Tag Archives: horror

44-D Book Diaries with Audiegrl: Chelsea Cain’s Evil at Heart

NYT Best-selling author Chelsea CainToday’s interview features New York Times Best-selling author Chelsea Cain, discussing her profoundly addictive and disturbing new novel, Evil at Heart.

If you think Hannibal Lechter is scary? Check out serial killer Gretchen Lowell who is beautiful, brilliant, and cunning. This fall, Cain will carve out a place for herself on bookshelves everywhere with her new novel.

Evil at Heart is the third novel in Cain’s highly praised Gretchen Lowell/Archie Sheridan series, which heralded the birth of the new captivating face of evil and psychological suspense.

In my interview with Chelsea, I got to ask her some questions her fans dying to know.

AG: So serial killers and journalism: Are these two of your top interests?

CC: Right up there with infanticide and cannibalism. I’m kidding, of course. I wouldn’t include either serial killers or journalism in my top interests. Though if I did, serial killers would be way higher on the list. I just really like thrilling stories and these seem to lend themselves to that genre.

AG: Your inspiration for the book came from the Green River Killer case, but how did you come up with Gretchen Lowell? She’s pretty twisted.

CC: I actually remember reading stories as a kid about the Green River Killer in the Bellingham Herald. The idea of this unidentified killer being pursued by a task force of cops really captured my attention. I wanted my killer to be a woman because it made the obsessive nature of the cop-killer relationship instantly more complicated. But I wanted her to kill violently, like a man, because she enjoys it. Culturally we demand an explanation from our female killers. We want to blame their motives on a man – a bad father, a bad boyfriend. I didn’t want to provide an easy explanation for Gretchen’s homicidal tendencies. It’s way scarier to not understand her.

AG: How did you do the research for this book? Did you talk to any serial killers?

CC: No, and I hope I never do. I also didn’t actually torture anyone, though it probably would have lent some verisimilitude to the narrative. Maybe I’ll consider it for the sequels. I did read a lot of case studies about psychopaths. There is a great cannon of interviews with jailed psychopaths that is incredibly disturbing and illuminating. I also read a lot of forensic pathology texts, visited a billion web sites, talked to doctors, and read police handbooks. But the great thing about fiction is that if you find a few details that ring especially true, readers tend to go along with all the stuff you make up. (She says, fingers crossed.)

AG: It seems like you have a few things in common with the character of young reporter Susan Ward. How alike are you two?

CC: Susan and I share some of the same insecurities and preoccupation with fashion. She writes for The Oregon Herald. I write for The Oregonian. But she is way, way, way more damaged than I am. And my past is not nearly as complicated.

AG: The first thing I thought about when I read the first book Heartsick was Hannibal Lector. Are you hoping to turn Gretchen Lowell into a movie star any time soon? Who do you think could play I her?

CC: Heartsick has been optioned to be a movie, so there is a production company working very hard to get it made. They’ve got a script in development right now. Honestly, I’m pretty open-minded in terms of casting. Anthony Hopkins? Sure! The names that readers most often suggest are Charlize Theron, Nicole Kidman and Angelina Jolie. Any of those actresses would be terrific. I also really like Storm Large (the performer who portrays Gretchen on the website). She looks exactly like the Gretchen of my imagination. Which is sort of scary.

AG: I love the Gretchen Lowell fan site. Especially all the Gretchen sightings. What kind of response are you getting from fans?

CC: The people who find it really seem to like it. I’ve always thought of that site as a sort of DVD extra – readers who take the time to look up the url that’s mentioned as a plot point in Evil at Heart get rewarded with this funny and twisted ode to Gretchen. For the Gretchen sightings, our designer just went downtown and photographed blond women with their faces turned. In about an hour she had all the photos we needed.

AG: I’m a huge fan of HBO’s True Blood series. During one of the last episodes, Maryanne was sitting at the kitchen table reading a copy of Heartsick! I was so surprised…true story…I got up and did a victory dance. Please give me the scoop, were you as surprised as the rest of us, or was this something HBO contacted you about in advance? How has being featured on the show affected the book?

