Ginger Nuts of Horror
A day doesn't go past where my inbox isn't filled with review requests, sadly, despite the best efforts of myself and the team of reviewers 90% of the books received will never get reviewed. At the moment of writing this even if all the review team reviewed one book a week, it would take us around three years to review every book that has been submitted. And when I receive on average six to eight requests a day this backlog is never going to go away.
I personally don't have the time to review a book a week, sadly the site is now so big the admin demands are almost a full time job. So when it comes to reviewing books I generally only cherry pick the ones that really capture my attention. With that being said here are the next five books on my review list......
(if you are interested in purchasing any of these books please click on the title or the cover image. This will take you to the Ginger Nuts Amazon account, and we will receive a small percentage from every purchase)
Fear The Walking Dead: The Complete First Season is out now on Blu-ray™ and DVD, courtesy of entertainment One
A vampire’s never just a vampire. Through decades of fascination and elaboration, these classic bloodsuckers have divided into camps with vast variety. Today we have savage incarnations that leave bloody wakes, idealized seducers, and all manner of inhuman leeches and manipulators. They’re all vampires, whether they take the shape of Rice’s Lestat or Murnau’s Nosferatu, but their breeds grow more fractious by the year.
Just as there’s no one type of vampire, there’s no one vampire tale. Certainly certain vampires and their plots tower over the undead masses, but these creatures’ abilities and versatility provide so much fuel for nightmares that there’s always another morbid twist to explore. We could dismiss these as just blood-soaked monster stories, but vampires tap into something intimate, begging to know not just what, but how, we desire.
We’ve got Michael Myers, Freddy, Jason… scary dudes none of us would want to bump into at night. Yet they could be lurking around that corner just waiting to hack you up. Werewolves, zombies, John Carpenter’s The Thing, not to mention the genius design of those aliens in the classic Alien film series, are all frightening as hell and the stuff of nightmares. And clowns *shudders*. Clowns, man.
But what about those characters, those truly and deeply fearsome characters that we’re all in danger of falling victim to because we just haven’t acknowledged them for the monsters they are? I’m not talking about those obvious dangers, I’m talking about the ones that may pose an intellectual/emotional threat as well as a physical one… those dark and dangerous creatures that have slipped under the radar under the guise of drama or even comedy.
Buckle your seatbelts, Ginger Nutters…oh, and spoiler alerts.
When I started work on Joe Coffin, the first in my series of UK set vampire novels, I maybe should have paused and asked myself, Does the world really need another vampire novel?
Because, you know, put like that, it probably doesn’t.
But then vampires, more than zombies even, and certainly more than werewolves, persist in our imagination, in our nightmares, in our fear of the dark. Zombies are a relatively recent phenomena in popular consciousness, and werewolves can only manifest once a month, and seem to stick in the public mindset about as often.
But vampires? Oh hell, they’ve been around since like, forever.
And so I wondered, Why is that?
If I asked you to picture a vampire in your mind, the image you come up with will probably vary, considering your age and your gender. Maybe Christopher Lee for those of us old enough to remember the Hammer Horror movies. Or, for the younger amongst us, and especially girls, maybe Robert Pattinson in the Twilight Saga.
But I doubt any of you would come up with this image.
Read Bram Stoker’s Dracula though, and this is pretty much how he is described:
‘. . . hair growing scantily round the temples but profusely elsewhere. His eyebrows were very massive, almost meeting over the nose, and with bushy hair that seemed to curl in its own profusion. The mouth, so far as I could see . . . was fixed and rather cruel-looking, with peculiarly sharp white teeth.
These protruded over the lips, whose remarkable ruddiness showed astonishing vitality in a man of his years. For the rest, his ears were pale, and at the tops extremely pointed.’
All right, I exaggerate somewhat in that photograph, but I hope you get my point. The description of Dracula doesn’t exactly conjure Christopher Lee, does it? And it is even further removed from the chiselled features of Robert Pattinson.
Vampires, it seems, have the ability to change appearance and character to fit with the age they are born into. And this, I think, is part of their enduring appeal.
