Tuesday, October 06, 2015

The new Smith's Monthly is here!!!

More than sixty-five thousand words of original fiction from USA Todaybestselling writer Dean Wesley Smith.
In this twenty-third monthly volume the short novel, Heaven Painted as a Cop Car, a Ghost of a Chance novella, plus six short stories, an ongoing serial novel, and other features.
Short StoriesFighting the Fuzzy-Wuzzy: A Poker Boy Story
Husband Dummies
A Golden Dream: A Jukebox Story
Last Car for This Time: A Thunder Mountain Story
On Top of the Dead
The Yellow of the Flickering Past
Full NovellaHeaven Painted as a Cop Car: A Ghost of a Chance Novella
Serial NovelAn Easy Shot: A Golf Thriller (Part 6 of 8)
NonfictionIntroduction: A Very Short Novel
I've also just published a blog about the 24th issue of Smith's, which was just turned in. Here's that link if you're interested:http://www.wmgpublishinginc.com/2015/10/05/publishers-note-a-major-milestone/



On 10/4/15 11:55 AM, EJ Gorman wrote:



Recycled Pulp
Edited by John Helfers

The old becomes new again as fifteen talented authors go back to the lurid pulp titles of yesteryear through today’s rich, nuanced storytelling! Enjoy original tales featuring rebel angels fighting a heavenly enforcement squad, a cop whose life might depend on ordering the right deli sandwich, and a wizard who has just three days to pay off the loan on his tower or lose his very soul. Whatever your taste in stories, Recycled Pulp is sure to have something that will amaze, surprise, and delight you.

  1 Attached Images

Monday, October 05, 2015


You'll find this along ith a great photograph of Don Westlake on the Mystery Scene website. I'm adding it here for people who missed it the first time around. Thanks to Kate Stine for letting me reprint it.

In Mystery Scene’s 2008 Fall Issue #106, Ed Gorman interviewed the author about his work.


by Ed Gorman

Levi Stahl, the publicity manager of the University of Chicago Press, has exciting news for Richard Stark fans. “While we don’t reprint many mysteries, we explained to the editorial board that these weren’t just any crime novels, these were regarded as masterpieces…. great novels that have influenced writers around the world. We’re starting with The Hunter, The Man with the Getaway Face and The Outfit but we’re already negotiating for more books in the series.” This means, the Press hopes, that the initial three will be followed in chronological order by the next thirteen Parker novels, ending with Butcher’s Moon, originally published in 1974.

Ed Gorman for Mystery Scene: For all the ferocity of the criminals in the Stark novels, you present a hierarchy based on competence. Strictly Darwinian. There are times when I almost feel sorry for a few of the more feckless ones.

Donald Westlake: Okay, let’s see what we got here. You begin by suggesting the Parker novels are about competence, an idea I like very much. I’ve always said Parker is basically a workman, with the professional workman’s goal of getting the job done ably, efficiently and without interruption. It’s true his job is a dramatic one, but it’s still a job. The only way somebody’s going to be interested in watching a guy take the hinges off a door is if there’s a hundred thousand dollars on the other side.

Gorman: Brian Garfield wrote that you once described Parker as a 1930s Depression character. Then as more European than American. Were you trying to avoid the various hardboiled clich├ęs of the early sixties by thinking of him in these terms?

Westlake: It’s true that Parker comes out of the 30s bank robbers, and I knew in the 60s he was already from another era. The fact is, for a guy in the Midwest in the 30s who had brains and daring but no education and no contacts, crime was one of the very few open career paths. Later on, as other career paths opened up, fewer competent people went in that direction. In that way, he’s an anachronism, but anachronisms have their uses, like chiaroscuro, to highlight the contrasts. Every once in a while in the books, somebody living in our world finds himself in confrontation with this unreconstructed guy from a much harder age. I always like to watch those meetings.

