Wednesday, February 26, 2014


~by Marie Robinson

I think I can speak for a great many people when I say that I am truly, madly, deeply in love with HBO's current original series, True Detective (Sundays @ 9pm est.).
The show, created by Nic Pizzolato, aired last month and is now coming on it's seventh episode. It stars Woody Harrelson and Matthew McConaughey as Louisiana-based homicide detectives Marty Hart and Rust Cohle on a 17-year hunt for a serial killer.
Since there are only two more episodes remaining in the short but inspired first season, I have taken the opportunity to seek out some fantastic SPOILER-FREE examples of fan art. Please enjoy, and if you haven't seen the show yet, it is not too late to discover your latest obsession.
Mike Malbrough (

Ihaveahunger (

John Amor (

Pati Cmak (

Nagy Norbert (

Ibrahim Moustafa (

Francesco Francavilla (

Alisdair Wood (

Victor Melamed (
*Editor's note:  True Detective is a favorite of mine as well, so it gets the Fascination with Fear shout-out of approval!  Do check it out, as well as more fantastic art to come in our recurring feature, Dark Arts. / ch

Thursday, February 20, 2014

DARK ARTS: Spotlight On Santiago Caruso

"Pan's Labyrinth"
~by Marie Robinson

Visual art is timeless. Paintings set into frames serve as windows into different worlds, and into their creators’ minds and hearts. In our new ongoing feature, Dark Arts, we would like to open the portals into dark and forbidden places. We want to highlight the artists who bring nightmares to life and create images so grotesquely gorgeous they remain in our thoughts long after we’ve looked away.

S. Caruso
Argentinean artist Santiago Caruso is not only a master of the surreal; he has also found himself a high rank in the horror community.
I wanted to feature him in celebration of the recent cover unveiling of Undertow Books’ upcoming anthology Year’s Best Weird Fiction: Volume One, upon which Caruso’s artwork is featured.

His art has adorned the faces of dozens of other books, among them Holes for Faces by Ramsey Campbell, The Wide Carnivorous Sky by John Langan, and two volumes of Best Horror of the Year.  He has also illustrated a number of books, including a version of Lovecraft’s The Dunwich Horror and Historias de Vampiros.

Take a look at the pieces I have selected above and below, and go to his website here: ( for further nightmarish inspiration.


"The Spectral House"

"Illustrations from Miss Christina"

(cover)  Year's Best Weird Fiction


"Illustrations from Miss Christina"
*Are you or someone you know artistically talented and would like to be under consideration for our spotlight?  Let us know how to reach you in the comments!  Thanks!

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Sunday Bloody Sunday: Excision Edition

When I saw Excision last year, I was in awe of its lead actress, AnnaLynne McCord.  She put on a bravura performance unlike any I've seen in quite some time.  If you haven't seen the film, I'd suggest checking it out. But be warned, the subject matter is kinky, disturbing, and entirely bloody awesome.

Friday, February 14, 2014

A Dozen Of My Favorite Love Stories In Horror

Even though I've been happily married for years (24 today, truth be told!), I realize things don't always work out the way you want them to.  And that goes double for horror movie loves.  Many weekend trips to the cabin or the lake end in tragic, ridiculously awful ways.  Nonetheless, I love a good love story.  So here are some of my favorite love stories in horror:

Anywhere, anytime - if Michael Fassbender asked me to marry him, it wouldn't really matter that the circumstances were as dire as it gets, with a gang of rowdy, murderous delinquents hunting them down.  Mortally wounded yet still wanting to make hie intentions clear and make sure his girlfriend knows he loves her, even if it's for a short time.  A real tearjerker.

 Nothing says I love you like a hot, soapy romp in the shower before the new romance takes a turn for the worst.  Most horror fans are quite familiar with the story of David (David Naughton) and Alex (Jenny Agutter), and their short-lived love affair that quite literally goes to the dogs.

Perhaps my favorite love story in horror is this one.  At the very least it has the most heartfelt admission of mutual affection. While the film has kind of a cop-out ending, the blossoming love between Lucius (Joaquin Phoenix) and Ivy (Bryce Dallas Howard) is - for lack of a better word - touching, and really well acted. Though their courtship is thwarted violently when a jealous "village idiot" stabs eventually wins out in the end

Some people strike up a romance in the most unusual places.  But hey, why not during a zombie apocalypse? Michael (Jake Weber) and Ana (Sarah Polley) became close as their lives were continually placed in harm's way as zombies took over the planet.  Not a relationship that had a happy ending, but they shared some good times as long as they could! Cheers!

