Books

The Old and New Gods Prepare for Battle in ‘American Gods’ Season Two Trailer

Starz adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s hit novel depicting a battle between the gods of mythology and the gods of modern life is set to return for its second season on March 10, promising us an ole’ fashioned show down! If you have been waiting for a sneak peak into the battle for the souls of humanity, the trailer for American Gods season two has just landed.

Season two continues to focus on Wednesday (Ian McShane) and Shadow Moon’s (Ricky Whittle) cross country road trip in search of ancient allies for the coming battle with Mr. World (Crispin Glover) and his many minions.  The series also stars Pablo Schreiber, Emily Browning, Orlando Jones, Yetedi Badaki, Bruce Langley, Omid Abtahi, Mousa Kraish, and Demore Barne.  Gillian Anderson’s role as Media has been picked up by Kahyun Kim (listed as “New Media” in the credits) after her departure from the series after season one.  Kristin Chenoweth will also not be returning to American Gods as the fertility goddess Easter. In addition to Kim, Dean Winters (as the sinister Mr. Town) and Devery Jacobs (portraying Sam Black Crow) have joined the cast for season two. read more

The Original Horror Book Store Dark Delicacies Needs Your Help

Dark Delicacies has been a staple for horror fans and creators in the Los Angeles area since founders Del and Sue Howison opened the doors in 1994.  The shop quickly became known as a place for writers, artists, and filmmakers to not only sell their work, but also to meet, greet, and interact with fans.

Like many other brick-and-mortar specialty stores, Dark Delicacies found it difficult to cope with rising rental costs and earlier this year, the co-founders considered shuttering the very first horror themed book store in the United States.  Due to a great outpouring of support from the horror community, the Howisons decided to move the world-famous horror hang-out to a new location (with a more reasonable rental charge) so the legacy of Dark Delicacies could continue. read more

‘Halloween: The Changing Shape of an Iconic Series’: The Horror News Network Review

Fans and critics were certainly split over last October’s Halloween reboot.  While critics gave the film praise for updating the franchise for a modern audience, fans who have followed the series since John Carpenter’s original were less impressed, finding the film to be derivative and (the cardinal sin of any horror film) not scary enough.

Despite the mixed feelings about 2018’s version of Michael Myers tale, fans still hold the series in high regard, including some of the questionable later entries in the series.  Author Ernie Magnotta is one who certainly hold the films near and dear to his heart, but he also approaches the many Halloween films with a critical perspective in his new book Halloween: The Changing Shape of an Iconic Series. read more

First look at Zachary Quinto as Charlie Manx in ‘NOS4A2’

The King family is no stranger to vampire fiction, specifically dad Stephen and son Joe. In 2013 Joe Hill, oldest son of author Stephen King, released his third novel, called NOS4A2, to mostly critical acclaim as it was nominated for the Bram Stoker Award for best novel as well as named one of the top books of 2013 by Time Magazine.

In 2015, AMC announced that it had ordered a ten-episode series based on the book which finally began production this past October. Starring Ashleigh Cummings (Hounds of Love) as Vic McQueen and Zachary Quinto (Star Trek, Hannibal) as Charlie Manx – the story’s protagonist, an ancient sort of “psychic vampire”, AMC is looking to have the series out summer of 2019. read more

Ashley Romans Joins ‘NOS4A2’

Deadline is reporting that Ashley Romans has officially joined the cast of AMC’s NOS4A2. The up-and-coming actress is set to play the role of FBI agent Tabitha Hutter.  Romans is known for her roles on Christmas Crime Story, I’m Dying Up Here, and Shameless. She will join Ashleigh Cummings, Zachary Quinto, Virginia Kull, Ebon Moss-Bachrach, and Olafur Darri Olafsson on the series.

Based on Joe Hill’s book by the same name, NOS4A2 follows Victoria McQueen, a woman who has the ability to find things that have gone missing. Victoria comes face to face with the deadly Charlie Manx, a supernatural creature that feeds on the souls of children. The 720 page novel was published by William Morrow and Company and released on April 30, 2013. The novel has received mostly positive reviews and even landed on Time Magazine’s ten best books of 2013. read more

‘Heavy Metal’ Magazine Documentary in Development at Fox Digital

Fox Digital Studio, Heavy Metal Media, and 4th Row Films are currently developing a feature film documentary about the history and influence of the quintessential sci-fi/horror/ fantasy comic magazine Heavy Metal according to an exclusive report from Variety.  

Director Douglas Tirola is attached to the film, making it the second time that the director has worked on a documentary based on a magazine, the first being The National Lampoon documentary entitled Drunk Stoned Brilliant Dead. 

