Written by: Scotty
Welcome to the Big Easy, a place of joy and spiritual beliefs that could be taken to the extreme by any faction. Now add in a book that possesses the power to add in the extra step, the Necronomicon. Now welcome to the Big Uneasy, a city full of Zombies, Vampires, Werewolves, Ghouls, Succubi and Trolls. That is what had happened down in New Orleans once this book was delivered to the local museum and a clumsy curator cut himself and his blood activated the powerful spell book.
Dan Chambeaux, was a private investigator in the city before the change took place, now after being gunned down in the street, he is a Zombie investigator. Still taking the same types of cases as he would as if he were alive, Chambeaux continues to work out of his old office of Chambeaux and Deyer Investigations. This office is catered perfectly for the changes that have befallen the city. His partner is Robin Deyer, a lawyer and the only human on staff and there is Sheyenne, Chambeaux’s ex girlfriend who was poisoned and has returned to be a ghostly receptionist. The workload for the group has never faltered, especially after the city turned upside down. If anything, they have never been busier taking in every request that has come their way. The only problem is that when working for an Unnatural, you do not know what kind of payment you will receive.
Although he is working for many different parties, Chambeaux is still investigating two top cases in his spare time. He is desperately looking for the man that gunned him down, along with the person that poisoned his girlfriend turned ghost. Getting a new case from a Miranda Jekyll, who is looking to divorce her husband and not get shafted by the lawyers, Chambeaux is thrown into a larger case than he had expected. Trying to find any dirt he could on Miranda’s husband, Chambeaux has to trail one of the top salesmen for her husband's company, Jekyll Lifestyle Products and Necroceuticals (JLPN). Brendon Morris is a fan of Chambeaux and the lawsuit that was brought upon the large company since JLPN is the largest and only distributor of cosmetics for the Unnaturals that run around the Big Uneasy, but one of their previous batches caused massive allergic reactions, almost causing death, well second death to their users.
Death Warmed Over will leave your head shaking as the unnaturals around the town are at each other’s throat for one reason or another, but need to band up to keep from being run out of the city by the Straight Edge extremist group that wants them all gone, and turns out the Straight Edge group has a leader that may be more powerful than anyone could imagine, which is bad news for the unnaturals because all men, even dead men can be defeated.
This is just a fun little read as you follow Chambeaux (Shamble as the locals call him) on his investigations around town. You meet several colorful characters, mostly dead or undead depending on your point of view, and find out that their problems are just the same as the living. The cases that are depicted in this book range from faulty spell books, vegetarian vampire protection, divorce, drunk ghost hauntings, and a mummy that wants to be paid for his service in the museum. Although you do not get the horror or thriller feel from this book, you get to enjoy much more interactions between the characters and though you may shy away, there is a pig that is more than willing to snuggle with your leg. Enjoy and keep reading!
Written by: Scotty
Welcome to Catalina Island, home of solitude, wine mixers and missing persons. On Labor Day, Henry Cadmus, his wife Ruby and their daughter Moxie are on their way to visit his mother who has recently moved back to the island. Henry and his mother, although not being well off monetarily lived on the island for a short spell during his youth. After the two moved off of the island, Henry still tried to keep in correspondence with his mother. Although the two drifted apart and the letters were few and far between, his mother flat out just stopped responding to her only son.
Returning to the island was not something that Henry wanted to do with all of the memories from his short stay during his youth, but with his new family along with him now, he figured that all of the bad things that happened were all in his head. Stopping to get something to eat at the local diner, Henry kept his eyes and ears open for familiar faces and problems. One local woman that entered was a real estate broker and when Henry heard her voice, he recognized her as a girl that tormented him when he was a child. When they arrived at their hotel, they heard a private investigator named Arbuthnot asking about a missing person. Not really putting the pieces together yet, Henry was able to obtain directions to the Shady Isle retirement community to go and find his mother, just to make sure she was ok.
