Our editor-in-chief Nate Yapp is proud to have contributed to the new book Hidden Horror: A Celebration of 101 Underrated and Overlooked Fright Flicks, edited by Aaron Christensen. Another contributors include Anthony Timpone, B.J. Colangelo, Dave Alexander, Classic-Horror.com's own Robert C. Ring and John W. Bowen. Pick up a copy today from Amazon.com!

Posts by Jose Cruz

Cold Reads: A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

Cold Reads A Christmas Carol cover

The story of Ebenezer's Scrooge ghostly redemption has been the basis for countless adaptations, spin-offs, and parodies. It has become a classic story of the Yuletide tradition, and chances are there has already been a bombardment of film versions that have played on television by the time of this writing. At times it almost seems like the public forgets that A Christmas Carol is actually a book, one that happens to be written by one of the most well-respected artists to have graced the English language. What's forgotten even more frequently is that A Christmas Carol is at its core, past all the sugar plums and rosy-cheeked merriness, a horror story. (read more...)

Cold Reads: Vampire Junction by S. P. Somtow

Vampire Junction book

By all appearances, Vampire Junction looks to be just another addition in a tirelessly long line of mediocre paperback fare that was spewed forth by both talented and hack writers alike during the 1980s. It's hard to go into a tale detailing the trials and tribulations of immortality with a straight face when the cover to the book shows the powdered face of a young boy (looking somewhat similar to Justin Bieber) singing his undead heart out while wearing a velvet cape and baring his fangs. But somehow author S. P. Somtow manages to downplay the ridiculous notion of a vampiric teeny-bopper singer and delve into some fertile ground that explores the deeper psychological themes surrounding the vampire myth. (read more...)

The Goriest Film You Never Saw

Brutal Feature: Texas Chain Saw Massacre 1974

Texas Chainsaw Massacre Month. When it comes to endless savagery and violence in cinema, The Texas Chain Saw Massacre is a film that usually comes up during the conversation. People shiver as they recount how a madman wearing the faces of others chases down a group of stranded young folk, always eager to carve them to pieces like Thanksgiving dinner (not the worst metaphor either, as the killer and his family enjoy feasting on the remains of the fallen). Those who can recall their own grueling viewing experiences remember all these morbid tidbits in lurid detail. And those who have not seen it, in turn, are taken by the film's reputation and either become hesitant to watch it or convinced that the film is another mindless gorefest.

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Cold Reads: The Legend of Sleepy Hollow by Washington Irving

The Legend of Sleepy Hollow by Washington Irving

If you'll come with me now, we'll take a journey to a strange land. But this land really isn't all that peculiar. As we wrestle our way through the brambles and hedges, one becomes aware of the faint scent of nostalgia clinging to the trees. There are memories here, in the earth and the sky. This is a land we've been to before. That's because it is a place that belongs to the dream world, that realm we visit on a nightly basis when we give in to the cool embraces of slumber. Washington Irving is our dream master, his tale of spooks and schoolteachers weaving an enchanting tapestry of myths, magic and, of course, that immortal "Legend of Sleepy Hollow."(read more...)

Cold Reads: The Turn of the Screw by Henry James

turn-of-the-screw-cover.jpg

Spooky children have always been favorite stock characters of the horror genre. Starting as early as The Village of the Damned, blossoming in The Exorcist and The Omen, and bringing us to times as recent as the ones that witnessed Orphan, evil-natured children have always sparked our imagination and our worse parental fears. Henry James' novella The Turn of the Screw presents this now cliché story trope in a setting that may or may not be inhabited by the damned, creating an atmosphere of dread and terror. Although at times a bit of a tough read, The Turn of the Screw remains an icon of psychological horror in literature. (read more...)

Cold Reads: Yours Truly, Jack the Ripper by Robert Bloch

Yours Truly Jack the Ripper and Other Tales by Robert Bloch

More so than perhaps any other serial killer in history, Jack the Ripper has been molded into a figure of almost mythical proportions over the years since his gruesome crime spree. This may be because he was never apprehended by the law and, most importantly, that he was never given a human face for the public to identify him with. This has distorted an already warped soul into something greater, a demonic creature whose existence still remains a mystery. Robert Bloch, a literary mastermind who knows how to craft a fine psychopath, offers up his own serving of Red Jack on a bloody platter.(read more...)

Cold Reads: Afterward by Edith Wharton

The Ghost Stories of Edith Wharton

For those of you dedicated deadites who have been reading these weekly reviews, you have perhaps taken notice of an ongoing, vital factor of horror fiction that I have mentioned several times now. I am referring to that slow build up of dread and foreboding that writers use so potently in their stories. It is my belief that this is where the true terror and tension of weird fiction exists and, when in the manipulative, crafty hands of a talented scribe, it can be used to torment the reader's mind with a sense of perfect horror that is not easily forgotten. In "Afterward", a ghost story almost like no other, Edith Wharton provides us literary masochists with a great, spooky high.(read more...)

Cold Reads: Conjure Wife by Fritz Leiber

Conjure Wife by Fritz Leiber

One of the best things about writing literature reviews for Classic-Horror.com is getting the chance to expose readers to writers who may have previously gone undetected on the horror fan radar. Fritz Leiber is just such a scribe that many will most likely admit to having never heard of. Getting his start in those lovely pulp magazines of the 1930s and 40s, Leiber was a talent whose unique emphasis on supernatural horror occurring in modern society was considered revolutionary in its approach. If you go in expecting to hear of morbid gents digging around in eldritch tombs or fearless heroes slaying monsters in Gothic castles, you may find yourself pleasantly surprised (and frightened) by Leiber’s prospect of evil lurking right next door. This idea is apparent in one of Leiber’s greatest works, Conjure Wife, a tale of the hazy line that bridges the world of reality and the realms of darkness beyond. (read more...)

Cold Reads: The Masque of the Red Death by Edgar Allan Poe

Masque of the Red Death by Edgar Allan Poe

Cold Reads celebrates Writer of the Month! Throughout August, we will be studying the works of Edgar Allan Poe and celebrating his massive contributions to the horror genre.

Perfect in every possible way, Edgar Allan Poe's "The Masque of the Red Death" remains to this reviewer a tour de force of horror and literature. In some ways it exceeds "The Tell-Tale Heart" in its greatness and beauty, making it the perfect tribute to end this month of appreciations to a master.

The hideous Red Death may be ravaging the land, but this mere trifle does not disturb Prince Prospero in the least. Gathering his closest of friends in his secure abbey, the prince holds a magnificent costumed ball to alleviate the minds of his guests from the bothersome reaper who knocks at the door. But as the music swells and the great ebony clock rings out its eerie chimes, a mysterious guest makes himself present amongst the crowd...(read more...)

Cold Reads: The Pit and the Pendulum by Edgar Allan Poe

Pit and the Pendulum by Edgar Allan Poe

Cold Reads celebrates Writer of the Month! Throughout August, we will be studying the works of Edgar Allan Poe and celebrating his massive contributions to the horror genre.

Well, I didn't expect a kind of Spanish Inquisition! *Diabolical music* No one expects the Spanish Inquisition! This week's creepy classic is Poe's immortal "The Pit and the Pendulum," a devilish descent into the tortures of the Inquisition minus the soft pillows and comfy chair of Monty Python's hilarious skit. Poe drenches his short tale in a palpable sordidness that will instill a bad taste in the reader's mouth and a tangible shiver in the skin.(read more...)

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