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.
In honor of season five hitting Netflix, I had to recommend this stellar novel that offers readers a behind the scenes look at one of the most popular and polarizing shows airing today. Normally I’m not big on tie-in material, but this is more of an oral history and those tend to make for more engaging content. Jason Arnopp conducts interviews with not only Charlie Booker and Annabel Jones, but he also interviews the actors and other creatives that help bring Black Mirror to life. The book chronicles everything up to Bandersnatch and each episode gets it’s own in-depth section. The behind-the-scenes information for each episode is incredibly illuminating and will either further cement why you love certain episodes or possibly change your mind about one. In addition to the insightful articles for each episode, there are loads of pictures and concept drawings that detail how certain set pieces were created. I consider myself a die-hard Black Mirror fan and reading through this book has only fueled my fandom of this groundbreaking show. Whether you’re a longtime fan or just checking out Black Mirror for the first time, Inside Black Mirror is an essential addition to your library.
I’ve been a huge fan of Ania’s work since I first stumbled across her demonic horror debut Seed years ago. It was clear from that first novel she’s a natural storyteller and it doesn’t take long for you to be swept up in the worlds she’s created. I’ve always enjoyed Ania’s ability to tackle different forms of horror. There is the straightforward thriller The Neighbors, the creature-filled The Shuddering and her bleak haunted house novel The Bird Eater. The Bird Eater is still reigns supreme as my favorite Ania Ahlborn novel, but I’ve enjoyed every book she’s written for different reasons. I’ve raved about it multiple times on The Horror Bookshelf, so this time around, I wanted to highlight her novel Brother. Brother is the story of the murderous Morrow family, who are responsible for the disappearance of numerous girls throughout the years. They seem to delight in their evil nature, all except 19-year-old Michael. He’s trying to break from his family traditions and longs for a normal life, which he begins to feel is within reach when he meets Dahlia. However, his brother Rebel doesn’t want to let go of Michael so easily and it leads to some truly horrific moments. There isn’t an ounce of the supernatural in Brother, but it’s definitely one of Ania’s scariest books to date. The Morrows revel in their evilness and violent tendencies and Ania crafts a bleak atmosphere that is sure to stick with you. There is one particular scene in this book that feels like a punch to the stomach and I still think about it years after reading it. I think of Brother as a spiritual sibling to Kealan Patrick Burke’s outstanding Kin, so if you dug that novel, you’re going to love this.
I’ve been trying to hold out on recommending this one a little closer to release date, but I just can’t hold in my excitement any longer. John F.D. Taff is one of Ink Heist’s favorite writers and if you’ve followed us for any length of time, there is a good chance you’ve seen us raving about one of his books. Taff has been known as “The King of Pain” in horror circles for quite awhile now, and it’s a pretty apt moniker if you ask me. The emotional elements he adds to his stories add a devastating layer to the horrors he conjures up and they will stick with you long after you finish them. Taff is one of the genre’s most talented voices and a master storyteller. Earlier this year I said this about The Fearing back before I had read any of it:
…from what I have heard about The Fearing, I have a feeling that is going to be a truly special novel that will have a huge impact on the horror genre. I hate to heap that sort of pressure on Taff, but knowing how immensely talented he is, I think this could be one of those horror novels. You know the ones, the ones that resonate with horror fans for decades to come.
After having read the first installment, I have no doubt that prediction will come true. Taff puts a fresh spin on the apocalyptic horror genre by showcasing what happens when all of humanity’s fears are unleashed on the world. It’s genuinely frightening and mixes in the sort of heart you come to know and love from John. The Fearing is a truly gripping read that I read in one sitting and I have a feeling you will too. Also, stay tuned in the coming months as we have a very special project in the works with John regarding The Fearing!
I watched Boar the other night to psyche myself up for our upcoming feature “A Bloody Bestiary” and oh man, am I glad I did. The title pretty much tells you all you need to know – a giant boar the size of a rhinoceros terrorizes backpackers and locals alike in the Australian Outback. You already know if this is the kind of movie you’d enjoy based off that little bit of information, but let me tell you that for all of its ridiculousness, it’s a fun and enjoyable movie. The first half is shot in a style reminiscent of slasher films only the weapon wielding maniac is replaced by a ginormous, blood-thirsty boar. There are buckets of blood and gore mixed with some wild, over the top moments that make for a fun film sure to delight fans of the genre. Is it a perfect movie? Not by a long-shot, but it’s damn fun. I like that the filmmakers used practical effects and full shots of the boar sparingly in the first half of the film. That “less is more” approach suits the film perfectly and avoids the pitfalls of uneven CGI effects that make up the second half. That being said, I had a blast with Boar and recommend it if you dig killer animal films. Boar is currently streaming on Shudder, which is a great service for horror fans. If you don’t already have an account, sign up for one of their free trials. There is a ton of great stuff on there and the new Creepshow series is coming soon, so what do you have to lose?
