Fans of Brubaker and Phillips can expect a truly authentic experience from their books. No matter the setting, time period, or genre, Brubaker’s expertise on every subject he writes about practically bleeds off the page, while Phillips classic style yet nuanced style drives home that the books the create together are the real deal. “The Fade Out” #2 balances with noir sensibilities of issue one with the studio era context of the book to substantiate the style and tone of the book while moving the plot forward appropriately and developing our cast of archetypal characters in an honest way. “The Fade Out” is a perfect balance.
WRITTEN BY: Ed Brubaker
ART BY: Sean Phillips
RELEASE: October 1, 2014
Reviewed By Eric Switzer
I like that this issue puts an emphasis on setting. That isn’t to say anything is missing in terms of story or character; all the “Criminal”/”Fatale” flavor is there, but issue 2 really brings you into the world these characters live in. Too often I think setting is kept too much in the background; something to inform the visual style and frame the story being told. The story in “The Fade Out” feels like something that it happening in a world that existed before the story began. Part of that may be due to the historical context, but that doesn’t take anything away from Brubaker’s skill as a writer, the man does his research. Furthermore the relationships between these characters and their pasts are present but overwhelming, the book introduces a lot of people and histories without being bogged down by exposition. It makes one feel like the writer respects his audience. Brubaker/Phillips are in an elite class, so pick up “The Fade Out” and get with the program.
Something clicked for me when I read this issue and I finally understand the brilliance of Phillips style. I’ve always loved it in its muted tones and hard edges, I’ve felt it was wildly appropriate for the genre work these guys do and always consistent yet varied to meet the stories needs. It is minimalist is a way, and it finally struck me how iconic his work has become. Instantly recognizable and purposely so, I think, because while many artists have brilliantly creative uses for panels and layout, Sean’s are simple, balanced, and perfect for the kinds of stories being told. I can’t help but stare in awe at a page depicting a emotionally charged fight between old friends: four panels, each perfectly square, within them a man bellows and thrashes at the open air, trapped in the panel. It is really quite brilliant, yet easy to overlook. The longer these guys work together the more substantial their work becomes, the more I realize how much there is to appreciate.
I really can’t recommend this book enough. What they offer isn’t hugely varied from series to series, but it is always consistently well researched, well plotted, well executed, and well designed. If you don’t like classic hollywood crime there is something wrong with you.
Eric Switzer is an aspiring filmmaker and screenplay writer living in Los Angeles. His work tends to focus on the lighter side of entropy, dystopic futures, and man’s innate struggle with his own mortality. He can be found on twitter @epicswitzer or reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
It is starting to feel like my prime directive is gushing over “Robocop” but I really love this book. I’ve read a couple of less-than-glowing reviews for this issue, and at first I was going to come here and defend the book, but on second thought, fuck that. It would be like defending Kraft Singles or Slim Jims, “Robocop” is consistent, unique, and not trying to be anything else than what it is. This is the best “Robocop” book we could have ever asked for and I’m loving the ride.
WRITTEN BY: Joshua Williamson
ART BY: Carlos Magno
RELEASE: October 1, 2014
Reviewed By Eric Switzer
Robocop is getting keelhauled behind a monster truck while Lewis (handily) deals with Nash. After some characteristically delicious gore, Murphy and Lewis arrive at the protest to put the kibosh on Killian’s bullshit. Lewis gets promoted (sort of) and Murphy gets his side armed taken away while Killian goes into phase II of his master plan, and boy, this shit is about to get pretty real.
Comparing “Robocop” to fake cheese and greasy meat is in no way meant to disparage the character or the book. I love all of those things. What I’m saying is that “Robocop” is a strongly established property representative of a specific time in blockbuster filmmaking in the 1980s. All attempts to update or revamp the property have failed pretty miserably. Williamson and Magno are delivering exactly what fans needs: they aren’t rewriting the formula or giving us a fresh new take on the character, they are simply giving us more of what we already love, and in the case Robocop, who only has a couple of solid films behind him, that isn’t at all a bad thing. This series is true to those films from beginning to end in every way. To say you have a problem with the book is to say you have a problem with the entire Robocop franchise. If you love Robocop, you will love this book.
Now, having said that, beyond this first arc I will expect some fresh ideas, but I have no worries about Williamson delivering. Like any good sequel, the opening sequence has to be familiar, remind us what we love about the character and the world, and then move on to bigger ideas. “Robocop” is incredibly nostalgic, I’m excited to see where they take the series next. I don’t want a restart, I want them to expand upon the Robocop we already know and love. That is what I’m really excited for.
Eric Switzer is an aspiring filmmaker and screenplay writer living in Los Angeles. His work tends to focus on the lighter side of entropy, dystopic futures, and man’s innate struggle with his own mortality. He can be found on twitter @epicswitzer or reached via email at email@example.com.
Capcom has dedicated a brief trailer to those BSAA costumes we recently unlocked for Chris and Jill in the upcoming remaster of the Resident Evil REmake. There’s not a lot of footage in this video, but they certainly look good. As good as Chris looks with his abundance of pouches — he has to have food, maybe even a sandwich, in one of them, right? — I imagine I’ll be playing with the original costumes first, for the nostalgia factor.
Both costumes will be made available for all versions of the game when it releases next year.
Resident Evil REmake hits PC, PS3, PS4, Xbox 360 and Xbox One in early 2015.
Magnet Releasing and Drafthouse Films shared an exclusive new look at ABCs of Death 2, releasing on various VOD platforms tomorrow, October 2 with a theatrical run set for October 31.
In the new still we take a look at one of 26 shorts, this one directed by Dennison Ramalho, second unit AD on Embodiment of Evil. In “J is for Jesus,” a man is kidnapped by his own father and given an exorcism to cleanse his soul only to learn he’s not the demon. Watch for an exclusive interview with Ramalho in the coming week.
“ABCs of Death 2 is the follow-up to the most ambitious anthology film ever conceived with productions spanning from Nigeria to UK to Brazil and everywhere in between. It features segments directed by over two dozen of the world’s leading talents in contemporary genre film. The film is comprised of twenty-six individual chapters, each helmed by a different director assigned a letter of the alphabet. The directors were then given free rein in choosing a word to create a story involving death. Provocative, shocking, funny and at times confrontational, ABC’s of Death 2 is another global celebration of next generation genre filmmaking.“
To celebrate the VOD release on 10/2, producers Tim League, Ant Timpson and the international filmmakers behind the highly anticipated horror anthology sequel will be holding a Live Twitter #DeathParty starting at 10:00 PM ET on Thursday (10/2). Join in the conversation and watch 26 new ways to die along with the creators using the hashtag #DeathParty.
Like a new October tradition, FX has shared the main titles for the new season of “American Horror Story,” with this season revolving around a 50′s “Freak Show.”
I love the new credits, which put a new spin on the traditional “AHS” theme, while also displaying some scary visuals. I’m officially amped for the October 8 premiere!
Watch the trailer just released yesterday.
“‘American Horror Story: Freak Show’ begins its tale in the quiet, sleepy hamlet of Jupiter, Florida. The year is 1952. A troupe of curiosities has just arrived to town, coinciding with the strange emergence of a dark entity that savagely threatens the lives of townsfolk and freaks alike. This is the story of the performers and their desperate journey of survival amidst the dying world of the American carny experience.”
Jessica Lange, Kathy Bates, Angela Bassett, Frances Conroy, Sarah Paulson, Emma Roberts, Gabourey Sidibe, Denis O’Hare, Jamie Brewer, and Evan Peters return from previous seasons. New cast members includes Michael Chiklis, Wes Bentley, John Carroll Lynch, Finn Wittrock, Matt Bomer, Patti LaBelle and the world’s smallest living woman, Jyoti Amge.
The Scumdogs of the Universe, known lovingly here on planet Earth as GWAR, have announced that their reign of terror will not cease with the loss of leader Oderus Urungus, who passed earlier this year.
Guitarist BalSac the Jaws of Death stated:
Something is wrong, unspeakably wrong. It feels as if the very fabric of reality has been ripped from belly to taint. And it all centers around Oderus’ disappearance. One moment, life is fantastic, as we celebrate the near sinking of Japan as a result of our recent journey across the Pacific; and the next, he is just gone. Suddenly the world is a dark, vile place with hordes of trolls biting at my hooves and daring to spit poison in my face. There is a great evil behind this, and I will not rest until I know what has become of my brother!
To find the answer to this dilemma, GWAR will embark on a N. American tour this fall that will see the appearance of two new Scumdogs: Blóthar on lead vocals and bass guitar and Vulvatron on vocals.
As for the appearance of a new female amidst their ranks, drummer JizMak da Gusha stated, “Dames, they ain’t nothin’ but trouble.”
Head below to see their full touring schedule.
