Monthly Archives: December 2013
Queen of the Wolves
Shelley put her arm around Stephen’s waist as they stood leaning against the car in the driveway. He felt her grab onto his back belt loop and they both gazed up at the house. She rested her head against his arm and sighed.
Stephen smiled and kissed the top of her head. “You sure you wouldn’t have preferred a nice, doublewide trailer? Thirty-grand and we could drive it anywhere we wanted.”
She tapped his chest affectionately. “Please don’t ruin this moment.”
He squeezed her tightly and nodded. They watched the sun set behind the newly built home. Golden light flared around the peaked roof like a halo and cast the front yard into a cool, comforting pool of shadow. It felt like a dream. With his wife beside him and a warm, almost-summer breeze blowing against his face, Stephen thought he might never stop smiling. Then he heard a brittle voice call out from behind them and his smile vanished.
“Hello? Hey there.”
A small woman in a tank top and capris was scurrying up the sidewalk towards them. Her eyes were hidden behind giant, round-framed sunglasses. She may have been thirty, or forty, it was hard to say, but she was well built with pretty chestnut colored hair and smooth white skin. Gliding along beside her was a little girl. Like the woman whose hand she clung to, the girl’s age was hard to pinpoint. She was tall enough to be a third or fourth grader, but something in her eyes made her seem younger. Maybe it was the way she searched the clouds as they walked, oblivious to everything else around her. They stepped into the yard, facing Stephen and Shelley and the woman pushed her… Continue reading
(This is the flash story that I won the Pseudopod Flash Contest III with. 500 words to woo a group of hardened horror readers and get their votes. Hope you like it as well as they did. Sometime in late fall/early winter, maybe the first of the year, this will appear as an audio podcast at www.pseudopod.org. Head over there to check out a ton of great horror shorts and flashes read by their talented voice performers)
Celia stood in the foyer, looking up the staircase. Her grandfather’s house was quiet. Empty. Sunlight spilled through tall windows, and shadows couldn’t find a foothold. It was bright and familiar but she didn’t want to be there. Not alone.
“Hello?” She felt stupid calling out. Grandpa’s nursing home needed his insurance papers. It would only take a few minutes to find them. They were in his room somewhere, in a box. There was no reason to think about anything unpleasant. But she did. She thought of the attic. The creaky wooden stairs that dropped out of the ceiling. The huge, wooden wraparound desk against the wall. The bitter taste of pills on her tongue. The ambulance ride.
She thought of Mr. Flyspeck.
She’d been six years old, exploring the attic, looking for old toys. She’d heard a voice and looked up. She hadn’t been afraid, only curious and surprised. Something was sitting on the desk. It looked like a rat, or mouse. Three feet tall with orange fur and wild eyes. She remembered how it smiled at her. How it spoke.
He called himself Mr. Flyspeck. They talked about her mommy and her brothers, her grandma and grandpa. He said he lived inside the walls and could walk through closed doors.… Continue reading
I just got back from the most recent “Horrorhound Weekend” horror convention in my hometown of Cincinnati, Ohio, where many castmembers from AMC’s “The Walking Dead” were in attendance. Because that show is very popular, even amongst people who don’t typically consider themselves “horror fans” the convention had a lot more “mainstream” (read: normies) visitors than ever before. Because of this, many of the fans who’ve been coming for years and are a part of the horror community felt like their sanctum had been infiltrated. This caused somewhat of a backlash against the “Walking Dead” cast within the comment threads of many a Facebook group and it led to a lot of comments about how, “The Walking Dead isn’t even real horror,” and “real horror fans” don’t like it.
Stop right there.
Let me dust my shoulders off.
First off, yeah it is. It absolutely is horror. The definition of “horror” is:
- An intense feeling of fear, shock, or disgust.
- A thing causing such a feeling.
And I would say that the events portrayed on that show meet those requirements. After all, if George A. Romero’s “Dead” series is horror, why wouldn’t this be? Because a lot of the stories deal with the human drama that occurs within an apocalypse scenario that involves zombies as much as the zombies themselves? Give me a fucking break. The original “Dawn of the Dead” had so much downtime with the characters goofing around the mall, sleeping, talking, blah blah blah, that the same could easily be said for it. In fact, good ol’ George has said endlessly that it’s the human story within the zombie framework that he’s really interested in. Those are the stories he wants to tell. Someone even said, “Well, it’s not horror, it’s sci fi/fantasy…” Shut up.… Continue reading
From Next Door
Lynn woke to Pepper’s tongue on her face. The dog needed out. With a groan, she sat up, glancing at the clock on the stand; 2:45 a.m. Beside her, Abbie pretended to sleep, ignoring the situation. The dog never bothered her. It was frustrating.
