantel Feszczyn (aka Chaney Dreadful) – Reviewed for us House of Frankenstein (1944). Miss Dreadful — is one creepy ghoul hailing from a small city in Saskatchewan, Canada. She is a regular podcast voice frequenting on the podcasts, with the first being Dead as Hell Horror Podcast, and as well the likes of The Resurrection of Zombie 7, Land of the Creeps andWhedonverse Podcast. For the last three years she has brought her focus towards written reviews, posting occasionally on her Tumblr blog and recently moving to her new website dreadfulreviews.com — where she posts weekly reviews discussing movies, comic books and horror-themed merchandise. You can read her review of Frank’s House here.

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Daryl Lewis Duncan – Reviewed for us Abbott and Costello Meet The Invisible Man (1951). Mr. Duncan is an up and coming writer and graphic artist and one smashing guitarist. You can find his work on numerous book covers recently released this year, including books by Dawn Cano, Duncan Ralston, and myself (Thomas S. Flowers). He also has upcoming projects with the likes of Kit Power and Rich Hawkins. Some of Mr. Duncan’s publishing work includes Violent Delights, in which he co-wrote with Dawn Cano. He is an avid reader and supporter of fellow indie writers. His artwork is stylized in a retro, space-age grunge, 70s grindhouse. Yup, it is that awesome! You can read his review on A&C Meet Invisible Man here.

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Jon Weidler – Reviewed for us Abbott and Costello Meet The Mummy (1955). Mr. Weidler works for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania by day but is a podcast superhero by night. He co-hosts THE LAST KNOCK horror podcast under the moniker “Jonny Numb,” and is a regular contributor to the Crash Palace Productions and Loud Green Bird websites. His archived movie reviews can be found at numbviews.livejournal.com, and his social media handle is @JonnyNumb (Twitter & Letterboxd). You can read his review of A&C Meet Mummy here.

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Tim Busbey – Reviewed for us The Mummy’s Ghost (1942). Mr. Busbey is an award-winning editor and journalist who currently is the Assistant Editor at Richland Source (www.RichlandSource.com) and Ashland Source (www.AshlandSource.com). Tim also does freelance book editing and is a partner with Erin Al-Mehairi in Hook of A Book Media and Publicity. When he’s not editing other people’s stories or reporting on all the happenings in Ashland, Ohio, Tim writes sci-fi, thrillers and horror. You can read his review of Mummy’s Ghost here.

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Pembroke Sinclair – Reviewed for us The Mummy’s Curse (1944). Miss. Sinclair is a literary jack of all trades, playing her hand at multiple genres. She has written an eclectic mix of fiction ranging from horror to sci-fi and even some westerns. Born in Rock Springs, Wyoming–the home of 56 nationalities–it is no wonder Pembroke ended up so creatively diverse. Her fascination with the notions of good and evil, demons and angels, and how the lines blur have inspired her writing. Pembroke lives in Laramie, Wyoming, with her husband, two spirited boys, a black lab named Ryder, and a rescue kitty named Alia, who happens to be the sweetest, most adorable kitty in the world! She cannot say no to dessert, orange soda, or cinnamon. She loves rats and tatts and rock and roll and wants to be an alien queen when she grows up. You can learn more about Pembroke Sinclair by visiting her at pembrokesinclair.blogspot.com. You can follow the very talented Pembroke on Facebook  Amazon Twitter Or at her blog. You can read her review on Mummy’s Curse here.

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David Sgalambro – Reviewed for us The Ghost of Frankenstein (1942). MR. SGALAMBRO is a horror writer at J. Ellington Ashton Press and a contributing Writer at Resident Rock Star Magazine. He was born in New York, but spent the majority of his life sweltering down in Florida. Growing up, he was obsessed with every 1960’s Monster magazine on the newsstand (He still has hundreds of them that he can’t bear to part with ….ever) and any Horror movie his eyes could watch (He blames some of his lunacy upon seeing the original Night of the Living Dead at the age of nine). His continuous love for the genre has kept him in movie theaters throughout his life indulging in all of the decade’s bloodiest moments, but not up until recently has he tapped into his own dark inner voice as a writer, and brought forth his compelling debut novel published by J. Ellington Ashton Press titled NED. It’s his first attempt at the literary game and he credits his love of Horror for its terrifying content. David is currently working on his second novel which once again explores the darkest depths of his maniacal mind for inspiration and creativity. David’s other current literary escape is as a contributing writer for a music publication called Resident Rock Star magazine out of Colorado. With them he gets the freedom to write about what’s happening in the current music scene pertaining to his own personal taste, Heavy Metal. You can read his review on Ghost of Frank here.

