Friday, September 20, 2019

Story: "It's Only A Paper Moon" (revised 2019)

You can find more of my written work here: MEANWHILE....

And, check out the amazing Shelby Scott reading this story on the wondrous SCARE YOU TO SLEEP PODCAST. She did a fantastic job!

“Yes, it's only a canvas sky Hanging over a muslin tree But it wouldn't be make-believe If you believed in me 
Without your love It's a honky-tonk parade Without your love It's a melody played in a penny arcade”

It's Only A Paper Moon by Malcolm Johnson

Rain beats against the window as music starts to fade away in the nightclubs hallway. The last of the dancers make their way down the hall – eager to change and leave for the night even if it means a walk in the rain. Their muffled voices drift away on the other side of the door.

The tiny room of Shelly Cole is dingy and smells of mold and something else. Something sour. The clubs main singer paces in her dressing gown, crumples the newspaper in her hands – the date reading August 16th, 1944 – and tosses it onto the dirty wood floorboards. She's done for the night. So done. Tears stream down her cheeks as her breasts dance under the sheer silk of her dressing gown. Her raven hair and dark eyes catch the light from the small lamp on her dressing table from time to time and seem to sparkle and glisten.

“Are you serious this time or it this another ploy? I mean, I'm not going to stay if you're just putting me on again. I can't take it no more.”

A tall man stands in the corner of the room and stares out of the darkness. He looks over to the weeping woman and wishes he could tell her what she wants to hear. He wishes he could tell her anything. His suit is filthy and wet with the night's rain. He stares out from the shadows in the corner of the small room and longs for her. So close. So far away.

“Ya big lug. Leading me around by the nose.” She wipes her tears away and her voice grows louder. He glares. If she keeps this up, they'll track ‘em down, break in, and find the two of them. Then what? Being in this closet of a room didn't leave a lot of options.

Her gown shimmers in the streetlight streaming through the filthy window an she looks radiant. Glowing. Her voice slips through the room like syrup and fills his ears with song even when she isn't singing. He can hear heavy footsteps on the stairs. Not the footsteps of small dancers, but the thumping of blunt men.

The club was packed earlier, but he's not sure it matters to the likes of the mob. Hell, they probably owned the joint. For all he knew, they owned her. He strains to hear any sign of them coming closer.

Somewhere down the hall dancers chatter and make their way outside in the glow of the club lights as it starts to close up for the night. Guy Lombardo proclaims that some dame is making him crazy. There's something funny about that, but he can't laugh about it now.

Her wailing takes him by surprise as she screams out, “Why'd ya go and leave me in tha’ first place!? You said you'd always take care of me! You promised, Tommy!”

He holds up his hands and waves his arms stiffly, then glances at the door. Shelly needs to be quiet. Quiet as a mouse. He presses back into the shadows as the door jam splinters inwards and the door of her dressing room springs open. Subtle these boys ain't. Two silhouettes of mountains fill the doorway.

“Well well well….” One of the mountains moves into the room and has a look around. They either don't see him or figure two to one is good odds in their favor. “You turned out to be quiet a little artist, Baby. Totally bent.” The man’s eyes roam over her and she pulls her gown shut.

“Says you!” She tries to hold her own and if she's scared she doesn't act it.

“Listen, Biscuit, I don't care what ya did or didn't do. Don't matter now any which way ya cut it.” He lets out a chuckle as the other mountain moves into the room and slowly closes the door behind him. He shoves a chair under the knob to keep the door closed then folds his arms over his massive chest.

“I don't care what you or your gun mob think. I don't have any desire to talk to you hoods. Scram!” Her voice cracks. A dead give away to the fear swelling in her, poor thing.

“Easy,” he whispers as he pulls the cannon from his pocket,” or you'll be taking the pistol route outta town.”

Shelly shrieks and the man in the shadows is filled with rage. This fat-head has gone too far. The man in the shadows lifts the alley apple from the table next to him and grips it in his dirty hand. He can feel the weight of the blunt item in his hands and likes it.  The brick feels rough to the touch, but somehow his hands feel rougher. He stomps out of the shadows and the two men turn to face him. Bravado turns to horror as the light floods over the lurkers face and clothing.

