Articles on this Page
- 01/22/14--16:00: _Walking Dead: The S...
- 01/22/14--17:00: _TV Recap: 'Face Off...
- 01/23/14--11:30: _Massive Bronze 'Rob...
- 01/23/14--11:45: _‘Last of Us: Left B...
- 01/23/14--12:00: _Exclusive: Ice Nine...
- 01/23/14--12:15: _Cinema Sins Breaks ...
- 01/23/14--13:00: _Singapore Paper Pub...
- 01/23/14--13:30: _Book Review: 'The W...
- 01/23/14--14:00: _DIY Monster Makers:...
- 01/23/14--15:00: _Eight Sci-Fi Classi...
- 01/23/14--16:00: _Hipsters Remake 'Am...
- 01/23/14--18:00: _Scream Factory Expo...
- 01/24/14--12:30: _ATTN LA: 'The Exorc...
- 01/24/14--13:00: _Psychiatrist Analyz...
- 01/24/14--13:30: _Dangerous Games: 'D...
- 01/24/14--14:00: _You're Gonna Love T...
- 01/24/14--14:30: _Exclusive: Aaron Ec...
- 01/24/14--15:00: _Giallo Fever: 'The ...
- 01/24/14--15:30: _New Kid on the Page...
- 01/24/14--16:00: _Rare Collection of ...
- 01/22/14--17:00: TV Recap: 'Face Off' Episode 602 - 'Cosmic Conspiracy'
- 01/23/14--11:30: Massive Bronze 'RoboCop' Statue On Its Way to Detroit
- 01/23/14--12:15: Cinema Sins Breaks Down ‘Resident Evil’
- 01/23/14--13:30: Book Review: 'The Way of All Flesh' by Tim Waggoner
- 01/23/14--14:00: DIY Monster Makers: Terrifying Teddies by Michael Palmer
- 01/23/14--15:00: Eight Sci-Fi Classics That Eerily Predicted the Future
- 01/23/14--16:00: Hipsters Remake 'American Psycho'
- 01/23/14--18:00: Scream Factory Exposes Upcoming 'Sleepaway Camp' Blu-Ray Release
- 01/24/14--12:30: ATTN LA: 'The Exorcist III' Returns To The Big Screen 1/25!
- 01/24/14--13:00: Psychiatrist Analyzes Most and Least Realistic Movie Psychos
- 01/24/14--13:30: Dangerous Games: 'Darkest Night' Game Review
- 01/24/14--14:00: You're Gonna Love This Super Low-Budget Remake of 'The Thing'
- 01/24/14--15:00: Giallo Fever: 'The Case of the Bloody Iris'
- 01/24/14--16:00: Rare Collection of Nine Inch Nails Remixes by Coil Coming Soon
Our upcoming network premiere of The Ghostmaker on Sunday really has us thinking. The movie's all about a couple of college kids who stumble upon an old coffin full of gears that allow for a transcendental experience. Anyone who lays down in the coffin can use it to walk through our world as ghosts. We love the idea, and started researching out-of-body experiences. There are so many stories of people having near death experiences and other similar out-of-body feelings that we had to dig deeper. Hoaxes, hallucinations, or something stranger? You decide.
What is an Out-of-Body experience?
Just like its title suggests, an Out-of-body experience, or OBE, is a feeling of leaving one's body and traveling away from it. Scientists account for this phenomenon as a sort of physical hallucination. Some believe this is actually the spirit leaving the body. While others think this is just an over-exaggerated dream. No matter the outcome, the feeling in these OBE's are often quite similar. People report feeling as though they're floating away from their bodies, with some accounts stating that they can look down and see themselves below. Others report walking around their home, and some even report traveling to distant and strange worlds.
OBE's have long been used in fiction and film, from The Simpsons to Nightmare on Elm Street, the idea of someone feeling as though they are awake and walking around, while actually sound asleep, has captivated audiences.
When are OBE's observed?
It can happen during sleep, and often happens when that sleep isn't too deep. If you're sick, if you've worked too hard, or if you keep waking up during sleep you may experience an OBE. It can also happen while pushing yourself physically. Some marathon runners report feeling an OBE while competing. It can be induced through interrupted sleep or by tampering with the electrical impulses in one's brain (no, thank you). And one of the most common causes of OBE's are near death experiences. How many times have you heard some story about someone who "saw the light" as they were dying. That is, most likely, a byproduct of an OBE.