GWAR Eternal Tour Lineup
Blóthar: Lead Singer, Bass Guitar
Beefcake the Mighty: Bass Guitar, Vocals
Pustulus Maximus: Lead Guitar, Vocals
BalSac the Jaws of Death: Rhythm Guitar, Vocals
JiZMak da Gusha: Drums
Bonesnapper: Bodyguard, Crappy Vocals
Sawborg Destructo: Annoying Nemesis, Annoying Vocals
Vulvatron: Plot Twist, Vocals
GWAR W/ Decapitated and American Sharks:
10/15: Norfolk, VA @ The Norva
10/16: Sayreville, NJ @ Starland Ballroom
10/17: Stroudsburg, PA @ Sherman Theater
10/18: Worcester, MA @ The Palladium – “Rock and Shock Festival”
10/19: Buffalo, NY @ The Town Ballroom
10/21: Louisville, KY @ Expo Five****
10/22: Memphis, TN @ New Daisy Theater
10/23: Dallas, TX @ Gas Monkey Live
10/24: New Orleans, LA @ House of Blues
10/25: Austin, TX @ Emo’s – “Housecore Horror Film Festival*
10/26: Houston, TX @ Warehouse Live
10/28: Oklahoma City, OK @ Diamond Ballroom
10/29: Sauget, IL @ Pop’s Nightclub
10/30: Lawrence, KS @ Granada Theater
10/31: Denver, CO @ The Summit Music Hall**
11/1: Albuquerque, NM @ Sunshine Theater
11/2: Tempe, AZ @ The Marquee
11/3: Santa Ana, CA @ The Observatory
11/4: Reno, NV @ Knitting Factory Concert House
11/5: San Francisco, CA @ The Regency Ballroom
11/6: Hollywood, CA @ House of Blues
11/7: Las Vegas, NV @ Hard Rock Live
11/8: Magna, UT @ The Great Salt Air
11/10: Boise, ID @ Knitting Factory Concert House
11/11: Portland, OR @ Roseland Theater
11/12: Seattle, WA @ Showbox SODO
GWAR W/ TBA and American Sharks:
11/14: Vancouver, BC and Commodore Ballroom
GWAR W/ Corrosion of Conformity and American Sharks:
11/15: Spokane, WA @ Knitting Factory Concert House
11/16: Calgary, AB @ MacEwan Hall Ballroom
11/17: Edmonton, AB @ Union Hall
11/19: Fargo, ND @ The Venue
11/20: Minneapolis, MN @ Skyway Theater
11/21: Milwaukee, WI @ The Rave
11/22: Detroit, MI @ Harpo’s
11/23: Grand Rapids, MI @ The Intersection***
11/25: Indianapolis, IN @ The Vogue
11/26: Cleveland, OH @ House of Blues
11/28: Charlotte, NC @ Tremont Music Hall
11/29: Philadelphia, PA @ Electric Factory
11/30: New York, NY @ Irving Plaza
12/2: Nashville, TN @ Exit/In
12/3: Asheville, NC @ The Orange Peel
12/4: Pensacola, FL @ Vinyl Music Hall
12/5: Orlando, FL @ Firestone Live
12/6: Atlanta, GA @ The Masquerade
12/7: Columbus, OH @ Newport Music Hall
12/8: Millvale, PA @ Mr. Smalls Theater
12/9: Toronto, ON @ Opera House
12/10: Montreal, QC @ Virgin Mobile Corona Theater
12/11: Clifton Park, NY @ Upstate Concert Hall
12/12: New Haven, CT @ Toad’s Place
12/13: Baltimore, MD @ Baltimore Sound Stage
*No American Sharks
**Havok plays on this show
*** The Meatmen play on this show
**** Huntress plays on this show
Sometimes, after watching a film, your reaction is one of confusion. As in, what the hell did you just watch? Sometimes, it’s a good thing, as it has you wanting to watch the film again, because you enjoyed it so much and you want to piece together what you just watched. Other times, as in the case of director/writer Till Hastreiter’s The Forbidden Girl, you end passing on another viewing. The mystery as to what you just saw be damned when a film has seemingly thrown things against the wall in an effort to see what sticks.
Tobias McClift is the son of a fundamentalist preacher, who is is intently focused on Tobias not falling in love, or having anything to do with love. Failure of Tobias to do so would be catastrophic. Nevertheless, Tobias meets up with Katie, with whom he’s romantically involved. But before they can enjoy each other, a demonic entity shows up and carries Katie away. Fast forward six years later, and Tobias is being released from a psychiatric hospital over the whole thing. He manages to snag a tutoring position in a huge Gothic mansion for a reclusive young girl named Laura Wallace. Turns out, Laura is his beloved Katie. Held captive by the mistress of the house, Lady Wallace, and her protector/lover, Mortimer, Tobias pledges to free Laura/Katie. But it turns out that his father’s words weren’t crazy after all.
I suppose the best thing going for the film is it’s cinematography. The sets and Gothic locale are quite beautiful to look at, particularly the interior of the castle. The plethora of visual detail combined with the varying uses of filters and colour saturation really make the film visually appealing. There’s also a dream sequence early on that evokes thoughts of David Lynchian surrealism, which again is a visual treat.
Acting-wise, we get decent performances by the two leads in Peter Gadiot and Jytte-Merle Böhrnsen. Gadiot is likeable as Tobias, and feels very natural in the role. Böhrnsen does well as the mysterious Laura/Katie, having fun with the role as a flirty, confused woman. Klaus Tange worked well as Mortimer. The guy was certainly creepy and unpredictable, looking like an edgier version of Rutger Hauer from Blade Runner. Jeanette Hain was interesting to see as Lady Wallace, going through various stages of makeup and attempting to change up her character for each one unique.
However, all of that can’t make up for the fact that this film is a bore. The problems begin with the story. It’s all over the place with a bunch of ideas thrown into the blender and puréed. What comes out feels very disjointed and confusing. Is it a love story? A ghost story? Witchcraft? Using a far simpler story would’ve made things more bearable. Chopping off some of that 106 minute runtime would’ve been nice, too. I guess this is why you shouldn’t have three different writers, and one of them is directing. Instead of being creepy, the film ends up being more about it’s visuals.
The other thing is the use of CGI. Bad CGI. For starters, smoke monsters really should be kept to shows co-created by J.J. Abrams. Also, because this film was originally shot in 3D, certain shots have that ‘cutout’ feeling to them, making the CGI even more apparent. It’s just one bad After Effects shot after another. The bad CGI reaches it’s peak during the ridiculous ending, where a slow-motion sex dance straight out of 300 has a light show involving the aforementioned eclipse that ends up forming a pentagram and what the f*ck am I watching?!
So yeah, The Forbidden Girl definitely is a case for either the cure for insomnia or having your brain start to kill itself. Style over substance is definitely the case here, as the camera alone can’t stave off a ridiculous and boring story, coupled with alright acting and abuse of CGI. The case art for this DVD is a complete lie, as the shot depicted on the cover must be from a more entertaining than this one.
Presented in 1.77:1 anamorphic widescreen, the image features strong colour reproduction with good detail. The darker scenes do tend to suffer a bit with regards to shadow details, however given the filters used during these sequences to pump up the saturation, it’s probably done on purpose. There were a couple of scenes where aliasing errors crept up, but other than that, this is an overall appropriate transfer.
Audio-wise, the Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround track isn’t going to blow you away, but it does the job. Dialogue is clear and free of any distortion, and while there’s not a lot of movement in the directionals, action is mostly kept to the centre speaker. The score doesn’t overpower, and is balanced with the rest of the audio.
The sole extra included is the film’s trailer.
Netflix and 41 Entertainment announced today, Kong – King of the Apes, an original animated TV series for kids from Executive Producer Avi Arad.
Arad has been a producer of iconic superhero stories like Spider-Man franchise movies, the X-Men franchise movies, the Iron-Man films, and The Incredible Hulk. He has also executive produced kids TV with the extremely popular “Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventures” series which began in 2013.
Netflix members around the world will be introduced to KONG first through a full-length feature film that will be followed by 12 half hour episodes beginning in 2016!
Set in 2050, this CGI animation is a fresh and modern take on the classic King Kong story. Even far in the future, KONG is still the strongest creature ever born with many human traits that make him the ultimate iconic hero. In KONG, the future looks bright for San Francisco’s Alcatraz Island since its transformation into the most impressive Natural History and Marine Preserve on the planet. But when the star attraction suddenly goes ape and KONG becomes public enemy number one, the villain that framed him is free to unleash an army of gigantic robotic dinosaurs on the unsuspecting world. Ironically, KONG is the only force formidable enough to stop these super-powered dinosaurs and the evil genius manipulating them. But KONG is now the world’s most hunted fugitive. Fortunately, there are three young humans who know the truth and are willing to risk their lives to help KONG evade capture, while he battles to save humankind.
October 1, 2014: Toronto After Dark: Horror, Sci-Fi, Action and Cult Film Festival is thrilled to officially unveil its final wave of exciting film announcements for 2014, including 9 new feature films and a fantastic collection of shorts. Included in the lineup are some of the hottest new genre films from the international film festival circuit including HOUSEBOUND a multiple award-winning scary horror thriller from New Zealand, WYRMWOOD, an action-packed post-apocalyptic zombie movie from Australia, and WHY HORROR? a fascinating Canadian documentary that uncovers the psychology of horror fans around the world.
These final films join a list of 10 exciting features previously announced in late August that include THE BABADOOKthe acclaimed new supernatural horror hit from Australia, and DEAD SNOW 2: RED VS DEAD, the crowd-pleasing follow-up to the original Norwegian nazi zombie hit. All the features will have their Toronto, Canadian, North American or World Theatrical Premieres hosted exclusively at the festival’s 9th Annual Edition, this October 16-24, 2014 at the Scotiabank Theatre, in the heart of downtown Toronto.
Preview all the available trailers to the Toronto After Dark feature film lineup, plus a new one-minute festival sizzle reel of trailer highlights at the Youtube Playlist below. Scroll down further for more info on the final wave of films, and how you can get tickets and passes to screenings at Toronto After Dark this year.
THE FINAL 9 FEATURE FILMS ANNOUNCED!
