Rich and Shane share some random shit they fucking love
Sometimes on the weekends, we talk to each other via Slack off and on all day, sometimes talking business and planning strategies, sometimes just bullshitting because we are brothers from different mothers and we have a ton of common interests. And during those bullshit sessions, we often talk about things we love and we thought you might love some of them too, so here we are sharing with a few with you each week. Check back every Sunday for more Slices. Our interests are many and our lists of favorite things are boundless.
Last weekend when it first hit Netflix, The Perfection was getting a ton of buzz. It seemed like everywhere I turned – well, at least on Twitter and Facebook – people were raving about how good it was. So after a few friends whose opinions I trust said it was worth checking out, I decided to turn it on. Honestly, the early parts of the movie were good, but I was getting the sinking feeling that it was going to be an art house type of movie which are really hit or miss for me. Right when I was getting ready to pull the plug and find something else to watch, the movie took a hard turn and I was I glad I stuck with it. The movie follows a musical prodigy with a troubled past named Charlotte as she forges a relationship with Elizabeth, the new star at her former music school. As the two women grow closer, they embark on a journey full of dark secrets and stunning revelations. That’s about all I’m comfortable putting in the synopsis as part of what makes The Perfection such an interesting movie is the jarring twists and turns that occur throughout as the story comes into focus. This movie has a heavy psychological slant, tons of tension and some arresting visuals. While there are some similarities, The Perfection is definitely way more than another Black Swan-esque film. Buckle up for a wild journey that’s sure to defy your expectations. Normally I would include the trailer, but it kind of ruins some of the surprises. Do yourself a favor and watch this without watching the trailer.
A Penny For Your Thoughts is the brand new collaboration between Robert Ford and Matt Hayward that follows Joe Openshaw as soon as he’s released from prison following a drug addiction that led to a dangerous criminal charge. He’s living with his Dad and trying to get his life back on track when he discovers a jar of pennies while hiking the nearby Lowback Trail. As Joe examines them, he realize each one is taped to a handwritten note that he discovers are a child’s wishes. As he begins opening them, he realizes that against all odds, the wishes are coming true. They start off relatively harmless – even hilarious at times – but soon the wishes take a dark turn and lead Joe and his friends down a terrifying path with deadly consequences. I didn’t know much about this book going into it, but I thought it would be a straight-up horror novel. I was pleasantly surprised to discover that A Penny For Your Thoughts is a genre mash-up that is sure to excite readers of various different genres. It’s a perfect blend of supernatural horror, noir and humor, so essentially everything we love here at Ink Heist. Ford and Hayward make for one hell of a writing team and the story is so seamless, it’s hard to pinpoint what parts of the story were written by each author. That is one element that I think is both important and the hallmark of a great collaboration novel, when the writers are able to blend their own unique styles into a singular voice. Armed with an inventive plot and rich characterization, this book has quickly shot to the top of my list of favorite books in 2019. And while there are plenty of scary scenes and ones that are legitimately laugh out loud funny, there are also some heartbreaking moments that hit like a sledgehammer. You’ll know when you read them and damn if they didn’t give me goosebumps. This is a legitimate “must read” novel that is sure to make a lot of “best of” lists, so if you haven’t already, you definitely want to buy a copy. Also, if you’re reading this Bob and Matt, please tell me you guys plan to collaborate again in the future!
Some of the best horror shows being released today are coming from other countries and it’s a true joy as a genre fan to stumble on these gems thanks to various streaming services. Les Revenants, Dark, Jordskott, Kingdom, and The Rain immediately come to mind as international horror shows that are both unique and incredibly addictive. If you add in crime shows, I could go on for days. Black Spot is the latest series from Netflix to add to that list and blends elements of crime and horror for a truly unsettling experience. Black Spot focuses on Laurène Weiss, who is in charge of the police force in her hometown of Villefranche. The town is isolated and surrounded by mountains and forests for as far as the eye can see and there is no shortage of odd quirks that make the town stand out. After Weiss and her team find the body of a woman hanging from a strange tree, a mysterious DA arrives in town to figure out why the murder rate in Villefranche is skyrocketing compared to the rest of France. Along the way, he also uncovers a secret about Weiss’ past. I’m only one episode in, but I’m already hooked and I have a feeling this is a binge-worthy series. The cinematography is stunning and amplifies the dark atmosphere that drives the show. Black Spot has drawn comparisons to a few of the series mentioned above (Jordskott and Dark) as well as Twin Peaks. If you enjoy the sort of stuff we cover on Ink Heist (which I would hope you do since you’re reading this), chances are Black Spot is going to be one of your favorite new shows. Don’t feel bad if you blast through the first season, season 2 drops on June 14.
The first book I read from Michael Patrick Hicks’ was last years no holds barred creature-feature Broken Shells, which has a distinctly vintage horror aesthetic and is bursting with terrifying creatures, buckets of blood and total mayhem. I immediately loved that story and it ended up snagging a spot on my end of the year list. So when Hicks announced The Resurrectionists, I knew I had to read it. I mentioned last week that I have a love for historical horror, and was excited to learn that this novella takes place shortly after the American Revolution. The Resurrectionists introduces readers to Salem Hawley, who earned his freedom fighting for the colonies during the war. After his friend’s family are stolen from their graves by the increasingly numerous resurrectionists, Salem decides to help his friend get justice. However, the group responsible for the grave robbings have motives that stretch far beyond normal medical experiments. Their goals are much darker and as Salem begins to unravel their ultimate goal, he witnesses horrors beyond his wildest imagination. To say that The Resurrectionists is a blast to read is an understatement. I devoured it in one sitting and the frenetic pace starts pretty much from the beginning and never relents. Hicks crafts an interesting mythology that permeates the story and this novel features some of his scariest scenes to date. If you dig cosmic horror and a historical backdrop, this is an essential addition to your library.This is the first book in a proposed series and I for one can’t wait for the next installment!