Let me tell you a story about my father. He was a low-pay traveling salesman for much of his life. When I was a kid in Albany, NY, his territory for the various things he sold—you don’t make a living from one item—was eastern Pennsylvania through all of New England except Maine. He’d had a couple of heart attacks and one Friday, in Harrisburg, he felt another one coming on. (There’s no health insurance in this story.) He told the desk clerk he’d stay for the weekend, then bought a bottle of rye and went to bed. Every time he woke up he’d sip a little rye, and Monday morning he woke up hungry and alive. He never told the family until, a few years later, when he was hospitalized with another one, the doctors found the evidence and he admitted to it. That unblinking attitude of just-keep-moving is much of Parker.

Early on, I made a couple mistakes with Parker—socializing him in one way or another—but it was like a cook putting just the wrong thing in a recipe; you could taste it right away. So, as I got to know him better, I stopped making those mistakes. He’s already there; just let him be himself and everything will be fine.

Gorman: Is the story true that you showed a portion of The Hunter to some of your writer friends for their input before you finished it? Did your group back then do that often?

Westlake: I didn’t show The Hunter to anybody for input. I’ve rarely done that with any book. In fact, the only time I can remember doing that was with my first mystery, The Mercenaries, when I wasn’t at all sure what I was doing and I showed the first draft to a writer friend of mine, Larry Harris (who later, for some reason, became Larry Janifer), because I knew he was a good writer and a good editor and far better attuned to the market than I was. He called and said he wanted to come over and talk. When he got to the apartment he had the manuscript box in one hand and a six pack of beer in the other, and he said, “We’re in trouble.” We went through the manuscript, and if there was a beginner’s mistake I hadn’t made I can’t think what it might be. It was a terrific learning experience, and the next draft sold to Lee Wright at Random House, who later became Larry’s editor as well. Otherwise, my first three readers, only when the book is done, are, in order, my wife, my agent and my editor.

Gorman: One critic noted “Westlake has been the mad scientist of crime fiction for nearly 40 years now, and the Stark books showcase some of his more daring experiments with style and structure.” Do you make a conscious decision about approach before you write or do you let the story make the decisions?

Westlake: Story defines the books for two reasons, both because story is what fiction is about and because, since I don’t outline or prepare in any other way, the story is forced to emerge or die. “Narrative push,” as I know you know. Once we have the fuel on board—and then, and then, and then—it’s nice to be able to try different things. Not to get digressive, but to give the story little extras. For instance, in one book I saw I had an opportunity, if I wanted, to tell one section in first person from Parker’s point of view. Since he isn’t someone who tends to want to tell other people anything, particularly anything unnecessary, I wondered if I could do it, what he would sound like, and would it turn out to be one of those false notes. In the event, it was fine. (And no, I can’t right now remember which book.) More recently, in Ask the Parrot, I suddenly realized I could do one chapter from the parrot’s point of view, and that made me very, very happy.

Gorman: You’ve written that you didn’t know how editors let alone readers would react to a hero like Parker. Were you surprised when your editor asked for more?

Westlake: When I wrote The Hunter it was supposed to be a one-off. A difficult unpleasant guy without redeeming qualities bent on revenge. Then Bucklyn Moon, an editor at Pocket Books, said he liked the book and wondered if Parker could escape at the end and me write “three more books a year about him.” (I actually did, the first two years.) I really had to concentrate on that, because Parker was everything a main character in a novel was supposed to not be. The big question was, could I go back to him, knowing he was going to be a series character, meeting the readers again and again, and not soften him. No sidekick or girlfriend to have conversations with, no quirks or hobbies. That was the goal. Somebody who, in a western, would be a lone traveler in the dimness on the other side of the campfire from the hero. Now that menacing but unimportant minor character would be asking for everybody’s attention. No, not asking, assuming.

Gorman: Do you still hear from prisoners commenting on Parker’s skills and offering suggestions for taking care of business?

Westlake: Prisoners used to be readers, but now they’re weightlifters. I used to get letters from guys because they thought they could shoptalk with me, that I wouldn’t moralize or condescend. Techniques and stuff weren’t part of it, but they did have some very nice stories to tell, none of which got directly into any book, though the attitudes show through.

Gorman: There have been so many editions of the Stark books around the world that you might be forgiven for not getting excited each time you see a new one. But given the breadth of the University of Chicago publishing program for the Parkers, you must feel pretty damned proud.

