Ginger Nuts of Horror
"Time takes a cigarette, puts it in your mouth..."
Oh you sad pretty things,
There are those who are content to simply listen to music. Passively, like a television show you aren't really watching. Then you have those of us for whom music is much, much more. It is a salve against all the other things, the stinging things, the bad things, the scary monsters.
"Look out my window and what do I see, A crack in the sky and a hand reaching down to me."
For many, Resident Evil represents the first time they felt genuine fear from a video game. Even given its heavy inspiration by titles such as Alone in the Dark, the original Resident Evil marks a particular turning point in what video games could do, what demographics they classically appealed to. As Tomb Raider did for action adventure titles, as Final Fantasy VII for role playing games, Resident Evil marked a quantumn leap in the medium, from childhood to an uncertain adolescence, along with those of us that had grown up with the medium and watched it evolve.
I have very, very fond memories of sitting in front of the computer screen in an extremely cold, extremely dark room upstairs in my parent's house, utterly immersed in the blood-dense atmosphere of the Arklay Manor and its environs, the immediacy and intensity of the tension unbearable. I had never seen or experienced anything even close to what the original Resident Evil evoked at that time.
Then came Silent Hill. If Resident Evil marks a particular stage of adolescence in video gaming, then Silent Hill is another leap forward in transition and experience; hurtling the medium forward into adulthood.
Though the recent years have seen a surging regeneration in horror, we’ve also seen some sad losses. The most recent of these is actor Angus Scrimm, more likely known to horror fans as The Tall Man, lost to the world at the grand old age of 91.
There are certain names and faces in the creative arts that just become instantly irreplaceable. After all, would Nightmare on Elmstreet have been the same without Rober Englund as Freddy? And could anybody but Bruce Campbell have led the cast of Evil Dead 2? These people may not be the most well known of stars, or even the best of actors, but they’re the kind of people that, if you tried to picture anybody else playing their roles, you’d come up empty.
Angus Scrimm was such a man.
By now, everyone should know that reviews are an Indie author's bread and butter. Readers find new books based on word-of-mouth advertising and often, the first places they go when looking for a new read include Amazon and Goodreads. They browse through the reviews, check out the book's cover, and if it looks interesting, may download a sample to their Kindles, or just buy the book. Although it's true that reviews are subjective, people put a lot into what others think of a book and many shoppers will purchase a book based on the reviews alone.
Zombies….. What a wonderful phrase…
Zombies…. Ain’t no passing craze
It means no worries, for the rest of your days
It’s our problem free…. philosophy.. zombies
(No copyright infringement intended…)
If asked to describe me, those who know me would mention my love of zombies in their first sentence. In fact, those who don’t know me but that have spent 5 seconds in my presence could tell you that too. Zombies are my favourite conversation point, they’re reflected in my reading and viewing preferences, and you can even see them on a lot of my clothes and in my jewelry. I absolutely love them; running, slow, undead, infected, whatever – it’s all good to me. As the last few years have rolled by, my film and book collection has grown so that it can barely be contained within one room, and that’s not to mention my figurines (they’re not toys, damnit!).
People always ask me why. What is it about these particular monsters that get me so excited? Why am I so comfortable about sleeping in a room full of images of them? I’ve pondered this for a while, and now, with the start of the New Year, I’d like to share my thoughts.
I have been writing for over ten years. The last three years of which have been as a full-time author whose chart position floats between 10 and 25 in Amazon’s “Most Popular Horror Authors” listing. I have over one hundred titles to my name and many more planned moving forward. I have done this myself as a self-published author.
Over these years I have been approached with work with various publishers but - looking into them - they can rarely offer me anything that I am not doing myself. And, worse than that, in some instances they appear to have their own interests at heart as opposed to those of the author and that is why I am setting myself up as a publisher (Matt Shaw Publications). I want to help new authors, or even current authors looking to reach a new readership that might not have already been reading them.
With just over a week to go until this year has been put to bed, I thought I should put together a post about the highs and lows of Ginger Nuts of Horror and the beard behind it.
Like every other year this has been a mixed year, but thankfully the highs have more than outweighed the lows. So let us get the lows out of the way first.
I was planning to do a Top 5 Horror Films of 2015, but it appears that most of the movies on my list were released prior to 2015. So excellent ones like Starry Eyes, Spring, Clown, Babadook, Digging Up the Marrow, Willow Creek, and all the other great to mediocre horror movies I saw this year that I thought were shiny and new were from last year.
And when I look at what was praised from this year—very little, so far—I wonder if maybe 2015 was a step back from the banner year for horror that was 2014. What did we get? A whole lot of warmed-over sequels, like Insidious 3, Paranormal Activity 8 or whatever number they're at now, Human Centipede 3, and a sequel to I Spit On Your Grave (why?), a handful of anthologies (Tales of Halloween was riddled with horror movie cliches, and I couldn’t get through the first ten minutes of A Christmas Horror Story), the moody yet hugely underwhelming It Follows, and Cooties which, while fun, just wasn’t up to par with the best horror-comedies like Shaun of the Dead, Tremors, Arachnophobia, etc. etc. I have yet to see Crimson Peak, Krampus, The Boy and Goodnight Mommy, movies that have received high praise elsewhere. Hopefully they’ll make a posthumous 2015 list once this year is dead and buried.
So, instead, I will countdown my Favorite Horror (Period) of 2015, including books, television, and movies. And here they are, in no particular order:
As the days grow shorter, the nights get darker and the Christmas preparations get more frantic, there’s nothing better than to unwind with some Christmas ghost and horror stories. Here at Ginger Nuts, horror and Christmas fan, Charlotte Bond, has her top recommendations for Christmas chills. There’s something for the whole family, even the littlest members!
Author and Reviewer Dos and Don’ts
I’ve learned a lot working with the Ginger Nuts team over the past year. I’ve learned that there are some truly caring people in the horror genre. Without the help of people like Jim Mcleod, Kit Power, Duncan Ralston, Paul M. Feeney and countless others, I wouldn’t have made it very far on this site. Jim took a chance on me, a lowly American writer, who wanted to be part of something bigger and far more important than anything I’d ever been part of before. To this day, I don’t consider myself anywhere near as good as the other reviewers on this site, nor will I ever be that good. Quite frankly, I’m not sure why Jim keeps me around sometimes, but I am forever thankful that he does.
Paul is always there with an encouraging word when I’m struggling with a review, and Kit is just an amazing writer who someday I hope to emulate, and therefore, I hang on his every word. Duncan can always make me laugh and reminds me that some things just aren’t worth worrying about. Again, there are many others who have helped me along my journey, and trying to name each one would undoubtedly result in leaving someone out, and I won’t let that happen. You all know who you are. And I love you to bits.