That afternoon, Henry and Ruby take a hike out to Shady Isle. Finding a large gate in their way, Henry hits the button to get someone out of the buildings to come let them in. When no response comes, Henry and Ruby begin to make the long trek back to the hotel, but Henry was not done yet with his search for his mother. Stopping at the local police department, Henry is able to voice his distrust about Shady Isle, but it seems as if the officer that was taking the complaint is not interested. ‘People move out here for the solitude and quiet. If your mother wanted to talk to you she would. Please be on your way.’ This does more than infuriate Henry, he would have to take action on his own, and what he will find would be far from what he expected.
Terminal Island puts you into the eyes of Henry Cadmus as he tries to find out what has happened to his mother, along with battling his memories of what the island had done to him in his youth. Private Investigator Arbuthnot fills in not only as an advisor on Henry’s quest, but assures the young man that everything that did happen to him on the island was real, and that Henry would never believe in any of it until seeing it with his own eyes. Ruby, Henry’s wife tries her best to keep a handle on the situation with her husband, but she reaches a point where she thinks that he has completely lost it and needs some sort of medical attention.
This is an interesting read to say the least. Most of the crucial parts of this book are written in flashbacks, it flows well with the story so you understand what is and why it is happening. If you keep your eyes open, you will be able to see the ending coming, although they try to take a clever twist on it. If you are open to some disturbing imagery, a new god Zagreus, along with a new religion that just seems flat out crazy, this book is for you.
Written by: John Edward Betancourt
I think it goes without saying that I love horror movies and everything about them. In fact I think it is a genre of film that should be celebrated in every way. Thankfully there is an event in Denver that does just that and if you haven't had the chance to attend it the last three years, get ready because the Mile High Horror Film Festival is back for its fourth year this October 3-6.
We here at Girls of Geek had the opportunity to cover this event last year and I can tell you, it is world class. Not only do you get to enjoy horror film after horror film but you can also meet horror film legends and this year is no different. In fact just the other day, Mile High Horror Film Festival announced its first wave of guests and this lineup is already pretty stellar. To start it off, Jeffrey Reddick will be returning this year, with the title of Jury Chair. If that name sounds familiar it should, he was the creator of the Final Destination series. We had the chance to speak with Mister Reddick last year and I can tell you he is an all around nice guy and extremely gracious to his fans. Take a moment to visit him at his table, you won't regret it.
But Jeffrey is just the beginning. For all of you John Carpenter fans, Meg Foster from They Live will also be in attendance. How awesome is that? But it still doesn't end there, Doug Bradley, the man who played Pinhead in the Hellraiser series will be in attendance along with Ken Foree, who played Peter in Dawn of the Dead.
Plus, there's an extra bonus that comes with Ken Foree attending the Festival this year. Now while I am excited to see all these awesome guests, there is one event that will happen that left my jaw on the floor. There will be a screening of my favorite film of all time with Ken as the special guest. That's right, they are showing Dawn of the Dead on the big screen.
That's how awesome the Mile High Horror Film Festival is, and to top it off, they are hosting it at the amazing Alamo Drafthouse Denver this year, which as you know is the best venue in the state when it comes to movie watching. So I would hope by now you're as excited as I am for this event and I would hope you're now making plans to get your tickets as soon as possible because trust me, this is a hot ticket.
While that may sound like a salesman line, trust me, I'm not joking. The All Access passes are sold out folks. Day passes are still available, so get them now so you can settle in and bask in this celebration of horror.
For more information and to purchase tickets please visit: www.mhhff.com
Written by: Scotty
Who am I? Am I still me? Are these questions you should still be asking yourself after you take a vacation? I would hope not, but if you are, you must really need to get away, maybe a bit further than usual.
This is the question a group of college friends have been left to ask themselves after a long deserved vacation to Cancun. Upon their arrival to the resort, they are able to befriend a group of heavy drinking Greeks who go by Mexican names and a German named Mathias. Although the group does not know what to expect from these friendships, they are ready to just have a great time.