There have even been some moderately successful attempts at inducing states similar to OBE's in laboratories. Perhaps scientists got their inspiration from the 1990 film Flatliners, which starred Kiefer Sutherland, Kevin Bacon, and Julia Roberts as scientists trying to bring themselves to the brink of death. By doing so, they attempt to recreate near death and out-of-body experiences. Not a bad idea in the movie… if the consequences weren't so ugly.
What does science say?
Many scientists and skeptics believe that these occurrences are most likely psychological hallucinations. These OBE's are most likely caused by some disconnect between what the mind perceives and what the body physically experiences. More realistic than any dream, these experiences are often fantasy driven, and people prone to lucid dreaming are likely to experience such events. Though there are many theories, there isn't one set definition of what these experiences are. As we learn more about how the brain works we will undoubtedly learn more about dreams, lucid dreaming, near death experiences, and out-of-body experiences.
What do the paranormal believers say?
OBE's are widely held as fact by many parapsychologists and students of the occult. It is believed, by some, that an experience like this is the spirit leaving the body. In the classic science fiction novel A Princess of Mars, John Carter goes through a process of astral projection to get to Mars. Many believe that this process is possible (though few claim to be able to travel to Mars). This is one of those areas where science doesn't know enough about how the mind works, and many hope to fill the gap between science and mystery with magic.
What do you believe?
Are you a skeptic? Do you think Out-of-body experiences are just a misfiring in the brain somewhere? Or do you believe that the body is capable of more than science can illuminate? Would you take a ride in the Ghostmaker?
Face Off Episode 602
Original Airdate: 21 January 2014
In This Episode…
The contestants are brought to a cornfield for their next challenge. They are randomly paired up and each pair selects from a “top secret” folder. Inside is an image of a crop circle with a distress message. Each pair must create a unique alien who comes from a planet that is sending out that distress signal. The guest judge tonight is director Scott Stewart.
Niko & Corinne - “We need water.” This was a simple and well-applied makeup with a beautiful paint job. The brown could have very easily become muddy and gross, but it was luminous and interesting. I really liked the cracking effect. Neville thought it was impressive, with a great palette. Ve liked the breaking skin that seemed to explode from the back of the head.
George & Bethany - “Polluted and toxic environment.” They were going for something with a respirator, which Ve really liked. But once the respirator was off, there was nothing going on. The face sculpt was rough, and Neville didn’t think it told a story. The neck was a hot mess of blood, but it was done to cover up a massive tear in the cowl. Neville complimented them on turning lemons into lemonade.
Cat & Matt - “Our sun is dying.” These two didn’t really come up with a plan before they hit the workroom, and it shows. Originally the idea was to give the alien big ears to cool him off from an ever-expanding sun. Luckily they realized that would make their alien look like Dumbo, so they nixed it and replaced it with two big curved ridges. There was no story. Scott thought that, on first impression it was strong, but up close he realized they missed a chance to take it to the next level. Glenn hated the “Swamp Thing” nose, and Ve thinks a better paint job would have gone a long way in salvaging the makeup.
Daran & Tanner - “Ice caps are melting.” The idea for this alien is that they eat through their fingers and because their planet is being flooded, they are missing out on nutrients. The face sculpt was really angular and unique, but there were these strange gelatin pieces on the face that, to me, looked like pink puff pastry. I didn’t really understand it, but the judges loved it. Neville took to calling them “glands” and liked that they were “pushing the envelope.” Scott liked the soft colors, and the whole thing made Ve “extremely uncomfortable - and it should be.”
Niko and Corinne are the top team, with Corinne being the overall winner. Bethany is going home.
Dig It or Bury It?
I liked this challenge, though it didn’t really seem like anyone incorporated the actual crop circle into their makeups. Maybe I just didn’t notice.
I feel like this crop of contestants are a little green. Maybe it will change when they move over to solo challenges, but I have not been wowed by anyone, not by their technique or creativity. They are not bad (well, most aren’t) but nothing has “wowed” me yet. I don’t know if that is a product of the talent or the challenges.
Dragons! I really, really hope the extreme element requires them to breathe fire.