CC: That was pretty fucking awesome. I had no idea. We TIVO it so weren’t watching it live, but my husband’s mother called and left a message saying that she’d seen the book on True Blood, and my husband told me and I was like, no way, she’s wrong, she just thought she saw it. And then my husband’s father called (they’ve been divorced for thirty years, but apparently still watch the same TV shows), and he said the same thing. So we ran home and watched it, and sure enough there was Maryanne reading Heartsick! I peed my pants a little. As for sales, I have no idea. There was definitely increased web chatter about the book. And people continue to see it and bring it up to me. I love True Blood, so it was a huge thrill to be a tiny part of that show for a moment.

AG: Finally, what do you hope to do after this series is over?

CC: Over? I plan to write these suckers until someone makes me stop. But I am planning on starting another series to juggle along side it – more thrillers set in Portland. So stay tuned.

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Chelsea CainIf you would like to learn more about Chelsea Cain and her books please stop by ChelseaCain.com. For the hard-core Gretchen Lowell fans among you, since her escape, she’s been spotted in Oslo, Munich, Shanghai, and Ontario. Please stop by I Heart Gretchen Lowell if you need to send her a message or report a sighting.

Heartsick by Chelsea Cain

Heartsick by Chelsea CainDet. Archie Sheridan led the Beauty Killer Task Force for ten years, before the Beauty Killer (Gretchen Lowell) caught him, tortured him for ten days and then mysteriously let him go and turned herself in. Now it’s two years later and Archie, addicted to pain pills and still obsessed with Gretchen, is called off medical leave to hunt a second serial killer. Pink-haired girl journalist Susan Ward is assigned to profile Archie. She knows he’s hiding something. But what? (It’s bigger than a breadbox.)

“In her dynamite first thriller, Cain introduces one of the most seductive and original psychopaths since Hannibal Lecter.”–Entertainment Weekly

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Sweetheart by Chelsea Cain

Sweetheart by Chelsea CainWhen the body of a young woman is discovered in Forest Park, Archie is reminded of the first corpse he discovered there a decade ago: it turned out to be the Beauty Killer’s first victim, and Archie’s first case. Then, the unthinkable happens: Gretchen escapes from prison, and once the news breaks, all of Portland goes on high alert…but secretly, Archie is relieved. He knows he’s the only one who can capture Gretchen—and now he has a plan to get out from under her thumb once and for all. Even if it means becoming her last victim…

“We’ve been down Hannibal Lecter Avenue many times, and these two books shouldn’t work . . . but they do. Chalk it up to excellent writing and Cain’s ferocious sense of humor. The Portland (Ore.) setting is refreshing too.”—Stephen King

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Evil At Heart by Chelsea Cain

Evil at Heart by Chelsea CainGretchen is still on the loose and Archie is still hospitalized after his ploy to catch her went spectacularly wrong. They’ve entered a detente of sorts: Archie agrees not to kill himself if she agrees not to kill anyone else. But suddenly there’s something else to contend with that might be worse – a zealous fan of Gretchen’s, paying homage to the Beauty Killer by luring Archie and reporter Susan Ward to the scene of a grisly murder. At least they hope it’s the work of someone new, for the prospect of Gretchen breaking her promise is more than Archie can bear.

“Cain delivers her usual blend of organ-ripping, blood-soaked gore and compelling flawed heroes—and antiheroes.”–Publishers Weekly

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Filed under Book Diaries Series, Chelsea Cain, Crime, Culture, Entertainment, Forensics, Hollywood, Law, Media and Entertainment, Movies, Oregon, Police, Pop Culture, Uncategorized, Video/YouTube, Violence

Welcome to the Blog— 44’D’s Halloween Special

Cick Here: 44-D Alert: N.Y. Republican Scozzafava Throws Support to Democratic Candidate–Palin pick gets stiffed

Halloween Night at the White(Orange)house

click image above for a Halloween at the White house slide show

moonanibatFor all of their stomach-turning gore, horror films and haunted houses attract people in droves, why?

