Undead. Spirits. Evil incarnate. Just a few terms used to describe the growing Orthon menace. But the reality being that Ravan’s former army pose more an inconvenience than any actual threat. During my time in Shanty Town, I saw a disempowered people, slave to hoodlums and creatures from the Wastes. Mere shadows of their former selves. Most are unable to speak, save inarticulate grunts. Others lack the capacity to clothe themselves or see to their bodily functions, or even seek shelter when the weather turns foul.
The unenviable task of protecting the unfortunate falls to those that survived Ravan’s process with a modicum of their humanity intact. I spoke with former Doctor Blake and Doctor Herald (both officially deceased) at the ration centre. Both men had been grafted or fused into one singular mass and for easier referral preferred to be called, ‘Genesis’.
Evidently, these men of learning combined to beat the harrowing process of their rebirth. Genesis said, in the accepted sense of the term, the Orthon race no longer aged. Frank in its discussion, this gestalt entity showed no apparent hate for Ravan and his London Body Shops. Instead, it spoke of Minerva: newly announced as the goddess of death. The Orthons were upon her doorstep, or so it claimed, seeking a way back in. When, or if, that time would ever come wasn’t the issue. Forever, if that’s what it took. Regardless, Genesis would do her bidding and wait. Because waiting was all it had left. And when I glanced into the eyes of the former doctors and the endless darkness within their souls, I had a sense of what forever truly meant – and it chilled me to the bone.
Keeping with the werewolf theme, here’s an old one from a few years back.
Originally posted on neiljohnbuchanan.com:
An American Werewolf in London is a stylish, eclectic blend of horror and comedy in which the audience is treated to excellent one-liners and gruesome special effects.
Prior to American Werewolf a perfect synthesis of comedy/horror hadn’t been achieved in film, earlier forays stretched into the farcical but lacked any real substance or depth. Sam Raimi’s ‘The Evil Dead 2’ was still six years away, and the prospect of a workable comedy/horror was no doubt a challenge for most Hollywood Directors.
Enter John Landis whose offering of lycanthropic lunacy overhauled the genre and sent it spinning in a whole new direction. Landis had directed Animal House, the Blues Brothers and would later come up with Trading Places before falling from Hollywood’s grace, but in 1981 Landis knew comedy, and as American Werewolf in London went on to prove, he also knew a thing or two about horror.
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Originally posted on neiljohnbuchanan.com:
Imagine you’re out camping in the woods at night when a haunting cry echoes through the trees. You consider running, but are frozen in place by an animalistic growl. Emerging from the dark is a creature straight from legend – the werewolf.
What do you do? Run for your life and try to make it to the car – never happen – or pull out your trusted .44 Magnum and offload six wonderful rounds of pure silver into its hairy ass, because unlike other potential victims you had the good sense to prepare a werewolf contingency plan.
Werewolves have been amongst us for centuries. Perhaps they’ve always been here, waiting in the shadows, ready to pounce.
Earliest mentions of the werewolf stem from the Greek legends of the Arcadian king, Lycaon, who was transformed into a wolf-man by the god Zeus after Lycaon tried to serve him human flesh. But…
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In keeping with Women in Horror month, I’d like to draw your attention to the excellent blog, Day of Woman, which manages to create a fresh view on some of the genre’s best-loved horrors. Follow the link below.
1: At my first horror convention, I attended a two-day writing course, one of the few things our teacher told us never to do is to bang on about the weather. No one cares. Never open with the weather, never wax lyrical about the sunrise. Lazy and boring.
2: Stephen King talks about this in his excellent guide, ‘On Writing’. When writing dialogue only ever use the tag: he/she said. Avoid things like, ‘he said quietly’, ‘she laughed’, ‘he coughed’, ‘he mewled’, ‘she sighed’. Actually, I try to avoid the ‘he said, she said’ all together and show simple body language and movement instead.
3: Only experienced writers with proven track records can say their writing is good, for the rest of us, zip it until you’re a best selling author.
4: There’s nothing worse than an over-inflated ego. Angels will not weep at your prose and you seriously have to get a grip. The amount of authors I know with a god-complex would be funny if it wasn’t so sad.
5: Grow thick skin. You will have to deal with rejection and critique. It’s essential for growth. Submit your work and prepare the pile of rejection letters. Nobody will love you at first, but that’s okay, you don’t need someone else’s love to define you.
6: Write everyday. Even it’s only for five minutes.
7: Read lots. Read everyday. Not just books, but articles, poems, essays. Read. Read. Read.
8: If you’re just starting out, then remember this, if nothing else. It takes time. And I mean years.
9: Active voice, baby. Bin the passive.
10: Always write for yourself, to hell with anyone else. Someone, somewhere, will get you. Just keep on tying.
Here’s the question, in the decades since has this scene ever been equalled?
by Edgar Allan Poe
Lo! Death has reared himself a throne
In a strange city lying alone
Far down within the dim West,
Where the good and the bad and the worst and the best
Have gone to their eternal rest.
There shrines and palaces and towers
(Time-eaten towers that tremble not!)
Resemble nothing that is ours.
Around, by lifting winds forgot,
Resignedly beneath the sky
The melancholy waters lie.
No rays from the holy heaven come down
On the long night-time of that town;
But light from out the lurid sea
Streams up the turrets silently —
Gleams up the pinnacles far and free —
Up domes — up spires — up kingly halls —
Up fanes — up Babylon-like walls —
Up shadowy long-forgotten bowers
Of sculptured ivy and stone flowers —
Up many and many a marvelous shrine
Whose wreathéd friezes intertwine
The viol, the violet, and the vine.
So blend the turrets and shadows there
That all seem pendulous in the air,
While from a proud tower in the town
Death looks gigantically down.
There open fanes and gaping graves
Yawn level with the luminous waves;
But not the riches there that lie
In each idol’s diamond eye —
Not the gaily-jeweled dead
Tempt the waters from their bed;
For no ripples curl, alas!
Along that wilderness of glass —
No swellings tell that winds may be
Upon some far-off happier sea —
No heavings hint that winds have been
On seas less hideously serene.
But lo, a stir is in the air!
The wave — there is a movement there!
As if the towers had thrust aside,
In slightly sinking, the dull tide —
As if their tops had feebly given
A void within the filmy Heaven.
The waves have now a redder glow —
The hours are breathing faint and low —
And when, amid no earthly moans,
Down, down that town shall settle hence,
Hell, rising from a thousand thrones,
Shall do it reverence.