Dirty and stinking, the lurker growls low through sewn and blackened lips. Bits of odd herbs and tatters of poultices drip and slither from the sides of his mouth like worms as another low, dull growling mumble rumbles into the space. His milky white eyes glare through the half-light as he stomps deeper into the room. His skin is a deep, withered gray like parchment and his dim eyes are ringed with dark circles. A zombie.

The hand cannon goes off, but it's an impulse trigger pull fired from the hip out of fear, not desire to kill. The shot goes wide and into the wall. The men stare on. Their eyes are filled with fear.

“Shelly? Hey Shelly!”  Shouts and calls fill the hallway outside as fists pound at the door and shrill voices ask if the club singer is all right.

The second man struggles to free his weapon from his coat. He doesn't have a chance. The heavy brick crashes into the side of his head hard and he goes down for the count and hits the flooring like a sack of potatoes.

Shelly’s screams fill the room as Tommy turns to face the final, now lone mountain of a gunman. “Look out, Tommy!”

The gun goes off again, but this time the deadly extension of the man's hand is leveled right at Tommy's chest. There's no quick-witted comment. No gunman bravado. Just an explosion that opens a small hole in Tommy's chest and a larger one in his back. A black, brackish liquid splatters against the wall. Another shot rips into his shoulder, but it doesn't matter. He stumbles back and slumps against the wall and slides down to the floorboards.

The gunman shivers as sweat pours over his face and hands. “Jesus.” A lamp crashes into his back and he winces. He reels around and catches the woman across her face with the back of his hand. Shelly yelps out and stumbles back into her dressing table. Glass breaks and items burst into life and dance their way to the cheap carpet as she drops to the floor far less gracefully than she dances.

The gunman pants and looks from his would be assailant to the woman on the floor clutching at her cheek and sobbing. The hallway fills with chatter and calls as the growing crowd continues to try and get through the door. Between the chair and the man laying in front of it, they can’t budge it. It won't be long now before the bulls show up. He'll have to take care of this and get out fast.

“Ok, Doll.” He levels the gun at her. “Where's the dough!” His hand shakes.

The stirring behind him makes him gasp. He turns and sees Tommy rise up from the floor. Rising for the second time this eve to take care of his girl.

Shots ring out and bullets fly as Tommy closes the distance between himself and the gunman. His ear explodes and black blood flies. His arm rips open as another bullet rings true. His leg bursts at the thigh. All too late. All too weak to stop what's coursing through Tommy's body.

The gunman's scream is cut off as Tommy's dirty, rotting hands find his throat and squeeze. The gunman tries to hit Tommy with the gun, but it doesn't phase the living corpse at all. A grin pulls at the corners of his mouth and dark liquid snakes down his chin.

The gunman sees the horror that is Tommy up close now. Sees the crude thread that holds the terrible lips shut. He smells the muck that drips from the corners of the…mans…mouth. . Sees the leaves and oily brown that glistens on the dead things lips. And the eyes. The cruel, milky eyes that narrow as more pressure is applied. The gunman has seen the look of death before, just not...moving.

He remembers, as his vision starts to go dark and the pain in his airway starts to give way to the limp darkness, where he's seen this man....this thing....before. Days the man’s funeral.

Time flies.

The questions she had to answer were moot. It was obvious to the goons when they saw the scene before them that this was more of the same. The mob cleaning house. She'd been roughed up and some tough guy had dispatched the two and made like a bird and flown out the window. The cops had her kick it apart for them, told her that they'd be watching her and that she should wise up before she ended up as dead, then they slipped away and out as the meat wagon took away the dead.

There was no question that she didn't do the deed herself. These two mountains were manhandled in a big way. A crushed skull on one and another with his neck looking like a few sausages crudely wrapped together and his head turned almost all the way around. No dame had that strength.

Not by herself anyway.

Shelly sits and thinks it all over as she stares out of the window of her little apartment. Thinks about the money – their money – and what she'd do with what's left over. She'd paid a pretty penny for that old lady to work her magic on Tommy. Money well spent. He did say that he'd always take care of her. He always said it. She was sure he didn't mind what she'd done to him. Water under the bridge now, anyway. None of that mattered anymore.

She takes a drag on her cigarette and turns up the radio. Something slow and easy drifts out into the dark room and tears fill her eyes as she tries to forget everything. She knows she'll never be able to, however. Those eyes. Tommy's milky white....sad eyes.

Something moves in the alley and her eyes narrow. Smoke swirls around her head as the cigarette falls from her fingers and on to the floor.

