Thursday, 30 January 2014

CONSUMED: VOLUME 1 by Kyle M. Scott

Hi everyone.
As many of you know, I've been less than visible of late in the Horror Hotel due to working on my own horror fiction. Well, as of yesterday, I've finally released the first volume of my horror anthology - CONSUMED.
It's taken me quite some time to put the tales together, but I'm really pleased with the results and I'm sure many of you who frequent the hotel, (even in my absence), will find something to enjoy within it's pages. I don't wanna give too much away, but it features four stories - two rather lengthy and two rather brisk - that combine hardcore horror with elements of social satire and dark, twisted humor. Among its pages you'll find murder and mayhem aplenty, and even the end of the world as we know it - all good fun that I hope puts a smile on your face,
The process of creating these stories has been a very enjoyable, (if rather scary), one, and I couldn't have done it without the support and the confidence that I've generously received from so many of you good people. It means the world to me.
Influences that the more horror savvy among you will no doubt detect range from the works of the late, great Richard Laymon to the splatterpunk likes of Edward Lee and the satirical stylings of Bentley Little.
For any of you who do decide to take a dip into my fiction, please take the time to leave a little review on amazon, and if you're among the blogger friends I have here, I'd be most grateful if you would perhaps post a review on your page. Should be fun seeing the different takes on my work.
As you all know, reviews can make a huge difference to a writers exposure, and really can help me get my work out there to a wider audience, so any help and support would be much appreciated.
You can find the link below for the Kindle edition by clicking on the title.
Thanks for the good vibrations along the way, people. This new adventure could never have happened were it not for the goodwill and support that I've garnered here at the hotel. It's really been inspiring and has helped my once lowly confidence reach heights I never knew were in me.

Contact me any time on:

Keep on shining, and I'll see you in the pub.



Other versions are available through Amazon in each specific region. 

Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Review - ODD THOMAS (2013)

A short-order cook who has the ability to communicate with the dead and has clairvoyant powers, seeks to thwart tragedy as dark forces gather in his hometown...

Its been a hearty long while since I read the first of Dean Koontz's beloved series of books about the titular Odd, a simple, small-town guy who works as a fry-cook, lives humbly, and also happens to see dead people and a whole lot more besides.

My memory of the novel is a strong one. I remember it being both a lighthearted supernatural jaunt and also a surprisingly affecting one. So much so, that I distinctly recall shedding tears at the books close. the details of the plot are far less hi-def in my imagination than the emotional resonance the book had with me, so it'll be up to far better, less frazzled men than me to compare and contrast between the original literary piece and this troubled adaptation. Instead, I'll review this curious genre-masher on its own merits.

I say 'troubled' as its no secret that ODD THOMAS has become embroiled in some sort of legal limbo and may never actually see a cinematic release. The details are hazy at present as to by Stephen Sommers, (THE MUMMY), latest offering has been held at arms length from the public, but it sure as hell isn't down to quality control. This is a very enjoyable, fast paced and eminently lovable work. 

The first big surprise is that its director, Sommers, isn't exactly known for the integrity of his cinematic output. His films are often fun, but he seems a strange choice to adapt a beloved work of literature. Amazingly, he does wonders here, creating an off-kilter, warm and welcoming reality in which the characters of the novel are given free reign to run amok, and what characters they are...

Tuesday, 29 October 2013

Review - Haunter (2013)

HAUNTER is a strange little enigma of a film...

Starring young Abigail Breslin, ( ZOMBIELAND), its the tale of a deceased young lady who attempts to reach out to the mortal realm in a bid to save the owners of the home she haunts from suffering a similar fate as her own.

Its a film that deems to transcend its genre trapping by way of being a thoughtful, and thought-provoking puzzle-piece, and at the same time, aims to be a universally accessible ghost story/mystery, (boasting a PG13 certificate, no less), that anyone can settle into with relative ease.

 It saddens me to say, as a fan of Vincent Natali's previous works, (CUBE, GINGER SNAPS), that HAUNTER fails almost completely at the former and falls victim of the weakness' inherent in the latter.

Guest Editorial - Bad Places to Hide When Killers Come Home - Adrian Rawlings

Bad Places to Hide When Killers Come Home

Beyond the nightmarish yesteryears of werewolf transformations and hypnotic vampires is the true horror – the kind that finds its way into our homes. They say that home is where the heart is – it's where we feel safest from all the horrors of the outside world, but it's also where we're the most vulnerable. And the most effective horror movies demonstrate this. The horror-themed TV shows and movies of today know just how to hit us where we live, showing us that nowhere is safe when death comes knocking. Even Alfred Hitchcock himself once said "TV has brought murder back into the home where it belongs."

