In Blood by The Professor

In Blood immerses us within an epistolary horror penned by Sir Henry Irving, owner of the Lyceum Theatre, to his friend and assistant, Bram Stoker. It is a tale of murder, insidious plots, and the evolution of what would become Dracula.
It all revolves around a Masonic conspiracy surrounding the Duke of Clarence and Avondale, his part in the pregnancy of a Catholic girl of low birth, and the prostitutes murdered by Jack the Ripper. As our narrator describes it, his authentically terrified performances in Macbeth are informed and influenced by an all-too-real haunting wherein he sees the deceased ladies of the night in place of the three witches on stage with him.
From there, he finds himself driven by strange and monstrous compulsions and a need to witness unspeakable things in an appalling attempt at method acting. As his missive to Stoker continues, it becomes clear that something awful has awakened within him, leading inexorably down the path toward damnation and inhuman brutality.
The Professor’s narration of this sordid tale makes the story all the more compelling, its deranged and lunatic protagonist leaping from the page in such a way that the listener feels his frantic, unhinged need propelling the narrative forward. The strangely beautiful prose comes to life in cruel, vivid detail as the exquisitely described savagery spirals out of control.

You can obtain a copy of In Blood by going to http://www.godless.com or by downloading the Godless app to your mobile device of choice. The link is below:

Until the Sun by Chandler Morrison, Narrated by John Wayne Comunale

You’re a 15-year-old boy living with a foster family when you awaken to the sounds of shattering glass followed by what can only be violence. This isn’t the first time your short life has been punctuated with instances of horrific bloodshed, and if you choose to join the band of peculiar killers reveling in the chaos they’ve created in what is your third home in only a third as many years, this most certainly will not be the last. Don’t worry, this isn’t a choose-your-own-adventure story, and this pivotal decision is taken out of your hands and placed in the skilled, albeit sadistic custody of Chandler Morrison.
Entering the dizzying narrative of Until the Sun, you’ll be swept along currents of blood, strange drugs, and adolescent hormones until you find yourself standing dazed, in the sunlight of a new day, waiting for the ride to end. Morrison thoroughly captures that sense of being caught up in a life that feels entirely out of your control. This extends so far as to include the fact that, as a reader, you’ll see the final moments coming long before our protagonist does…and you’ll experience sensations that range from pity to heart-wrenching sympathy as you witness events unfolding.
We’re forced to wonder–if we’re being honest with ourselves–whether we’d be any more capable of wresting control from those who steer us along the destructive path ahead of us if we’d experienced the same tragic and disorienting life of young Casanova. I suspect we’ll never know, and we should be grateful for the fact that the dreadful sequence of events befalling that young man could only happen in fiction.
Morrison provides us with a vampire story that is both more and less than that. Until the Sun is a dark, twisted, and perverse coming-of-age tale that abruptly detours us through the worst possible paths to reach the conclusion. A conclusion, I might add, that is equal parts hilarious and cruel in both its predictability and subversion of what a reader might expect when first choosing the book.
John Wayne Comunale’s narration is effective in bringing to life the characters who often feel like caricatures of people we might have known in our own lives, or maybe people we’ve been at different points in our lives. There probably isn’t a narrator who would have been better suited for this drug-fueled, bloody, and irreverent combination of various horror subgenres.

Mephistopheles Den by Matthew Vaughn

If you’ve already braved the horrors of Lucifer’s Mansion, the earlier prequel to Hellsworld Hotel, you might just have an idea of what awaits you in Mephistopheles Den. That doesn’t stop Matthew Vaughn from crafting a whole new and exciting house of horrors for us to explore.
We follow two groups into an abandoned factory that’s been converted, for one night only, into a most graphic and distasteful series of rooms. Meant to elicit terror and disgust from those unfortunate enough to purchase tickets, each new display is more unsettling than the next. We follow along as helpless witnesses, slipping through black curtains into a nightmare from which there is no escape. Or is there?
Vaughn brings to life two vastly different groups of people, for the sole purpose of stealing that life away in callously violent fashion. Of course, one of those groups includes Donald and Tony, and any reader is likely to want those two dead before we really get started with the story.
This one takes a slightly different direction as we reach the end, presumably leading us into the much larger work that is Hellsworld Hotel. I suspect you, like me, will be eager to dive into that title after reaching the conclusion of this prequel.