Amy and Jeff, long time sweethearts from their early college days, are traveling along with Stacy and Eric, their love is by no means a long term relationship, but enough to stay with each other and not sleep around. After their long and satisfying stay at the resort, Mathias comes to the group and asks if they have seen his brother recently. The group has not and remembers that a couple days prior the brother had hit it off with a very pretty local girl and had run off somewhere with her. Mathias had found a note along with a hand drawn map of the location where his brother should be. The group, still on their vacation high decide to go along with the German on a little adventure.
When arriving at the location shown on the map, the group stumbles on to a little Mayan village on the outskirts. The locals do not seem to mind the outsiders in their village, but keep a close eye on the group and their movements. They take pictures and try to communicate with the locals, but they only know some broken Spanish, and not enough to make sense with locals. Finding the correct path to what appears to be a dig site, the group moves to some bare earth and onto a hill that only seems to be covered by beautiful flowers.
The group moves up to the plateau of this hill and notices the majestic view, along with the lack of any other plant life. Feeling a bit out of place, the group moves back down the hill, but is surprised to find a group of Mayans from the town, armed and guarding an invisible barrier, not allowing them to exit the ancient land. This is just the beginning of their problems, as they stumble across the body of Mathias’ brother who was shot in the chest and left to die on the hill. The group also finds an abandoned dig site, no people, but all of their belongings remain. Along with that, Pablo, one of the Greeks that decided to tag along on this adventure fell into a shaft and broke his back. These are all the least of their problems, for the hill has a secret of its own it is about to reveal.
Welcome to The Ruins, one of the reasons I will never go down to Mexico for fear this will happen to me. Scott Smith has a fabulous imagination, and is able to put it down on paper just the way he intends. This book is full creepy, disturbing and downright wrong thoughts of what would happen if you were left to die on a hill with a bunch of your friends. Worrying about the safety of your group, your future, lack of water, starvation, a group that will not let you leave, along with a hill that is able to….come alive, you worry for the group and what will be their best escape from this treacherous place.
This is a fantastic read. Smith keeps the story flowing from their arrival to the hill, to when they all…well…let’s say until the book ends. With all that is going on with the group and their fight for survival, Smith is able to keep some moments of levity, that is until it all hits the fan. Pick up this book, make sure your plants are happy and watered and keep a light on. This book is guaranteed to take you places you never really wanted to go.
2004 was a fine year for zombie films. There was the wildly popular Dawn of the Dead remake that hit theaters, and it made a boat load of money. For the first time in a very long time the living dead were the monster of choice at theaters and it was a wonderful thing to see.
But the Dawn remake was not the only zombie film that experienced wild success in the theater that year. Oh no, 2004 also featured the invention of a new sub genre, the rom-zom-com, and this is also the year the Three Flavors Cornetto Trilogy came to be, when Simon Pegg, Nick Frost and Edgar Wright burst onto the screen with Shaun of the Dead.
Shaun seems to have it all. A steady job, a pretty gal at his side and friends that stick by him through thick and thin. Or so it seems. In reality, he's trapped in a dead end job and is doing his best to keep his relationship together. It seems as though there is only a sliver of hope for his future, that is until the fateful night arrives when the dead suddenly return to life and Shaun becomes a man of action, ready to do whatever it takes to save his family, his friends and his girl.
Simply put, this film blew me away with its complete and utter brilliance. While that may sound like hyperbole at its finest, I'm not joking, I walked out of the theater with my jaw dropped at how absolutely good this film is. So rarely does a film get everything right and Shaun of the Dead is one of them. The first thing that took me by surprise was the incredible job done by the cast. In every sense the actors in this film truly become their characters and that alone pulls us into this world because these characters feel like either people we know or have encountered in our travels and instantly we relate to them.
But it doesn't end there, past those endearing performances we are treated to laugh after laugh after laugh with spot on comedic timing and jokes that completely work. But the centerpiece of this film, is its heart and the clear love from Pegg, Frost and Wright of the living dead. While this is a comedy, the zombies are played off just right, with plenty of gore to satisfy and some excellent creepy moments. In fact the zombies were handled so well in this film that Pegg and Wright managed to earn a cameo in George Romero's Land of the Dead.
