Stuart Gordon, Horror Filmmaker, Dies at 72

Stuart Gordon is probably best known for consistently killing his wife, actress Carolyn Purdy-Gordon in several of his films.

Stuart Gordon started his film directing career in 1985. He joined with Brian Yuzna and Charles Band’s Empire Pictures to create Re-Animator (1985), based on the story by H.P. Lovecraft, which won a Critics’ Prize at the Cannes Film Festival. Gordon then directed another Lovecraft adaptation From Beyond (1986). He went on to direct The Dolls (1987) followed by Robot Jox (1989). Gordon co-created the story for Honey, I Shrunk the Kids (1989) a major hit for Disney. The same year, he directed the remake and more graphic version of The Pit and the Pendulum (1991). Some of his other works include Fortress (1992), and the screenplay for The Dentist (1996) and Body Snatchers (1993), which he co-wrote with his writing partner Dennis Paoli.

In 2001, Gordon returned to the world of H.P. Lovecraft with Dagon (2001), and in 2003, directed King of the Ants (2003), and brought the David Mamet play Edmond (2005) to the screen. He also contributed to the horror anthology series Masters of Horror (2005) with the episode “Dreams in the Witch House,” based on a short story by H.P. Lovecraft. He returned to the series in 2007 with the episode “The Black Cat,” based on Edgar Allan Poe’s story. And in 2008, he directed “Eater” for the NBC series Fear Itself (2008).

2020 Splatterpunk Awards Nominees

BEST NOVEL

1. Carnivorous Lunar Activities by Max Booth III (Cinestate/Fangoria)
2. Killer Lake by W.D. Gagliani and David Benton (Deadite Press)
3. Reception by Kenzie Jennings (Death’s Head Press)
4. Lakehouse Infernal by Christine Morgan (Deadite Press)
5. Merciless by Bryan Smith (Grindhouse Press)
6. Toxic Love by Kristopher Triana (Blood Bound Books)
7. They Kill by Tim Waggoner (Flame Tree Press)

BEST NOVELLA

1. White Trash Gothic Part 2 by Edward Lee (Section 31 Productions)
2. Saint Sadist by Lucas Mangum (Grindhouse Press)
3. Weeping Season by Sean O’Connor (Uafas Press)
4. How Much To..? by Matt Shaw (Self-Published)
5. One For the Road by Wesley Southard (Deadite Press)
6. Paradise, Maine by Jackson R. Thomas (Alien Agenda Publishing)


BEST SHORT STORY

1. “Breaking the Waters” by Donyae Coles (from Pseudopod)
2. “Angelbait” by Ryan Harding (from The Big Book of Blasphemy, Necro Publications)
3. “Censered” by Christine Morgan (from And Hell Followed, Death’s Head Press)
4. “Shoulder Pain” by Chandler Morrison (from Macabre Museum Magazine)
5. “Param” by Susan Snyder (from Trigger Warning: Body Horror, Madness Heart Press)
6. “Norwegian Woods” by Jeremy Wagner (from The Big Book of Blasphemy, Necro Publications)


BEST COLLECTION

1. Dead Sea Chronicles by Tim Curran (Bloodshot Books)
2. Various States of Decay by Matt Hayward (Poltergeist Press)
3. Dawn of the Living Impaired, and Other Messed-Up Zombie Stories by Christine Morgan (Death’s Head Press)
4. This Is A Horror Book by Charles Austin Muir (Clash Books)
5. Dirty Rotten Hippies and Other Stories by Bryan Smith (Grindhouse Press)
6. Resisting Madness by Wesley Southard (Death’s Head Press)

BEST ANTHOLOGY

1. And Hell Followed, edited by Jarod Barbee and Patrick C. Harrison III (Death’s Head Press)
2. The Big Book of Blasphemy, edited by Regina Mitchell and David G. Barnett (Necro Publications)
3. Dig Two Graves, edited by Jarod Barbee and Patrick C. Harrison III (Death’s Head Press)
4. Midnight In The Graveyard, edited by Kenneth W. Cain (Silver Shamrock Publishing)
5. The New Flesh: A Literary Tribute to David Cronenberg, edited by Sam Richard and Brendan Vidito (Weirdpunk Books)
6. Polish Extreme, edited by Edward Lee & Karolina Kaczkowska (Necro Publications)

[Review] Midnight Exhibit Vol. 1 by Stephen Graham Jones, Philip Fracassi, and Renee Miller

Publisher: Unnerving | Published: January 23rd 2020 |Pages: 68


The Midnight Exhibit is a solid start to the Rewind or Die series. Within these pages are three sinister tales wrapped in a narrative anthology told much like Tales from the Hood. A wealthy couple are picked up by a tow truck driver after they drunkenly ditch their car. The tow truck driver makes for a creepy narrator. He tells the rich couple three tales, hitting very close to home. The mood is set quite well on a dark country road in the middle of nowhere. The driver gives off weird vibes. If it were me, I would’ve walked, regardless of the shoes I was wearing.

To Little Too Late is written by Stephen Graham Jones. It’s about a switchpicker and missing high school students. This story brought the nostalgia. It just goes to show Stephen Graham Jones can make anything scary. Another Pretty Face is penned by Renee Miller. It’s about revenge. It’s about the #MeToo movement. If I had balls they’d be hurting right now. This story put a smile on my face. My Love, Do Not Wake by Philip Fracassi is an eerie love triangle. I felt terrible for everyone involved. It made me feel uneasy. I squirmed in my reading chair while reading it. I’m not going to be able to sleep tonight.