Steven Johnson, Fox Digital’s VP of Production, praised the project, stating that “We are very interested in making pop-culture docs and horror/sci-fi content at FDS. Heavy Metal is the perfect fit; it was a tremendous influence on so many great artists and filmmakers of the genre, and Douglas has a vision that’s going to deliver something really unique.” read more

Ben Mendelsohn to Star in ‘The Outsider’

Variety is reporting that HBO has committed to a series adaptation of Stephen King’s The Outsider. Jason Bateman is set to direct the first two episodes under his Aggregate Films banner which was founded in 2012. Ben Mendelsohn (The Dark Knight Rises, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, Bloodlines, Ready Player One, Captain Marvel) has landed the lead role of Ralph Anderson in the series.

Written by Stephen King and published on May 22, 2018 by Scribner the 560-page novel quickly landed on the New York Times Best Sellers list. The synopsis of the book is:

An eleven-year-old boy’s violated corpse is found in a town park. Eyewitnesses and fingerprints point unmistakably to one of Flint City’s most popular citizens. He is Terry Maitland, Little League coach, English teacher, husband, and father of two girls. Detective Ralph Anderson, whose son Maitland once coached, orders a quick and very public arrest. Maitland has an alibi, but Anderson and the district attorney soon add DNA evidence to go with the fingerprints and witnesses. Their case seems ironclad.

As the investigation expands and horrifying answers begin to emerge, King’s propulsive story kicks into high gear, generating strong tension and almost unbearable suspense. Terry Maitland seems like a nice guy, but is he wearing another face? When the answer comes, it will shock you as only Stephen King can. read more

Production Wraps on Mike Flanagan’s ‘Doctor Sleep’

Doctor Sleep– the highly anticipated follow-up to The Shining by director Mike Flanagan- is one step closer to hitting theaters! The prolific filmmaker announced on his Facebook page that production on the film has officially wrapped. He also reflected on the awesome experience he had making the movie:

(function(d, s, id) { var js, fjs = d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0]; if (d.getElementById(id)) return; js = d.createElement(s); js.id = id; js.src = 'https://connect.facebook.net/en_US/sdk.js#xfbml=1&version=v3.2'; fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js, fjs);}(document, 'script', 'facebook-jssdk'));

So that's a wrap on DOCTOR SLEEP! It's been a long, crazy, truly unique experience. I read the novel as soon as it came…

Posted by Mike Flanagan on Saturday, December 1, 2018

It’s been a busy year for Flanagan, who recently wowed Netflix viewers with his excellent The Haunting of Hill House series this October. With more than a year until the film’s planned theatrical release date, Flanagan will now focus on his post production duties for the movie. The film is based on Stephen King’s 2013 novel of the same name, and it features the return of Danny Torrance… now all grown up after his traumatic experience at The Overlook Hotel all of those years ago.

Doctor Sleep will hit theaters on January 24th, 2020. The film will star Rebecca Ferguson, Jacob Tremblay, and Ewan McGregor. Stay tuned to Horror News Network for more details on this exciting project as they break!

 

Vertigo’s ‘Hex Wives’ Writer Ben Blacker: The Horror News Network Interview

For many horror comic fans that came of age in the late 1980s and continued to read and collect comic books into the 90s, Vertigo was their publisher of choice.  With titles such as Alan Moore’s Swamp Thing, Neil Gaiman’s Sandman, and Garth Ennis’ Hellblazer, Vertigo was the place to go for mature, literary horror comics.

This past year, Vertigo has started to go back to their roots with a number of horror and supernatural titles, such as Ben Blacker, Mirka Andolfo, and Marissa Louise’s Hex Wives.  Writer Ben Blacker was able to pull himself away from his cauldron to engage in a lengthy interview about the new series and the ever topical subject of witches.

Horror News Network: Where did the idea for Hex Wives come from?

Ben Blacker: Hex Wives is the confluence of two ideas I’d been tinkering with in the back of my brain for years, while my writing partner and I were working on a few other projects. Maybe five years ago, I caught an episode of Bewitched on TV. I loved that series when I was a kid; when I’d see it in syndication when I stayed home sick from school. It was a typical episode—Samantha worries about getting dinner on the table for her husband who is bringing his boss home from work. Samantha’s mother, Endora, swings by to tell Samantha that she’s married below her. But this was the first time it struck me that Endora was right! Samantha is this super powerful witch who is “not allowed” by her husband to practice magic! That’s bonkers. Darren didn’t want his wife to be her complete self.

So, this was something chugging along in the back of my head. Meanwhile, I was having more frequent and honest conversations with my wife and my women friends about the way they were really treated at work, in relationships, etc. There were a lot more insidious and ingrained attempts to control women than I had realized. Ways of subjugating or minimizing women and their accomplishments seemed inherent to our patriarchal society.

It really came to a head leading up to the 2016 election when I saw both how people talked about Hillary Clinton and how others talked about the way Clinton was talked about. Never has someone so qualified run for this position and never has someone so unqualified won it. At its base, this came down to a question of the way women are considered and treated.