HOUSEBOUND (New Zealand) Toronto Premiere & Opening Gala Film
HOUSEBOUND is a wickedly fun scary new horror thriller from New Zealand, described as “bloody brilliant” by filmmaking icon Peter Jackson (LORD OF THE RINGS). The film follows a young woman forced to return home and endure a triple threat of being under house arrest, living with her eccentric old mother, and potential ghosts in the house. Full of suspense and frights, and laced with a good dose of dysfunctional family comedy that will allow anyone to relate to the main characters, HOUSEBOUND has become a smash hit on the festival circuit, winning numerous audience awards since its SXSW debut. Trailer Poster
WYRMWOOD (Australia) Canadian Premiere
DAWN OF THE DEAD meets MAD MAX in this full-on, post-apocalyptic road action adventure from Australia that will delight fans with its car chase thrills, zombie kills and unique spin on the undead mythos. After Barry, a talented mechanic, sees his community torn apart by a zombie apocalypse and his sister abducted by some sinister government scientists, it’s clear his only means of survival and finding his sister is to hit the road. But first he’ll have to improvise some deadly weapons out of garage tools, significantly modify a road vehicle for combat, recruit several allies to his cause – and also wipe out hordes of ferocious zombies beginning to encircle his home! Trailer ” target=”blank”>Poster
WHY HORROR? (Canada) Canadian Premiere
WHY HORROR? is a fascinating new feature documentary that follows horror journalist Tal Zimerman (RUE MORGUE) as he travels the world to examine the different cultures, media, science, and psychology of horror, with one simple purpose: to understand why we love to be scared. Featuring exclusive interviews with horror filmmaking luminaries such as John Carpenter, George A. Romero, Eli Roth, Don Coscarelli and more, as well as discussions with leading psychological experts, WHY HORROR? is an illuminating experience for both fans and and foes of the movie genre alike. This screening is co-presented by Rue Morgue Cinemacabre, and will feature a fascinating post-screening Q&A with Tal Zimerman, and the Documentary’s Directors. Trailer Poster
LET US PREY (Ireland/UK) Toronto Premiere
In this tense, supernatural spin on John Carpenter’s cult classic ASSAULT ON PRECINCT 13,a menacing stranger (GAME OF THONES’ Liam Cunningham) turns up in the middle of the night at a police station in a remote Scottish town. After being placed in a holding cell, it’s not long before the stranger initiates a terrifying chain reaction of madness and violence amongst the inmates and police officers. One of the few unaffected is a newly hired female officer (THE WOMAN’S Pollyanna McIntosh), and with her back to the wall, not knowing who she can trust, she finds herself fighting for her life. Trailer Poster
THE TOWN THAT DREADED SUNDOWN (USA) Special Presentation
Alfonso Gomez-Rejon (AMERICAN HORROR STORY) stylishly and cleverly reinvents the 1976 horror cult classic of the same name, with this dark and delicious cinematic treat for horror fans, both old and new. Based on a terrifying true story, THE TOWN THAT DREADED SUNDOWN picks up sixty-five years after a masked serial killer terrorized the small town of Texarkana. But now the “moonlight murders” have begun again. Is it a copycat or something even more sinister? A lonely high school girl (ODD THOMAS’s Addison Timlin), with dark secrets of her own, may be the key to catching the murderer. The fantastic supporting cast includes fan favourites Gary Cole (OFFICE SPACE),Denis O’Hare (AMERICAN HORROR STORY) and Veronica Cartwright (ALIEN). Trailer ” target=”blank”>Poster
LATE PHASES (USA) Toronto Premiere
When grizzled war veteran Ambrose (STAKE LAND’s Nick Damici), moves into the Crescent Bay retirement community, he’s discovers that some local residents have been dying not from old age, but from a series of mysterious, vicious dog attacks. After his own house is attacked in the night by the animals, Ambrose sets his military mind to tracking them down.But it soon becomes clear that these attacks are a regular monthly occurrence, synchronized to the full moon, and the tight-knit community of Crescent Bay has been hiding something far more sinister that wild dogs in its midst. Ambrose will have to face off against some creatures that are part-man, part-wolf – and completely deadly. Trailer Poster
REFUGE (USA) Canadian Premiere
Set amidst the ruins of a collapsed America in the wake of a great catastrophic plague, REFUGE is a tense post-apocalyptic survival thriller in the vein of THE ROAD and THE WALKING DEAD. Taking refuge in an old boarded-up home, a family does its best to maintain a sense of normalcy amidst a lawless world of roaming gangs. But it’s not long before food and supplies begin to dwindle, forcing the family of survivors into a deadly showdown with a group of vicious marauders surrounding their home.Trailer Poster
THE DROWNSMAN (Canada) Toronto Premiere
With THE DROWNSMAN Chad Archibald (ANTISOCIAL) delivers a refreshingly new take on classic urban legend horror such as the NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET series. After a young woman narrowly survives a terrifying drowning experience in a lake, she finds herself stalked by an evil entity, The Drownsman, determined to drag her and her circle of close friends to a watery hell! Trailer Poster
KUMIKO, THE TREASURE HUNTER (USA) Toronto Premiere
Based on a true story… a lonely, eccentric Japanese woman (PACIFIC RIM’s Rinko Kikuchi) becomes convinced that a satchel of money buried in the Coen Brothers’ cult classic crime thriller FARGO, is in fact, real and still out there, waiting to be recovered. After watching the movie over and over again, she prepares a crudely drawn treasure map and with limited preparation, escapes her structured life in Tokyo and embarks on a foolhardy quest across the frozen tundra of Minnesota in search of her mythical fortune. Stunningly shot, beautifully acted, and dream-like in its execution, KUMIKO, THE TREASURE HUNTER has entranced audiences wherever it has screened, winning numerous festival awards since its debut at Sundance where it won a Special Jury Award. Poster
28 SHORT FILMS ANNOUNCED!
Fans can also look forward to two fantastic showcases of cutting edge genre short films at this year’s festival!
CANADA AFTER DARK: 19 outstanding Canadian short films will screen at this year’s festival. And as per tradition at Toronto After Dark, one in front of each of the Feature Films:DAY 40, DEAD HEARTS, FOXED, HONOR CODE, INTRUDERS, KISMET, LAST BREATH, LAZY BOYS, LITTLE MATTHEW, LUMBERJACKED, MIGRATION, THE MONITOR, MONSTER ISLAND, PERIOD PIECE, PUPA, ROSE IN BLOOM, SATAN’S DOLLS, WHAT DOESN’T KILL YOU, YOUNG BLOOD
SHORTS AFTER DARK: 9 incredible International Short films will screen this year as part of the popular international short film showcase:DYNAMIC VENUS , EVERYTHING AND EVERYTHING AND EVERYTHING, HAPPY B-DAY, INVADERS, , HE TOOK OFF HIS SKIN FOR ME, LIQUID, REDACTION, STRANGE THING, SWORDFIGHTS
FROM FRI, OCT 3:SCHEDULE, DETAILED FILM INFO, SINGLE TICKETS AVAILABLE!
The complete Toronto After Dark Film Festival 2014 schedule for all 20 Screenings, over nine thrilling nights, this Oct 16-24 at the Scotiabank Theatre in downtown Toronto will be announced from Friday, Oct 3. Fans can expect as with previous years, the vast majority of screenings to take place at the convenient prime times of 7pm and 9.30pm nightly. At the same time, fans will also be able to buy single tickets ranging from $11 (Multi-film purchase) to $13 (Regular Single Film Tickets) to all screenings at the Festival Website, Cineplex Website, Cineplex App and in person at the venue.To get notified of when the schedule and box office has gone live, sign up for our E-Newsletter.
After years of denial, our breaking news from 2011 and 2012 is confirmed officially today with the announcement that Lionsgate and “Twilight” author Stephenie Meyer are expanding the universe in short form.
As part of its ongoing effort to enhance its diverse portfolio of premium content, Lionsgate is teaming with Facebook, the prestigious Women In Film organization, the crowdsourcing platform Tongal and best-selling “Twilight Saga” author Stephenie Meyer to create and manage a social media campaign to develop and produce a series of short films directed by aspiring female filmmakers, a press release tells us.
The campaign, called “The Storytellers – New Creative Voices of The Twilight Saga,” will include films based on a broad spectrum of characters from the Twilight universe, with guidance provided by Meyer’s encyclopedic “The Twilight Saga: Official Illustrated Guide.”
The campaign will center on a multiphase contest culminating in the selection of at least five aspiring female filmmakers to direct short films based on characters from the “Twilight” universe. The films will be produced and directed with the mentorship of a blue chip panel of advisors, which will ultimately select the winning shorts that will premiere exclusively on the Facebook platform next year. The star-studded group of female panelists will include Stephenie Meyer, actress Kristen Stewart, Academy Award winners Kate Winslet and Octavia Spencer, Jennifer Lee, the award-winning writer and one of the directors of Disney’s global blockbuster Frozen, Twilight director Catherine Hardwicke, Emmy Award-winning actress Julie Bowen, and Women In Film President Cathy Schulman.
Five winning shorts will be financed through production advances, and fans will help select a grand prize winning filmmaker who will receive a cash prize and career opportunities. The short film development and production process will involve extensive fan engagement on the Facebook and Tongal platforms.
The infamous 1983 music ‘video’ for Michael Jackson’s “Thriller”, which was directed by John Landis (An American Werewolf In London), is getting released in a new dimension come 2015.
The 14-minute short film, which revolutionized music videos and has since become one of, if not the the most famous ever released, will be getting the 3-D treatment, and will arrive on Blu-ray and potentially in limited theaters come 2015.
Landis is overseeing this project now that a dispute with the Jackson estate has finished, which we exclusively broke.
Landis told the NY Daily News:
It is going to reappear in a highly polished and three-dimensional way that is very exciting on the big screen.
Pressed on what fans can expect to see, Landis showed his scary side.
“I cannot tell you any more,” Landis joked. “I might have to kill you.”
Although XLrator Media has yet to announce a release, Australia is set to get the edgy, comedic thriller, The Mule (read our review), from Entertainment One Films this year.
The film, written by Saw and Insidious‘ Leigh Whannell and Angus Sampson, recently had its world premiere to great acclaim at South by Southwest in March. Now, the first trailer has arrived! Drop your pants and you’ll receive it below…
“It’s 1983. A naive man with lethal narcotics hidden in his stomach is detained by Australian Federal Police. Alone and afraid, ‘The Mule’ makes a desperate choice; to defy his bodily functions and withhold the evidence…literally. And by doing so becomes a ‘human time-bomb’; dragging cops, criminals and concerned family into his impossible escapade.”
The Mule stars Hugo Weaving (The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, The Matrix), Angus Sampson (Mad Max: Fury Road, Insidious), Leigh Whannell (Saw, Insidious), Ewen Leslie, Geoff Morrell, Georgina Haig, Noni Hazlehurst and John Noble (The Lord of the Rings, TV’s “Fringe”) and is directed by Angus Sampson & Tony Mahony. It was produced by Angus Sampson & Jane Liscombe and executive produced by Michele Bennett (Chopper), Leigh Whannell, David Griffiths, Angus Coupland & Troy Lum (The Water Diviner, Saving Mr. Banks).