Well, people just LOVE to be scared: their hearts race, their breath quickens, their muscles tense… must be human nature ….

Join us now for a multifaceted look at the History of Halloween, all the ghosts, witches, goblins, scary movies, and real life adventures that are all part of what must be the scariest— most exciting, holiday of the year…

Your Index of Horror


pumpkinsmallThe Symbols of Halloween


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spookysmallHalloween Around The World

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batssmall44-D’s Scariest Movies

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ghostsmall44-D’s Haunted Library

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skeletonsmallSpooky Halloween Story From My Childhood

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littlewitchHaunted Salem! Your Guide to the Witch City

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Werewolfsmals2The History of Werewolves

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truebloodsmallHBO’s True Blood: Our Guiltiest Pleasure

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vampiresmallHow Vampires Rose From Myth to Modern Obsession

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frankenstinesmallThe Zombie Survival Guide: Recorded Attacks

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obamapumpkinwhitehouseHalloween at the White House 2009

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halloweenicons1Punkins, Punkins, Punkins! The Coolest Pumpkins Evah!

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44-D’s Scariest Movies


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What scares Audiegrl?

theringlrgeThe Ring (2002)
Rachel Keller is a journalist who decides to go undercover on the mysterious death of her niece and her three friends, who seemed to all died on the same day at the same time- 10:00 PM. After being told that her niece was found in a closet with a horrifying look on her face, she searches through her room and finds some pictures, pictures of the cabin where her niece and her friends had stayed a week before the deaths. Rachel finds the cabin and finds an unknown video there. She decides to watch it there, and now has only a limited time to live. She and her divorced husband, Noah, research about the video and find facts about Anna Morgan and her daughter, Samara Morgan, the maker of this video. With only a week left, Rachel and Noah discover the unknown secrets of the life of Samara Morgan, and, hopefully for them, a way to break the curse.
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What scares Betsmeier?

psycholargePsycho (1960)
Marion Crane is fed up with the way life has treated her. She has to meet her lover Sam in lunch breaks and they cannot get married because Sam has to give most of his money away in alimony. One Friday Marion is trusted to bank $40,000 by her employer. Seeing the opportunity to take the money and start a new life, Marion leaves town and heads towards Sam’s California store. Tired after the long drive and caught in a storm, she gets off the main highway and pulls into The Bates Motel. The motel is managed by a quiet young man called Norman who seems to be dominated by his mother.
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What scares Bluedog98?

thehaunting2The Haunting (1963)
Dr. Markway, doing research to prove the existence of ghosts, investigates Hill House, a large, eerie mansion with a lurid history of violent death and insanity. With him are the skeptical young Luke, who stands to inherit the house, the mysterious and clairvoyant Theodora and the insecure Eleanor, whose psychic abilities make her feel somehow attuned to whatever spirits inhabit the old mansion. As time goes by it becomes obvious that they have gotten more than they bargained for as the ghostly presence in the house manifests itself in horrific and deadly ways.
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What scares Buellboy?

sessionnineSession Nine (2001)
An asbestos abatement crew wins the bid for an abandoned insane asylum. What should be a straightforward, if rather rushed, job, is complicated by the personal histories of the crew. In particular, Hank is dating Phil’s old girlfriend, and Gordon’s new baby seems to be unnerving him more than should be expected. Things get more complicated as would-be lawyer Mike plays the tapes from a former patient with multiple personalities, including the mysterious Simon who does not appear until Session 9, and as Hank disappears after finding some old coins.
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What scares Cardinals19?

frailtyFrailty (2001)
Fenton Meeks, comes forth to tell the FBI that his brother Adam may be the serial killer who calls himself God’s Hands, who the FBI has been searching for. The film uses flashbacks to show Meeks’ childhood with a father who believed he was on a mission from God to destroy demons that inhabit human bodies. Fenton saw his dad as evil, while Adam saw him as a hero.
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What scares COgene?