I learned so much about writing TV from Buffy the Vampire Slayer. One of the lessons from Buffy is about having a central metaphor. When I put these ideas together—an exploration of witch tropes and a desire to write about gender politics—Hex Wives really took shape.

HNN: Your story displays witches across time and of course, starts with Salem.  Why is this historical setting so crucial to the opening of your tale?

Blacker: Hex Wives is, at heart, a love story between Isadora and Nadiya, two (basically) immortal witches. (They can die, but they get reborn as themselves). So, I wanted to give some scope to what I thought of as an epic romance. I wanted to give the impression that these two women were destined to be with each other. That, time and again, they’d find each other. That way, when the bad guys have their way and brainwash all of the witches, and Izzy and Nadiya know nothing of who they are or their past selves, it was really emotionally wrenching.

The other thing I was interested in was setting the boundaries of the book. Witches as a horror trope (and as historical figures) go all the way back to ancient Greece. So, by starting the book in Salem, Mass. (a place I visited often as a Boston-based elementary school kid) and referencing The Crucible (a book I taught a few times back when I use to teach 10th grade English), I was staking out that this would be about American witches (which was part of the initial conception of the book). That said, I’m finding myself going back even further in upcoming stories…

HNN: There are two nine panel scenes in the first two issues where Isadora is getting dressed in front of a mirror.  What is the significance of the mirror and her process in relation to your story?  

Blacker: That first nine-panel grid of Izzy in front of the mirror, getting ready for her day, was the very first image I thought of for this book, about four years ago, and it’s the one from which everything else sprung. There was something about seeing this woman in a private, intimate moment and knowing that she was doing this for someone else (her husband). For this character, putting on make-up, doing her hair, making herself “beautiful,” is all for him. I didn’t know why she was doing it, and it occurred to me that maybe she didn’t either. So, that kind of became the basis of the book. A suburban housewife who doesn’t know herself, doesn’t question her reality, who possesses this secret, even from herself.

I knew I would repeat that motif throughout the first arc and beyond. Mirrors are, of course, a loaded metaphor. Do you remember the ad campaign for Poltergeist II? Probably you don’t, because who would? But basically, it had a narrator saying “Some people are afraid of heights. Other people have a thing about mirrors…” and etc. I was a kid when that came out, and I remember asking my mom why people would be afraid of mirrors. She responded, in THE MOST TERRIFYING POSSIBLE RESPONSE, that people are afraid they’d look into the mirror and see someone who wasn’t them looking back. This fucked me up to this day! (Emanuela Lupacchino did a terrific take on this idea for the cover of Hex Wives #2).

So, without unpacking the entire metaphor of mirrors, I like how they function as an object of horror, a literalization of “knowing one’s self,” and as a tie to witch tropes (“Mirror, mirror on the wall,” and all of that). It was fun taking apart and re-assembling so many witch tropes—broomsticks are another one we tackle—in ways I haven’t necessarily seen in witch media.

HNN: How does Mirka Andolfo’s art help establish the tone of Hex Wives?   read more

‘Happy Death Day’s’ Christopher Landon to Produce Film Based on Grady Hendrix’s ‘My Best Friend’s Exorcism’

According to an exclusive report by The Hollywood Reporter, Grady Hendrix’s novel My Best Friend’s Exorcism, is about to get the silver screen treatment.   Hendrix’s novel, a tale that blends elements of humor, teen drama, and the paranormal, will be produced by Christopher Landon, the writer-director of the Happy Death Day franchise.  

It is unclear at this time if Landon will direct the film, but initial signs are suggesting that the director may very well helm My Best Friend’s Exorcism.  The rights to Hendrix’s book were secured by Endeavor Content and Jenna Lamia (Awkward, 90210) will pen the adaptation.  Hendrix will also serve as a creative consultant.

My Best Friend’s Exorcism is Hendrix’s third property to be optioned in the last year, joining “…Horrorstor, about an IKEA that contains more frightening sights than just flimsy furniture…” and Chelsea Stardust’s Satanic Panic, which is described as “…an After Hours-esque dark comedy in a supernatural setting.”

Hendrix has also been busy writing, turning out his latest novel from Quirk Books, We Sold Our Souls in September.  Hendrix also gained wide notoriety for his non-fiction ode to the forgotten horror novels of his youth, the gonzo coffee table book, Paperbacks from Hell (which Horror News Network reviewed last year).  The prolific author even found time to help bring Fangoria back from the dead, with an article in the first issue of the relaunch entitled “In Search of Bigfoot Fiction”.

Stay tuned for more updates on My Best Friend’s Exorcism and the rest of Henrix’s projects, right here at your home for horror journalism, Horror News Network.