Macabre Movie Reviews – Undead or Alive

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Twilley Don’t Mind: YOU’RE NEXT finds the power pop “Magic”

Cinezine Kane

Twilley Don’t Mind, the Dwight Twilley Band’s second album arrived with a thud in 1977, only managing to rise to #70 in the Billboard Charts. A single, “Looking for the Magic,” was not a radio hit, despite an earworm of a pop hook. In the nascent days of music television, the song’s accompanying video got a lot of play – Twilley and his band mate, the late Phil Seymour, were very pretty boys – but that was about the extent of it. But now “Looking for the Magic” is back in a most peculiar place as a recurring theme in Adam Wingard’s wicked new horror thriller You’re Next.

The idea of a song that keeps repeating was written into Simon Barrett’s script, a story about a family that finds itself under siege in an isolated country home when masked intruders attack in the middle of dinner.

youre nextWe…

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Splicers; Of One Flesh

Splicers; Of One Flesh

“All great things must first wear terrifying and monstrous masks in order to inscribe themselves on the hearts of humanity.”–Friedrich Nietzsche. ”Quite awhile back I wrote this longish story. Twisted gross over the top horror. Unlike anything else I’ve ever written. I’ve gotten great responses to it from a critique group I was in and from editors but no one ever published it. Until now. Splicers is extreme vile and twisted. If that is your bag it can be found here under my writing name of Kane S. Latranz. I warned you. =^)

Review of the chapbook by Loren Rhoads, Ashes and Rust

Ashes and Rust

46 page chapbook, $5.00 from Automatism Press and as an e-book for Kindle on Amazon.com for 2.99.

Automatism Press

P.O. Box 12308

San Francisco, California 94112-0308

www.charnel.com/automatism

Loren Rhoads may be best known as the mind behind the fascinating decade-long magazine of dark, weird, and often oddly humorous personal anecdotes from various contributors, Morbid Curiosity.

Ashes and Rust is a chapbook reprinting four of her short stories. This distinctive volume includes elements of the past, the future, and more or less the present; the stories inspired by a period of the author’s early life in socio-economically ravaged Flint, Michigan during the fall of the Detroit auto industry. The chapbook is illustrated with black and white photographs taken by Rhoads in 1981 and 1982, of her then high school aged friends. So these are dystopian future tales inspired by a bleak place and time in the 1980s, all authored between 1994 and 2003.

Steeped in murder, horror, and rock-n-roll, The Acid That Dissolves Images, is very short. Composed with dense, energetic description and fresh use of language, it punches home an affecting vignette about the demonic possession of a rock star in a dying world and society, at least one terrifying aspect of whom is known as “Medusa.” As with all these pieces, it summoned to mind such 80s era horror staples as Poppy Z. Brite and Anne Rice, were they to write in a horrific science fiction vein.

Fitzgerald’s Shadow may be my favorite piece, in large part for a clever weaving of metaphor throughout. The “shadow” seems actually to be heroin, yet perhaps it represents more than that. Again, Rhoads’s powerful use of language is one of her enviable strengths as a writer. “He didn’t shake until the Shadow spilled out of the needle like lava, scalding everything in its path.”

Shadow’s Nick the junkie was a celebrated writer, compared to F. Scott Fitzgerald as the “voice of his generation.” Where ink once flowed from his fingertips, Nick has to fix, now, with a much darker substance, to compose a single sentence a day. His dismal routine on the remains of earth is broken when a slightly injured visitor lands on top of his building from a rocket capsule. Nick naturally assumes that the kid, “Bob,” has been rejected by a moon colony, as everyone who could has left our wretched home planet behind, and they occasionally cast out undesirables. Bob will turn out to be far more than he seems, however.

Throughout, but no less so in Justice, Rhoads constructs a story from only the barest details, letting the reader assemble the meaning of the artfully crafted linguistic fragments. Justice is another yarn of near future urban blight, in this case populated with interstellar drug runners and involving meditations on violent revenge, forgiveness, and justice, all bound together with literal alienation.

Mothflame concerns a young woman named Christy who believes herself to be commissioned by God to return His people to Him through loving acts of homicide. Christy prowls the underground club scene and there is much nihilistic youthful drug abuse and dark sleek androgyny in her quest to get close, in every sense, to the adored singer known as Ysanne.

In the afterword, Rhoads waxes about the fall of the Detroit auto industry and describes how “Devil’s Night,” (Which I remember fairly innocently from my early years in the motor city.), turned into something more resembling its hellfire depiction in The Crow. There is a bittersweet intimacy to this smartly crafted collection. If your bookshelf seems like the section holding the works of Rice and Brite yearns for one addition, this gaunt but memorable 45 page chapbook may be just the thing to round out that empty space at a mere 5 dollars.