Hot Summer Reads! Horrendous Sunglasses!

Desperate for some creepy reading for when you’re at the beach? I’ve come up with a list of five (it’s actually seven, but don’t tell anyone) novels and audiobooks. You can check that out over on my YouTube channel. If you haven’t hit that subscribe button, I’d love it if you did.

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Are movies more your thing? Well I was lucky enough to get the chance to check out the upcoming 68 Kill at a special screening during Wizard World last month. The movie was directed by Trent Haaga, stars Matthew Gray Gubler and AnnaLynne McCord, and was based on a novel by Bryan Smith. I’ve got a video review of that where I discuss other recent novel-to-film adaptations.

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If you’ve no interest in watching me talk, and would rather read my take on a giant monster story: Exponential is now out in paperback from Black T-Shirt Books. This new edition sports a dope new cover and a brand new afterword. If you already own the old edition: this is the same book, don’t double-dip unless you’re really sure you need to own the new cover. If you’d prefer to save paper: there’s always the ebook, also available for Kindle Unlimited subscribers.

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If you’ve already got that, or monsters aren’t your thing: Year’s Best Hardcore Horror Volume Two is now out in ebook, paperback, and audiobook narrated by Joe Hempel.  There are great authors like Tim Waggoner, Michael Arnzen, and Bryan Smith in there. Along with one by me.

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That’s all for today! Happy reading, stay cool!

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Video Night Returns! The Con Season is Cheap!

Check this out:


Yeah boy! That’s the stuff. Above is the new cover for one of my most popular titles, recently relaunched under a new imprint. If you’re new to my work, or somehow just missed this one, then I urge you to click over to amazon to check it out.

It’s about the 1988 alien invasion of Long Island, NY. So it’s not only thrilling, but educational.

The book’s not only got that sweet new cover by Fredrick Richardson, but a new afterword, and a couple of editorial nips and tucks.

If Video Night is something you’ve already got, then maybe I can interest you in The Con Season, my newest novel, for the next couple of days priced at 99 cents. Yup, one dollar will get you a full brand-new novel and 5 will get you two novels and the self-satisfied warm and fuzzies that accompany helping out an independent author. (Sorry, this offer has expired, but the book’s still cheap at $2.99).


Speaking of being an indie author, that new version of Video Night has been wiped of its 40+ reviews, so if you’ve read it and liked it: I would really appreciate you taking a few seconds to review on Amazon.

Okay, pimping over. Other than trying to sell you those two things, I also wanted to share that I’ve watched and reviewed a couple of movies since we last spoke. The best of which was The Autopsy of Jane Doe, which I did a video review for right here. Please hit that like and subscribe button if you haven’t already. It helps.

Beyond that: I want to here from you. Consider signing up for the mailing list if you haven’t by clicking the “Free Short Read” button at the top of this page, I’ll send you an exclusive ebook for your troubles.

Piece,love, blood, and guts,

Adam

He’s Making His (Kill) List, Checking It Twice

Hey y’all, how you been? I’m good. Busy but good.

Just wanted to check in and consolidate some updates that I may or may not have been able to sprinkle into your Facebook or twitter feeds.

First and foremost, I was recently a guest on the Scream Addicts podcast. If you haven’t heard of the show: it’s got a neat premise. Each episode features a guest from the horror community who comes locked-and-loaded, ready to discuss a single film in-depth. The host, Jason “Jinx” Jenkins, is a hell of a conversationalist and each episode takes the examination of the chosen movie in a surprising and intelligent direction.

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I chose to talk about Ben Wheatley’s Kill List (2011), it’s the first time I’ve talked about the film at any kind of length outside of nerdy bar conversation and I’m very pleased with how the episode turned out. I’d love it if you listened (and subscribed) to the show on your podcast platform of choice or by clicking here. But you should also probably be warned that we spoil the hell out of the movie. Definitely not something to listen to if you haven’t seen it.

If you’re looking to hear me talk about movies, but aren’t into an hour-long investment, or maybe you just want to see my dumb face: Project: Black T-Shirt is still going strong on YouTube. If either of these episodes sound like something you’re into, I encourage you to like, comment, and subscribe to the channel because I cover this kind of stuff weekly (well, kinda weekly…).