theomenThe Omen (1976)
Robert and Katherine Thorn seem to have it all. He is the US Ambassador to Italy and they want for nothing in their lives, except one thing: they do not have children. When Katharine has a stillborn child, Robert is approached by a priest at the hospital who suggest that he take a healthy newborn whose mother has just died in childbirth. Without telling his wife he agrees to to so but after relocating to London, strange events – and the ominous warnings of a priest – lead him to believe that the child he took from that Italian hospital is evil incarnate.
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What scares Ericesad?

theotherlrge
The Other (1972)
In the summer of 1935, 9-year-old twins Niles and Holland Perry live with their family on a Connecticut farm. Their loving grandmother Ada has taught them something called “the game.” A number of accidents begin happening, and it seems to Niles that Holland is responsible. It is Ada who begins to see the truth, and she is the only one who can stop this macabre game of murder.

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What scares GeoT?

them3THEM! (1954)
After several people in the New Mexico desert wind up missing or dead, including an F.B.I. agent and most of his family, police Sgt. Ben Peterson teams up with F.B.I. agent Bob Graham to find out what’s causing the strange occurrences. They find send a strange print found at one of the crime scenes and it is sent to the Department of Agriculture. Doctor Harold Medford and his daughter Doctor Patricia Medford arrive and ask to be taken to the scene of some of the disappearances. When they get there they are shocked to find gigantic ants, whose mutations were caused by the first atomic bomb explosion nine years earlier. They manage to destroy the nest of ants, but not before two winged queen ants and a couple of drones have hatched and escaped the nest. Now it is a race against time to find the two queen ants before they can establish more nests and hatch more queens.
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What scares HerselWellingtonIV?

finaldestinationFinal Destination (2000)
Alex is boarding his plane to France on a school trip, when he suddenly gets a premonition that the plane will explode. When Alex and a group of students are thrown off the plane, to their horror, the plane does in fact explode. Alex must now work out Death’s plan, as each of the surviving students falls victim. Whilst preventing the worst from happening, Alex must also dodge the FBI, which believes Alex caused the explosion.
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What scares LibbyShaw?

capitalismCapitalism: A Love Story (2009)
Michael Moore will once again take film goers into uncharted territory. With both humor and outrage, Moore explores a taboo question: What is the price that America pays for its love of capitalism? Years ago, that love seemed so innocent. Today, however, the American dream is looking more like a nightmare as families pay the price with their jobs, their homes and their savings.

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What scares Ogenec?

evildeadlrgeThe Evil Dead (1981)
Five friends go to a cabin in the woods for a vacation. They discover The Book of the Dead and a tape recorder belonging to a professor, who also owns the cabin. One of them plays back what is recorded on the tape– which just happens to be Candarian resurrection passages translated from the Necronomicon (Book of the Dead) by the professor, which unleashes an evil force from the woods. The people start turning into evil deadites, and the others soon learn from the tape that the only way to kill a person who is turned into a deadite is by total body dismemberment. People are dying left and right; one girl early in the film looses control and runs off into the woods, only to be attacked by the trees.

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What scares Shanti2?

carrieCarrie (1976)
Carrie White is a shy young girl who doesn’t make friends easily. After her class mates taunt her about her horrified reaction to her totally unexpected first period one of them takes pity on her and gets Tommy Ross, her boyfriend and class hunk to invite Carrie to the senior prom. Meanwhile another girl who has been banned from the prom for her continued aggressive behaviour is not as forgiving and plans a trick to embarrass Carrie in front of the whole school. What she doesn’t realize is that Carrie is … gifted, and you really don’t want to get her angry.

