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!

Tags: books

Book Review: Shock Value by Jason Zinoman

Shock Value by Jason Zinoman

Since its publication last July, Jason Zinoman's Shock Value has received more mainstream press - and largely favorable mainstream press - than most critical analyses of horror cinema in recent years. The attention is understandable, as this is a well-written account of a pivotal period in the genre (the late '60s to early '80s) that's also accessible to a general readership. It's not aimed purely at cinephiles and academics or the fanatical horror fandom. It also doesn't hurt that, in this age of information overload, the book is a quick read or that Zinoman writes regularly for The New York Times (mainly covering theater). Even in a time of a historically fractured mass media, the "Gray Lady" still has clout.(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...)

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: 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...)

Cold Reads: The Black Cat by Edgar Allan Poe

The Black Cat 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.

Throughout the fiction of Edgar Allan Poe, there is a recurring theme of murder and the agonizing guilt that soon follows afterward. "The Tell-Tale Heart" and "The Black Cat" are the exemplary stories of this common theme. I chose "The Black Cat" because I think that almost everyone and their grandmothers have read "The Tell-Tale Heart." I felt that hardly any attention was given to the tale up for this week's review and, having never read it myself, I decided to give it a go. What I discovered was an excellent tale of the supernatural that, while not quite matching the intensity of "Tell-Tale," deserves to be read by any fan of the master.(read more...)

Cold Reads: The Murders in the Rue Morgue by Edgar Allan Poe

Murders in the Rue Morgue by Edgar Allan Poe

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

Edgar Allan Poe is known for many things, one of which is being one of the leading voices in American Gothic literature. But his work in creating detective fiction as we know it today (along with the likes of Voltaire and E.T.A. Hoffman) is usually overlooked in favor of his more macabre pieces. Without Poe's help, sleuths such as Sherlock Holmes and Sam Spade may never have come into existence. "The Murders in the Rue Morgue" marks the first appearance of Poe's famous detective C. Auguste Dupin in a tale of homicide gone completely wild.(read more...)

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