The Eyes of My Mother (2016) is a grisly black-and-white serial killer thriller. This episode is not only a review of Nicolas Pesce’s debut feature, but it becomes a discussion of the extreme horror subgenre as a whole. Spoiler alert: I think this is one of the best horror movies of 2016. The book recommendation for this ep is Mr. Suicide by Nicole Cushing.

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After a spate of new release movie reviews, I wanted to look at a reissue for this week’s episode. We look inside Vestron Video’s recent Blu-Ray release of Blood Diner (1987). We talk about director Jackie Kong’s unique place in genre history. The book recommendation is Carol Clover’s Men, Women, and Chain Saws.

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You may notice that all three of those above links have nothing to do with writing, publishing, or (most importantly) asking you to buy/review stuff. Well, as I write this it’s a couple of days out from Christmas, so you should definitely consider picking up one of my books. They make great(ish) gifts! If you’ve already bought and read one of my books, you should know that honest Amazon reviews are the best gift an author can receive.

But seriously: this year started off with the release of Zero Lives Remaining and ended with the debut of The Con Season. In the middle there were a number of short story publications, columns, a novella collaboration, the re-release of a short story collaboration, and even a non-fiction essay about fishing (?!). I’m proud of the material I’ve produced in 2016, but I wouldn’t have made it through the year without the support of my friends and readers. By which I mean to say: thank you!

2016 may have been aight, but what I’m really pumped for is 2017. I can’t say too much, but I will say that things are going to be both familiar and different.

I hope you’re facing the new year with the same giddiness and optimism. And that your holidays are joyous and gore-soaked.

Love,

Adam

I Am The Pretty Ghost Kaiju That Destroyed Germany

Hey guys and gals,

Quick catch-up post just to dump some links tonight.

First of all: thanks to everyone who came out to the KGB Bar reading last week. Brian Keene, Mary SanGiovanni, Nick Cato, and Leza Cantoral were all awesome. And an extra special big thanks to Christoph Paul for hosting and inviting me to participate.

But speaking of Christoph, I give his new horror film poetry book a shout out in this week’s episode of Project Black T-Shirt. We also discuss the Netflix original film I Am the Pretty Thing that Lives in the House(2016), written and directed by Osgood Perkins and starring Ruth Wilson. I liked it a lot, but click here to find out why.

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Another huge thanks to author/photographer Jonathan Lees, who took this awesome picture while I was reading:

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The week before that I was reviewing Shin Godzilla, which I caught during its limited theatrical run and lived to tell the tale about. That’s right here.

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This week I celebrated a huge milestone in my career with the German-language release of Tribesmen. A huge thank you to Voodoo Press for taking a chance on me overseas. If you’re a German reader, please click over to their website to pick up your copy in ebook or paperback. Here’s that sweet sweet German cover:

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Other than that, things are all quiet on my front. My newest novel, The Con Season, has been selling unbelievably well, probably due to the release of the audiobook and the kind words from everyone who’s taken the time to leave an Amazon review. Just a quick public service reminder that the audiobook’s actually cheaper if you buy the Kindle version ($2.99) and then the audio ($1.99) as opposed to buying the audio straight-out.

Have a great week!

THE CON SEASON Reviews Are In! And They’re Important!

Updated 9/4 with links to the paperback version.

So, we’re two weeks after The Con Season‘s ebook release and I am overwhelmed by the response. If you still haven’t picked it up, you can fix that here. And if you’re not a fan of ebooks: the paperback version has just arrived! In addition to the softcover: I’ve inked a deal with Joe Hempel to narrate the audiobook, and negotiations are currently ongoing for a limited edition hardcover (though if you are looking to wait for these other editions: I’d ask you consider picking up the ebook in the meantime, since it’s probably the purchase that does me the most good, for both visibility and money).

There is this very cool review from Michael Patrick Hicks, this one from CD Online staff reviewer Frank Michaels Errington, and I think these are sufficient evidence to mark the book a hit with the guys-with-three-names demographic. Author John Quick only has two names, but he also seemed to like it. For that I am grateful.


To promote the book and talk a little more about the inception of Black T-Shirt Books, I conducted this long-form interview with Gabino Iglesias at HorrorTalk. We touch on a lot of fun stuff, like a Con Season-themed playlist, the joys of collaboration, and film adaptations.