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Patrick Loveland – Reviewed for us The Invisible Man Returns (1940). MR. LOVELAND writes screenplays, novels, and shorter prose fiction. He also draws somewhat disturbing imagery on Post-its. By day, he schedules classes, helps instructors get set up for class sessions, possibly draws said weird Post-its, and moves many a furniture at a state college in Southern California where he lives with his wife and young daughter. His stories have appeared in anthologies published by April Moon Books, Bold Venture Press, and the award-winning Crime Factory zine. Mr. Loveland’s first novel, A TEAR IN THE VEIL, will be published in late 2016 by April Moon Books.  You can connect with Patrick on Twitter:https://twitter.com/pmloveland   Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pmloveland/   Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B00S78LF9M Or Blog [under construction]:https://patrickloveland.wordpress.com/ You can read his review on Invisible Man’s Return here.

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Chad Clark – Reviewed for us House of Dracula (1945). Mr. Clark is a midwestern author of horror and science fiction. His artistic roots can be traced back to the golden era of horror literature, Stephen King, and Robert McCammon being large influences. His love for horror began as well in the classic horror franchises of the eighties. He resides in Iowa with his wife and two sons. Clark’s debut novel, Borrowed Time, was published in 2014. His second novel, A Shade for Every Season was released in 2015, and in 2016 Clark published Behind Our Walls, a dark look at the human condition set in a post-apocalyptic world. His latest book, Down the Beaten Path, released in September 2016. You can keep up with all of Mr. Clark’s works by following him on Amazon here. And you can read his review of House of Drac here.

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Matt Shaw – Reviewed for us The Invisible Woman (1940). Mr. Shaw is the published author of over 100 titles – all readily available on AMAZON. He is one of the United Kingdom’s leading – and most prolific – horror authors, regularly breaking the top ten in the chart for Amazon’s Most Popular Horror Authors. With work sometimes compared to Stephen King, Richard Laymon, and Edward Lee, Shaw is best known for his extreme horror novels (The infamous Black Cover Range), Shaw has also dabbled in other genres with much success; including romance, thrillers, erotica, and dramas. Despite primarily being a horror author, Shaw is a huge fan of Roald Dahl – even having a tattoo of the man on his arm; something he looks to whenever he needs a kick up the bum or inspiration to continue working! As well as pushing to release a book a month, Shaw’s work is currently being translated for the Korean market and he is currently working hard to produce his own feature length film. And speaking of films… Several film options have been sold with features in the very early stages of development. Watch this space. Matt Shaw lives in Southampton (United Kingdom) with his wife Marie, his bastard cat Nellie and three rats – Roland, Splinter, and Spike. He used to live with Joey the Chinchilla and Larry the Bearded Dragon but they died. At least he hoped they did because he buried them. You can follow Mr. Shaw and delve into his work by following his site at www.mattshawpublications.co.uk AND on Facebook at  www.facebook.com/mattshawpublications.co.uk. You can read his review of the infamous Invisible Woman here.

And there you have them. Please join me in giving them a huge round of applause and thanks for agreeing to participate in this new endeavor here on Machine Mean. And be sure to check out all their awesome work by following the links provided under each bio. Now, what? Well, keep your socks on, October is just around the bend and we’ve got an awesome event in store for you. Machine Mean’s Freight Fest 2016, featuring 21 guest authors reviewing 21 dark fiction movies of their own choosing running from October day 1 thru day 31. That’s right, I let 21 weirdos pick their own movies to review and they’ve selected some rather awesome flicks, ranging from the 1960s to released just last month. You can follow news and updates regarding Freight Fest by following our Facebook page here. And as always, if you enjoyed what you’ve read here on Machine Mean, please subscribe to our author mailing list by clicking on the FREE BOOK image below to not only receive updates on sales and new releases, but also a free anthology of dark fiction.