From the eroticism of Carmilla, an LGBT story that existed over a hundred years before the term had been invented, through the arrival of the archetype in Bram Stoker’s Dracula, and on to the embodiment of that novel in the Christopher Lee Hammer Horror movies, the feminism of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and and finally the sexually chaste but oh so romantically inclined Twilight vampires, the one element that seems to connect all vampires everywhere (well, almost all) is sex.
We can probably lay the blame for that at Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu’s feet. His novella, Carmilla, was published in 1871, a decade after homosexuality had been delisted as a capital offence, and pulsated with the horror of sex. Le Fanu’s explicitly lesbian vampire walks through walls, shapeshifts into a cat, loathes Christianity and steals the lifeblood of young women.
A perfect embodiment of the terror of homosexuality that existed in the 1800s, perhaps.
Twenty-six years later Bram Stoker took this element of sex and used it in his novel, Dracula. Just look at how Jonathan Harker describes the women in Dracula’s castle, who he fears far more than the count himself:
"All three had brilliant white teeth that shone like pearls against the ruby of their voluptuous lips. There was something about them that made me uneasy, some longing and at the same time some deadly fear. I felt in my heart a wicked, burning desire that they would kiss me with those red lips."
The chaste Lucy Westenra is transformed into a raging seductress once she becomes a vampire, the ‘Bloofer Lady’ who wanders London at night preying on the innocent. But even before she was bitten, Lucy was showing signs of repressed sexuality. After all, she has marriage proposals from three men, and all on the same day!
Even Buffy the Vampire Slayer, initially a cool, teenage shoutout for feminism, succumbs to the traditional vampire tropes as our heroine falls in love with handsome vampire Angel.
And sex is everywhere in the Twilight movies, even if it is desperately repressed, held back until it can be expressed within the sanctity of marriage.
Whereas in True Blood, the TV series based on the Sookie Stackhouse novels, the sexual urge is finally set free. Boy/girl, girl/girl, boy/boy, it doesn’t really matter.
When I started writing the first chapter in the first Joe Coffin book, I really had no idea what was going to happen. Two children are exploring an abandoned house, and as they crept through its gloomy rooms and halls, I was just as in the dark as to what they might find as they were.
But when they eventually opened that final door, and crept into the darkened room, what did they see?
Well, I don’t want to spoil it for you too much, but let’s just say it fits in with the theme of what we have been discussing here.
The sexual urge is a driving force in the Joe Coffin books, and not just for the vampires, either.
And maybe that’s why we can always embrace another vampire book. Because until we can give up on our obsession with sex, we will never give up on our love of vampires.
I am currently running a giveaway for a Kindle Paperwhite, until December 9th. As a bonus, everybody who enters gets a free ebook copy of Joe Coffin Season One. It’s been getting some great reviews, not least from Gingernuts of Horror’s very own David Dubrow.
So, if you fancy a free vampire novel, and the chance to win a Kindle Paperwhite to read it on, click the link below to find out more and enter.
Win A Kindle Paperwhite courtesy of Ken Preston
THE HEART AND SOUL OF HORROR REVIEWS
Scottish filmmaker Lawrie Brewster returns with The Unkindness Of Ravens. Many of you will have been lucky enough to have seen Lawrie's previous feature film The Lord of Tears, an excellent low budget horror film. Based on on the Kickstarter alone for his new film I am deeply excited by what I have seen. The Unkindness of Ravens is shaping up to be a fantastic horror film. I'm so excited I am going to be backing this film, and I highly recommend that you consider doing the same, I think this is going to be one of the highlights of next year.
In the bleak highlands of Scotland, an army veteran must battle his demons in a last desperate bid to reclaim his life and his sanity.
The Unkindness of Ravens is an exciting, original, feature-length horror film that blends the psychological with the supernatural in a nightmarish tale of one man's journey into hell.
The Unkindness of Ravens tells the story of Andrew, a homeless veteran plagued by flashbacks of a traumatic event he witnessed in the army. Andrew travels to a retreat in the remote Scottish Highlands hoping to overcome his fear of ravens, the dark creatures that populate his visions. But, in this bleak wilderness, his nightmares manifest into an enemy more powerful than he could ever have imagined. Our script was written by the amazing Sarah Daly in 2012.