Whilst reading this anthology, I couldn’t help but think it would make a great movie. The writing is solid in each of the three stories. The authors brought something unique and original to the table. It’s very hard to do these days, but they made it look pretty easy. I’m going to put their other work in my TBR cart. I look forward to reading the next installment in the Rewind or Die series.

You can buy The Midnight Exhibit at Amazon.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Wealthy couple drunkenly ditch their car and a strange tow truck driver regales them with off-putting stories, stories relating strangely to their personal lives. With short fiction by Stephen Graham Jones (Mongrels, Mapping the Interior, The Only Good Indians), Philip Fracassi (Behold the Void, Sacculina), and Renee Miller (Cats Like Cream, The One You Feed).

[Review] There’s No Safe Word In Master of Pain

Publisher: Death’s Head Press LLC |Published: May 1, 2019|Pages: 227


Master of Pain is brutally savage. Sure, I’ve read serial killer horror, but nothing with this much sex and torture. It’s about a serial killer who uses BDSM chatrooms to lure his victims to Kansas City. He’s killed several women by through torture, rape, and other violent acts. There are no safe words when it comes to his domination, after all, John James is SLAVEMASTER. Once the women are in his home and the games begin, it quickly goes awry. He tortures them with sex toys, then rapes, brands, and mutilates their bodies. He doesn’t stop until the women are lifeless. After he kills them, John lives off of their bank accounts and pensions.

Throw in Melanie, a vulnerable single mom, looking for someone to fulfill her BDSM fantasies and you have an interesting story. She eventually connects with John James in Kansas City. This story also contains the occult. I really wanted to see more of the order. To me, that was the best part of the book. I was wanting the best for Melanie. I really was. John James is a terrible human being who sought too much power. A power he couldn’t handle no matter how hard he tried. As for the other characters, they didn’t have very much depth. Their backgrounds weren’t all that fleshed out.

I didn’t connect with the characters. The dialogue was good. The conversations weren’t clunky or choppy. The writing was solid. Some of the scenes were cringeworthy, though. At some points it veered toward the taboo. The one thing that kept me reading is the outcome. I needed to know what was going to ultimately become of the characters. I wasn’t disappointed. I think the ending is the best part of this book. It really is satisfying. It put a smile on my face. I wish the ending lasted longer.

This was my personal reading experience. Master of Pain may work better for others. I’m definitely going to check out Wrath James White and Kristopher Rufty‘s other work.

Trigger Warnings: Rape and Abuse

Rating: 2 out of 5.

Melanie has always been attracted to assertive, dominant, alpha males. She has always been curious about sadism and masochism, bondage, and submission, but when she meets a man on an online BDSM website, who calls himself SLAVEMASTER, she will experience a level of sadomasochism that goes far beyond safe, sane, and consensual. Inspired by the true story of America’s first online serial killer. From the twisted minds of Wrath James White and Kristopher Rufty, comes a story of extreme violence, sex, perversion, and the occult.

You can find Master of Pain at Amazon.

[Review] A Crescent City Fright: Invisible Chains

Publisher: Haverhill House Publishing|Published: July 22, 2019|Pages: 344


Invisible Chains is a blend of history, magic, and vampirism. It’s complex, powerful, and smart when it comes to historical and cultural relationships in antebellum South. Invisible Chains follows the life of a young Creole slave, Jacqueline, as she makes her way from the plantation to New Orleans. Jacqueline has to endure so much pain and torment throughout this book. It was almost unbearable. Rape and abuse scenes are difficult to read. But, to me, that’s where the horror ended and the dark fantasy began. Through all that pain and suffering there’s hope for Jacqueline.

The vampire, Carlos, is a great antagonist. Humans are the real bad guys in this story. Not only is Jacqueline enslaved by a plantation owner, she is bound by invisible chains to a vampire. Is it love or lust? Or is the predator teasing his prey? There’s also a werewolf and traveling circus folk. With that deadly combination, the book should have sang, but there are some pacing issues, especially near the end. One of the best parts about this book is the atmosphere of New Orleans. Michelle Renee Lane brings the city to life quite well. She did her research on the gothic horror tropes and the history of New Orleans.

The writing is solid. The style is there, but the pacing needs some work. I also feel like the romance outweighed the horror. The cover sets the tone for the book. It helps when the cover artist reads the manuscript first. The ending felt rushed, but it was satisfying. My overall reading experience was good. Invisible Chains is a good debut. I look forward to reading her next novel. If you like paranormal romance, then this book is for you.

Trigger Warnings: Rape and Abuse

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Synopsis:

Jacqueline is a young Creole slave in antebellum New Orleans. An unusual stranger who has haunted her dreams since childhood comes to stay as a guest in her master’s house. Soon after his arrival, members of the household die mysteriously and Jacqueline is suspected of murder. Despite her fear of the stranger, Jacqueline befriends him and he helps her escape. While running from the slave catchers, they meet conjurers, a loup-garou, and a traveling circus of supernatural freaks. She relies on ancestral magic to guide her and finds strength to conquer her fears on her journey.

You can find Invisible Chains at Amazon.