It all began back in 2011, when a RoboCop fan tweeted the mayor of Detroit, insisting that the half-man, half-machine crime fighter is a great ambassador for the city, and implying that a statue should therefore be erected in his honor - there's a Rocky Balboa one in Philadelphia, after all. Though Mayor Dave Bing thanked the fan for the suggestion, he broke the hearts of robo-geeks the world over when he also stated that there are no plans whatsoever to do anything of the sort.
Though the city of Detroit may have no such plans, however, many of its citizens do. After a Facebook page was launched to generate interest for a fan-driven quest to build a RoboCop statue, a Kickstarter campaign followed in its wake, which not only reached but far surpassed its $50,000 goal. Now nearly three years later, the statue is almost complete...
As reported by Gawker, the 10-foot bronze statue of Detroit's greatest hero is currently being built over at Detroit's own Venus Bronze Works, just in time for next month's release of the PG-13 RoboCop reboot. The only problem? A location hasn't yet been found for it to call home, and Mayor Bing still hasn't signed off on allowing it to be erected in his city. He has called the statue "silly," though that hasn't stopped the building process. Where there's a will, there's a way, as they say.
You can follow the project over on the Detroit Needs RoboCop website.
What does Alex Murphy himself think of the statue, and Mayor Bing's remarks? Take it away, RoboCop!
This Valentine’s Day (oh, video game publishers, why do you test our relationships so?), Naughty Dog and Sony will be releasing the first story-based DLC for The Last of Us. Centered on the relationship of the young Ellie and her friend Riley, the opening cinematic has been released by Sony.
It doesn’t reveal much, but the small details that are in there (Riley has become a member of the rebellious Fireflies) hint at greater tragedies to come. Time to restock the liquor cabinet…
The “Left Behind” DLC for The Last of Us will be released February 14th.
Paul W.S. Anderson’s take on Capcom’s Resident Evil is an incredibly divisive topic. On one hand, his cinematic treatments come across as tepid sci-fi action-horror with just enough RE fan service to earn the title. On the other hand, they’ve made revolting amounts of money so they might not really care how faithful they are to the source material.
Regardless of your opinion of the movies as adaptations of the games, Cinema Sins has broken down all of the plot holes, continuity errors, and leaps in logic that the first film had in “Everything Wrong with Resident Evil in 7 Minutes or Less.” Sure, some of the sins they pick on are a little nit-picky, particularly in reference to the 2002-era CGI, but it’s a genuine hoot to watch.
It begins as many zombie stories do, with a survivor shuffling down the streets of his hometown. Everything has fallen into a post-apocalyptic ruin, the sky has turned a noxious yellow, and there’s some kind of strange mold growing over the broken walls and cracked streets. The survivor remembers that his name is David, but he doesn’t remember much else. All he knows is that he’s scared, confused, and hungrier than he’s ever been in his life.
I reached the end of the first few pages of Tim Waggoner’s The Way of All Flesh (coming in April from Samhain Publishing) with visions of The Walking Dead and 28 Days Later dancing in my head. But by the time David made it to the park and began to fight a woman over a hunk of caged meat, I knew Waggoner had something entirely different in mind. From that point forward Waggoner kept piling on the twists and turns, resulting in one of the most original and surprising takes on the zombie genre I’ve ever had the pleasure of reading.
I’ll give you the basic setup, but as usual I’m keeping it vague so as to preserve the journey the author has laid out for you. A plague known as Blacktide has ripped through the world, leaving only a few pockets of survivors amid the hordes of flesh-eating zombies. In the town of Lockwood, most of the survivors have taken shelter in a school building. They’ve set up a rudimentary society within its walls, and with the exception of a few brave souls who venture out on supply runs they are content to hole up in relative safety. One of those brave souls is Kate, and her encounter with her twin brother David sets off a chain of events that transforms the survivors and turns the zombie genre on its cold, rotting ear.
So how is this different? Well, for example, most zombie stories put you in the head of the survivors, showing you the world from their point of view. Waggoner does that as well, but he gives equal time to the zombie’s perspective. Are they able to communicate with one another? Do they fear the living as much as the living fear the dead? Waggoner’s approach to these questions, as well as his ideas on how the world appears in the eyes of the dead, are fresh and fascinating.
Purists who believe that zombies should only behave in certain ways should be warned: Waggoner nods in the direction of George Romero’s rules for the undead, but quickly establishes his own take on how zombies work. Some of the zombies retain trace memories of where they lived and worked, for example, and while their appetite for warm human flesh is fully intact, they aren’t afraid to take a bite out of a fellow corpse if the live pickings are lean.