Hands down, this is one of my favorite movies of all time. The jokes, the dead, the acting, I cannot emphasize it enough that all of it simply comes together in this motion picture and if you haven't seen it, you really are missing out on that rare two of hours of cinematic perfection.
Written by: John Edward Betancourt
Sometimes in the horror industry a franchise is basically one and done. There's that moment of brilliance that is quickly snuffed out when it comes to any sequel that follow it. Perhaps a great example of this case is the Return of the Living Dead saga. While the first film introduced something incredibly new to the living dead genre, the sequels left much to be desired. We could of course sit down and review each one in depth, but quite frankly, there isn't a lot of meat and potatoes to cover so instead lets's take a look at what came after the first film in the order of best to worst.
Return of the Living Dead Part II
The Plot: The canisters responsible for the disaster in Louisville, Kentucky in the first film are on the move again and once more, a handful of them are "misplaced." But when a pair of teenage bullies discover one such canister, the horrors within are unleashed once again.
The Lowdown: The movie gets an A for effort when it comes to trying to recreate the magic of the first film. In fact, a few of the original cast members return in this motion picture, but the magic does not. In fact the slapstick is turned up to eleven and the scares are either cookie cutter or non existent. There isn't much gore to be found here either, but the film is watchable. Not the worst entry in the series, but definitely nothing to write home about.
Return of the Living Dead Part III
The Plot: When the love of his life dies in a tragic accident, Curt Reynolds goes to the extreme to keep his love alive by sneaking his dead girlfriend's body into the secret military base where his father is experimenting with bringing the dead back to life. His gamble pays off and his love returns from the grave but now there are greater complications to their relationship...after all how will they live happily ever after when the one he loves needs to feed on brains?
The Lowdown: You may have heard the phrase "jumping the shark" or "nuking the fridge" over the years, which translates to that moment when a franchise or series crosses the wrong lines and finally steps into ludicrous territory and this is the film that does it for the Return series. You would think the focus of the film would be on scares and the threat of the living dead being back once again, but you don't really see enough of either of those things because, well...this is a love story involving a zombie. So...there's that.
Return of the Living Dead: Necropolis
The Plot: HybraTech is a massive corporation with their hands in everything, including resurrecting the dead. They have their hands on the unpredictable Trioxin and their lead scientist, Charles, will do anything to make sure his experiments on reanimating corpses is successful, even if it means using his own family members.
The Lowdown: Here is where things begin to get especially ugly for the franchise. While a veteran actor like Peter Coyote is featured in the film, I'm not sure why he bothered with this one outside of the paycheck because it is just bad. A paint by numbers plot, zero scares and bad acting and poor special effects should have made this film the last one in the franchise but surprise, they made one more!
Return of the Living Dead: Rave to the Grave
The Plot: Charles, the wild scientist from the last film, has finally met his maker and his kin discover the last remaining canisters that contain Trioxin. Curious as to what exactly this gas does they conduct experiments on the gas and a surprise taste test leads to the discovery that in small doses Trioxin is an incredible recreational drug. This leads to the creation of Z, an ecstasy like drug that has a horrible side effect...when too much is consumed the user is turned into a member of the living dead.
The Lowdown: Yup. That's how far the franchise fell from grace. It went from a fun splatterpunk movie, to a flick that features a rave and people dropping Z like it's the newest flavor of Skittles and they of course turn into zombies. It's a sad end to the franchise and quite frankly, one of the most ridiculous plot lines I have ever seen in my travels. I only hope that this means that the Return franchise ends with this awful mess and it is left to rest in peace.
Written by: John Edward Betancourt
What a great time it is to be a horror fan. How can it not be? A zombie apocalypse themed television show is at the top of the ratings and it doesn't end there. With a ghost story recently dominating opening weekend at the theaters with The Conjuring, horror has finally found its niche in the mainstream.