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Interview w/ Sisters of Slaughter, Michelle Garza & Melissa Lason

The best thing about horror (for me) is how much of a community it has become over the years. And it is a community that has flourished. Some of the best examples for me started back in the 1980s (my awareness to horror), how the inventors, writers, film makers, and gore masters we hold in high esteem today, started out from nothing, but worked together in many collaborated projects, movies like Creepshow, where George A. Romero and Stephen King teamed up to bring one of the best horror collections to film, or Sleepwalkers, teaming up Mick Garris, Stephen King, Doe Dante, and Clive Barker all in one movie. Or how about Simon Pegg and Edgar Wright cameoing as zombies in Land of the Dead (2005)? And probably one of the best with Wishmaster (1997) that cameoed Tony Todd, Kane Hodder, AND Robert Englund. And there are many more examples of how the horror community has worked together and collaborated over the years, each partaking in the work of a colleague, or even better, becoming entwined in the work itself. In the world of literary horror today, we’re seeing more and more of this foundational testament to community. Where before it was only a conjoined name here and there, like Stephen King and Peter Straub publishing together, among others, The Talisman. Now, there are more up and coming writers taking a cue from the book we call communal horror. This brings us to our interview today with Michelle Garza and Melissa Lason, aka The Sisters of Slaughter, and the continuation of collaborated works. So sit down. Relax. And see what these awesomely talented writers have to say about horror and the release of their new book, Mayan Blue.

Before we begin, some abbreviations ought to be clarified.

TSF = Thomas S. Flowers

M&M = Melissa and Michelle

 

Mayan Blue tour graphic

TSF: Let’s get some basic introductions out of the way, shall we? Can you tell us a little bit about yourselves? What got you into writing? What brought you into the genre of horror?

M&M: We are twin sisters, we write horror, dark fantasy, and science fiction. We’ve been horror fans since we were little kids and our writing started when we were eight years old. Since then, it never stopped. Horror has always been a part of our lives, starting from the universal classics that our mom is a big fan of on up to present day and everything in between. Halloween has always been our favorite holiday, probably not a big surprise. It’s just like some kids becoming obsessed with dinosaurs, we latched onto spooky stuff, and we’ve just always enjoyed it.

TSF: What’s your favorite book and why?

Melissa: Moonbane by Al Sarrantonio, because I’ve always dug the premise of it being a lifelong werewolf fan. I think it is a unique take on the monster.

Michelle: There are too many. I guess Cycle of the werewolf by Stephen King. It has always ranked in my top three. I love the artwork by Bernie Wrightson, the story is totally awesome, and it spawned one of my all-time favorite movies.

TSF: What are you afraid of? Is there any subject matter you wouldn’t touch? Or write about?

Melissa: Being a mother, I would say anything terrible happening to my child is my greatest fear. Other than that, I am afraid of heights and deep water.

Michelle: My first biggest fear is something bad happening to one of my kids. I am also notoriously known for being terrified of cockroaches, so much so that I actually jumped into broken glass with bare feet, thinking I was avoiding one.

M&M: As far as writing goes, we don’t really have anything we won’t write about but certain subjects, like someone molesting a child would be eluded to and not graphically depicted. That’s just us though, we don’t bash people who do go into detail about those topics in their writing.

TSF: You call yourselves, or have been called, The Sisters of Slaughter. Can you tell us a little bit about that? How you got the nickname? How it started? Why?

M&M: That was all started by the editors at Fireside Press. It describes the brutality of some of our writing and it’s also a kick ass name for twin sisters. ;D

TSF: As The Sisters of Slaughter, what does your writing routine look like? Do you find it difficult to write a story as a pair? Do you both have similar styles of writing?

M&M: We write eerily similar; it feels like we share the same brain sometimes. We definitely have the creepy twin thing going on. We see each other four or five days of the week and we also email and text a lot. We basically have notebooks that we keep story ideas, notes, rough drafts in. Depending on which submission call or invitation is next on our calendar, we brainstorm the whole story, outline it, and start dividing up the work load. We write chapters both separately and together depending on our schedules, then we put it all together and viola! We prefer writing together but on occasion we do write on our own, something coming out very soon will actually demonstrate that.

TSF: Your last published work was “Double Barrel Horror: Just a Few/Tenant’s Right,” can you tell us a little bit about that? Motivations? Was this your first publishing venture together as The Sisters of Slaughter?

M&M: This was the first time we wrote under the Sisters of Slaughter moniker, but it will more than likely happen again in the future. Double Barrel is two of our short stories, one dealing with a tenant in her new rental home, where strange things happen there. She doesn’t even begin to think that it could be something supernatural until it all comes to a head. The other story was written after a very scary experience Melissa had with discovering a guy had broken into her house in an attempt to find prescription pain medication. Luckily he was a coward and ran away before she had to show him why we are called the Sisters of Slaughter.

TSF: What’s it like working with Sinister Grin Press?