Waggoner’s explanation for the outbreak is unlike anything I’ve seen attempted before. Things take an existential turn toward the end of the book, shattering any last tenuous connection to traditional zombies with one giant revelation. It’s the kind of thing that could lose readers in a hurry if not handled with precision; fortunately, Waggoner is more than up to the task.
In The Way of All Flesh, Waggoner has pulled off the impressive feat of embracing some core aspects of living dead stories – the chaos, the isolation, the tension, and the copious gut-munching – while repurposing the idea for something ambitious and new. The human characters are interesting, but it’s the elevation of the zombies that really makes the book work. Even if you’ve grown weary of zombie stories, this one deserves your time.
The Way of All Flesh by Tim Waggoner from Samhain Publishing (April 2014)
Blu Gilliand is a freelance writer of fiction and nonfiction. He covers horror fiction at his blog, October Country, and contributes interviews to the Horror World website. Follow him on Twitter at @BluGilliand.
In a brilliant bit of marketing, communications agency Flickering Wall has created "Denham Psycho," a 6-minute remake of two of the most enduring scenes from American Psycho, created to promote Amsterdam-based denim line Denham. Except instead of business cards and Wall Street yuppies, we are dealing with skinny jeans and European hipsters. Rather than blathering on about Huey Lewis and the News before slaughtering his victim with an axe, the hipster psycho blathers on about civet poop coffee before slaughtering his victim with a pair of tailor shears.
As digital downloads and On Demand rentals threaten the future of physical media, I've personally found it harder and harder to convince myself that it's worth dropping $10 or $20 to add any given movie to my DVD/Blu-ray collection. I've always considered myself an avid collector of movies, and my massive collection takes up a good portion of space in my living room. But if I'm being honest, I've bought very few physical copies of movies these last couple years, and don't see much of a need to do so.
Everything I just typed above? It doesn't apply to the releases that are put out by one company. And that company, as you've probably already gathered given the title of this post, is Scream Factory.
The genre arm of distribution company Shout Factory, Scream Factory has proven itself to be a real gift for horror fans, giving us Blu-ray releases of our favorite movies that are packed with new special features and adorned with truly amazing artwork. 2013 was an incredible year for Scream Factory and 2014 is looking to be just as impressive, as they've just unveiled artist Nathan Thomas Milliner's incredible cover art for this year's upcoming release of the slasher classic Sleepaway Camp. As usual, the art will be reversible, with the film's iconic poster art on the other side.
Though bonus features haven't yet been announced, the Collector's Edition DVD/Blu-ray combo pack will be available on May 27th. See more upcoming releases over on the Scream Factory Facebook page!
There's at least one scare in 'The Exorcist III: Legion' that is so brilliantly crafted and executed that to this very day, it still works. Even to those that have seen it dozens of times (like myself) and even to new adult viewers that have never seen it before. Seriously, you know the moment I'm talking about. And I still have vivid memories of seeing this one as a kid on the big screen and being scared to death the whole ride home from the theater. Well, now it's time to catch this one on the big screen again.
FEARNET friend Brian Collins (contributor to Badass Digest, Horror Movie A Day, and one of our Horror Insiders that just provided a commentary to our 'Vault' presentation of 'Zombie') is hosting a special midnight screening of 'The Exorcist III: Legion' over at the New Beverly Cinema this Saturday, January 25th at 11:59PM. This is a 35mm presentation so see it on the big screen the way it was meant to be seen! Also as a special added bonus? Brad Dourif (Chucky himself!) will be on hand for a pre-screening Q & A to discuss his role in 'The Exorcist III.'
Tickets can be purchased in advance via Brown Paper Tickets or at the box office the night of the show. The New Beverly is located at: New Beverly Cinema, 7165 Beverly Blvd, Los Angeles CA 90036.
We'll see you there!
Though movies like Psycho and Silence of the Lambs have been analyzed by horror fans and film experts for decades now, a highly interesting report was just posted over on Science News, which provides an insight into those and other movies that we've never quite gotten before; insight from a real forensic psychiatrist, who knows a thing or two about psychopaths.