Inspired by the Valkyries of Norse mythology as well as the Celtic Morrigan, these evil raven-headed beasts stalk the earth, seeking suitable victims. They hunt in a flock or 'unkindness' and their ultimate prize is the juicy white eyeballs of their chosen victim. These incredible creatures were designed by Gavin Robertson and Lawrie Brewster in 2012 with help from the public The Unkindness of Ravens Artist Group (2012) Copyright Hex Media ltd.
Lawrie Brewster - DirectorHe is also a jack of all trades, a technical and VFX wizard whose past work has been featured in film festivals such as Sundance and South by Southwest.
Sarah Daly - WriterSarah Daly is a prolific Irish musician and screenwriter with a love for all things dark and mysterious. Her work has been performed by stars such as Gary Oldman, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Anne Hathaway.
Jamie Scott Gordon - Lead Actor
Jamie Scott Gordon is a wild and intense method actor who threw himself into a mental abyss in order to play such a disturbed and challenging role.
Why They Need Your Help
We really need your help to complete our post-production and to market the film so that it can be seen by the widest audience possible.So far, we've used our own money along with some help from our friends at Dark Dunes Productions to fund the shooting phase of our film. Now we need your help to finish off the film. Every penny we get we'll match with our own blood, sweat and tears as we work to make this the best film it can possibly be. We care passionately about our audience and we love the way that Kickstarter allows us to connect with the very people we do this for. So we hope you'll share this crazy and exciting journey with us!
To help fund and check out the amazing rewards available for this intriguing film please follow this link to the Kickstarter page.
There’s nothing to be scared of in the countryside, surely? Suspicious villagers? Maybe. Local ales that burn the lining from your stomach? Maybe. Scarecrows? Probably. Cow shit? Definitely.
Of course I jest, as I’m from the noble county of Somerset. And as I write this article in the comfy living room of a house in the middle of an ‘urban’ neighbourhood of concrete, glass and brick, I find myself missing the sweep of the wind across the hills and the bleak beauty of the fields in winter. I miss the summer sun upon lush grassland and the browning of the trees in autumn. I miss it all; every leaf and blade of grass, every whisper of wind through narrow country lanes and across bridle paths. These things will always be in my heart. I will always be a child of fields and meadows.
There's a particular generation here in the UK members of which, should you utter phrases in front of them such as: “Side-step to your left!” or “Where am I?” or “Oooooh, nasty!” will get slightly misty eyed and enthusiastic for a show they recall loving as children, but whose name escapes them.
That show is Knightmare, a phenomenally ambitious experiment that resulted in what is unambiguously one of the most challenging, engaging and atmospheric children's shows of all time. For the most part, the media we loved as children does not stand up to an adult viewing. We notice the technical limitations, the terrible writing, the awful animation; the trite, cereal box morals.
Knightmare is a whole other species; a show that not only stands up to an adult viewing, but gets better and better and better as we and it age.
It's been a crazy 2 weeks, of that there can be no doubt. The following story is true, and no names have been changed to protect the innocent.
I stood in the dealer’s room and watched as a man climbed onto a table, stood up and began to read. The opening chapter to a book he was launching. His first published novel. I listened, transfixed, as he transported me from a large room in a conference centre to a community hall in Devon, circa 1995. A tale of a boy, in a church full of people, with a bomb vest on. The boy wants to talk to God, and if he doesn't answer, well, let’s just say that there may be trouble ahead.
Welcome, to the third part of my F-Con 2015 report.
Another crappy sleep, another shamble down to breakfast - this time, no nosebleed, yay! - and more nonsense chatter that's probably best not to be repeated here (suffice to say, Dion Winton Polak was on particular filthy form). There was a sense of melancholy in the air, which I suppose was natural as we were all aware that we' be saying goodbye to each other, most not knowing when the next time we'd meet (but knowing it would be quite a few months, at least). I think, as well, there was slight tension with those who were nominated in various awards, and so the atmosphere at breakfast was a little subdued (aside from my typically inappropriate topics of conversation).