Since it’s publication in 2017, Grady Hendrix and Will Errickson’s essential horror fiction history book Paperbacks from Hell has ignited an interest in vintage horror paperbacks. It’s a must-own for fans of the genre and is both highly informative and incredibly funny. I can’t tell you how many impulse purchases I’ve made in bookstores and online since I’ve read it, but I can tell you it’s a number that should probably fill me with shame. That being said, I love what it has done for the genre and introducing a new generation of readers to some books they may not have heard of. Since reading it I’ve been craving something similar and I remember hearing about this book from Will Errickson on Twitter. If you dig Paperbacks from Hell or the stellar blog Too Much Horror Fiction, you’re going to love The Collected Pulp Horror. It collects the first three out-of-print issues of Pulp Horror which documents vintage horror fiction and is loaded with artwork, interviews, features and incredibly in-depth reviews. It’s an informative and invaluable resource that reminds me of the literary equivalent of old school punk ‘zines. I tore through this volume which introduced me to a lot of work I didn’t even know existed and I can’t wait for future installments. I guarantee you will find tons of new books to check out and it’s available on Amazon for under $6, so you really have no reason not to grab a copy!
Anyone who knows me well also knows that when it comes to horror, creature features are my number one go-to trope. If you give me the choice between a monster and literally any other type of film, I’m going to swing monster every fucking time. And if there’s one beastie I’ve had on my screen more times than any other, Pumpkin Head is definitely it. This classic low-budget, simple concept film is B-movie gold, with witches and monsters and vengeful loved ones. All the things that have been done a million times before, but maybe never so superbly as they did them here.
A Congregation of Jackals – by S. Craig Zahler
Excerpted from my review on Ginger Nuts of Horror: Storytelling is a funny thing in that sometimes a story works for you but you’re not really sure why. In many ways, that’s how it is with A Congregation of Jackals. Sure there are some definable things that Zahler handles with uncanny brilliance. For starters, he’s created some of the most well-developed characters I’ve ever encountered in a story, making them breathe and cry and scream and bleed off the page and straight into your bone marrow. And then there’s the setting, which couldn’t have been done any better by Cormac McCarthy himself. You can smell the dust in the air and feel the sun beating down on your skin, and you get a sense that you’ve somehow been transported into that place of sadism and terror as an almost interactive observer. But above and beyond all that, there’s that ethereal, almost vaporous something that is mostly indefinable but of the utmost importance to the tale in general. In truth, the only thing I can attribute it to is an incredible, almost innate ability with storytelling. I had an uncle who could regale you for hours on end with tall tales and campfire stories and Zahler can do the same thing for page after page after page. He writes like a man possessed and once you start this book, you’ll read like a person obsessed.
The Ones That Got Away – by Stephen Graham Jones
Once again a Laird Barron recommendation–a trend of sorts with me these past few weeks–The Ones That Got Away became an instant favorite book of mine. It was the first work I’d read by Stephen Graham Jones and an eye-opener too. A collection I return to frequently, it’s basically become the benchmark for great storytelling as far as I’m concerned. And coupled with the superior writing and craftsmanship that went into each story are some superb story notes that give you insights into the author’s thought processes during the creation of each piece. This is a thing he also did in his other remarkable collection After the People Lights Have Gone Off and it’s a thing I absolutely love in a short story collection. Being a pupil of the form, I find those notes both immensely insightful and immensely useful. If you are a student of the written word, Stephen Graham Jones should be your teacher and The Ones That Got Away should be your textbook.
The Devil’s Rejects – Directed by Rob Zombie
This is the first Zombie flick I’ve called out here, but it won’t be the last by any means. Time and breath allowing, nearly all of this incredible director’s works will appear in this column in the months/years to come. The Devil’s Rejects is a brutally violent, subversive thrill-fest from a man who doesn’t know how not to subvert a theme, turning it on its head and making it his own. A thing of raw, bloody action and outstanding storytelling, with stellar performances handed in by all three of the main characters, but none so much as Sid Haig in his outlandish role as Captain Spaulding. All three actors virtually convince you they are a group of homicidal fucking maniacs, a blast to watch on the screen, but nobody you’d want to meet in person. If you’re a fan of exploitation horror and you’ve yet to see this one, trust me when I say your life is not complete and you need to unfuck that.
Sticky Fingers – The Rolling Stones
When it comes to iconic classic rock albums that helped to shape my young mind and my musical interests, none stands so clearly in my memory or high in my estimation as this larger than life record from The Rolling Stones. One of their greatest albums, it contains some of their most well-known hits including “Brown Sugar,” “Can’t You Hear Me Knocking,” and “Bitch.” But it also contains some massively underrated gems, tunes that captured my soul and made me want to make music in the first place, though at that point in my life I didn’t know what form that would take. Songs like “Sister Morphine” and “Dead Flowers” were staples of my generation that didn’t really explode into the larger pop arena the way those other hits did, but are among their best songs all the same. If you haven’t listened to Sticky Fingers, and especially to those lesser-known treasures, you know. Unfuck that.
That’s all for now. Check back next week for more Sunday Slices. Find your new favorite thing!
Click here to see all our Sunday Slices columns.