Samuel Leistedt has been interviewing and diagnosing real psychopaths for years now, and he recently set out on a mission to watch a whole lot of movies, and pluck out the ones that realistically and unrealistically depict cold-blooded killers. Leistedt and a colleague spent the last three years watching and re-watching over 400 movies, whittling down the list to 126 films, ranging from 1915 to 2010. A team of 10 other fellow psychiatrists then watched those movies and made their own diagnoses, which were used to form a massive research paper that documents cinema's most and least realistic psychopaths.
Among the 'frighteningly realistic' on the list are Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer's titular character, No Country for Old Men's Anton Chigurh and M's Hans Beckert. As for the most unrealistic, Norman Bates and Hannibal Lecter make that portion of the list, despite the fact that they're both based on real-life serial killer Ed Gein.
The main difference between a realistic depiction of a killer and an unrealistic one? While many big screen killers belt out maniacal laughs and are at times quite smart and sophisticated (as is the case with Lecter), Leistedt says that real psychopaths are cold, calculated and completely emotionless. “They’re cold-blooded,” he says. “They don’t know what an emotion is.”
You can read more of the scientific analysis over on Science News.
I've always been a firm believer that practical effects, even when done poorly, are far better than CGI. There's just something about knowing that what you're watching was created by human beings, rather than computers, that's incredibly special, which is probably why so many horror fans agree that CGI has really put a hurting on the overall appeal of our beloved genre.
When it comes to practical effects, there's no movie that did it better than John Carpenter's The Thing, which is still decades later one of the most impressive effects spectacles any of us have ever and will ever get the pleasure of experiencing. But what if a master like Rob Bottin wasn't in charge of the effects for the film? What if the budget simply didn't allow for things like elaborate prosthetics? Well, as the video you're about to see proves, my statement about practical effects being awesome, even at their worst, rings quite true.
One of the most iconic scenes from The Thing gets 'sweded' in this smile-inducing video, a term that essentially describes the low-budget DIY recreation of a big screen movie moment. Dig practical effects as much as I do? Then you are absolutely going to love this video, which was brought to our attention by Bloody Disgusting!
Frankenstein [Aaron Eckhart] is the latest member to join the anti-hero club. The supernatural flick I, Frankenstein finds the lonely monster, now called Adam, searching for both a purpose in life and a companion. That personal journey becomes derailed when he gets dragged into a centuries-old war between good and evil, and must side with gargoyles in order to stop a demon army from destroying mankind.
Eckhart recently spoke to me about putting a fresh spin on the classic Universal monster and ramping up the action.
Will Adam be struggling with his humanity in “I, Frankenstein?”
In this film, we’re dealing with other issues such as good versus evil, and demons and gargoyles. This film goes in a little bit of a different direction. There’s a battle for immortality, but always through the lens of the monster and how people react to the monster. It’s interesting how people who feel a certain way gravitate towards others who feel the same way. In the beginning of the movie, we find the monster amongst his own kind, in a way. As he evolves, he finds himself with a different kind of people. It shows the progression of the monster. Now, just having scars on your face or your body…A lot of people get in accidents and have scars. It certainly doesn’t mean that you’re a monster. It’s how you come to relate to the outside world as they relate to you.
What is Adam’s weapon of choice against the demons?
It’s Kali stick fighting. He has to defend himself against this evil force, the demons. In our story, the curse that Victor Frankenstein put on his son, basically the Frankenstein monster, is immortality. The fact that Adam has to go through time never really finding joy and never fitting in and living forever… That’s really what Hell is all about. He has to defend himself against these people who want to figure out how he is living without a heart or a soul, so he’s picked up Kali stick fighting.
It was something I had no reference to before and then I was thrown into it and became pretty adept at it. The fighting sequences in the movie are all me doing my own stunts, along with the other actors. It’s pretty cool to see.
Is there any wirework in the fight choreography?
Yeah, there’s a lot of jumping over cars. When something ascends or is killed, it goes up to heaven. I was on the wire, as well as Yvonne <Strahovski> and other actors. Having done Underworld, the producers are very good at this sort of thing.
This seems to be your most physical role to date.
I would say so. From beginning to end, it was pretty hardcore in terms of the training and having to learn a martial art so quickly and intensely. Director Stuart Beattie wanted it where you’re not cutting to a professional and then cutting back to my face. It’s me doing everything. The shoot itself was very difficult with a lot of filming at night. Hopefully it’s all in the movie and pays off. It’s 3D and IMAX, so it should be exciting for the audience.