Tommy stomps up to her window and lightly raps on it as the rain washes over everything.

“No. can go away now!” She shakes her head as he knocks again – harder now. His terrible eyes stare at her blankly. “Go away, Tommy!” She backs up and her breathing grows more rapid. “You did good and now you gotta go. I’m ok now. You need to go away.”

He gives her the once over, cocks his head to the side lowers his arm.

She stares at him and whispers, “Go on...beat it,” under her breath. She moves closer to the window. She screams, “Beat it! Get the hell away from me.”

She doesn't have time to avoid the glass that rains in on her as his arms crash through the windowpane. She falls back into the room and hits the floor hard. The wind leaves her body in a huff as Tommy crawls into the room. He drags himself up and in effortlessly.

Dazed, she scrambles to her knees and makes for the door. Glass punctures her knee and she screams as she rolls onto her side. She looks back towards Tommy and pushes herself backwards with her hands- slithering towards the door on her backside.
“Go away, Tommy! You're scaring me! Leave me alone! Get the hell away from me!”

Tommy's groan sounds mournful. His arms reach out as he stomps over the broken glass.

She winces when she notices the massive shard of glass lodged in his guts. Entrails work their way out of the wound with each step. She gags at the visual and the rotten smell and scrambles back and away from the horror before her. Her mind franticly grasps at the strange word the old voodoo lady had given her to release Tommy from the world again.

Tommy's face is sad and his brow is furrowed. He's filled with nothing but love for her. He'd do anything for her. Had done everything for her. He even had given his life for her. His love for her broke all boundaries.

Tommy looms over her and blood drips onto her bare feet. She knocks into the desk and sends the light crashing to the floor. The room goes dark.

Fear and disgust course through Shelly as her eyes dart around for anything that might help her, then the word the old woman croaked out to her hits her like a ton of bricks. She shrieks out, “SATHRATHNA!”

Tommy feels his legs go weak. Feels the life slip from him as his eyes go wide in the darkness. He drops like a stone and body collides with hers hard.

She gasps. Air fills her lungs for the last time as the huge shard of glass wedged into Tommy's body pierces her flesh and brings the curtain down on her life. She wants to cry out, but withers away before she has the chance. Shock and terror stop her heart before her fatal wound can. The light leaves her lovely brown eyes as tears fill them.

Tommy reaches up and touches her face, then he reaches for his lips and tears away the heavy thread. Gore, herbs and a small shell fall from his mouth.

He whispers, “I…love....”

Thursday, September 12, 2019

HORROR SHOW VIDEO: Body Melt (1993)

This time we cover the gross, body horror stylings of BODY MELT from 1993. 

We have a review up if you'd like to read more about the film:

You owe it to yourself to give this film a viddy!

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

HORROR SHOW VIDEO: Independent Horror Films

Hey there Horror Fans! 

Well, I'm giving a new format a try for the HORROR SHOW VIDEO SERIES. I'd love to have your feedback. One thing off the bat that I can see here is the audio sync and overall time of the video, but both of those items will be addressed next round.

We're coming up to the SPOOKY season and I have many more of these videos planned. This new, quick-and-dirty format will help me to get more content out to you in a timely manor.

With that said, ENJOY!


Jebus....this film. :::sighs and rubs his eyes feeling drained::::   :)

There are these films that are really hard to classify. They aren't standard horror. They have more creep and horror than a plain drama would have, too. But, you can't just toss out, "Hey - like horror? Watch SEEDS" because your more horror mad viewer will get all pissed off and start screaming, "HEY! Where's the BLOOD! And...why am I hearing all this TALKING and GOOD STORY stuff!? What a rip off!" as they go stomping away to watch the new HALLOWEEN film again. :::grin:::

No, this isn't that. It's a tense, visually stunning story with horror elements and some really grim and gripping storytelling backed by a small and amazing cast.

From IMDB:
When his increasingly depraved behavior spirals out of control, Marcus retreats to his family home along the New England coast. But instead of finding solace, Marcus is haunted by his darkest fears and deepest desires.

But, even that sounds too "sexy" for this film. This is an actor and story showcase of darkness and mental illness. It deals with issues that are...what are the kids calling it these days...."triggering" for sure. It's uncomfortable and sad and draining.