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What scares SouthernGirl2?

wolfcreeklrgeWolf Creek (2005)
Based on a true story…Three friends embark on an adventure in the rugged Australian outback, having set out to see the famous Wolf Creek- a famous crater made by a meteor thousands of years ago. They spend time partying and bonding during their road trip to the landmark. When they arrive they leave their car at the bottom to make the 3 hour hike to the top of the crater. Upon their return to the car, they find that it will not start, and must enlist the help of a seemingly charitable fellow, who happens to “coincidentally” be meandering around one of the most remote areas of the world. They decide to allow him to tow them and their car back to his dwelling, where he has promised to quickly fix the car. However, the three soon realize he has other plans in store, when, after being drugged, awake to scenes of terror, grisly dismemberment, and even death. We get to know the three on a personal level, so that what happens to them is more than mere gore and torture; we actually feel for these characters and want them to succeed. A surprisingly well-done, yet very difficult film to watch.
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What scares TheLCster?

itIT (1990)
In the quiet town of Derry, Maine, Seven friends, Bill, Eddie, Mike, Bev, Stan, Richie and Ben (the Losers Club) have all been seeing and hearing strange things. Most of which revolve around a clown called Pennywise in which they all admit being real, the kids eventually discover that the leader of the club, Bill’s little brother fell victim to this evil. The group sets out to stop the force and put it to rest once and for all. 30 years after defeating IT, Mike Hanlon, the only member who remained in Derry, is suspecting that IT has returned and is forced to call back all of the Losers Club, due to a promise they all made to return if its evil shall ever resurface. Uncovering new powers, clues and evil the club reunites as adults and come face to face with the evil that has haunted and fed on Derry for the last centuries.
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What scares Webb?

blairwitchprojectThe Blair Witch Project (1999)
In October of 1994, three student filmmakers hike out to the woods of Blair, hoping to find evidence of a local legend “The Blair Witch”. At first, they find nothing except a pile of stones arranged by hand. As the sun goes down, they realize they are lost, but there is little panic. They camp out, and in the middle of the night they see and hear things, things that are not normal. When they awake, they find wooden dolls in cross-like formations. They were not there that night. Then one of the students, Josh, is separated from the group. The other two finally realize that they are in a very serious situation, and that they are being stalked, stalked by something that may be the very thing they were looking for…
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44-D’s Haunted Library


hauntedlib

Welcome to the 44-D’s Haunted Library. Just in time for Trick-or-Treat the Scary Scribes Scream-Out. The selections here are guaranteed to make you sleep with the lights on!

Please feel free to nominate books in the comments section. I had to cut myself off at some point~~Audiegrl 😉


Hellbound HeartsHellbound Hearts by Clive Barker, et al…

As editor/author John Skipp says in the foreword of the newest zombie short stories collection, there is just something scarier about the horror genre in the written word. That something is the reader’s imagination. This anthology celebrates Hellraiser creator Clive Barker and the merciless world of the demonic Cenobites he created.
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Strain-Book-One-TrilogyThe Strain-Volume One by Guillermo Del Toro and Chuck Hogan

They have always been here. Vampires. In secret and in darkness. Waiting. Now their time has come. In one week, Manhattan will be gone. In one month, the country. In two months — the world. (yes, that Guillermo Del Toro)
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wwzthumb2World War Z by Max Brooks

An ‘oral history’ of the global war the evil brain-chewers came within a hair of winning. Zombies are among us—turn on your television if you don’t believe it. But, Brooks reassures us, even today, human fighters are hunting down the leftovers, and we’re winning. Look for the movie in 2010. If this guy is not the conceptual artist for the film, there is something wrong in the universe.
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evilatheartthumbEvil At Heart by Chelsea Cain

Chelsea Cain’s novels featuring Portland detective Archie Sheridan and serial killer Gretchen Lowell have captivated fans through two nail-biting entries, Heartsick and Sweetheart, both of them multiweek bestsellers in The New York Times, USA Today, and Publishers Weekly. Hey, when characters from True Blood start reading your books, its on…
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blackhousethumbBlack House by Stephen King and Peter Straub

Follow up to The Talisman, Retired cop Jack Sawyer takes on the territories again when strange murders start happening. If you are familiar with a turn of the century serial killer named Albert Fish, then you will be prepared for this chilling story.
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floatingdragonthumbFloating Dragon by Peter Straub

The quiet suburban town of Hampstead is threatened by two horrors–one is natural, the unstoppable creation of man’s power gone mad. The other is not natural at all–and makes the first look like child’s play. This one is a yearly must-read for me.
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iamlegendthumbI Am Legend by Richard Matheson