Indeed, truer words were never spoken regarding the effectiveness of horror on the home front, but have you ever wondered just what you'd do in such a (hopefully) hypothetical situation? Have you ever watched Jason or Leatherface chasing down their prey and scoffed at how poorly the victims hid themselves? We can learn a lot from these movies and, below, are some hiding places you should avoid if a killer ever decides to make a house call:

Monday, 30 September 2013

Horror Double Bill - CURSE OF CHUCKY (2013) and DARK TOUCH (2013)

It occurred to me recently that I've been treating horror cinema rather harshly of late. Our relationship has never lost that fire, but I've sorta been cheating on the genres cinematic output and focusing my attention far more on the literary side of things. I've been exploring a whole host of new authors, and re-reading some of the greats, and in doing so, I've partially abandoned the wondrous world of film for a time.

Not cool.

Well, its finally our favorite time of year - the fall, and with that comes that old familiar burning desire to vegetate on the sofa with endless buckets of popcorn, and give the better half a reason to dump our sorry, macabre-centric asses and find a more mentally balanced partner. 

I like to believe that for every leave that falls in the autumn, a horror fan somewhere on our crazy planet downs a cold one in honor of Jason, Micheal, Chucky, Freddy, Leatherface et all. Its a good time to be alive, man. And with the change in weather, I've found my second wind...

Yep, I've been watching a shit-ton of dark cinema this past week, and while it ain't all been a skip through a daisy field, there have been some pretty high watermarks to vanquish the bitter memory of the low.

But look, we're all busy here, so I'll cut to the chase...

Time ain't on my side of late, and it pains me to not get the word out about the movies I see, so I thought I'd try a different technique.

The reviews will be shorter than my usual, but hopefully concise, and maybe even point you in the direction of some movies you may have overlooked, or that may have been unfairly treated at the hands of the mainstream critics out there. Any suggestions are welcome, of course, kids.

So, no more foreplay...lets get on the bed.

Tuesday, 6 August 2013

Review : The Conjuring (2013)

Well hello again! 

The Horror Hotel is re-open for business. 

The perils of a new job, a new lifestyle, and taking a kicking from an 'as-yet-unspecified' illness, have led me to distance myself from the world of horror for a spell. I've been reading horror literature like a beast, (take a bow, Bryan Smith),  but I haven't really been grooving on the genres cinematic output. Too much going on, as it were. A mind unsettled makes for a poor companion in the cinema stalls...

That all changed when, out of the blue, I learned about a new horror film; (a ghost story to be precise), centered around the famous paranormal investigators, Ed and Lorraine Warren, (they of Amityville notoriety). A movie based on what they personally felt was their most disturbing case, and one kept under wraps until very recently, (and I won't divulge any details here). How could I resist? I love a good paranormal tale, even though by daylight I'm as skeptical and logical about such matters as can be; there's just something inherently terrifying on a primal level about a well-told spook story that never fails to freeze me blood and cut my imagination loose. As a rule, I always watch ghost stories alone, in the dark, with the shadows creeping around my shoulders for maximum effect as, (and all you horror aficionados will agree, I'm sure), it gets very hard to find effectively scary material out there. The more you watch and are exposed to; the less you tend to morph into a squealing little bitch.

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Review : Maniac (2013)

Remakes don't half get a bum deal when it comes to the horror genre.

Its understandable seeing as so many of them hurl headfirst into the grand chasm of mediocrity; be it Platinum Dunes and their relentless cash-grab knock-offs of classics such as NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET, or the nightmarish teen-centric likes of the PG13 PROM NIGHT.
 Its easy to forget that many are far superior to their originals, and some of them even transcend the genre to become cinematic classics in their own right, ( THE THING, THE FLY).

After a long hiatus in the land of the living, I decided to return my most beloved genre with a risky prospect...A film of which I knew little and for which I cared even less. The Elijah Wood starring, MANIAC.

Boy, am I glad I did. This film knocked it out of the park in every way imaginable, and will most certainly find its place among the hallowed few I mentioned previously. It's not only far superior to the source material, (while sticking close to it), but its something of a modern horror masterpiece in its own right. Easily the finest genre film of the year and right up there with the best of the decade, but I digress.

For those unaware, or who have yet to be subjected to the original, MANIAC tells the heartwarming tale of a mans descent into bloody lunacy, via a penchant for re-imagining the women in his life, (or at least whom he imagines to be in his life to some degree), as perfect representations of feminine grace, beauty and companionship. A noble sentiment, sure, but our hero Frankie has taken objectifying women to some rather extreme conclusions. Namely, he scalps them, dresses up mannequins in their likeness and lives with them, as lovers, even as the rot sets in.

Its not a tale for the faint of heart. The original is notorious for its unflinching depiction of violence to women, and its as gory as all hell. While a remake starring such a big name as Mr Frodo himself seems like a recipe for certain disaster, MANIAC 2013 goes right for the throat with merciless abandon from the offset. Its as unforgiving and unapologetic as any horror film I can think of. A bleak and tortured journey into a very particular madness that feels utterly authentic and jarringly painful. This is extreme horror in the vein of the French New Wave of terror cinema, (INSIDE, MARTYRS), and is sure to ruffle just as many, if not more, feathers, among those who experience it.

