Category Archives: horror
I couldn’t not post about this one. My love affair with the films of John Carpenter goes way back to the days of dusty old video stores and those rental VHS tapes in big, squidgy boxes. It reached fever pitch when I was lucky enough to enjoy a run of his movies on the big screen, a personal highlight being Prince of Darkness (i had bruises on my arm from my poor terrified date after that one, let me tell you!). I was a gibbering fanboy mess after seeing his talk/screening on the films of Howard Hawks at the National Film Theatre (he smoked liked a gunslinger throughout). And yes, I am one of the few who enjoyed Ghosts of Mars and rocked up to see The Ward on release day – so sue me, even when his movies are slightly below par they still rock my world.
It’s heartening to know that Carpenter is out there, still doing it (this time in comic book form with a Big Trouble in Little China spin-off). And when I read this interview, I just had to share it. Here’s a choice cut:
“Horror is the most durable genre in cinema,” Carpenter says. “It’s outlasted the Western, it’s outlasted the musical, it’s outlasted all sorts of genres.”
“It will live forever.”
Long live John Carpenter! And long live horror!
I really fell in love with the ghost stories of M. R. James while lurking in a sentry box, dressed as a Victorian serial killer (they wore top hats apparently), ready to jump out on unsuspecting tourists with an exclamation of “tickets please!”
Let me explain.
I worked weekends at The London Dungeon to help pay my way through college in the early 90s. To pass the time during each shift i sometimes listened to audiobooks, sneakily hiding my headphones beneath my costume. These were the days of books-on-tape, or cassettes (which, to explain to younger readers, were like mp3 files stretched across two reels of dental tape and listened to via an iPod device the size of a house brick). One of the audiobooks was a collection of M. R. James tales read by Michael Hordern. I had read a couple of James’ classics and knew i was in for a flesh-creeping time – and then i heard “The Ash Tree”. By the gods my heart nearly stopped in my chest at that one and for once it was me who got a fright when the tourists came asking for directions.
I then discovered the telly adaptations of some of James’ tales, presented by the BBC each Christmas. The tradition continued into the new millenium with a series of Christopher Lee-narrated adaptations, which i enjoyed during Christmas hols in the wilds of Ireland. And of course just last month, Mark Gatiss made his directorial debut with his fun, Hammer-esque M. R. James adaptation “The Tractate Middoth”.
But the one that got to me the most was “Whistle…” And to my delight, Father Christmas (or perhaps his pal Krampus) left a copy of the BFI’s double bill dvd “Whistle and I’ll Come to You” under the tree for me this year. The disc includes both the 1968 and 2010 versions, plus extras featuring contemporary master of the macabre, Ramsey Campbell. I’ve seen both versions before of course – and both are beloved to me in different ways. I think one exploits shaky denial in the face of fear and the other channels total, harrowing despair. If you haven’t seen them, do seek them out. But (ahem) a warning to the curious… both are utterly disturbing in the true spirit of James’ original short story “Oh Whistle and I’ll Come to You My Lad” (also included in audio form as a nice bonus on the dvd – now all i need is a draughty sentry box. The garden shed will have to do).
Here’s to the traditional festive ghost story – long may they continue to scratch at our windowpanes, rattle our doors.
And tangle with our bedsheets.
Delighted to see the first reviews of my new Samhain Horror novel The Jack in the Green hit the web.
Here are a few choice cuts:
“An intriguing tale filled with genuine horror and a plot that explores some very dark territory” (Rating: 4/5, Horror Novel Reviews)
“Quintessential British horror with vivid interludes of bodily trauma and mental anguish” (Keri O’Shea, Brutal As Hell)
“A romp of a book that combines pagan mythology with visceral contemporary action” (Rating: 4/5, MikaReadsHorrorFiction)
“A captivating read that weaves a spell, leading you into the Scottish countryside to a village that isn’t all that it seems. The shocking ending makes this one of the most satisfying reads of the year. Frazer Lee scores again, big time.” (Rating: 5/5, Hunter Shea, author of Forest of Shadows and Evil Eternal)
My thanks to all for taking the time to read, rate and review!
‘The Jack in the Green‘ release day is upon us dear f(r)iends.
To celebrate the release of my new Samhain Horror novel I’ll be posting an extract over at the Samhain Cafe, giving away a paperback copy on Goodreads, and signing books at the British Fantasy Society open night book launch party in London.
Meanwhile, here’s a tune to wish you all a green day before Jack puts out the light…
“An intriguing tale filled with genuine horror and a plot that explores some very dark territory…” Horror Novel Reviews
I think visually, so when it comes to writing a new novel a mood board is an essential I can’t do without. Lucky for me there’s so much foliage around these parts, as when the time came to draft my new Samhain Horror novel ‘The Jack in the Green‘ (out in paperback and ebook, October 1st) I found inspiration during every stroll.
Some of the images made it straight into the text (readers of ‘The Jack in the Green’ will know the importance that trees joined at their roots have in the overall story), while others simply served to get me in the mood before writing. Like music (or in my case in addition to music) an evocative image can help fast-track you into your writing process. And, as was the case with many of the images included in the gallery below, I occasionally got lost inside of them.
I hope if you pick up my new book that you’ll enjoy getting lost in those forests too.
Just watch out for ‘The Jack in the Green’. “He’s in the trees…he’s waiting.”
The postman came a-callin’ today with a big box o’ books, and I knew it was that George McFly ‘Back to the Future’ moment as I tore into it and saw the Samhain Horror logo peeking out from a gap in the cardboard. It’s an undeniably good feeling to hold your new book in your hands and sniff the pages. If it ever stops being so, it’s probably time to hang up the pen.
Yes, my author copies of ‘The Jack in the Green‘ had arrived. Aren’t they handsome?
There are only 10 of these author copies in existence and you can grab one by entering the Goodreads Giveaway.
And I hope you’ll check out the book anyhow when it releases on Oct 1st in ebook and paperback.
He’s in the trees. He’s waiting…
It’s release day for The Lucifer Glass!
In celebration, I’m posting a series of tunes that make up the ‘unofficial soundtrack’ for the novella.
So raise a glass with me and turn the volume up to 13.
Track #2 – Daniel Gates meets a flame haired demoness. Her eyes burn with the creepiest green light and he finds himself drawn to her shadow domain…