Time for horror audiences to go trick or treating!
“Fun Size Horror” is a horror film collective that has come together to create 31 films to celebrate Halloween! You can find all of the our terrifying shorts distributed across the online world, including on Bloody Disgusting, this Halloween.
“It occurred to me that I know all these great filmmakers, who are always wanting to create their own thing and all love horror, but were never given a platform,” said Zeke Pinheiro, who came up with the concept. “So I figured, why don’t we pool our skills, equipment and resources, and create a collective with the goal of each of us creating a short film that runs less than five minutes for Halloween.”
All of the “Fun Size Horror” short films have been independently produced by a wide range of filmmakers including Jackson Stewart, Josh Waller, Glen Murakami, Mali Elfman, with participating actors Lance Reddick, Rose McIver, Tracie Thoms, Brea Grant, Amy Dallen and Diva Zappa.
Starting October 27th through Halloween, a new short will appear everyday on each of the five sites hosting Fun Size Horror. Each short will only be up for 24 hours before being replaced by the next day’s horror film so make sure to catch them while they’re up.
I’m not exactly sure why this interview took place, but Vulture has a pretty cool chat with director John Carpenter about his filmmaking career. Those who have interviewed him understand that he’s a tough cookie to crack, unless of course you talk basketball with him (we’re brothers from another mother).
Anyways, Vulture actually got some really juicy stuff from Carpenter, including the reveal that Texas Chain Saw Massacre co-creators Tobe Hooper and Kim Henkel worked on the script for The Thing at one point.
“Yes,” Carpenter confirmed, adding this nasty little tid-bit. “They wrote a whole draft before I came along. All sorts of drafts were written before I came along. One was underwater … they were just trying to make it work.”
And as insane as that sounds, the coolest part of the interview is when Vulture and Carpenter riff on the day horror died.
Vulture: After making The Thing, you read a demographical study that said the audience for horror movies shrank by 70 percent over a six-month period.
Carpenter:Yes. It was shocking! [Laughs.]
Vulture: Can you remember where you saw this?
Carpenter:It was sitting in my office at Universal. Universal had sent it over.
Vulture: Was it their way of saying “Lower your expectations”?
Carpenter:Yeah: “Brace yourself.”
The film opened on June 25, 1982 and flopped in theater, pulling in only $19M. Thank the heavens this was only the beginning of Carpenter’s illustrious career.
FX has released a transcript of an interview with “The Strain” star Kevin Durand, who allegedly was approached to play Abraham in AMC’s “The Walking Dead.”
When asked for confirmation of the rumor, Durand knocked it down immediately.
“You know what, I wasn’t. I wasn’t, but I heard that from people. Ultimately for me it’s just really nice; it’s such an incredible compliment that you think of me for these characters. I’m so grateful for that,” explains Durand. “But no, nobody ever talked to me about that.”
But he does reveal that he was approached for an unknown role of a character named “Negan.”
“I’ve had a lot of people with ‘The Walking Dead’ talk to me, mentioned that they see me for a character named “Negan,” but I haven’t read the comic,” he adds. “But my ears are always open to what’s being said out on, and, like I said, I’m always honored to hear any of your thoughts.
“Bring it on.“
For those of you who are unfamiliar with the character, The Walking Dead Wiki has his bio:
“Negan is a character first introduced in Issue 100 of Image Comics’ The Walking Dead. [He] was the leader of the Saviors and is a primary antagonist in the Comic Series. He uses his authority and resources to subjugate other communities, such as the Hilltop Colony, The Kingdom, and later the Alexandria Safe-Zone, into paying tribute to The Saviors, in exchange for protection against zombies. The communities join together and start a conflict against The Saviors, which ends up with Dwight, former lieutenant and defector, taking charge of The Saviors, now willing to cooperate with all survivors. Negan is then incarcerated, receiving a life sentence.”
For the month of October we’re going to take you down memory lane and reveal what horror films opened on each day leading up to Halloween.
October 1 actuality saw quite a few releases, most notably George A. Romero’s $100k indie Night of the Living Dead, which made a whopping $30M worldwide at the box office. Explains Wiki, Night of the Living Dead was heavily criticized at its release owing to explicit content, but eventually garnered critical acclaim and has been selected by the Library of Congress for preservation in the National Film Registry as a film deemed “culturally, historically or aesthetically significant.” It’s soaked in social commentary that’s still relevant today.
And as unbelievable as it sounds, today also marks the 40th anniversary of Tobe Hooper’s The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, another horror indie that broke through the Hollywood barrier. Hooper produced the film for less than $300,000 and used a cast of relatively unknown actors drawn mainly from central Texas, where the film was shot, explains Wiki. The limited budget forced Hooper to film for long hours seven days a week, so that he could finish as quickly as possible and reduce equipment rental costs. Due to the film’s violent content, Hooper struggled to find a distributor. Louis Perano of Bryanston Pictures eventually purchased the distribution rights. Hooper limited the quantity of onscreen gore in hopes of securing a ‘PG’ rating, but the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) rated it ‘R’. The film faced similar difficulties internationally.
The site also explained that, Uupon its October 1974 release, The Texas Chain Saw Massacre was banned outright in several countries, and numerous theaters later stopped showing the film in response to complaints about its violence. While it initially drew a mixed reception from critics, it was enormously profitable, grossing over $30 million at the domestic box office. It has since gained a reputation as one of the best horror films in cinema history. It is credited with originating several elements common in the slasher genre, including the use of power tools as murder weapons and the characterization of the killer as a large, hulking, faceless figure. The popularity of the film led to a franchise that continued the story of Leatherface and his family through sequels, remakes, one prequel, comic books and video games.
A look through the history books also reveals that October 1 shared the release of the 1978 Patrick, which has since been remade, Magnolia Pictures’ 2009 Universal Soldier: Regeneration, Paramount Pictures’ god-awful 2009 Case 39, and even Dark Sky Films’ 2010 release of Adam Green’s Hatchet II!
If you’re looking for a way to kickoff this October in style, starting with the brand new TCM box set and NOTLD is a great place to start! Share your stories below. When was the first time you saw them all? Which is your fav?
Stand back, because I’m about to bust open Pandora’s Box and unleash hell by addressing a touchy topic among horror fans – that being the popular but controversial subgenre known as the horror “mockumentary.” By definition, a horror mockumentary is a fictional documentary production addressing horrific subject matter (including scary supernatural/fantastical themes or more down-to-earth horrors like serial killers) by treating it as if the source material were 100% genuine.
Now, the first thing that probably springs to your mind when I mention this topic is the “found footage” phenomenon… but that’s not what I’m going to discuss today. There’s obviously a very fuzzy line between the two, but for the sake of this list I’m ruling out any feature film that treats its visuals as raw, unedited footage and not the product of a fictional filmmaker’s editorial vision. In other words, you won’t find Cannibal Holocaust, The Blair Witch Project, the Paranormal Activity series, Cloverfield or any of their countless imitators listed here.
Sure, all of the titles below contain a variety of staged footage, fictionally claimed to have been obtained by the filmmakers, but that’s where the similarities to typical found footage entries end; instead, these films use a documentary framework to lend a sense of believability to the events depicted onscreen, and when done properly the technique is often more terrifying, as the structure of a documentary implies an authority and authenticity that most found footage features lack. Maybe I’m nitpicking, and maybe you’re hoping to find more traditional found footage titles here… but don’t worry, I’ll be tackling the found footage craze itself in the future, so those films will get their own moment in the shaky spotlight.
Here are thirteen mock-docs that creeped me out the most, listed in chronological order… and if you have a favorite that isn’t listed here, be sure to add it in the comments!
The War Game (1965)
You may be surprised to see such a vintage entry in a genre that is otherwise a 21st-century phenomenon, but you’ll be amazed at how chilling this extremely controversial UK television movie can be. It uses a news/documentary format to package a grim and horrifying scenario in which Cold War tensions finally ignite into a thermonuclear exchange over Europe. For my money, this one is far more disturbing than the infamous TV drama The Day After, which aired a full 20 years later.
Punishment Park (1971)
Another old-school entry, this experimental film is set in a fictional dystopia where protesters are labeled traitors by the state and rounded up into camps. The main twist here is that the authorities offer the prisoners a shot at freedom if they volunteer to take part in a bizarre, twisted game of “capture the flag” over a 48-hour period, under the watchful eye of paramilitary police – who are beginning to show moral tensions within their own ranks. This seldom-seen production may have been the product of Vietnam-era angst (and it’s more than a little preachy), but in light of police brutality stories making the news today, with images of protesters facing police tanks on small-town streets, it’s kind of relevant again. [On a lighter note, this film likely served as inspiration for the Australian exploitation flick Turkey Shoot, which was tons of sleazy fun, but not nearly as disturbing.]
The Legend of Boggy Creek (1972)
The first monster movie to disguise itself as a docudrama was the invention of Charles B. Pierce, producer of popular drive-in fare throughout the 1970s. Pierce’s first film capitalized on ’70s “Bigfoot mania,” delving into local legends of the “Fouke Monster” which has allegedly terrorized Arkansas river dwellers for decades. Threadbare production values and an amateur cast (Pierce recruited locals to play themselves) lend a kind of gritty realism to the film, and some genuine scares combined with the “G” rating meant some impressionable young kids were soon scarred for life. [Not only is a Boggy Creek remake in the works, but a new version of Pierce's creepy 1976 thriller The Town That Dreaded Sundown hits screens next month.]