How do you feel about the current 3D trend?
I appreciate the audience is going to see it in a very visceral way. That’s cool. I’m getting old, so I just like a good story. A good story trumps everything. I do like the fact people are going to see it on an enormous screen and are going to see the action coming out at them. This is the perfect movie because you’re talking about two sticks flying towards their faces. The gargoyles and demons are going to be flying everywhere. I think viewers are going to get a pretty good ride.
What kind of villain is Bill Nighy’s character, Naberius?
He’s the evil genius and is trying to take over the world. Bill is a tremendous actor with a reservoir of emotion inside of him. When he unleashes it, it’s spectacular. He commands the demons and he’s after one thing and one thing only.
Can you talk about Adam’s relationship with Terra [Yvonne Strahovski]? Why was that dynamic so important in rounding out the character?
You are talking about a man who children literally flee from. Nobody would house him. He’s basically homeless living on the street. Now, here’s someone willing to look in his eyes and not run away, and who has warmth and kind words for him. It’s the first time he feels any sort of reciprocation. It’s an important revelation not only for Adam, but the audience, in order to see he’s capable of love and that he has these thoughts. The classic monster is he’s ugly, inside and out, and that he has no concept of love. That’s just not the case with Adam. He wants to love; he just has to find someone willing to accept him. He finally finds that in Terra.
Terra is a scientist who is summoned by Bill Nighy’s character, Naberius, to find immortality and be able to reanimate corpses. That’s her lifelong dream. When she meets Adam, Terra sees that it exists and it’s true and she can study Adam. It eventually helps him.
How has it been dealing with computer animation on this level?
For an actor, it helps to have theatre in your past because you really have to imagine it. You have to get real specific with the director and say, “What exactly am I seeing and where exactly is it?” They have to paint a specific picture. Otherwise, the eyes get too glossy and all the actors aren’t looking at the same spot. Stuart knows this world so well that it was never really a problem. But we did a lot of practical work too. I think where the CGI comes in is creating this other world. It’s really creating the backdrops and cityscapes.
This is a new genre for you. What have you enjoyed about stepping into the supernatural world?
Just that anything goes. There’s never a “no.” Stuart came up with all these rules and how this world worked and what was permissible and what wasn’t and why. I find that interesting. There was how the demons go down and are killed. You’re talking about something that is pure imagination. There’s no precedence for this or prototype. This is all coming from Stuart’s imagination, which I think is fascinating as well.
The genre crowd is extremely vocal. What are you hoping they get out of this movie?
I’ll probably hear about it on twitter, the good and the bad. First and foremost, they have to be entertained. I hope that they feel like it’s a story well done. I hope they enjoy the thematics of it because Stuart really intertwined a lot of archetypal themes. Mostly, I just want them to be entertained.
In Part One we talked about how Christopher Payne decided to get into small press publishing. His first couple of years involved new authors whose writing he liked. But he realized he needed some well-known name value in his authors if his company was going to grow and begin selling great enough numbers of books to be self-sustaining. But "names" in horror are not the same as names in general literature.
By "well-known" where do you put that criteria?
Granted. Definitely mid-tier or low-end mid-tier as far as sales. But in 2013 we're working with Jonathan Maberry and some others. Now you take that into 2014 and you have a situation where I had to close down submissions because I can't take any more than I already had. 2014 is signed, full, and done. It's an entirely different looking company. It seems to have evolved every year. We're growing so fast.
Now it is not just you, right?
From an employee perspective I guess we don't have any employees. So we have a few people I contract with specifically to work with us. So they are not employees but they are contract labor. Editors and some cover artists that we work with. There are three artists now that we do most of our stuff with. We have a couple of editors - Dr. Michael R. Collings and Joel Kirkpatrick and Elizabeth Reuter.
Where did they come out of?
Joel's been with me the longest, almost from the very beginning. He read one of the books that I wrote and did a review. I got to talking to him and he saw what I was doing. Then he came on board with me on a volunteer basis, in the beginning. He helped read some submissions and we got to know each other more and more. I look at everything we've done and everything we've built in a short period of time and I'm pleased. We now have somebody who is selling foreign translation rights for us. That's all they do.