M&M: We LOVE it! Sinister Grin has been really good to us, even gave us a lovely publicist, Erin, to help out with promoting Mayan Blue. We have always been fans of the stuff they put out and it really was a dream to have them accept our first novel. The whole staff is so helpful and we literally cried tears of joy when we saw the cover artwork for Mayan Blue. They also have so many other talented writers in their crew that have also been so supportive, it’s a fantastic family to be a part of.

TSF: Okay, let’s talk about this new book coming out, Mayan Blue. Can you tell us about some of the main characters and situations they find themselves in? I don’t want you to spoil anything, but curious minds want at least a hint of what to expect!

M&M: We have a group consisting of an associate professor and some students who are going out to meet up with their professor that has made a mind-blowing archaeological discovery- proof that a group of Mayans migrated to Georgia after the collapse of their society. The professor has discovered a doorway in a system of caves, and it turns out to be a gateway to Xibalba, which is the Mayan underworld. Brutality ensues…There are shapeshifting creatures, the lord of death and his putrid kings, a character named Blood Maiden and did we mention brutality?

TSF: Would you consider Mayan Blue to be historical fiction? Did you have to do any research for the novel? About the Mayans? Locations?

M&M: We did a lot of research into the Mayans, their reasons for human sacrifice, their mythology concerning evil spirits, their version of hell, their way of life. Is it historical fiction? In a way, yes, because of the factual information about their society that we incorporated, but the part about the Mayans being in Georgia has not been founded. It was actually on one of those mystery shows; some people believe it while others say its bullshit but we thought it would be an interesting premise for a horror book.

TSF: The book cover for Mayan Blue looks amazing. Can you tell us a little bit about that? Who designed it? Did you both get any say in the creative process?

M&M: The artist is Zach McCain; he’s done a lot of other horror covers. His work is just fantastic and everyone needs to check him out. We were asked what we ideas we had for a cover and relayed a few things to Tristan, Matt and Travis. We were given updates, first the sketches, just seeing those made us extremely happy and excited but when we were sent the final copy, in color…we nearly crapped our pants. It is so amazing, so beautiful, we couldn’t have dreamed of anything more awesome!

TSF: Besides putting out sinister looking books, what else do you two have going on?

M&M: We are both mothers so our kids keep us really busy, our writing office is in the car, in the backyard, the school parking lot, on the top of a bunkbed, on the couch in the living room, etc. We love reading horror, fantasy and sci-fi. We love watching horror movies, sci-fi flicks, fantasy movies, and gaming. We are also into all kinds of music from heavy metal to Celtic music and we love getting away to the outdoors.

Melissa

Michelle

Melissa Lason and Michelle Garza have been writing together since they were little girls. Dubbed The Sisters of Slaughter by the editors of Fireside Press. They are constantly working together on new stories in the horror and dark fantasy genres. Their work has been included in FRESH MEAT published by Sinister Grin Press, WISHFUL THINKING by Fireside Press, WIDOWMAKERS a benefit anthology of dark fiction. Find them on Facebook!

 

 

 

 

 

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Xibalba, home of torture and sacrifice, is the kingdom of the lord of death. He stalked the night in the guise of a putrefied corpse, with the head of an owl and adorned with a necklace of disembodied eyes that hung from nerve cords. He commanded legions of shapeshifting creatures, spectral shamans, and corpses hungry for the flesh of the living. The Mayans feared him and his realm of horror. He sat atop his pyramid temple surrounded by his demon kings and demanded sacrifices of blood and beating hearts as tribute to him and his ghostly world.

These legends, along with those that lived in fear of them, have been dead and gone for centuries. Yet now, a doorway has been opened in Georgia. A group of college students seek their missing professor, a man who has secretly uncovered the answer to one of history’s greatest mysteries. However, what they find is more than the evidence of a hidden civilization. It’s also a gateway to a world of living nightmares.

Praise for Mayan Blue

“From the outset, Garza and Lason let the blood spill, plunging their small cast of characters into the depths of Mayan hell. There’s plenty of action to go around as the group is confronted with a number of horrors, from the labyrinthine and booby-trapped maze of the newly discovered Mayan temple to the angry gods and their owl-headed, sharp-clawed servants.” –Michael Hicks, Author of Convergence

“Their short works are wonderful to read. However this book proves that they can tackle longer works without missing a beat.” –Tom, GoodReads

”These two show no quarter dragging the characters–and by extension, the reader–into the depths of the Mayan version of Hell. There’s vividness to the scenes they craft that made me want to make sure I was reading in full daylight, or at least with most of the lights on.” –John Quick, Author of Consequences