Another UK television special, this prime-time chiller was packaged as a completely legitimate news program. The scenario: a camera crew spends one night with a family in their reportedly haunted suburban home (itself based on a reported poltergeist incident) while hosts, paranormal researchers and other talking heads analyze their footage in real time from the studio. A cast of familiar faces from British TV news and talk shows, combined with very few disclaimers that the show was fake, led many viewers to believe the events onscreen were real, which prompted a wave of panic – especially during the final moments, when the evil forces occupying the house apparently possess the TV signal itself.
Man Bites Dog (1992)
This French/Belgian production is equal parts pitch-black satire and skin-crawling horror. Shot on hand-held 16mm cameras in grainy black and white, it’s presented as the project of two renegade film students who somehow convince a brutal serial killer (co-director Benoît Poelvoorde) to allow them to film his day-to-day routine as he plans his next string of murders. It’s a given that this scenario will soon get completely out of hand, but you may not expect just how twisted things eventually go down. The makers of The Blair Witch Project must have viewed this film at some point, since many of the shots – especially the terrifying finale – are remarkably similar.
The Last Broadcast (1998)
Another kindred spirit to Blair Witch, this micro-budget DV production (the first feature film to be projected digitally in theaters) went before the cameras first, but was released around the same time. But where Blair was one of the first films to discard a narrative framing device in favor of raw (fabricated) found footage, Last Broadcast sticks to the documentary format… at least up to a point. I won’t spoil the film’s climactic twist, but suffice to say it divided audiences in a major way; some viewers despised the final scenes, while others are still haunted by them. Either way, it’s a thoroughly creepy little flick about a filmmaker searching for the truth behind the bloody murders of a public-access TV crew shooting a show about the legendary “Jersey Devil.”
Noroi: The Curse (2005)
This Japanese production seems to have slipped under the international radar, and I’m not sure why; at the time, Asian horror mania was still in full swing, and Eastern shockers were being remade by the dozens in the wake of The Ring‘s box-office success. While director Kôji Shiraishi is better known for his graphic 2009 torture-fest Grotesque, Noroi is a surprisingly subtle, slow-burn piece in which a documentary director (Jin Muraki) investigates of a psychic child’s disappearance, which may be linked to a creepy, reclusive woman and a demon said to dwell within a submerged village. It’s dense, complex and maybe a little too slow for viewers expecting over-the-top shocks, but the horrific final scene is worth the wait.
Head Case (2007)
One of the more extreme entries on this list, this gritty production may not depict as much onscreen violence as, say the notorious August Underground series, but the naked sadism of the psychopathic subjects is so realistically horrifying that it’s nearly impossible to watch some scenes without flinching. The sweet, vacant smiles of the white-bread couple featured in this film are masking a monstrous secret: it seems their shared hobby involves the systematic torture and and murder of numerous victims. More horrifying than the kill scenes themselves is the couple’s calm, nonchalant attitude toward their crimes, as they discuss the best ways to prolong a victim’s torment the way your favorite aunt might share her secret for red velvet cake.
Long Pigs (2007)
Taking an obvious cue from Man Bites Dog, this darkly comic gorefest is presented as the work of two young gonzo filmmakers who manage to ingratiate themselves to a cannibalistic serial killer, who decides he’d like to share his deranged philosophy – and his preferred method of butchering and preparing human meat – with an audience. You don’t have to see the film which inspired it (although you should) to know that things won’t go well for our camera crew as the macabre humor peels back to reveal some shocking and disturbing acts. But a compelling performance by Anthony Alviano as the surprisingly amiable madman will still keep you guessing.
The Poughkeepsie Tapes (2007)
Unlike other serial killer titles on this list, the unseen villain at the heart of this gruesome tale – presented as an Unsolved Mysteries-style investigative program – has no charming qualities to lighten the proceedings. Our subject, known only as the “Water Street Butcher,” is a totally inhuman monster, whose sadism is unlike anything ever depicted on camera. There’s little onscreen violence, but it’s the Butcher’s manipulation of his victims and the investigators that will have you installing new deadbolts on your doors. While the “experts” interviewed throughout the film are a mixed bag of performers, the killer himself is so unrelentingly evil that his vile deeds – which he films for posterity – practically pry your eyes open and force you to watch. While this film never saw official release (not even on DVD), creators John and Drew Dowdle would soon find success in more found-footage features, including Quarantine and most recently As Above, So Below.
Lake Mungo (2008)
One of the most subtle and artful films on this list, this Australian production nevertheless contains one of the scariest scenes I’ve ever witnessed. On the surface, it’s a fairly straightforward documentary about teenage girl whose spirit allegedly continues to haunt her family after she drowns in a swimming accident. However, the accompanying interviews, still photos, and archival footage reveal a more earthbound mystery, exposing the unpleasant underbelly of a small, quiet suburban community. If this sounds a bit like Twin Peaks, that’s probably no coincidence (the victim’s last name is Palmer), but the subject matter is played totally straight… until the story takes a shocking, unexpected turn that pulls the rug out from under your expectations.
The Fourth Kind (2009)
While it has its fair share of flaws, this film gets a nod for taking a unique, two-tiered approach to the material: at the outset, we are told this alien abduction tale is a dramatization, with star Milla Jovovich introducing herself (as herself) to the audience in the prologue; but the more theatrical presentation is intercut with glitchy low-fi footage treated as the actual events of abduction stories, revealing a different set of actors who are a bit less glamorous than Jovovich and her co-stars. The stunt doesn’t entirely work (the “real” footage still feels too stagey, even contrasted with the slicker “re-enactments”), but it earns points for originality, and some of the body-morphing “possession” scenes are legitimately creepy.
The Tunnel (2011)
This Australian shocker plays much like a subterranean version of Spanish found-footage classic [REC], but sticks more closely to the documentary format, so I’m including it here. The simple premise finds a journalist (Bel Delia) and her team delving deep into a network of abandoned tunnels beneath Sydney to determine why the government has apparently hushed up the disappearances of several homeless people who took up residence within the concrete labyrinth. Needless to say, the scoop they’re seeking isn’t the real story here – the truth is much more dangerous. Interestingly, the folks behind this indie production used a distribution model which is now becoming the norm, raising funds via crowd-sharing sites and providing a download code to anyone who donated to the project.
Runners-up [Not Scary, But Still Awesome]
Below I’ve added a bonus handful of excellent mockumentaries that, while definitely horror-themed, are more deliberately comical than scary… but they’re so entertaining, I felt compelled to mention them somewhere:
Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon (2006)
Dead-on references to all the classic slasher villains and an incredibly funny, charismatic lead (Nathan Baesel) make this mock-doc a must for any true slasher fan’s collection. Rumors of a prequel, Before the Mask, have been circulating for years; I’m still holding out hope that the amazing Baesel will reprise his role as Leslie.
Incident at Loch Ness (2004)
Legendary director Werner Herzog turns in a droll, sardonic performance as he lampoons his image in this hilarious jab at cryptid hunters, pretentious indie filmmakers, and direct-to-video monster crap (it’s such a dead-on satire that I’d overlooked it for years, assuming it actually was just a lame CGI monster flick). Totally worth watching, if just for Herzog’s contribution alone.
This eccentric meta-jumble begins as a legit documentary about the popularity of underground fetish-horror films, but it quickly turns dark (and, I hope, fictional) after digging deeper into one of the filmmakers (Erik Rost), a strange man whose gory video series looks a bit too realistic to be mere fiction.
Troll Hunter (2010)
Some of the coolest monsters ever depicted onscreen (yes, even for CGI, they’re awesome) grace this Norwegian pseudo-doc, which taps into local folk tales for a hilarious, spooky and rowdy snowbound adventure featuring the title character (Otto Jespersen), a grouchy monster exterminator contracted by the government, who’s quite sick of his extremely dangerous job.
In honor of next week’s release of Alien: Isolation, we’re running features and giveaways that take looks at the upcoming visceral experience from Sega as well as gaming itself. Read on for Alien Week Day 3: The Year of Survival Horror.
This Halloween will go down as the scariest time in gaming, and we want to take a quick look at some of the most intense, cringe-inducing titles hitting shelves. Survival horror games are coming back from the dead with four highly anticipated titles being released in the coming months: Alien: Isolation, The Evil Within, Routine, and Dying Light. Two of these titles launch in time for Halloween with the others rounding out the year and making sure the frights continue into those long nights of winter.
With each of these games being terrifying and gripping in their own right, they have the common theme of facing unthinkable terror and fighting to stay alive despite the challenges presented throughout the player’s journey.
Keep these suckers on your radar, kids!
Alien: Isolation – October 7
Alien: Isolation is a first-person survival horror game capturing the fear and tension evoked by Ridley Scott’s 1979 classic film. Players find themselves in an atmosphere of constant dread and mortal danger as an unpredictable, ruthless Xenomorph is stalking and killing deep in the shadows. Underpowered and underprepared, you must scavenge resources, improvise solutions, and use your wits, not just to succeed in your mission, but to simply stay alive.
The Evil Within – October 14
While investigating the scene of a gruesome mass murder, Detective Sebastian Castellanos and his partners encounter a mysterious and powerful force. After seeing the slaughter of fellow officers, Sebastian is ambushed and knocked unconscious. When he awakens, he finds himself in a deranged world where hideous creatures wander among the dead. Facing unimaginable terror and fighting for survival, Sebastian embarks on a frightening journey to unravel what’s behind this evil force.
Routine – TBD 2014
Routine is a first person horror exploration game set on an abandoned Moon base. Your job is to find enough data to uncover the truth behind the strange disappearance of everyone stationed on the Lunar Research Station.
Dying Light – February 2015
In Dying Light, a first-person, action survival horror game, players must use everything in their power to survive until the morning’s first light in a vast open world filled with danger. During the day, players will traverse an expansive urban environment overrun by a vicious outbreak, scavenging the world for supplies and crafting weapons to defend against the growing infected population. At night, the hunter becomes the hunted, as the infected become aggressive and more dangerous. Most frightening are the predators which only appear after sundown.
Berlin, Germany’s very own BLM.FM have shared a new version of F.W. Murnau’s 1922 classic horror film Nosferatu, which was based on Bram Stoker’s “Dracula”. This new version has an original soundtrack composed by Shed, who recorded the soundtrack at UT Connewitz cinema in Leipzig, Germany.