Westlake: I know I should get over being astonished by Parker’s longevity and success, and pretty soon I will. The University of Chicago Press was not a scalp I ever expected to see on my belt. Just to get that 3-D effect, later this month at a comics convention in San Diego, a small outfit is announcing the launch (some day) of Parker graphic novels. (They’ve promised me a T-shirt.) The illustrator, Darwyn Cooke, is hard at work in Canada. When you’ve got the University of Chicago Press and a graphic novel publisher both looking at the same material, the only thing to do is just keep moving on.

Gorman: Finally, the late Bill DeAndrea once quoted you as saying `You don’t know what it’s like to have a pen name who’s doing better than you are.” How do you feel about that today?

Westlake: The issue of being one-upped by your pen name—it isn’t quite the same thing as Evan Hunter, who was just about drowned out completely by Ed McBain, but Stark does tend to outperform Westlake whenever they start even. It happened the first time around, when Point Blank became one of the seminal movies of the twentieth century and Stark was earning more than Westlake, and it’s happened again this time around. I am very glad I don’t have to figure that out.

Ed Gorman’s latest novel is Sleeping Dogs (St. Martin’s Minotaur). Visit his website at .

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The great new Black Static #48

The great new Black Static #48


Distinguished Mole: A Tale From Somewhere by Jeffrey Thomas
illustrated by Joachim Luetke

Item image: Distinguished Mole
“Doctor,” Oo said, having cracked open his frosted glass door and poked her head into his office, “I think you need to see this.”
“What is ‘this’?” he asked the nurse, trying to strike the right balance between authoritative (because he was the new doctor at the clinic, and wanted to establish a sense of respect) and friendliness (because Oo was extremely attractive, in her tight white uniform, glossy hair streaming from under her little cap).
“Our patient, Mr Ep, who came in with pain in his left ear, and hearing loss.”
“What seems to be the trouble?”
“Ear wax.”
“More than you can dig out?”
“I’m…afraid to, sir. Perhaps we need to soften the wax with solution and flush it with water.”
“And you can’t do that?”
“I’ve never seen such impacted wax before, doctor,” she said sheepishly.
Dr Bendo Tin sighed with just the right balance of irritation and indulgence, rising from behind his desk, and said, “Take me to him.”

Bandersnatch by Stephen Bacon
Item image: Bandersnatch
My sister has a very nice dog. He’s exuberant and fussy, constantly nosing his way towards me to be stroked. If I’m honest, I’m a little surprised; back when we were kids my sister was always frightened of dogs. But I suppose people change over time. I wonder what else is different about her in the decade since we’ve last seen one another.

The Suffering by Steven J. Dines
illustrated by Tara Bush 

Item image: The Suffering
I first saw her eleven months after she died, during a London-Brighton cancer charity run. We were a few miles outside Crawley when I spotted her keeping pace on the side of the road, somewhere beyond the cordon tape and the meagre crowd that cheered us on. Like a zoetrope image glimpsed in the gaps between their passing bodies.
Christa, it’s really you.
She had on that long silk night gown, the blue one with the cloud and heart pattern and the frilly hem. Pale, freckled arms like two sticks bleached by the sun. Orange hair moving like sea kelp in a stop-motion tide.
You’ve come back. But is it only to lose you again?

Blood For Your Mother by Andrew Hook
Item image: Blood For Your Mother
The room smelt of decay. Sunlight bleached through thin, holed curtains, imbuing the room with a warmth which was absent from both of us present. My father’s hand lay on top of the bedcovers, stretched towards me with an expectation that I might hold it. But I couldn’t bring myself to touch the leathery skin with its bat wing texture; not only from physical disgust, but also because of everything that had so far passed between us.

When the Moon Man Knocks by Cate Gardner
illustrated by Richard Wagner 

Item image: When the Moon Man Knocks
Hector Wynter stopped to tie his shoelace. He rested his shoe on a plant display outside the hospital and tied an intricate knot in the lace that he knew, despite his best efforts, would come undone. They always found a way to disable him. A white paper bird fluttered and dropped onto a nearby rose, waiting for him to read its innards. He ignored this one. Instead, he watched a woman clasp the hands of a disease-ravaged man. She wore a smile that swore you won’t break me as she looked up and prayed at glass and brick.
This place broke everyone in the end.