“Okay, okay, I’m coming.” Lynn stood and followed Pepper out into the house. She didn’t need any lights, she’d made this trip a thousand times. She opened the back door and watched the dog run out into the moonlight. A breeze blew in and she shivered, willing Pepper to hurry.
Instead, the dog stood in the middle of the yard, facing the neighbor’s house. She laid her ears back and growled, deep in her throat. Lynn leaned out to see what had her riled up.
Standing at the fence between their houses was a shadowy figure. A short, female shape in a housecoat that Lynn recognized. It was Mrs. Rafkin, from next door. Except it wasn’t. Couldn’t be. Mrs. Rafkin had passed away three weeks earlier. Lynn and Abbie had gone to the service, bringing a small but lovely bouquet for the family.
Lynn squinted. She rubbed her eyes. The figure remained. She couldn’t see Mrs. Rafkin’s face but her shape was unmistakable. She’d hung laundry on a line out there every day, chatting with the girls as they tinkered in their flower garden or played with Pepper.
Don’t be stupid. She chided herself. It’s just a weird shadow, or a bush. Except there were no bushes along the fence and nothing she could think of that would cast such an odd shadow. It could only be a person, but obviously not the deceased Mrs. Rafkin. She considered calling out, then thought better of it. She whispered hoarsely… Continue reading
R.I.P. Richard Matheson
Without Richard Matheson, there would be no “There’s a creature out on the wing of the plane!” Without Richard Matheson, there would be no X-Files. Without Richard Matheson there would be no Night of the Living Dead and that means there might not be this entire zombie apocalypse culture that we enjoy as horror fans today.
“I Am Legend,” is a simple idea with a nifty twist. If you’ve never read it, I’m kind of spoiling it here (and please do not judge it based on its film adaptations—“The Last Man on Earth” is the best of them but “Omega Man” and Will Smith’s “I Am Legend” stray far from the source). Go out and get it. It’s the tale of a world overrun with the undead—not flesh eating zombies but rather, vampires. The vampires are not the gothic, Dracula types that had come before, they were your friends and neighbors. They’d lost a lot of what made them who they’d been and were sort of sluggish and dumb. Matheson took the idea that, the way vampires multiply, they could eventually overtake the world. He goes on to wonder, what if you were a lone survivor, maybe THE lone survivor, of this scenario. How would you spend your days and your terrifying nights? How would you avoid the creatures that surrounded you? It was the first really modern look at vampires and updated the creatures accordingly, blending science with folklore. There was still the sexual undertones, the females positioning their bodies outside Neville’s door to try and lure him out…Neville, getting an erotic thrill from dispatching the female monsters…it retained much of the classic trappings; garlic, crosses, daylight—and turned them on their heads. He followed the idea to its only logical conclusion, not… Continue reading
Hey guys, thanks for stopping by. If you’re new (which seeing how the title of this post is directed at new listeners, I’m assuming you are) then let me first give you a high-five for making the right choice. *high fives* And now, I’ll break down the show a little bit for you, so you know what you’re in for.
Night of the Living Podcast (the NOTLP) is a weekly show where we, the crew (Amy, Andy, Chiz, Erica, Freddy and Kelley) discuss various horror themed shit. Three shows a month are dedicated strictly to movies and each of these episodes consists of two segments. “Straight to Video Russian Roulette” is where a random crew member is assigned a film that was released direct to DVD or streaming (maybe it had a VERY limited run at conventions or festivals) and they let you know if it sucked or was good. The “Main Attraction” is where we talk about a movie that we all watched and we dissect it and give it a good once over. We don’t overshine it but it gets a good polish. We’re not journalists or actual critics, we just know what the fuck we do and don’t like (sometimes).
Then, once a month is our “Listener Feedback/Miscellaneous Debris” episode. In this episode we read your emails, play your voicemails (we love hearing your melodious voices) and we do a bit of genre news. This is also the episode where we do whatever else we want. There’s a segment called, “The Book Coroner” where we autopsy some horror lit, and there’s “Andy’s Porner” where Andy breaks down some horror themed porn for you to let you know if its worth a jerk/diddle. Anything else we feel like talking about, video games, comics, etc. gets thrown… Continue reading
I’m into freaky paranormal stuff. – Snooki
If you’ve listened to Episode 343, you know that recently Freddy and I went on a ghost tour in Cincinnati. And you know that we have vastly different approaches to ghost stuff – I believe and he’s a total skeptic. We’re a regular buddy cop show on Fox.