Then last year you bought Dark Discoveries Magazine from James Beach? Or is it not a buy?
Dark Discoveries Magazine and Hellnotes, both. Hellnotes is a web site dedicated to press releases or any news about horror and dark fantasy.
That came with employees?
That came with David Silva who has now passed away. Now my half-brother Russ Thompson runs Hellnotes. When David passed away Russ sort of took that over.
What made you want to buy an online site and a magazine?
There’s a lot of money going out-of-pocket for every book.
Was it much more than you thought it would be? For lack of a better word your books are print on demand. You need 100, you print 100. You don’t sit around with a warehouse full of books like the old publishing model.
You don’t but you still have to put out a lot of money on every book. You have all the set-up costs, the artist, the editor. Every book we have goes through a couple of rounds of edits, proofreading. Then every book that we do I print off at least 50 ARCs (Advanced Reading Copies) – which a lot of small presses don’t. So we are sending them out as review copies. We send out 200 to 300 eBooks on every book we do as well.
Do you get better response from one aspect of your business over another?
Print books. If you get 10 to 20 reviews most of those are going to come from print books. You’ll get some response from eBooks but it depends on the book as well.
What about being involved in something like BEA (Book Expo America) where the publishers exhibit and all the booksellers come to them in one spot?
I know the people at BEA very well. I thought about possibly getting a booth this year. We haven’t had an author yet that would be of the caliber of a BEA that can attract or do that kind of signing. We do now going forward so next year (2014) might be one like the Jonathan Maberry / Joe Ledger collection. We could probably have several different signings all over the place for something like that. They were going to give a pretty good deal this year and I’ll bet I could get a pretty good deal next year. But it’s a balancing act. I have to figure if this is the best way to spend my money.
So did you buy Dark Discoveries thinking here’s something that will make us big bucks?
No. I was advertising already in Dark Discoveries. My thought at the time was that I was spending x-amount on advertising so why not have a little more influence over what I could do on a website or magazine – see what I could produce and just have it be my own. I did buy it. I say that I bought it with the thought that I would be just as much a partner with James Beach. Because I don’t have, you have nineteen years of horror history, I don’t have that history. So I don’t know people in that way. But the synergy you get from it is...
Let’s say you have an author you’d like to do a short story with and I have Jonathan Maberry and all of a sudden he’s writing a column for us in Dark Discoveries. I signed David List to an anthology and I'd say “Hey David, I’d like to get you into Dark Discoveries for a short story.” So you get this synergy. Or maybe we get a short story from somebody and I say “That’s great. Maybe we should think about doing a project together.” So you get this synergy on the writing side and the content side but you also get the synergy on the advertising. It is so much better working with people you enjoy working with.
What were you doing before all of this?
Finance. Corporate finance. When I first started this I didn’t want to be. Nothing against small presses, but I didn’t want to go that direction. My goal is not to sell a few books on Amazon. My goal is to have a book, when we publish it, proliferate out into all the bookstores at some point. To do that I felt that I had to go the route of what the big publishers were doing. That’s one of the reasons I went after contacts at Publishers Weekly. I went after contacts at Library Journal. I went in the direction where I saw major publishing houses doing their thing.
I disagree with their business model in the sense that I don’t know that we still need secondary distributors. I don’t know that we need to warehouse books. I don’t understand why a lot of the publishing houses don’t go to POD. I think with the POD books we’re printing that the quality is as good as the print runs of the print books coming out today. Because POD has changed in its quality. The one issue I have with POD is the cost per book is higher than if you do a print run.
The interesting thing is this. There are 24 hours in a day and you need to look at what you can accomplish in that time. We publish 2 books a month right now. Think about what it takes to publish one single book. The artwork, the layout, dealing with getting it set up, contracts with the author, getting the ISBN, getting the ARCs out to reviewers, getting it set up on Goodreads, getting the book set up everywhere, getting it set up with the printer. When you look at how much time it takes to do all of that and with the things we do with the magazine and the website and JournalStone’s website. That’s not even trying to plan what you are going to do in the future and negotiating that. There’s only so much time in every day. You can only do so many things.
You can reach Christopher Payne at the JournalStone website.
Del Howison is a journalist, writer and Bram Stoker Award-winning editor. He is also the co-founder and owner of Dark Delicacies “The Home of Horror” in Burbank, CA. He can be reached at Del@darkdel.com.