In my opinion, Hum is one of the most underrated bands of the ’90s. Even if you think you haven’t heard of them before, I’m willing to bet you have, even if you don’t realize it. Their biggest song is undeniably “Stars”, off their 1995 album You’d Prefer an Astronaut and was featured in a Cadillac commercial back in 2008. But if your only exposure to them is through that song, you are missing out on some truly great music, especially these two albums. I’ve always loved the guitar tone on these records, they are densely layered and there are some massive riffs. While the guitars usually get the most mention when discussing Hum’s catalog, Bryan St. Pere’s drumming is jaw-dropping as well. Much like Failure, Hum were a band that were ahead of their time and never got the recognition they deserved. The band has been performing more frequently in recent years and they also confirmed they are working on new music, which would be the first new music from the band in 21 years. I can’t WAIT for that record to come out.
The Light at the End by John Skipp and Craig Spector
Not much needs to be said when it comes to this classic ’80s novel that helped define the splatterpunk subgenre. Published in 1986, it wasn’t the first by any means–that honor most likely goes to the then-unknown Richard Laymon–but it is the most memorable and the most iconic because it was the one that made the mainstream know that there was a new bully on the block. It was rough, mean, bloody, and shocking as fuck if you were expected grandma’s typical horror fare. In addition to that, it’s one of the best three or four vampire novels ever written, I kid you not. Skipp and Spector wrote several great fucking novels together, including The Scream and The Cleanup, receiving high accolades from readers while simultaneously being eviscerated by their critics, but The Light at the End was their best, and is one of the most memorable novels of the ’70s and ’80s horror boom. If you haven’t read this dynamic duo before, you’re going to want to fix that, and if you haven’t read this exemplary splatterpunk novel, you definitely need to unfuck that.
Dust Devils by Jonathan Janz
Speaking of vampires, if you’re ever in the mood for a book that has teeth, you can’t go wrong with this stellar weird western by one of our best young phenoms, Jonathan Janz. There are many highly productive authors out there today, ones who have developed a template they stick to that allows them to produce book after mediocre book and make a damn good living at it. But, although Janz cranks out a fairly large quantity of work, he isn’t one of those authors. He’s a wordsmith of high talent and boundless creativity, and Dust Devils is one of my favorite books by him, a strange amalgamation of high adventure, cowboys and six-shooters, romance, and bloody, brutal vampire action like you’ve not read before. And if you think that’s hyperbole, think again. You will never meet a Jonathan Janz book like anything you’ve read before and this one is one of his most original.
I came across this movie via another hilarious comedy horror flick I’ve mentioned here before. That movie was Deathgasm and after Rich Duncan and I screened that fantastically raucous film, I was left jonesing bad for something like it. So I googled it: Movies like Deathgasm. Guess which movie was the first one to pop up. If you’re thinking The Night Watchmen then winner, winner chicken dinner. And in watching it, the reasons it came up are obvious. Packed with the same kind of lowbrow, sort of dudebro humor coupled with horrific monsters (vampire clowns, oh my), and bloody mayhem, the title of this film could just as easily have been F.U.N. because that’s what it is, beginning to end, a mindless, gut-busting laugh-fest that you won’t soon forget and, if you’re like me, will revisit often. Watch it and see for yourself but make sure you have tissues. Tears of laughter are guaranteed to flow with this one.
Nobody Gets Hurt and Other Lies by Nicholas Day
Here’s a book by a guy I’m going to be talking about a lot this summer and through the fall. He wrote one of my favorite short story collections of all time in the form of Now That We’re Alone and he’s got his first full-length novel coming out later this year from Excession Press, a book whose greatness I can attest to and one you’re going to want to watch for. But this book right here is the one I want to talk about today because what I just said about his first collection is equally true of Nobody Gets Hurt and Other Lies, possibly more so. This gathering of dark morsels is nothing short of brilliant and nothing that you expect going into it. With stories covering the gamut from horror and weird crime to dark science fiction, all with a literary flair tying them together, there isn’t a mediocre story in the bunch nor one I didn’t enjoy immensely and I think your mileage will be much that same. If you haven’t read Nicholas Day’s collections yet, you should take care of that, get a tiny inkling of what you’re going to be in for with his novel, Grind Your Bones to Dust.
Unleashed in the East by Judas Priest
Want to listen to the greatest live album in the history of rock and roll? Well, here it is. I firmly believe that and I will stand behind it and vehemently argue the point until I’m blue in the face. Not an album I’ve heard a lot of raves about from other (foolhardy) fans, it’s a fucking perfect rock opera featuring some of Priest’s most iconic songs including, but not limited to, “Victim of Changes,” “The Ripper,” “Diamonds and Rust,” and “The Green Manalishi,” it’s a perfect example of transgressive hard rock with a huge bite and a heavy thread of darkness that runs through it. Judas Priest is one of the best rock bands of their era, gods of youth for my generation and this album is one of the best musical productions I’ve ever encountered. If you haven’t experienced the Priest, you haven’t experienced rock and roll. The next time you’re thirsty for a taste of madness, Unleashed in the East is the well you should drink from.
That’s all for now. Check back next week for more Sunday Slices. Find your new favorite thing!
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