Coffinmaker's Blues by Stephen Volk
I’ve always said that so-called fantasy television will only truly have won the day when there’s a science fiction series for adults at 9 p.m. on a terrestrial channel. Well there is. And it’s become a runaway hit. Channel 4’s Humans – a future vision where domestic robots look just like us – attracted more than six million viewers (over double Paul Abbott’s new drama), a 23% overall share, for its opening episode, to become the broadcaster’s biggest drama success for twenty years. So what did I think of it?
Well, I didn’t see it – for purely personal reasons.

Notes From the Borderland by Lynda E. Rucker
In the 1986 Jim Jarmusch film Down by Law, Roberto Benigni encounters a drunk and maudlin Tom Waits and declares, “It’s a sad and beautiful world.” It’s always been one of my favourite lines in cinema, but on revisiting the film recently, it suddenly occurred to me that the line also describes one of my favourite approaches to horror. Not the only approach, or the only meaningful approach, but the one that perhaps speaks to me most profoundly: stories about the places where the unbearable abuts the extraordinary.


Case Notes: Book Reviews by Peter Tennant
Item image: BS48 Case Notes
Strange Gateways, The Devil’s Detective, plus author interview
H.P. LOVECRAFT SLEEPS WITH THE FISHESShadows Over Innsmouth, Weird Shadows Over Innsmouth, Weirder Shadows Over Innsmouth, all edited by Stephen Jones
SARAH PINBOROUGHMurder, The Death House
SPECTRAL NOVELLASThe Hammer of Dr Valentine by John Llewellyn Probert, Albion Fay by Mark Morris, The Bureau of Them by Cate Gardner, Leytonstone by Stephen Volk

Blood Spectrum: DVD/Blu-ray Reviews by Tony Lee
Item image: BS48 Blood Spectrum
Housebound, Riki-Oh: The Story of Ricky, White God, Jordskott, The Town That Dreaded Sundown, The Dead 2: India, Dead Rising: Watchtower, Dead Shadows, Fallen Soldiers, Zombie Fight Club, The Walking Dead Season 5, Return to Sender, Cub, The Burning, Cottage Country, La Grande Bouffe, Into the Grizzle Maze, Infernal, Unconscious, Demonic, The Falling, Body, Awaiting, Julia, plus late arrivals Eyes Without A Face, Unfriended, The Canal, Insidious Chapter 3

Where To Buy Black Static:

Black Static is available in good shops in the UK and many other countries, including the USA where it can be found in Barnes & Noble, Books-A-Million and elsewhere. If your local store (in any country) doesn't stock it they should easily be able to order it in for you so please don't hesitate to ask them. You can also buy the magazine from a variety of online retailers, or a version for e-readers from places like Weightless Books, Amazon, Apple, Smashwords, etc.
The best thing though – for you and for us – is to follow any of the Shop/Buy Now/Subscribe links on this page and take out a subscription. You'll receive issues much cheaper and faster that way, and the magazine will receive a much higher percentage of the revenue. Potential subscribers outside the UK should note that six issues of 12-issue subscriptions have absolutely no postage added: they pay exactly the same as a UK subscriber.

Please Help Spread the Word:

If you enjoy Black Static please blog about it, review it, or simply recommend it to your friends. Thank you!

Coming Soon:

'Dirt Land', a novelette by Ralph Robert Moore (illustrated by Ben Baldwin), plus stories by Stephen Hargadon, Simon Bestwick, Thana Niveau, Tim Lees, Erinn L. Kemper, V.H. Leslie, Tyler Keevil, Gary Budden and others. Black Static 49 is out in November.
Black Static issues by date:

Sunday, October 04, 2015

classicfilmtvcafe.com a great post 25 Greatest Classic Horror Films



The 25 Greatest Classic Horror Films

We thought October was the perfect month to unveil our choices for the 25 Greatest Classic Horror Films. Note that these are "classic" horror films, which means they must have withstood the test of time. Thus, you won't find any movies made after 1980. You also won't find any science fiction films, though sometimes the horror and sci-fi genres seem to overlap. But, on the basis they were more sci-fi than horror, we omitted some fine pictures like Invasion of the Body Snatchers, both versions of The ThingQuatermass and the Pit. In compiling our list, we considered historical significance, influence, and fright factor for each film. Some well-known horror movies didn't make the grade. Frankly, we have never been impressed with The Texas Chainsaw MassacreFriday the 13th, or even Kwaidan.