In fact the whole reason I sat down to write this article, is because I just recently watched a television advertisement for Sprint featuring a zombie. Granted there have been plenty of living dead themed commercials as of late but this one caught me off guard while watching preseason football because it's a corpse asking about unlimited data plans. I mean, that's how far horror has now snuck into our daily lives.
Which brought a question to my mind, how long can this renaissance last? I mean, don't get me wrong, I remember having to spend time educating others on who George Romero and Dario Argento are when it came to discussions of horror back in the day, so to see horror everywhere I turn is a welcome change, but how long will it be able to sustain this runaway popularity? The answer I discovered years ago in a little documentary called The American Nightmare.
This gem premiered on IFC back in 2000 and chronicled the last time that horror was prevalent in our society, the late 60's and 70's. Now one thing any horror fan needs to do is watch this documentary. It chronicles the greats and does it with class, giving you an incredible behind the scenes understanding of what went into some of our favorite horror films.
But more importantly, it points out why horror was popular then and why horror is popular now...the state of society. Think about it, we had civil rights battles and unrest and distrust in the government back in the 60's and 70's and a seemingly endless war all leading to a fear of the unknown. While these points make for a tasty documentary, all of it resonates today, especially when you think about horror in the 80's and 90's.
A lot of the social unrest disappeared in those decades and really so did horror. Those movies were still being made, but they were often relegated to home video and loved by only the most hardcore of fans. Now, while it's great to see a documentary about a golden era of horror, let's face it, the genre was not as popular as it is now, and let's also face facts, the unease we face in the world is much larger than it was back then.
Civil rights battles are back in a big way, distrust of our government is at an all time high, and if you don't believe me...just look at the approval polls for Congress, war is still a concern and well we are most certainly afraid of the unknown once again courtesy of 9/11. All these things prove The American Nightmare 100% correct. Horror wasn't big again right away, but four years after our nation was attacked, George Romero made his first zombie movie in twenty years. The fact of the matter is, horror is healthy during darker times in our lives. It allows us to experience terror and despair until the end credits roll and we feel safe once again.
So here we are, horror is all around us in pop culture and while there are some incredible underlying reasons why we have allowed it, I welcome it and fully understand that it likely won't last forever. Someday the economy will recover, and the bad guys will disappear for a little while and life will go back to normal and likely horror returns to its cavern, waiting in the shadows for the next inevitable shift in the world where it is needed to provide us with scare therapy once again.
Written by: Scotty
Cooger & Dark’s Pandemonium Shadow Show
Fantoccini, Marionette Circus, and Your Plain Meadow Carnival.
Best friends William Halloway and James Nightshade spied this sign being waved around their small town, a carnival, but this late in year, being October and all. Something had to be wrong, but none the less the boys were going to attend and see all that the freak show would provide. Being born just days apart, these two were joined at the hip, and nothing would ever change that. On their walk home, the devised a plan to see the carnival setting up, but nothing could have prepared them for what a little bit of sneaking around would manifest from the carnies.
The carnivals calliope (steam organ) was beckoning the young men to come down, playing its seductive tune, but when the boys arrived to watch the set up, no one was playing, the cold wind was shrilling off of the pipes causing the alluring sounds. The boys, although a bit freaked out, stayed and watched as more of the carnivals set up came to life. With the tents being erected, rides being unloaded, and the freaks all heading to their appropriate areas, nothing looked out of the ordinary, until one sheet of canvas was unloaded off of the train, and it seemed to be eyeing the boys. It was getting late, so the boys decided they would leave and hit up the new attraction in the morning.
Have you ever wondered what happens in a carnival, how their performances always seem to be the same from year to year, how your ticket taker never seems to age a day from the last time you saw them? Something Wicked This Way Comes will be more than willing to answer your questions of why this seems to happen. The young friends Jim and Will are exposed to the carnivals secrets first hand and put into situations that no teenagers should ever be privy too. They are joined by Charles Halloway, Will’s father on their quest for knowledge of this carnival that seems to have alternative motives other than just entertaining the townies.