A survivor of a modern apocalypse kills vampire like creatures during the day and barricades himself in at night for protection. Ok, maybe you caught the cheesy Charlton Heston version or the Will Smith hi-tech version of the movie. Doesn’t matter. This is the guy who wrote the book back in the 50’s. He influenced Stephen King and the horror genre. Anything written by Matheson is bank.
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everylastdropthumbEvery Last Drop by Charlie Huston

Just imagine a world where New York City is divided by vampire clans who each have different reasons to hate PI Joe Pitt. Huston creates a world that is at once supernatural and totally familiar, imaginative, and utterly convincing. Just think Elmore Leonard with fangs.
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thestandthumbThe Stand: Expanded Edition by Stephen King

The Stand…you either love it or hate it, but you can’t ignore it. Stephen King’s most popular book, according to polls of his fans, is an end-of-the-world scenario: a rapidly mutating flu virus is accidentally released from a U.S. military facility and wipes out 99 percent of the world’s population, thus setting the stage for an apocalyptic confrontation between Good and Evil. Remember folks, this is just fiction.
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thehistorianthumbThe Historian by Elizabeth Kostova

A motherless 16-year-old girl stumbles upon a mysterious book and papers dating back to her father’s student days at Oxford. The unnamed heroine uncovers an academic quest that begins with her father’s mentor’s first research into the history of Vlad Tepes (Dracula) and reaches a kind of conclusion many years later.
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thegirlnextdoorthumb2The Girl Next Door by Jack Ketchum

The books introduction is written by Stephen King who said, “The Girl Next Door is alive…in a way most works of popular fiction never attain; it does not just promise terror but actually delivers it.” Also, the fact that its based on a true story makes it even more disturbing.

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reddragonthumb2Red Dragon by Thomas Harris

Lying on a cot in his cell with Alexandre Dumas’s Le Grand Dictionnaire de Cuisine open on his chest, Hannibal “The Cannibal” Lecter makes his debut in this legendary horror novel, which is even scarier than its sequel, The Silence of the Lambs. Why? you may ask…Just one word…teeth

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heartshappedboxthumbHeart-Shaped Box by Joe Hill

Before you crack open this chilling thriller, you might want to rethink your nighttime habits… Hill’s story about an aging rock star (with a penchant for macabre artifacts) who buys a haunted suit online will scare you silly. But don’t take my word for it… Oh, did I mention that his dad is Stephen King? Enough said.

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thestorethumbThe Store by Bentley Little

The novel builds paranoia by starting with simple descriptions of the picturesque landscape and the deceptively banal Western town that is Juniper, Arizona. Then The Store arrives. The pattern of delight and worry in the citizens, as The Store spreads its tentacles into local concerns, is believable–disturbingly so. Trust me, after reading this, you will never look at WalMart the same again.

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The History of Werewolves


werewolfsAlthough most people know werewolves as simply creatures of nightmares and horror movies, they were once viewed as real beasts who killed savagely. The creatures are less feared in today’s society but the sheer terror can still be inflicted; fear of wolves and things that go bump in the night is almost natural.

The history of the werewolf can be traced back to Greek mythology, when the god Lykaon was turned into a wolf after serving Zues human flesh. This myth helped fuel a cult in Arcadia which involved human sacrifice and the thought of transformation into wolves. Although lycanthropy is usually associated with the metamorphosis into a wolf-human hybrid, different legends include the mutation into bears, cats and birds of prey.

The word werewolf comes to us from the Old-Saxon – by combining “were” meaning man with wolf, we get manwolf. You hear the work lycanthrope associated with werewolves, and this term has come to mean someone who suffers from a mental condition whereby they actually believe they change into a wolf.

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Execution of Peter Stubb in 1589

During the medieval times, the fear of werewolves took grip of Europe. Wolves were known to attack man, as wolves during those times had no reason to fear man; guns were unheard of. In most of Europe, the fear of werewolves included wolfmen (“berserkers“) who wore wolves skin and killed savagely. Germans, however, viewed the wolf with honor. Names such as Wolfgang and Wolfhard were common. As Christianity slowly gained prominence, such beliefs were condemned as Satanic.