1. Curse of the Demon (Night of the Demon) (1958) - If Hitchcock had made a straight horror film, I think it would have turned out like this one-of-a-kind chiller about a villain that conjures up a rather hideous demon to dispose of those who oppose him. Niall McGinnis shines as the kind of Hitchcock bad guy that lovingly cares for his mother and hosts a Halloween party for the kiddies.

Kyra Schon in Night of the Living Dead.
2. Night of the Living Dead (1968) - Long before The Walking Dead TV series, George Romero made flesh-eating ghouls fashionable with this drive-in classic. It's funny, scary, gory, and grim (especially the ending, which has caused some critics to label it a Vietnam War analogy).

3. Brides of Dracula (1960) - No Dracula and no Christopher Lee? No problem--as those constraints inspired Hammer to reach new heights with an intelligent vampire tale filled with fine performances, an imaginative plot, and the best ending of any vampire movie.

4. The Last Man on Earth (1964) - Writer Richard Matheson didn't care for this Italian-made adaptation of his popular novel I Am Legend, in which a plague of vampirism wipes out most of the Earth's population. I think it's an inventive, effective chiller with a strong Vincent Price performance.

Margaret Johnson in Burn, Witch, Burn.
5. Burn, Witch, Burn (Night of the Eagle) (1962) - An amateur witch tries to further her husband's academic career, but runs afoul of someone else practicing the black arts. I'm flummoxed as to why this smart look at believers vs. skeptics isn't better known.

6. The Leopard Man (1943) - Director William Friedkin (The Exorcist) dubbed its most famous scene "one of the greatest horror sequences ever filmed." I agree. But this Lewton-produced mystery, set in New Mexico, also boasts several other tension-filled set pieces (especially the cemetery murder).

7. Halloween (1978) - This penultimate slasher film is a remarkably well-crafted picture from director John Carpenter. His use of the widescreen frame is a virtual textbook on creating suspense using nothing but space.

Sharon Tate as Sarah.
8. The Fearless Vampire Killers (1967)- Roman Polanski's parody of vampire films is so good that it stands on its own as a first-rate horror picture. Polanski displays an uncanny understanding of the genre, from the snowy setting to the famous dance of the vampires (the film's original title). Sharon Tate exudes charm as the heroine, proving she was more than just a pretty face.

The famous pool scene in Cat People.
9. Cat People (1942) - With the first of his RKO films, producer Val Lewton proved that the horror in our imaginations is far more frightening than what any filmmaker can show us. It also boasted rich psychological undercurrents with its themes of sexual repression and jealousy.

10. Nosferatu (1922) - F.W. Murnau's silent vampire classic still chills today thanks to the director's haunting visuals and Max Schreck's memorable Count Orlok. It's the first horror screen classic.

A shadow scene from The 7th Victim.
11. The 7th Victim (1943) - Val Lewton's eerie tale of devil worshippers in Greenwich Village predates the better-known--but far less effective--Rosemary's Baby by three decades. Mark Robson's use of dark shadows gives the film a noirish feel. (Ed here-I'd never thought of this connection but I'm betting both Ira Levin and saw it somewhere along the line.)

12. The Innocents (1961) - The best of the horror films in which the supernatural elements may be real or (more likely in this case) imagined. Deborah Kerr gives a tour de force performance as the unhinged governess and Martin Stephens matches her in possibly the best child performance of the 1960s. Superior in every way to The Haunting.

Elsa Lanchester as the unwilling bride.
13. Bride of Frankenstein (1935) - James Whale's masterpiece is generally considered the finest Universal horror film (though personally, I'm quite fond of Son of Frankenstein). Thematically rich, Bride gives the Monster a voice and Karloff the opportunity to make the creature all too human.

14. Frankenstein Must Be Destroyed (1969) -Hammer's best Frankenstein movie is a potent portrayal of obsession for the sake of science. Peter Cushing is excellent as the driven doctor, but Freddie Jones matches him as the sympathetic "monster."