Being pursued by one of the carnivals proprietors, Mr. Dark, The Illustrated Man is on the hunt for the two boys. Sending his carnival brethren out into the town to find the children that threaten his very existence, there seems to be little chance of escape for the two friends. The carnival is always looking for new acts and attractions, any new one will do. Many colorful characters join the hunt, but it will only come down to Mr. Dark facing off against his new found enemies.
This story is an altogether home run! Bradbury takes your common love of the carnival, adds some magic and evils it up a bit, Boom, you have a classic horror story. This was hard to put down once the boys are discovered mulling around the carnival site. The searching by the carnies and the instant retaliation by the boys is epic. You also have a father opening up to his son, showing him that getting old is not a bad thing. This one is a classic and definitely has my seal of approval, so get out and read this now and never look at a carnival the same way ever again.
Written by: Scotty
This would be my second time staying on the fourth floor at the Stanley Hotel, and as always, it did not disappoint. You have all heard stories about the different things that happen on this floor, well I have had a couple happen to me once again. You hear about people, kids running down the main hallway when it is time to turn in for the night. Between 10pm and 12am, you will hear this at least once. Now it was a little difficult to hear it at first, my neighbor had their TV turned up to full blast, but when it happened the second time at eleven, I was more than happy. It started off with what sounded like a door closing, then a few quick steps than a full sprint, that ended at my door. Now everyone will ask, how do you know this was not a person messing with you. Well, when walking down the hallways in this iconic hotel, the floors have creaks when people with actual weight walk down the hallways. This did not happen when hearing the footsteps flying down the hallway.
The second strange occurrence happened during my 2am stroll down the hallway. Being awakened by heavy footsteps in the hallway, I opened up my door and checked the hallway, but there was no one there. I do not know if this was something out the ordinary, or just a patron returning to their room after a great night at the bar. I will dismiss this one, but as I continued down the hallway, I heard something that sounded like muffled laughing coming out of room 403. Now according to the front desk, this room was unoccupied this night, so what could have been making this eerie sound? I sat outside of the room for a few minutes, just trying to put my finger on what it could have been, but some things could just be better left unanswered. What is a muffled laugh you may ask, I would equate it as laughing very hard into a pillow; that would be my best description.
I did not hear anything to crazy coming out of the other rooms, except snoring and the common tossing and turning that staying in a hotel brings on all travelers.
When walking by the stairwells, you do get a strange feeling that someone is watching you. Just be warned, you will never be able to catch what or who it may be, so just be happy with the experience.
My final experience came from the tiny elevator. Now, I will admit, I have never been a huge fan of elevators in hotels that are under ten stories high, I mean, why not walk? But this elevator seems to have something fun going on in the middle of the night. It was on the fourth floor all night long, but appeared to keep trying to go up. I don’t know what to think about it, it could be an electrical issue, but it does not seem to be a problem during the day. There was no one inside of the elevator, but there were some strange sounds coming out of it. I tried to get some pics, but I only snagged one good one before my battery went dead and I heard a smash. Knowing that I may have exceeded my investigation, I happily tipped my hat to the floor and went back to bed.
Now my room, 432 had nothing out of the ordinary going on. There is nothing reported in this room except for hearing the strange on goings in the hallway. Even with the window sitting open all night, nothing moved on its own or with the help of the wind. This made it extremely easy to sleep, for some people this is very important.
If you are looking for just a fantastic place to stay, I will say the Stanley Hotel should be the top of your list. You are never guaranteed to see or hear anything supernatural, but if you do, you will be far from disappointed. The hotel is just fantastic, along with the views of Estes Park, there is not a bad room to be had on the property.
Hope you enjoyed my accounts of what happened on my night on the fourth floor, you may believe them or you may not. That is just fine by me. The only way to come to your own conclusions about this hotel would be just stay the night, or three. My take on the hotel is that there definitely is something going on at night, just saying. This has been a great experience and just a fantastic vacation! I should not wait another ten years to do this, and I would highly recommend the stay for anyone looking to just get away and relax. Hope to see you all next year, when I do it again. Happy hunting.