Dubbed The NOS Project, you can watch the movie synced with the soundtrack below. What better was is there to kick off October than with a classic horror movie?
You can download the soundtrack for free here.
Beginning Of Movie -
Intro – 0:00
Eupho Ⅰ – 1:22
Ease Ⅰ – 5:02
Inter Ⅲ – 10:31
Eupho Ⅲ – 16:27
Inter Dist Ⅲ – 24:43
Dist Ⅰ – 30:26
G3 Plus – 37:29
Ball Pick Up – 44:34
Ballistik VER2 – 47:55
Disto Ⅱ – 51:50
Ease Ⅱ – 1:00:20
Inter NOS F – 1:07:03
NOS Es Harp – 1:13:50
Inter RQ NOS – 1:18:38
RQ171 – 1:19:45
- END Of Recording
We’re back with another installment in our monthly series of brand new fiction from Nightmare Magazine. Our October selection is “This Is Not for You” by Gemma Files. It’s the lead story in Nightmare’s Women Destroy Horror! special issue, guest-edited by legendary editor Ellen Datlow.
We hope you enjoy this special Halloween edition of Nightmare Presents.
Please be sure to share your comments below.
THIS IS NOT FOR YOU
by Gemma Files
Three potential sacrifices, just as Phoibe’d predicted, blundering through the woods like buffalo in boots. Mormo broke cover first, naked and barefoot, screaming, with the boys following after, whooping and hollering, straight into the gauntlet, too lust-drunk to see where they were going. Pretty little thing, that Mormo, with a truly enviable lung capacity; the best lure they’d had by far in all the time Gorgo’d been attending these odd little shindigs, and swift enough to keep a good two lengths between her and her closest pursuer as she danced around the tiger-pits. No sooner did this thought register, however, then with a few more steps—plus one wild, deer-like leap—she was gone from sight, entirely: up over the deadfall, rustling the same bushes Gorgo and her girls hid behind, leaving the men in her wake, too shocked not to keep coming.
One took a thyrsus to the knee, so sharp Gorgo heard it crack, and pitched headlong, folding up, rolling. More blows caught him from several angles, breaking bones, tearing flesh; he flipped, bellowing, then gave a moaning “whuff!” as Iris came down right on top, astride both hips, club inverted to crack his breastbone and pop at least one lung, squeeze heart against ribcage, bruise liver beyond repair. His skull met a log back-first, brain slammed hard, eyes rolling up; was probably out long before Iris’s partners (Scylla, Polyxena) could get on him too, their hands rock-full, looking to make like Cain.
To his left, meanwhile, another lucky winner got Deianira’s spear across the top of his ear and recoiled, flinching away only to run straight into Charis’s strong grip instead. They were about the same height, but Charis had him from behind, choking him so hard he started to lift off the ground, kicking wildly. He tore at her arm with both hands, drawing blood, ‘til she finally threw him down with enough force that Gorgo heard his nose pop, or maybe a cheekbone—then heel-stomped him between the shoulder blades, holding him pinned even as he flailed, trying his level best to swim away. One armpit made a beautiful target for Deianira’s next thrust, a goring stab that went in far as she could reach, and the pain made him rear back far enough for Gorgo to slash her scythe across his throat.
The spike of her own kill-pleasure came quickly after that, hot and red and sweet. It was good, but over so soon; just enough to make her want more, something better. Longer.
She sat back on her heels, panting, leather tags of her hiking boots cutting into her bare ass as she watched the man’s—boy’s—blood make a flaring collar ’round his slackening, sweat- and dirt-smeared face. Asking Charis, once she had her breath back: “You see where the last one went?”
Charis shook her head. “Back there, maybe.”
On her feet once more, over by the first one, Iris nodded. “Something tripped a pit.”
Okay, then. “Praise be,” Gorgo said, heaving herself up, unable to quite keep her voice completely irony-free. “Praise be,” two new voices chimed in at the same time, from behind her: Aglaia, of course. And Phoibe.
Charis and the others turned, bespattered, grinning—stepped back a bit, all ‘round, to display their work to best advantage. Aglaia smiled wide and nodded, proudly, as Gorgo and Phoibe exchanged a small, cool nod of greeting.
“Wonderful,” Aglaia pronounced, with the sort of authoritative, maternal warmth that’d’ve done Mother Theresa herself proud, if she’d worshipped Kali instead of Christ. “Very fine. Now . . . let’s go see what She’s left us for last, and best.”
• • • •
The point was to do these things together, not alone. The point was to do them in secret, as much as could be arranged for. The point was to go elsewhere, overnight, and stay as long as it took to get it done. The point was to make it count.
The whole point of a mystery religion, in fact, as Aglaia kept reminding them, was that it was supposed to be—and stay—a mystery.
That wasn’t her real name, obviously. They’d all taken new ones, first as pseudonyms on the cult’s website, then as part of their bonding exercises in “meatspace,” as the kids put it; it was to draw a sort of metaphorical line from old to new, a clear path of translation, adaptation. Some of them came from what passed, these days, as “traditional” backgrounds—odd idea, that, all these mystoi and Goddess-worshippers apparently long-embedded in between the non-denominationals and the atheists—but for most of them this was just a fantasy, a deep-rooted need, a burgeoning itch they’d never quite known how to scratch before eventually stumbling across the myths, the literature, the site itself, which Phoibe had started and still maintained. A particular urge which everything around them said was bad, wrong, unnatural, even as that blood-beat voice inside told them it was anything but.
“We shouldn’t feel ashamed,” Aglaia—an elder stateswoman of some sort of brown persuasion, her graying, loose-curled hair cropped short—had said during their first real meet-up. “Never. What we do here is older than everything else, all the forces arrayed against us—older than laws, older than rules, older than the inadequate language we use to try and describe it with. It can’t be explained. It doesn’t have to be justified. And much as we may serve it, may be personally elevated by that service, transfigured even, we are none of us as important as the principle we subsume ourselves to. The tradition survives, always; we may die away—will die away—but it survives, always. It doesn’t need us. Because even when everything else crumbles, this will still endure.”
Oh, and Aglaia really did make everything sound so pretty, Gorgo thought, whenever she really started to get her groove on; that was the basic trick, the recruiting pitch, the glue. To frame the reason they were all here as a certain route to spiritual ecstasy, but also make it sound like they were reaching for a goal far more lasting than their own selfish pleasure—something done on this whole sad, stained world’s behalf for the unwitting benefit of everyone trapped inside it, exorcising sin while extirpating evil. Like it wasn’t any real sort of crime at all.
Aglaia was a true believer, or she walked the talk so well as to be nigh-indistinguishable from one; Gorgo simply knew what she liked and was willing to swallow her share of theosophic psychobabble in order to get a bunch of women with similar interests to not just pitch in at the kill, but clean up after her. Total freaks, in other words, but very useful ones—which was exactly how, in essence, that membership in their little sewing circle continued to hold enough appeal for Gorgo to not just roll her eyes and walk away, even assuming Aglaia and her coterie would let her.
Every meet-up started with a prayer, Aglaia leading, the others reading along off of printout sheets, a different translation every time. This year’s went like so—
Preswa, Phersephassa, o Kore Hagne
Wise one, She who stops, She who lives in every harvest
Persipne, Praxidike, o Kore Semele
Wine-maker, Subterranean queen, Most flowery maiden
Persephone, Crown of terror
Beautiful, Fatal, She who consumes
According to Whose will the sacred task is done—
life to produce, and all that lives to kill.
“So what is it you do, these days, exactly?” Phoibe asked under her breath, sidling up at Gorgo’s elbow. “Still bending young minds, or did they finally figure out you never actually made it all the way through teacher’s college?”
Gorgo shrugged. “Oh, you’d be surprised how little research private schools put in, selecting instructors. We’re doing Romantic poets this semester, Keats and all. ‘O what can ail thee, knight-at-arms, alone and palely loitering?’”
“You tell them it’s a tuberculosis metaphor?”
“On the top layer, sure. Some girls, I push harder; seed an idea here and there, set tests. Try to seek out where their more hidden inclinations might lie.”
“I didn’t know Aglaia was signing off on any more recruitment drives, especially amongst the underage.”
“She’s got nothing to with it, Phoebe.”
“Yeah, okay. I mean, what’s in a name, right—Susan?”
“Awful mysteries here are ours,” Aglaia continued, “so we celebrate them in Your name, which no one may in any way transgress. Happy is she who has seen and believed, both on top of the earth and under it, though she who is uninitiate will never reap a like crop after death, but stay forever buried there in darkness and in gloom.”
Think that’s my real name you got there, little bitch, just ’cause you hacked it out of my digital footprint? Gorgo projected, while staring Phoibe down, as Phoibe struggled to do the same, and failed. My original? Think I couldn’t change it or anything else about me in a minute, or less, if I wanted to—walk away, disappear off the grid, and not come up for air ‘til I stuck my scythe in your tech-savvy spine?
She was a bit of a parody, Phoibe, with her all-black clothes and her hair banded in grown-out dye-jobs like a floppy, cross-cut section of tree—you could practically track her stylistic evolution, or lack thereof, from Manic Panic to Clairol to henna to what Gorgo could only assume was probably her natural shade, a subtle mouse-hide leather tone flecked here and there with the first glints of gray. Deep, slightly keloided dimples bracketing her mouth had once held barbell piercings, just like that scar furling her lip-corner told of a torn-free labrette; she wore a tricked-out pair of granny-glasses with Hipster-thick frames, and tended towards using blush for eyeshadow. But she sure as shit did know how to run a dark-net, so that was something, at least.
Up near Aglaia, everyone was chanting again. Gorgo mouthed the words as Phoibe mouthed them right back at her, a second or two late.