15. Horror of Dracula (Dracula) (1958) - Along with The Curse of Frankenstein, this vampire classic established Hammer Films and reinvigorated the horror genre for a whole new generation. It also transformed Van Helsing into an action hero, presented a new Dracula that inspired genuine fear, and made genre stars of Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee.

Chris Lee in The Devil Rides Out.
16. The Devil Rides Out (The Devil's Bride) (1968)- Christopher Lee portrays the hero in this lively tale, set in 1929, about an aristocrat that heads a cult of devil worshippers. Charles Gray makes a formidable villain and his appearance in a car's rearview mirror is genuinely creepy. Ditto for a daring rescue during one of the cult's ceremonies.

17. The Uninvited (1944) - This well-made ghostly tale remains unique for two reasons. It was a mainstream Hollywood film with a big-name star (Ray Milland) at a time when horror movies were "B" fare. It also featured actual ghosts--unlike later films where the lines of reality become blurred (e.g., The InnocentsThe Haunting).

Bernie Casey as the head gargoyle.
18. Gargoyles (1972) - For many years, I felt as if I was the only person who truly appreciated this unique made-for-TV terror tale set in the Southwestern U.S. However, a 2011 DVD release and a recent showing at an Austin, Texas, "drafthouse cinema" confirms that I am not alone!

19. Black Sunday (1960)- Bathed in deep shadows and swirling fog, Mario Bava's black-and-white masterpiece made a genre star of Barbara Steele. She plays a witch who returns from the grave to wreak vengeance.  (Note to self: Never remove a gold mask from a rotting corpse!)

Michael Redgrave in Dead of Night.
20. Dead of Night (1945) - The first great horror anthology is most famous for its clever and disturbing framing device. The individual tales are all good, but the one with Michael Redgrave's ventriloquist is chilling.

21. Psycho (1960)- The shower scene and the staircase murder still pack a wallop, but it's Hitchcock's narrative structure that makes Psycho so memorable. For many of us, it was the first film we saw where the (supposed) heroine was killed halfway through its running time.

22. The Phantom of the Opera (1925)- The most famous film of the first horror superstar, Lon Chaney, Sr., is a must for this list. In addition to its historical significance, Phantom offers two iconic scenes:  the crashing of the crystal chandelier and the unmasking of Erik.

Rathbone in a publicity still.
23. Son of Frankenstein (1939) - With Bela Lugosi's Igor and Lionel Atwill's one-armed prefect, Universal created two of its most famous horror film characters. This unheralded classic has other virtues, too: Karloff's last appearance as the Monster, Basil Rathbone's manic performance, Jack Otterson's brilliant sets, and Frank Skinner's music.

24. Phantasm (1979)- A youth, a tall undertaker, dwarf zombies, and a deadly flying sphere.... Phantasm doesn't always make sense, but if Luis Bunuel had fashioned a surrealistic horror film, I'd like to think it would have turned out to be something like this.

25. Suspiria (1977) - I originally included Italian director Dario Argento's Deep Red (Profondo rosso) (1975) in this final slot, since it helped define the Giallo genre that grew out of Hitchcock's Psycho and Michael Powell's Peeping Tom. However, I bumped it in favor of Argento's supernatural classic about the world's most terrifying dance academy. In addition to Argento's trademark camera work, his use of color is breath-taking.
Red is the dominant palette in this scene from Suspiria.

Honorable Mentions: Captain Kronos: Vampire HunterThe Masque of the Red Death; Trilogy of TerrorThe ExorcistThe Tingler; and Dracula Has Risen from the Grave.



Recycled Pulp
Edited by John Helfers

The old becomes new again as fifteen talented authors go back to the lurid pulp titles of yesteryear through today’s rich, nuanced storytelling! Enjoy original tales featuring rebel angels fighting a heavenly enforcement squad, a cop whose life might depend on ordering the right deli sandwich, and a wizard who has just three days to pay off the loan on his tower or lose his very soul. Whatever your taste in stories, Recycled Pulp is sure to have something that will amaze, surprise, and delight you.