Our tour guide was Dan Smith of Haunted Cincinnati Tours. Dan has also written two ghostly guides – Ghosts of Bobby Mackey’s Music World and Ghosts of Cincinnati: The Dark Side of the Queen City. Dan was a great storyteller, prepping us as we drove to each new location.
Our tour began at the Taft Museum of Art in Downtown Cincinnati. There have been sightings of a woman in pink said to be Annie Taft, William Howard Taft’s sister-in-law. Not much happened at this location. We wandered around outside the gates and stared at the building and lawn. So is it haunted? No ghosts waved at me from the windows, so I have to say no for now.
We headed to Eden Park next. This drive had my favorite story. George Remus was a Prohibition bootlegger and Imogene was his loyal wife…until she wasn’t. George asked her to get “close” to a prohibition agent after he was sent to jail, which she did. Real close. Imogene and the agent ran off together with George’s money. Later, after George was released, he got his revenge by shooting Imogene to death in public, after a car chase, at Eden Park. He was acquitted by reason of insanity. And now park visitors claim they see a woman in black haunting the area around the gazebo…Imogene. I took a ton of pictures at this location and one turned out interestingly. But… Continue reading
This is the seven page prologue to a webcomic I was planning on putting out back in 2010-2011. I may eventually revisit it, but doing the writing, penciling, digital cleanup and coloring all by myself at this level of detail was overwhelming and it got scrapped. It’s kinda cool though. Some of you may have seen these before. Some not. Hope you think it’s cool.
I don’t have children, but if I did, I’d give them to Jason “Fozzie” Nelson to raise as his own because that shit looks like a hassle. Who is Jason “Fozzie” Nelson, you ask? He’s a personal friend of mine and one of NOTLP.com’s new writers. You can read something that he wrote for a grown up audience here. Fozzie isn’t all scary tram monsters, though. In fact, he is a big cuddly guy who can make his friends feel like the most important people in the world. When we told Fozzie that two of our podcasters (Mike and Erica Chiseck) were expecting their first child, he responded by writing a book. Anyone who knows the Chisecks knows that their child will be introduced to wild fantasy stories early in her life. The idea of the book was to help Mike and Erica explain to their little girl that the monsters and villains in these stories are only make believe. The book doesn’t encourage something as irresponsible as screening The Texas Chainsaw Massacre for your two-year old. Think more vampires, ghosts, and goblins. Andy Kahl’s unique illustrations reminded me of Eric Carle’s children’s classic The Very Hungry Caterpillar. Fozzie has titled the book Big Scary Make Believe Land and it’s now available for your Kindle on Amazon.
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Freddy Morris is a founding member and co-producer (with wife Amy Morris) of Night of the Living Podcast. He has written for his high school and college newspapers, HorrorHound Magazine, and from time to time, writes lewd graffiti on bathroom stall doors and angry letters to the editor at Cat Fancy. Freddy also hosts and produces the film history and appreciation podcast, FilmMad Society. He lives in a tiny house in Cincinnati, Ohio.
Once a month, we (or YOU) ask the blogging staff here at NOTLP a survey question. This being September, time of 5-Star Notebook sales at Staples and increased vodka consumption in faculty lounges, we have no choice but to wonder:
What’s your favorite horror film for back-to-school season?
Between the dilemma of what to wear and fear of strict teacher assignments, the first day of school was always a source of stress growing up, but I can now comfort myself knowing that things could have been worse. As a graduate of the class of 2000, I never had to deal with all the horrors that apparently came just one year before: gang warfare, corporal punishment, murderous robots, and Stacy Keach’s mullet. I’m speaking, of course, about Mark L. Lester’s pseudo sequel to his gritty and fabulous Class of 1984, the then-futuristic Class of 1999. I may have had nightmares about physics tests and cursed my marching band uniform, but when I think of what could have been my fate–Pam Grier as an evil cyborg chemistry teacher, constant rape-threat, being spanked in front of my peers–I’ll make sure to really live it up at my next reunion.
Mine is John Carpenter’s Halloween. Quite a bit of it takes place at the girls’ school. There’s all that great autumnal imagery. Blowing leaves. Early dusk. Sweaters. It just always reminds me that, “back to school” time is also, “try not to get murdered” time.
Fall is my favorite time of year, so It’s hard to beat Halloween for atmosphere and overall greatness. I think that Trick R Treat also deserves to become a fall classic.
This might be the toughest question yet, as I can easily answer with a large… Continue reading