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All those are excellent links, and I thank anyone who’s taken the time to review the book for a blog/website. But the real superstars, for me, are the 13 readers who picked up the book on Amazon or read it through the Kindle Unlimited program, and then took the time to leave a brief review on Amazon. If you’ve read the book: PLEASE consider taking a few minutes and leaving a review, if you haven’t. Those reviews lead to more visibility which leads to more sales and more reviews. If do one thing to say thanks to an author you enjoy: make it an Amazon review.

That’s it for today. Quick post. BTW: this week’s video is a Top Five list of Herschell Gordon Lewis films. Because I met the man last week. Watch it here.


Surprise! THE CON SEASON is available NOW!

First the good news: you can click here, right now, and secure yerself a copy of The Con Season: A Novel of Survival Horror. That’s the ebook link, but paperback will be out in a month or two if you’re an absolute tree-hating physical media diehard.

Here’s the official synopsis:

Horror movie starlet Clarissa Lee is beautiful, internationally known, and…completely broke.

To cap off years of questionable financial and personal decisions, Clarissa accepts an invitation to participate in a “fully immersive” fan convention. She arrives at an off-season summer camp and finds what was supposed to be a quick buck has become a real-life slasher movie.

Deep in the woods of Kentucky with a supporting cast of B-level celebrities, Clarissa must fight to survive the deadly game that the con’s organizers have rigged against her.

A demented, funny, bloody, and strangely-poignant horror novel from the acclaimed author of Tribesmen, Zero Lives Remaining, and Mercy House.

Go ahead and buy the book before scrolling any further.

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I’ll wait.

Now the not-so-good news: if you nominated the book, probably already you know that Kindle Scout has decided to pass on publishing The Con Season.

I’d be lying if I didn’t say it’s a bit of a bummer. I feel like our numbers game was strong, but I also understand where the editors are coming from.

This book—an inside-baseball horror fandom satire with moments of blackly comedic ultraviolence—probably doesn’t scream “marketable!” It also doesn’t help that their cover guidelines suggest “no weapons or blood” and I was trying to sneak in a book featuring a blood-smeared woman holding a rifle…

Or all of that could be me trying to justify them simply not liking the book. I’m big enough to admit that.

But enough about the past! Let’s talk about the future. More specifically, let’s talk about Black T-Shirt Books!

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Boom! We got a logo and everything. Huge thanks to Chris Enterline for getting that done.

I wasn’t messing around in last month’s post where I claimed to have “contingency plans” in place for The Con Season. As touched as I am at all the messages of condolence that I’ve received for being passed by Scout: really, it’s cool, nobody died!

I entered into this campaign knowing that having the book rejected was a very real possibility. I had to hand KS a completely edited manuscript and final cover art: so I was always viewing the program as an experiment in self-publishing.

And now that experiment is live and YOU get to decide if it keeps going or not.

Will Black T-Shirt books be releasing more titles? Yeah, if you and a few friends buy, review, and share this one.

I know I harp on the need for reviews (seriously, not just my books, if you read ANY book and like it: please review that ish on Amazon, you’ll be helping make quality writing more visible). But this time, since Black T-Shirt books is me doing this all by myself without the backing of a publisher, reviews are doubly important. As is word of mouth, shares on Facebook and Twitter, and updates to your Goodreads.

And if the Black T-Shirt Books experiment doesn’t succeed? Well, then it’s back to the drawing board, because we all know I’ve got schemes and machinations and secret-books for miles. 🙂

Thanks so much for everything, guys and gals, I can’t tell you how much I appreciate the support.

With love,

Adam Cesare
CEO and Master of Shirts at Black T-Shirt Books

P.S. New episodes of the YouTube show are up:

An early review of Evil Dead remake director Fede Alvarez’s Don’t Breathe:

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And a less-SEO friendly review of 1984’s The Mutilator, recently reissued by Arrow Video: 

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A Reason to Believe in WILLOW CREEK

The theatrical poster is great...

The theatrical poster is great…

I try to go into movies knowing as little as I can about them.

When I’m making a recommendation or looking to go to the theater with people, it’s strange how much the question “What’s that one about?” sets me on edge, irks me.