I don't know anyone that doesn't love the story of Oskar (Kåre Hedebrant) and Eli (Lina Leandersson). It's a compelling and beautiful tale of love and loyalty wrapped up in brilliant film-making.  Oskar loves Eli unconditionally, even if he eventually realizes that she is a monster in the truest sense of the word.  Eli rewards Oskar' devotion by helping him discover his hidden strengths, and together they show that love breaks all boundaries and barriers.

Speaking of vampires, another of my favorite tales of love is the story of Sang-hyun (Song Kang-ho) and Tae-ju (Kim Ok-bin) . Nothing is more forbidden than stealing a man's wife. Except, perhaps, being a priest who steals his friend's wife.  When Sang-hyun becomes a vampire in a bizarre twist of fate, he ends up in love with Tae-Ju, and their volatile yet irresistible relationship is as compelling as it is twisted!

In the last of the vampire trifecta we've got going on, we can't forget one of the oldest tales of nosferatu. As the movie's tagline says: Love Never Dies.  Especially not if you have searched for centuries for your lost love. Being reunited feels so damn good, until blood and death enter the picture.  Sometimes, dead is better. Sometimes, it's just not. Vlad (Gary Oldman) and Mina (Winona Ryder) had everything going for them....(sigh).

Love doesn't always have to be between a man and a woman.  Or between two humans at all.  In Christine's case, no one ever loved her as completely as Arnie (Keith Gordon). Don't they make a wonderful couple?  Too bad all those shitters out there couldn't understand the total devotion these two had.

Contrary to Michael and Ana's love story above, Shaun (Simon Pegg)and Liz (Kate Ashfield) had been a couple long before zombies started moaning in the streets of London.  And though they had split up, common sense has them fighting for survival together amidst an ever-growing horde of the undead.  Sometimes it takes a tragedy to realize just what and who is important in this world.

Love is eternal. So is revenge. In the segment, 'Something to Tide You Over', we find Richard (Leslie Nielsen), a disgruntled millionaire, seeking revenge on the wife and friend that wronged him by carrying on an affair behind his back. Harry (Ted Danson) and Becky (Gaylen Ross) however, have a little revenge of their own in mind. They come back from their watery grave together to make Richard's life a soggy hell.

What do you get when you are falling in love with a lady of the evening?  Besides a boat-load of good sex?
Trouble. Especially when she is the target of a crazed serial killer from 1888. Johnny Depp plays Inspector Abberline, who is in charge of the Jack the Ripper case and is quickly falling for Mary Kelly (Heather Graham).  While Mary is probably not the best choice in girlfriends, she has a heart of gold and her pride is in tact even as she turns tricks to keep herself afloat. Their heated embrace in the grimy alley of Whitechapel is a small piece of happiness in an otherwise bleak story.

Ash and Linda steal a few moments of romance just prior to hell breaking loose here in The Evil Dead.  After giving her a necklace and pledging his love, she soon unfortunately becomes a Deadite and wants nothing more than to swallow his soul.  Not exactly the kind of dream date a guy hopes for after laying out some cash for a nice bauble. But his heartbreak when he is forced to kill zombie-Linda is palpable, even with the laughs the film can conjure.

                             HAPPY VALENTINE'S DAY!!

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Sunday Bloody Sunday: Hellraiser Edition

Marie wanted to get in on the Sunday Bloody Sunday fun too, so here's some shots from one of her favorite film series:  HELLRAISER!

Friday, February 7, 2014

Friday Flashback: The Haunting of Julia (1977)

The Haunting of Julia (a.k.a. Full Circle) is one of those obscure films that failed to find an audience upon release but is still worth a look.  In fact, I had heard about this film years ago but found it to be widely unavailable and just damned hard to find.  I believe you can watch it on YouTube at this point, but it is now playing on Netflix instant watch so I finally sat down and took notice.