Blood waters it
Blood grows it
Blood alone sees it flower:
Great seed, seed of flesh and bone, Persephone’s awful gift
That nurtures and destroys this world one sacrifice at a time
Truth was, it would be nice to share interests with somebody in private life, Gorgo occasionally caught herself thinking. To be a mentor. She sure wasn’t too likely to breed any soft-minded little co-conspirators herself, not at this late date, even setting the problem of stud-stock aside; adoption wasn’t really an option either, or fosterage, for similar reasons. Short of walking away from her local maternity ward with a free souvenir, therefore, cherry picking each new class for potentials seemed the next best thing. Hadn’t found any thus far, but it was early days still, and she remained hopeful.
Now she set hands on hips and waited, staring down, a whole ten extra years’ worth of game-face blankly in place. She had roughly a foot of height on Phoibe, plus a good fifty pounds in heft, not that she expected things would get physical—both of them had a certain investment in returning to work next week, after all, and doing it while looking like nothing worse than the morning after a particularly celebratory girls’ night out. But when you’d been looking forward to something all year, sometimes things just happened.
A second later, however, Phoibe shrugged, raising her hands: no harm, no foul.
“I’m sure you know what you’re doing,” she said. “I mean, we’re all adults here. What you get up to on your own time’s no concern of mine.”
“Nope,” Gorgo agreed. “So . . . anyone know who the sacrifice’s gonna be yet?”
“Whoever gets here first,” Phoibe replied. “Same as usual.”
“Well, how many candidates in play?”
“Three groups, two to four components each. Maybe four.”
“That’s short odds.”
“Not really; I’d show you the math, but . . .” Here Phoibe trailed off, maybe thinking I wouldn’t want to bore you with it, or even you wouldn’t understand, yet smart enough not to voice whichever outright, either way. Continuing, soon enough: “You ever know anybody not to show up?”
Now it was Gorgo’s turn to shrug. “Not yet,” was all she said.
But that, as Aglaia would no doubt say, was where faith came in.
• • • •
The place they gathered had been a campground, once upon a time. They arrived singly from every direction, mostly by public transport, then hiked to the meet-point, where Aglaia and her acolytes had already set up most of the necessary infrastructure—dug catch-pits, strung bells, planted weapons (thyrsi made onsite, plus whatever else they brought with them), and built the cremation pyre high, for afterwards. People didn’t tend to get naked ‘til the appointed hour, which suited Gorgo fine, though there were always noticeable exceptions. Right now, for example, she could see tall, lean Charis belly dancing by herself off in the middle distance, pleasantly soft from hormones and with her bush grown full to hide the rest, yet proudly displaying the scars where her implants had gone in every time she back-bent far enough for them to catch the light.
At least one potential “sister” had quit because of Charis, or tried to—made it back almost as far as the north road before Gorgo had caught up with her, dragged her into the bushes, and buried her under a deadfall with her flesh flensed sky burial-style so the animals would come running. It’d been an on-the-fly decision, simple self-preservation instinct twisted into altruism by circumstance, done on behalf of a community Gorgo often questioned whether she needed at all; still wasn’t entirely sure Aglaia even knew about it, though she suspected yes, especially since she hadn’t found any bones left to crush with a hammer when she’d checked the makeshift grave last time they met.
In Gorgo’s estimation, however, the radfems could say what they wanted, but Charis had always held her end up well enough to merit whatever help Gorgo chose to give her. Once the hunt was on, she was no different than any other gal with an oversized clit—better, considering her sheer stamina, her extra-long reach and strong, militarily-trained grip. When they piled in on the final sacrifice, all together, Gorgo had seen Charis literally work a man’s head from his shoulders like some live-action Mortal Kombat kill, twisting the finger-torn ruin of his throat and neck ‘til his vertebrae snapped and spinal cord slithered free.
Sparagmos, Aglaia called it. The Maenad’s frenzy, bull sacrifice. A rending apart, followed by omophagia, eating the flesh raw. Or, as Gorgo’d always called it, albeit only to herself . . . fun.
“I know you don’t think you’re one of us, really,” Aglaia told Gorgo, as Gorgo poured herself a bowl of ritual kykeon. “But you do keep on coming, don’t you? Why do you think that might be?”
“‘Cause I like it?”
“You’re no great fan of organized religion in general, though, I think; most sociopaths aren’t. Yet you must admit it can be useful, as a concept, even to those who question it.”
Gorgo sighed, steeling herself to stay polite. “Oh, sure,” she replied. “Mainly in that it gives us divine permission to go on ahead and do what we were gonna anyways, all wrapped up in a pretty story. Secret knowledge, women’s magic, the matriarchy reborn . . .”
Aglaia shot Gorgo a look, as though unsure if she was being mocked. “So you’ll take advantage of the amenities on offer,” she said, at last, “but you won’t do Her homage.”
“If that’s the price of staying on the mailing list, sure. Why not?”
“Except that you won’t mean it.”
At that, Gorgo did have to snort, just a little. “How you ever gonna know anyone ‘means it,’ outside of yourself? Same way I ‘know’ you do, i.e. not at damn all. Look, lady, I read The Bacchae—hell, I’ve taught it. You really think we can bank on weapons of iron not wounding us when the fit’s in full swing, though, no matter how many of those little dried mushrooms you boil the kykeon up with? Barley, pennyroyal, psychoactives . . . it’s a nice high, but I don’t ever remember getting milk and honey from stones or tearing up trees by their roots while I was on it, let alone wearing snake necklaces, or breastfeeding wolf-cubs.”
“Communion wafers aren’t made from real man-meat, either. Our feasts are, and not metaphorically.”
“They weren’t, that’d be the deal-breaker right there, for me.”
Aglaia chuckled. “I’ve seen you hunt,” she said. “One of our fiercest, when She enters in.”
“Hard to stop once I get going, I’ll give you that,” Gorgo agreed, suddenly tired. “C’mon, though—what I run on’s a fetish, not superpowers. I just like to kill people.”
“Ah, but you don’t just kill people, do you, when you have the choice? I’m not talking about self-preservation, or opportunity . . . I mean pure desire, the perfect victim. The image you touch yourself to.”
Gorgo snorted again. Yet the words brought it rising up behind her eyes anyhow, automatic, irrefutable: a man, always, young and juicy for preference. And strong enough to fight hand to hand, take damage from, even—possibly—risk losing to. Not that she ever had.
“. . . no,” she admitted, at last, with reluctance. “You’re right. That’s never just ‘people.’”
“Then you do Her work, and always have. Without even knowing it.”
Gorgo shook her head, stubborn. “Dress it up all you want, Aglaia—what I do is what I choose to, that’s the whole truth, and nothin’ but. ‘Cause I like it. I don’t need any other reason.”
“It gets done, however, either way.”
The area of study devoted to those like Gorgo was choked with truisms, creating spaces she’d always found it easy to slip between. Most serial killers, accepted lore went, were white rather than not, middle-class or lower-, organized or dis- . . . and male, overwhelmingly. Which meant that although there obviously had to be some who weren’t, by simple process of elimination, nobody really spent a whole lot of time looking for them.
Didn’t hurt that women coded societally as victims rather than predators, conferring a weird invisibility on those who didn’t worry about becoming somebody else’s meal. When men’s eyes turned towards Gorgo with ill intent, she met them head-on, smiling. Those unused to the concept turned away; those who didn’t had made their bed, and she felt no guilt about laying them down in it.
As it turned out, this attitude formed yet another point of sympathy between Aglaia’s lot and herself—since according to the mysteries, sacrifices self-selected through willing, deliberate transgression. They had to know there was a taboo in play, even to have some idea of the potential stakes involved, and choose to break said taboo anyways.
Luckily, that was men in a nutshell, or so Gorgo had always observed. Long before the Internet, it had been a truth universally agreed on that whenever somebody started talking about a space being women-only, a segment of the male-identified population would come running with dicks out, ready to mark their territory in the hope no bitch would ever again be dumb enough to believe herself in possession of something they couldn’t access. It was a winning combination of social mores and genetics, bless their hearts—just the way we’re made, ma’am, now get in the kitchen, et cetera.
“Everywhere but here,” Aglaia claimed, proudly. And so far, her claim had yet to be disproven, there being an undeniable strength in numbers which far outstripped whatever one woman could achieve alone. Everybody wanted community, in their heart of hearts—even those who knew themselves, at base, quite outrageously unsuited to maintain it.
Female serial killers hid behind gender constructs, as a rule. They usually played out the roles people (men) expected them to, then killed inside of that as poisoners, black widows, angels of death . . . caregivers turned toxic. The reason the Maenad myth had been so discounted down the centuries, according to Aglaia, was that the very idea of a woman jumping on somebody and tearing them apart seemed physically impossible. But one had to wonder, like Gorgo remembered doing, even as a child: was there a reason men seemed so wary of “allowing” women to congregate in groups? Could it be they guessed how a pack of women might be indistinguishable from one of lionesses, of hyenas?
Hours passed in chanting, dancing, singing, and the sun dipped low. The kykeon, fresh-cooled, got passed around like white lightning; Gorgo drank her next slug in one gulp, watching the newest mystoi sip, wince, almost puke. She already felt the drug deep inside her like hooks, opening her wide, letting in the world.
As the dusk began to swim and click around her, she saw Phoibe appear at Aglaia’s elbow, night-blooming suddenly, pale out of dark. Watched her murmur in the priestess’s ear, then vanish once more, as Aglaia turned to motion Gorgo near.
“Intruders at the perimeter. Mormo has them chasing her already—easy meat for our best huntress.”
Gorgo rose, nodding, to shuck the last of her clothes. She left her footwear on, since running barefoot through the woods was like asking for lockjaw, but Aglaia didn’t say anything—possibly since her good right hand Phoibe had apparently decided much the same, albeit sticking with sandals instead of Gorgo’s comfortably weighted hiking boots.
Charis handed her one more dose, which lit her up like a punch. Someone she couldn’t quite see hugged ‘round her from behind, smearing two mud-clay handfuls across both breasts at once, then down over her abs, to cool her thighs’ hot vee. Gorgo tossed her hair and pulled loose; Charis caught her mid-stumble, grinning. “Y’all ready?” she asked.