And I fucking loved it. :::grin:::

Trevor Long's performance as the lead Marcus Milton is stellar. You can see the emotions racing through him and when he brings things to the surface, it's powerful. There's a struggle of epic proportions running through him and he's struggling through the whole film trying to resolve them. Just fantastic.

Andrea Chen is equally amazing as Lily - Marin's niece.  She's able to walk the line of young adult expertly. At times she seems like a young woman and at other times she seems closer to a little girl. The balancing act makes the overall tension very intense. Some of the scenes between her and Long make the screen crackle with an energy that was wild.

And even child actor Garr Long's (related to Trevor?) performance is super solid. This is key. I've seen films where there is a key child actor playing along with adults and they just come off as distracting. However, Long handles the role wonderfully and maintains the acting levels set by Trevor and Andrea very well.

The story. Whew...the story....

Like if Lovecraft and Kafka got together to write a story about mental illness. Director Owen Long (( SO MANY LONGS LISTED IN THIS MOVIE!!!!  :)  )) and Steven Weisman really nailed the balance between reality and nightmares here. You're bounced between three worlds, really. A lovely dream world of perfection and love, a nightmare world of fear, and the real world where the dream and nightmare worlds come together to caress some and crush others. Whew. And, it's really tough to watch at times, though I found myself not able to look away.

I don't want to say this lightly, but SEEDS is a brilliant film.  Definitely worth a viddy for the brave of heart. Don't expect to be spoon fed here, however. You need to dive in a bit. Get your feet wet. Think. If you don't want to do that, pass on this film.

However, if you like to explore the darkness....give this a go for sure!

 If you enjoyed the film and what it brought to the table on the style and acting fronts, you might want to hunt these films down as well:

REVENGE (Hevn) -

FAMILIAR (short film) -

HEIR (short film) -


HIERRO (Spain 2009) -


Part police procedural, part cult horror, and part crime drama, HELLMINGTON brings a lot to the table. And, like a large feast spread before you, you're going to like a lot that there, but you're also gonna wanna pass over some of what's offered up.

From IMDB:
A detective investigates her father's dying words; the name of a girl who has been missing for 9 years.

As usual, I'll kinda lead with this I wasn't thrilled with, but that others may love.

They had a heck of a story rolling that kept me engaged and thinking the whole time through, but where they veered off with it at the end didn't appeal to me 100%. That being said, I'm pretty sure it's a personal thing and that it's something that may change with an additional viewing. (Scheduled for the near future)   It's not like they made it a comedy at the end or something, but it just was a choice that had me scrunching my face up for a moment muttering, "Really? Hmmmm....ok..."  I guarantee that people will call me crazy for that.

Moving on.

What an engaging film this was! The characters were really well fleshed out, the relationships made sense, and the pace was great. Nicola Correia-Damude was great in the lead and managed to play it with a grace that sold it. She could have been overdramatic and big with it, but went into the realm of "dead inside and broken", then on task wonderfully. I have to look for her in THE BOYS on Amazon where she plays Elena. Michael Ironside is grand as usual and his performance is super solid. The supporting cast is all on par, turning in solid performances and believability that was really needed in order to care about a serious film like this. I've seen other films aim for this level, but the acting comes off as that of a college drama 100 play. This is professional all the way and helps to draw the audience in.

Hellmington was written and directed by Justin Hewitt-Drakulic and Alex Lee Williams which always interests me. I've written a comic with a friend of mine ( Gothic/horror/romance tale TAKING EDEN - shameless plug ) and that was a challenge to coordinate the path and characters. Then to take the story and direct it with someone just must be challenging on many levels. But, the combination works and works very well in this case. The duo nail a fantastic flow and hit the PROFESSIONAL LOOK target without question. The film is beautiful and dreamy in parts and raw and gritty in others. The soundtrack backs the visuals beautifully as well. The whole package works like a charm!

Lastly, the overall plot. Gripes aside, this story had a lot to love for me. I am a big fan of something going naturally astray from the path. When you are moving along and think things are going to go a certain way, only to have them change, then change again in a naturalistic way (not jarring and awkward) it makes me happy. Films like LAKE BODOM and...keeping the lake theme....LAKE MUNGO did this and really brought a smile to my face. It's almost like a surprise party.  Hellmington does this, though some of the elements are eluded to in the trailer....

So, is the film worth a watch. Oh yes it is! I was super happy with the way things turned out on the whole and I'm looking forward to giving it a rewatch.  Totally worth a viddy!!!!