Two things warranted my attention to this film: its source material was from a novel entitled simply "Julia" by one of my favorite authors, the great Peter Straub.  I read the book years ago as a teen but failed to remember key details and thought it would be quite nice to see how it was adapted. The second reason to check it out, for me anyway, was lead actress Mia Farrow.  It's no secret that I'm a fairly big Rosemary's Baby fan, so naturally finding out she did something else within the genre was a coup for sure.

The film wastes no time getting to the matter at hand when we are introduced to Julia Lofting (Farrow), her husband Magnus (Keir Dullea), and daughter Kate (Sophie Ward). They're enjoying a quick breakfast before heading off to their daily activities. Kate suddenly starts to choke on a bite of apple, and the situation escalates from precarious to deadly in short order.  Being unable to dislodge the apple has Julia attempting a desperate at-home tracheotomy which fails miserably and their daughter is lost.

Soon after, Julia splits with Magnus (as so often seems to happen after the death of a child) and buys a fully-furnished house across town.  I got the impression that Julia is from money, and after witnessing a conversation between Magnus and his sister Lily I came to think Magnus was fairly determined to keep his husband title.
Julia however, is nervously content in her new abode, busying herself by decorating and spending time with her old friend Mark (Tom Conti).  In an upstairs bedroom Julia discovers children's toys, eventually cutting herself accidentally on the cymbols of a toy mechanical clown. This seems to start something sinister, as shortly after Julia sees a young blonde girl in a local park and immediately thinks it is Kate.  It isn't of course, and when she runs to where the child was standing she finds only a knife and a mutilated turtle.  (Which obviously doesn't bode well...)

She begins to hear things at the house and immediately thinks it is Mangus trying to scare her into coming back to him.  When she agrees to host a seance in her new house at the request of Lily, it's obvious there are other forces at work.  (In retrospect, having a seance at your house after just losing a child borders on down-right stupid).

A group of seven assembles, led by the very quirky Mrs. Fludd, a medium.  While conducting the seance, Mrs. Fludd becomes scared to death, and warns Julia to move out of her home. Before everyone leaves, one of the women falls down the stairs after apparently seeing something frightening. She won't say what it was and the subject is closed without further questioning.

All this and Julia stays in the house....

One day when Julia is out, Magnus snoops around the house, and after investigating a strange noise (as is always the case, that's Horror 101) he "accidentally" trips down the basement steps only to land on a broken bottle, effectively slicing his throat and bringing his annoying existence to a crashing halt.

When Julia is having tea with a neighbor, she questions her about the previous residents and is told that a woman and her daughter lived there until the girl's untimely death - from choking.  Floored, Julia rushes to confront Mrs. Fludd, who returns her frantic pleas for information by telling her that it is not a girl that has died, but a young boy. 

This leads Julia to do some investigating of her own, and finds a story in the local library about a young boy that was murdered nearby. To add to her shock, she soon finds out the young girl that died in her home had something to do with the murdered boy's death.  Confusion and desperation meet head-on as Julia tries to unravel the mystery.  And it seems anyone with any helpful information is later turning up dead.

The Haunting of Julia isn't a great film. But it's pushed to a bit loftier heights by its very good cast and some decent spooky atmosphere. It's certainly a slow-moving film, with a whole lot of nothing going on a lot of the time. But dismal, rainy alleyways and dark corners hold many dangers, and Mia Farrow with her wispy frailness never fails to evoke a vibe of imminent dread.  It's not so much a haunted house film as it is a haunted parent film, as the death of a child is something one never gets over - making the parent left behind eager to hear a child's whisper in the dark, or see their ghostly form in the mirror; when in fact it's just the clicking radiator.  Or your own face in the mirror.  The mind plays cruel tricks sometimes.

But sometimes....just sometimes....maybe it is a ghost.  A malicious, evil ghost in the shape of a child.

Honestly, The Haunting of Julia could use a makeover. I don't generally promote remaking a film, but this is one that never really took off and is ripe for a second go.  (Though you'll never find anyone who is able to play the stereotypically weak character as well as Farrow.)  But it could be a great film - with the right director and the right cast.  And no CGI ghosts! 
Surely Straub would be happy to see his story told once more, perhaps to a more mainstream audience and with a bit more meat on the (ghostly) bone.