“Thyrsus, baby girl?”
“Brought my own, thanks.” The scythe-handle fit nicely into her palm. “You comin’, big sis?”
“Bet your ass,” Charis growled, voice dipping lower than she probably wanted it to, not that that mattered: the ekstasis was on them both, pumping their blood, stiffening every sinew. Around, Gorgo saw the rest of the pack assembling, all the familiar faces. Iris, Scylla, Polyxena, Deianira . . .
They took off running, like Artemis Herself led the way.
• • • •
And here they were, now. The tiger-pit’s displaced covering, lid of the kiste, the sacred basket. Gorgo kicked it aside to reveal a third young man—boy—staring up, down on one knee and crying with pain, at least one ankle probably shattered from the fall. He was a sweet-looking piece, muscled like a wrestler, hair picked out into a soft natural; his skin gleamed, shade falling somewhere between Deianira’s ruddy bronze and Aglaia’s warmer, darker hue. Which was a fairly apt comparison, as it turned out—because when he caught sight of Aglaia peering down on him over Gorgo’s shoulder his eyes went wide, fixed with shock, and awe, and terrified recognition.
“Mom?” he managed, voice breaking. “Mom? What . . . what’re you doing . . . here . . . ?”
Aglaia didn’t answer, not immediately. Just drew herself up, turning to stone; crossed her arms and waited, possibly to see what happened next.
“Mom, shit . . . you have to help me. They’re crazy, these women’re all—Mom!”
Gorgo back-shifted, waiting as well. Until finally, another voice chimed in: “Well?”
Aglaia, without moving: “‘Well’ what, Phoibe?”
The woman in question came shoving her way through, pale as a twilit ghost, ‘til she stood almost at Aglaia’s side—almost. But not quite.
“He’s penetrated the mysteries, hasn’t he?” she declared, nodding downwards, voice pitched to ringing. “Seen things done, heard things said, just like the rest of them. Should the priestess’s son go free, and other women’s sons pay in his stead? Is this Her will?”
Posturing little hooker, Gorgo thought.
“Didn’t hear Aglaia say what she wanted done with him, one way or the other, myself,” Gorgo pointed out. “And since I’m a hell of a lot more likely to listen to her than to you on the subject . . .”
“Ha! The unbeliever speaks.” Phoibe threw her arms wide, addressing the whole cult, now flocking in around Gorgo’s hunting team. “See how she mocks? Ask yourselves why Aglaia would ever let somebody like this in in the first place, let alone allow her to stay. Then ask yourself if it isn’t obvious that the Goddess chose to punish Aglaia for her hubris by sending her first-born to the killing floor! How else could it have happened?”
Defend yourself, idiot, Gorgo tried to project Aglaia’s way, watching heads on all sides begin to nod, albeit reluctantly. But Aglaia’s eyes stayed on the pit, her whimpering child. She might as well have been a statue.
Murmuring spread in every direction, like a tide.
Time to run, maybe, Gorgo thought, reluctantly, gripping her scythe hard enough to hurt. Save yourself, before this shit shifts on you; drop out, get gone. This was a bad idea. It’s like Missus Gast used to say, my third foster-Mommy—someone like me just needs to stay the hell away from people I want to keep safe . . .
(. . . unless I’m killing ’em.)
That was when it happened, sharp as a wound—that same unfurling times ten thousand, the kykeon’s blow suddenly felt all over, a general uproar. This lurching, queasy sensation of opening up so far it was like her insides were out, skin shifting, one massive neuron blur. Blood broke from her nose, mouth, the corners of her eyes; later, she’d find burst vessels on both eyeballs, a pair of tiny red flowers. For now, however, it was as though something else had a hold of her, puppeting her from the gut. Making one hand fly out, scythe’s point sticking deep into Phoibe’s still-babbling throat, then jerking free again, conjuring a flood. The spurt slapped across Gorgo before hitting Charis, who gasped, and Aglaia, who didn’t; a general cry went up, cultists reacting as one. Phoibe fell, flopping, while Gorgo shivered still upright, mouth opening against her will. Words torrented free, garbled, unfamiliar, Greek-accented. Saying—
Fury-source, Wrathful One, All-Ruling virgin,
Kore Semele, light-bearer incandescent
Horned Maiden, Earth’s vigorous daughter
When Death comes, we go willingly to Your realms
Until again You send us forth, into this world of Form.
She didn’t know this prayer, Gorgo realized, unable not to complete what she could only assume was the verse’s ancient formula. Not one she’d heard, nor one she’d read. No translation of The Bacchae she’d ever taught could have left it behind in her mind’s folds, waiting to suggest itself under pressure—no, this was something else. Something Other.
At her boot-tips, Phoibe had almost ceased shuddering. Gorgo found herself pointing at her, mouth stretched Body Snatchers-wide, pronouncing: “How’d it happen? Ask the hacker. The girl with the math. Ask her how she sought him out online, groomed him, brought him and those friends of his here—because she wanted to mount a coup, thought he’d make Aglaia look weak in front of you, that she could turn you against Her chosen. But nothing happens, ever, except that She allows it.”
“Praise be,” Charis chimed in, wiping Phoibe’s blood straight into her mouth; “Praise be,” Iris agreed, kicking Phoibe so she flipped, so her last breath went down into the earth itself, Persephone-Perswa’s home. To which Aglaia finally nodded, dignified as always, and put her hand on Gorgo’s still-shaking shoulder, palm-print burning a hole, all the Goddess’s presence suddenly drained from once more, leaving her numb and cold, scythe drooping.
“Praise be,” Aglaia agreed, approvingly. “I’m so happy for you, Gorgo. It’s seldom any of us feels Her grace directly—to have that one be you is a rare honour, and welcome. Especially since I’d’ve had trouble killing a woman, myself, even one who’d betrayed Her covenant.” A lovely smile. “But then, that’s what She sent us you for.”
“The fuck you say,” Gorgo replied, all out into a rush, with no time for self-censorship. Her nervous system was still twitching, refusing to obey, or she would’ve cut Aglaia’s throat next—something Aglaia seemed to know, since she glanced at Charis, who gently pried the scythe from Gorgo’s limp hand, folding her into an embrace.
“C’mon now, baby girl,” Charis said, soothing. “You got nothing to be afraid of. We all want to feel her hand on our souls the once, like you just did. It’s why we’re here.”
“Not . . . why I’m here . . .” Gorgo said, muffled, into Charis’s pectoral, her implant-springy breast. But Charis only laughed.
“‘Course not,” she replied. “We all know that. Is now, though—and that’s beautiful, don’t you see? Hell, it’s divine.”
“Literally,” Aglaia agreed. “Oh, Gorgo! You’re a saint to us now, a true Maenad. The very proof of our religion.”
And that murmur was back again, eddying right, left, and every which way, whipping the crowd into a frenzy. They seized on Phoibe’s body and bore it away, tearing off pieces as it went; probably ending up on the pyre with the rest of the meat, fit for the celebratory feast, with the bones all divvied up and buried wherever individual cultists went home to, after.
I’m trapped, Gorgo thought, hanging there in Charis’s arms, while Aglaia and the others clapped, cheered, and ululated in approval, each according to their preference. They’ve got me now, these freaks, them with their goddamn Goddess. I’m altered, forever changed. Like I don’t even know my own self anymore.
“What about him, down there?” she asked, finally, through trembling lips.
Throughout the preceding action, the still pit-trapped boy—Aglaia’s unlucky son—had fallen silent long since, in terms of pleas. Now it was just grunts and cursing, oh God oh God oh shit, help me please, with the kid scrabbling at the walls like a crippled badger, trying his level best either to heave himself free or bring the walls’ earth in on top of him, so he could suffocate before they pulled him free and ripped him apart. Perhaps having stared enough, however, Aglaia didn’t even look, this time. Simply shook her head, curls lifting slightly (softer than his yet similar, Gorgo could now see), and said—
“Phoibe called him, but She made him answer. This is not for him, for any of them, yet still they come: anathema, to be dedicated, to be cursed. He chose his own fate.”
At that, the scrabbling stopped, as if kicked. Gorgo heard the kid moan out, instinctive, maybe in supplication, maybe in protest: Mom, oh Mom, Mommy, no. Please, God, please.
True Believers, true belief; not such an arrant hunk of legitimized murder wrapped in bullshit fairytales after all, as it turned out. More’s the fucking pity.
No God here, little boy, Gorgo thought, as close to sadly as she was capable of. And closed her eyes.
Nightmare Magazine is usually edited by bestselling anthology editor John Joseph Adams (Wastelands, The Living Dead). This month, however, Nightmare is presenting Women Destroy Horror!, our special double-issue celebration of women writing and editing horror. Guest editor Ellen Datlow has selected original fiction from Gemma Files (“This Is Not for You”), Livia Llewellyn (“It Feels Better Biting Down”), Pat Cadigan (“Unfair Exchange”), Katherine Crighton (“The Inside and the Outside”), and Catherine MacLeod (“Sideshow”), along with reprints by Joyce Carol Oates (“Martyrdom”), Tanith Lee (“Black and White Sky”), and A.R. Morlan (“. . . Warmer”). Our Women Destroy Horror! nonfiction editor, Lisa Morton, also has a line-up of terrific pieces—a feature interview with “American Horror Story” producer Jessica Sharzer; a roundtable interview with acclaimed writers Linda Addison, Kate Jonez, Helen Marshall, and Rena Mason; a feature interview with award-winning author Joyce Carol Oates; and insightful essays from Maria Alexander, Lucy A. Snyder, and Chesya Burke. You can wait for the rest of this month’s contents to be serialized online, or you can buy the whole issue right now in convenient eBook format for just $2.99. You can also subscribe and get each issue delivered to you automatically every month for the discounted price of just $1.99 per issue. This month’s issue is a great one so be sure to check it out. And while you’re at it, tell a friend about Nightmare!
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