 Its no secret that Lucky McKee and Jack Ketchum's THE WOMAN was a crowd-killer of the highest order, mainly due its perceived exploitation of females. Of course, any thinking viewer could easily see that it was quite the opposite...a damning portrayal of masculine insecurity and the burning need to control the goddess' among us. MANIAC follows a similarly dark path, though this time the musings are focused on one mans psyche, past trauma's, and inability to reconcile his need for love and companionship with his urge to feel secure within his relationships. If THE WOMAN was a mirror on my fellow males own bullshit machismo, MANIAC is a daunting look into the very centre of what makes us tick. The need for understanding. The desire to hold onto those we love or believe ourselves to love, and the inherent neediness that drags modern man to his knees in a world of strong, driven women. Its a hard watch, but a worthwhile one for both guys and gals alike. Of course, not all of us go to the extremes that poor Frankie does, but that's besides the point. If cinemas great virtue is to elevate and/or exaggerate the human condition to bring us closer to some sort of understanding of ourselves, then MANIAC can only be perceived as a resounding success. It may share certain themes and ideologies with other classics, TAXI DRIVER and PEEPING TOM appear to be huge influences), but it blazes its own hellish trail with artful, thoughtful relish. Every single moment of the film is shot, edited, acted and sound-tracked to perfection to create a world that's hauntingly real.

The first thing that becomes apparent is that MANIAC is, brilliantly, shot almost entirely through the eyes of Frankie himself. All we see is through Frankie's eyes, both physical and psychological. It serves to completely immerse us in his twisted world. We share his anxiety, his delusions, his nightmares, self-repulsion and yes, his violent means to quiet his demons.

Seeing the world through Frankie's eyes is a damn painful experience, in more ways than one.

Thanks in huge part to Elijah Woods incredible turn as the traumatised, tortured killer, we not only bare witness to all his vicious externalisations of his rage and fear, we come to feel like we're waling in his shoes. We see his dark fantasies in real time as they unfold. We come to understand how they control him and cut any chance at a normal life off at the knees. Frankie is far from a cut-and-paste villain; he's a monster created solely of circumstance, and one who fights constantly to lay his demons down. We come to care about him, even  as we share in his sickening actions. Its as unpleasant as any cinematic journey I can remember, but is never less than mesmerising.

We only see Elijah, the actor, under two circumstances, and both are very smart choices. When Frankie looks in a mirror, those huge open-heart-surgery eyes of Elijah's convey intense despair and horror, while underpinning the desperate isolation that dwells within him. Secondly, and even more telling, we occasionally see the world outwith his perception, and when we do, its during his most cathartic moments....while he kills. As the camera fluidly leaves Frankie's eyes, we come to see him outside his own body as he commits his grisly crimes. The impression is that of Frankie leaving his body, and his mind/prison, in those moments of release. Its the only times he's free, and by association, is the only time we are also set free.

The whole concept works brilliantly, bypassing gimmickry and heading straight into the hallowed halls bona-fide arthouse. It's no co-incidence that this film is directed by a Frenchman.

Also of note, and equelly important is the soundtrack. Its aboslutly stunning, recalling era of the video nasty with its driven synth mantras, while sounding completely modern. Its a beautiful, haunting score that actually makes the film bearable, while complimenting is inherent tragedy. The last soundtrack to kiss visuals so passionatly and deeply, for me at least, was LOST IN TRANSLATION.

By contrasting such brutal imagery with such lush soundscapes, the film paints a very vivid, very engrossing picture of life inside a severly damaged brain, but it doesnt stop there. Whereas the original is known for its filth and grime, MANIAC 2013 juxtaposes the sleaze, dirt and decay with clean, smooth and fresh visuals. We come to see the city as an extension of Frankie, both scum-ridded and capable of beauty. Again, very clever. I'm not sure what city the tale is supposed to take place in, but perhaps its every city. Every fucked up concrete behemoth that's equal parts gutters and glamour. (For more city-ridden horror cinema, both good and bad, check out Horror Films In Las Vegas, folks)

MANIAC caught me completly off my game. Its sickeningly violent in a way few films can ever hope to reach, its almost pronographic in its detail to not only the ugliness of the world but its beauty too. Art that pushes boundaries is always welcome in my dojo, and MANIAC takes us all the way into the dank, creeping corridors of ruined childhoods, lost souls and seriously, seriously fucked up mental illness. It aint called MANIAC for nothing. This is the real deal. Its a hypnotic, techically dazzling film that scrapes away at your soul and leaves you drained, sore and satisfied. This one will stay with you for a very long time.

10 Living Dolls out of 10