In most cases those who believe they can change into werewolves are considered mentally ill. In 1589 a German man named Peter Stubb was put on trial for the murder of twenty five adults and children, including his own son. Peter said he had not only killed the victims but also ate their flesh. Peter also claimed to have made a pact with Satan.

Philosophers and religious thinkers of the time contemplated the theory that perhaps the person did not physically change into a wolf but had been tricked by Satan into acting like the creatures. Generally, though, most believed that only God has the ability to change the body or mind of man.

werewolf-ridinghood2

Little Red Ridinghood

In the dark Middle Ages, the church stigmatized the wolf as the personification of evil and a servant of Satan. Many of our children’s stories reflect this attitude and wolves share the villain’s role with the witch. In 1270, it was considered heretical NOT to believe in werewolves. The church forced confessions from the mentally ill to prove its convictions. Ultimately, they quit charging people of being werewolves in the 17th century, but only for a lack of evidence. The belief in the beasts, however, did not cease in the absence of indictments.

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Werewolves in the Movies

werewolfoflondonlargeThe first feature film to use an anthropomorphic werewolf was Werewolf of London in 1935. The main werewolf of this film is a dapper London scientist who retains some of his style and most of his human features after his transformation, as lead actor Henry Hull was unwilling to spend long hours being made up by makeup artist Jack Pierce. Universal Studios drew on a Balkan tale of a plant associated with lycanthropy as there was no literary work to draw upon, unlike the case with vampires. There is no reference to silver nor other aspects of werewolf lore such as cannibalism.

However, he lacks warmth, and it is left to the tragic character Talbot played by Lon Chaney Jr. in 1941’s The Wolf Man to capture the public imagination. With Pierce’s makeup more elaborate this time, this catapulted the werewolf into public consciousness. Sympathetic portrayals are few but notable; the comedic but tortured protagonist David Naughton in An American Werewolf In London, and a less anguished and more confident and charismatic Jack Nicholson in the 1994 film Wolf. Other werewolves are decidedly more willful and malevolent, such as those in the novel The Howling and its subsequent sequels and film adaptations.

wolfman2010The Wolfman (coming in February 2010)
Nobleman Lawrence Talbot returns to his ancestral homeland, where his brother has gone missing and villagers are being killed by a nightmarish beast. The search reunites him with his estranged father and draws him near to his brother’s fiancée, however, Talbot’s lager concern is the discovery of a side to himself which he never could have imagined existed …

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How Vampires Rose From Myth to Modern Obsession

colton-reviewxUSA Today/David Colton—Compared with the neck-biting ecstasies of Twilight and True Blood, the vampires of Hollywood’s past are downright chaste. Not a drop of blood was shown in the original Dracula of 1931, and it wasn’t until the Hammer studio films of the 1950s that the screen flowed crimson.

Now two of horror’s top film historians take a look at the cinematic roots of the vampire phenomenon.

In Bela Lugosi and Boris Karloff: The Expanded Story of a Haunting Collaboration, a revision of a 1990 title, author Gregory William Mank explodes many of the myths about the Hungarian-born Lugosi, the screen’s first Dracula.

Though Lugosi was a hit in Dracula on Broadway, he was only the sixth choice for the screen role, finally accepting $500 a week (half his previous fee) to star as the immortal Count. Lugosi claimed for years he turned down the role of Frankenstein’s monster, but in truth was rejected in favor of Karloff. And no, Karloff did not joke that Lugosi was “putting us on” at Lugosi’s funeral in 1956. Karloff wasn’t even there.

The Mank book, which he calls an “obsession” since his first interviews with Lugosi’s ex-wife in 1974, is meticulously researched and more than 300 pages longer than the original. It grandly paints a portrait of the two stars and the spooky past of Universal, Hollywood’s top scare studio of the 1930s and 1940s.

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