If you’re at all into horror fiction, by now this news has probably blown up your various social media timelines:
The Gruesome Tensome: A Short Story Tribute to the Films of Herschell Gordon Lewis is now on sale! You can order the paperback right here.
I’m beyond pleased to be in this book. I share the table of contents with both friends and writers of which I count myself a fan. Plus, this is the fourth Matthew Revert cover I’ve been happy to be sharing.
I think my entry here is one of the best short stories I’ve written, if not The best. A big part of why I enjoy this story, “The Missing Years”, is because it’s a very personal piece of fiction.
Yes. My entry in the book about blood ‘n guts maestro HGL, director of Blood Feast and 2,000 Maniacs, is capital-P Personal. And maybe even a touch mushy.
A little context: the publishing world can sometimes move slowly.This is not news. Nor is it really context.
Editor Nick Cato has been working on this book for close to three years, and I was the last of the authors brought on board (I was a zero hour addition after another author had to drop out and they didn’t want to rename the book The Gruesome Ninesome). Maybe two or three weeks after I was invited to be a part of the anthology came the sad news that Something Weird Video’s Mike Vraney had passed away (Shock Till You Drop has a great oral history of the company from Frank Hennenlotter). There are many people (myself included) who would likely be ignorant of HGL’s films if it weren’t for Vraney. Or at the very least we may not have had access to them.
For our short stories, the authors were instructed to choose a period of HGL’s filmography and allow it to inspire our fiction. The man has worked in a lot of different genres outside of splatter (starting out in nudie cuties and even experimenting with children’s movies with a gonzo Mother Goose adaptation), so there was a good amount of inspiration up for grabs. Around the same time as the anthology was coming together, Vinegar Syndrome released three “lost” films from the director. All three are semi-softcore oddities that Lewis (I think) has still never officially claimed and these “lost” films were the period I gravitated towards for my story.
With all of this going on around late-2012 early-2013, I allowed the idea of film preservation and cult film distribution to influence my story as much as any one period of Lewis’s filmography. And because of that I think “The Missing Years” is stronger for it.
What I’m trying to say is: if you’re someone who reads me but you only like “the wet stuff” then you should still buy this book, most of the other authors are going to have you covered, but when you get to my story please don’t be disappointed. I’ve written a quieter horror story here, maybe even something a touch cosmic around the edges. What resulted is not only a tribute to one of the men who’s shaped most of our aesthetics, those of us in the horror business, but also a tribute to the folks working to preserve these odd films for a new generation.
Now time to change subjects and get heavy:
This blog’s headline was deliberately misleading. The news that everyone’s really talking about is last Friday’s announcement from Samhain Publishing that they would be closing their doors. I haven’t been an “active” author with the company for a little while, but they, under then-horror-editor Don D’Auria, released my first three full-length novels.
I don’t have much to add to the conversation about this still-developing situation other than to share my immediate reaction: sadness.
Sadness that the members of the marketing, editorial, and sales staff that I’ve gotten to know pretty well would be losing their jobs. I’ve gone to two HorrorHound Conventions and both were greatly improved by getting to hang out with Samhain’s intelligent and friendly staffers. I hope all are okay and all are beginning the process of landing on their feet.
My heart also goes out to authors who suddenly have books without homes and backlists that are in the process of becoming unavailable.
My best to all undergoing this process and I’m hoping all legalities get sorted out sooner (rather than later) so these books can continue to scare the hell out of readers.
And… because I was taught by a friend to always deliver bad news couched inside of two pieces of good news: my newest column is now up on Cemetery Dance Online and details 4 non-fiction film texts that all horror fans should read.