It probably shouldn’t, it’s a reasonable question, but most times I don’t know and don’t care what a film is about. Either I heard the movie was good, or I like the director’s previous work, or I glanced at the Metacritic score: there could be any number of reasons, but whatever, I just want to see it, man.

Even without watching a single trailer or reading a single review, the minimal amount I knew about Willow Creek upfront was almost too much.

All I knew was that this was writer/director Bobcat Goldthwait’s found footage movie. And that the tone was played straight. And that it was about Bigfoot.

This info was not only enough to make me want to see the film, but enough to make me feel kind of crazy while watching it.

See, I’m both a Goldthwait fan (especially World’s Greatest Dad, a serious contender for best comedy of the last decade) and (clearly) a horror fan. But the melding of the two, I have to admit, made me a little leery.

For the first few minutes of the film, I couldn’t stop thinking, couldn’t stop the deluge of questions: why make this movie? Where is this headed, tonally? Is this some kind of fakeout? It’s SO different than his other movies, is this something Goldthwait did for a paycheck?

Yes, all that thinking was keeping me from focusing on the film itself, but once I got into it? The answer to all these questions? The film’s greatest trick?

Well, it’s that Willow Creek is no joke, no cash-in. It’s not only a “for real” FUBU (even without listening to the commentary where Goldthwait admits to as much, it’s plain to see in the film he’s a student/fan of the genre) horror flick, it’s one of the best found footage films ever. Period.

As a birthday gift for her boyfriend, Jim (Bryce Johnson), Kelly (Alexis Gilmore) agrees to accompany him to Northern California where the duo will film a documentary retracing the steps of Roger Patterson and Bob Gimlin, who shot the famous 1967 footage of Sasquatch. It’s clear from the first scene that, even though Kelly and Jim are fond of each other, there are still stressors on their relationship (issues with their careers, locations, and their ideology when it comes to Bigfoot). The two leads are so strong (asked to improvise large portions of the film, it turns out, as there was only a 25 page outline of a script) that even if there was never any Bigfoot action, Willow Creek would still be an accurate portrayal of the little pains everyone goes through in a relationship.

The couple spends the first half of the movie interviewing experts, traveling, and exploring the cottage industry that the Patterson-Gimlin footage has inspired. This kind of film is never everyone’s cup of tea, so if you’re someone that bemoans found footage as a genre, Willow Creek is not going to do anything to cure you of that. But jeez does it work for me. I consider myself pretty jaded when it comes to scares and I thought the ending was straight-up terrifying.

...but this alternate one by Alex Pardee is superior.

…but this alternate one by Alex Pardee is superior.

As harrowing as the final 20 minutes is, Willow Creek is probably Goldthwait’s gentlest film.

It lacks the comic nihilism/misanthropy that started in Shakes the Clown, was perfected in World’s Greatest Dad, and (in my opinion) turned God Bless America into an overlong, one-note, kind of deal. For many other directors, a voyage into the darkest genre would be an opportunity to cut loose, but for Goldthwait (again collaborating with stars Gilmore and Johnson) this is a chance for the plot to carry the bulk of the darkness, allowing for more relatable, likeable characters. Although Willow Creek was first conceived as a mockumentary comedy (Goldthwait himself an enthusiast into Sasquatch lore), that tone was jettisoned early and even the oddest of the film’s supporting characters is treated with a tenderness and understanding that few other films would afford them. In its way, Willow Creek is quite sweet.

Part of what’s so awesome about Willow Creek is that it functions similar to the way the Patterson-Gimlin footage itself works on viewers. It’s a layered mystery and once you view it you end up, like Jim, needing to know more. Not only are there narrative threads left hanging, stuff to pick at and think over, but the film’s use of non-actors and real Northern California “Bigfoot industry” locations makes you puzzle over how much of the film is real and how much is scripted.

I picked up the Blu-ray at HorrorHound Indy, and I’m unsure how the movie will play with audiences stumbling onto it on Netflix streaming, unable to get that immediate context. Unlike a magic trick where the illusion is ruined by learning how it was achieved, Willow Creek is a film that all but demands you check out the supplemental features to peek behind the curtain.

The director clearly has a strong grip on the horror genre, but, as he notes on the commentary, Goldthwait is not a found footage fan. While he does praise The Blair Witch Project (as he should, Willow Creek sticks pretty close to BWP’s successful structure), he points out that many of its progeny are lazily put together, ending up far too processed and edited to be viewed as convincing found footage “documents” by their audiences. To combat this, Goldthwait claims that the first cut of Willow Creek included only 67 edits, and although that number is much higher in the finished film, that level of restraint (and his insistence on ending most sequences on a “in-narrative” cut) is a good indicator that the man knows what he’s doing.

The director semi-seriously jokes that this would be the kind of movie best made “If I were in my early 20s” (I’m paraphrasing) but I don’t think that’s true at all. Even with the improvisational feel, Willow Creek is a polished production, one whose themes of belief vs. skepticism and nuanced view of relationships couldn’t have come from a first time director.

So I had my doubts, but Goldthwait made me a believer. I hope this won’t be his only foray into horror.

Postscript update: while looking for an amazon link to throw on this review (it’s $13 bucks on blu right now, which is a bargain), I peeked at some of the customer reviews it has on there and *woof!* To say I strongly disagree with most of these people would be an understatement.

JUG FACE and some other odds & ends

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Chad Crawford Kinkle’s debut feature Jug Face is not the kind of film we get to see often. That’s a good thing.

Probably best billed as Winter’s Bone meets The Children of the Corn, Jug Face has a bit more going for it than that. Although it is neither, the film locates the sweetspot between charming indie-feature stocked with enjoyable character actors and splatter-filled Southsploitation sicky.

Slick photography and fine performances belie the fact that this film probably cost very little to produce, making the movie a testament to the “talent and ideas over money” philosophy.

Although the protagonist Ada (Lauren Ashley Carter) and her family belong to a strange religious sect, what I like about Jug Face is that very early on in the film it dispenses with the ambiguity as to whether the pit that the characters worship has supernatural power. Although some of the trappings are there, this is not a film akin to Martha Marcy May Marlene or The Wicker Man where humans are the only monsters, here we’ve got a powerful entity that holds sway over the character’s lives and watch as they react to it.

This is a rural horror story the likes of which we never really get to see: one that treats its characters with dignity. The codifiers are all here: moonshine, a mistrust of the outside world, a dash of incest, creepy old-world religion, but the Kinkle never belittles his characters or treats them like hillbilly rubes. This not only makes his characters feel less like caricatures but it also makes the horror hit home a bit harder.

Nowhere is this dignity more in evidence then with Sean Bridgers’s character Dawai, the simple but kindly soothsayer of the group. Dawai is a character torn by responsibility to the girl he loves and both the supernatural and mental burdens he’s been handed. Bridgers was great in The Woman, but this character skews much closer to the affable lackey he played on Deadwood and it’s nice to see him back as a good guy. Carter is great as well, selling the disastrous decisions that Ada makes as not selfish but human. The cast is rounded out by Larry Fesseden and Sean Young (playing one of the creepier mother characters in recent memory).

Through a rural horror lens, Jug Face deals with the unchanging nature of fate and the difficulties of youth in a surprisingly deft way for a film with such a scant runtime and this much blood.

That said, this brings me to the lone issue I had with the film: the lackluster final few minutes. The ending of the film does not feel out of place either thematically or in the plot, but without giving anything away, it just feels like the movie holds on a scene and a half longer than it should. Despite my personal hangups with the ending, the film still offers a lot to love and I look forward to whatever Kinkle does next.

Jack Ketchum fans will recognize the film’s two leads from Lucky McKee’s The Woman, but that’s not the only crossover as the film was made by the Andrew van den Houten’s production house, Modernciné. Along with sharing producers, it boasts a score by Sean Spillane and ends up feeling like an easy recommendation to make if you enjoyed The Woman.

I purchased the film through Vudu, but it’s also available on itunes. I would imagine that other VOD options are forthcoming. You want thought-provoking original horror, check it out.

Also, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that January 7th, Samhain will release of my second full-length novel: The Summer Job. If you like to be way ahead of the game, the books available to pre-order now through amazon, B&N, etc. Check out the cover:

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If you’re looking for more info about that, I discuss The Summer Job and more over at this interview. Thanks to Jason for the questions.