This title was released as part of the 31 Days of Godless event at http://www.godless.com and you can pick it up for yourself by going to the website or by downloading the app to your mobile device of choice. The link is below:

https://godless.com/products/mephistopheles-den-by-matthew-vaughn

Lucifer’s Mansion by Matthew Vaughn

If one were to take the movies Haunt and The Houses October Built, place them into a blender along with some Texas Chainsaw Massacre and a splash of Satanism…well, you’d probably have a totally ruined blender…but you might also have the recipe for Matthew Vaughn’s Lucifer’s Mansion.
When the abandoned old school building was purchased and converted into a haunted house by a mysterious family, the teenagers around town thought it would be a blast. In place of rubber masks, painted plywood, and smoke machines, what awaits visitors to Lucifer’s Mansion is an endless barrage of gore and sadism on display wherever one might look. Tasteless and cruel, the effects appear all too real for some of the visitors as they search for an exit, but not everyone who enters Lucifer’s Mansion is allowed to leave.
The haunted house described by Vaughn is the sort of place I’d happily venture into, thus validating yet again that I am the first person to die in a horror movie. As a prequel to Hellsworld Hotel, this tantalizing glimpse of the world the author’s creating definitely encourages the reader to dive deeper into the darkness and depravity that surely awaits them.

You can read this for yourself by picking up the title from http://www.godless.com or by downloading the Godless app to your mobile device of choice. The link is below:

https://godless.com/products/lucifers-mansion-a-hellsworld-hotel-prequel-by-matthew-vaughn-2

Cockwinder by Ash Ericmore

Cockwinder introduces us to Liam, thus far the most stable and normal-seeming of the Smalls brothers. Don’t worry, the rest of them set the bar pretty damn low, so it’s easy to seem stable and normal by comparison.
While in the midst of plowing his wife, Liam witnesses a strange reaction from Wendy, the little girl next door, through the window. He’d already felt like something was a bit off with Ray, the girl’s father, and the peculiar behavior Wendy displayed lines up with those sentiments.
Liam’s concern is validated when he catches Wendy playing an unsettling game with her dolls, and he decides it’s time to do something about the monster living next door. This is the point in the story where Ash Ericmore hits us with all of that Smalls Family goodness we’ve come to expect.
As garage tools and hardware are put to purposes that definitely violate warranties based on any manufacturer’s recommended use, Liam goes to work. The violence is as graphic and imaginative as any reader could hope to experience, and there’s a moment at the climax of the story that almost had me laughing out loud, just as Liam burst through the bedroom door in his newly crafted attire. I can’t spoil it, so you’ll have to read it for yourself.
Thankfully, it all works out with a happy ending…but that should come as no surprise. The Smalls brothers always create their own happy endings from the disasters all around them.

You can pick this up for yourself by going to http://www.godless.com or by downloading the Godless app to your mobile device. The link is below:

https://godless.com/products/cockwinder-the-smalls-family-v-by-ash-ericmore

Lushbutcher: Volume 2 St. Practice Day by Lucy Leitner

Jane Lushbutcher hits the streets with a vengeance in her second outing for of The Godless League, St. Practice Day. The least stable of the bunch, Lushbutcher is always sure to provide an entertaining and gratuitously violent experience for readers.
It’s Saint Paddy’s Day in September, or it will be next weekend, and in preparation for the festivities, Pittsburgh drunks are pub crawling for St. Practice Day. Everything is all fun and games for the green-clad alcoholics until Jane’s outing with her elderly friends is interrupted by God’s warning that there is danger afoot.
Lucy Leitner kicks it up a notch from the previous installment, leaving a trail of bodies (or parts of bodies) in the wake as Lushbutcher seeks out the mastermind behind the pub crawl. By the time she’s done, there’ll be so much red and green on the ground that it’ll look like Christmas in September instead.

You can grab this title as well as the previous Godless League titles by going to http://www.godless.com or by downloading the Godless app to your mobile device of choice. The link is below:

https://godless.com/products/godless-league-5-lushbutcher-st-practice-day-by-lucy-leitner

My Dildo Is a Serial Killer by Simon McHardy and Sean Hawker

I’ve never looked at a dildo and mistaken it for a chest expander, but I’m not a priest, so there’s that. This is how Hawker and McHardy begin their novella, My Dildo Is a Serial Killer.
A priest opens a box containing what he believes to be exercise equipment, and insanity ensues. Of course, this mistake arises because someone who couldn’t spell “exorcism” delivered the box with the expectation that someone associated with the church would be able to remedy the problem with the giant purple dildo possessed by the spirit of a serial killer. His name is Terry.
Escaping from the exorcism performed by a couple of priests, Terry finds his way to Christina, a disgusting human being with potentially no redeeming qualities. She is the perfect tool for the fulfillment of Terry’s needs. It’s not totally her fault, though. Wait until you meet her parents because, as messed up as Christina happens to be, there’s no doubt they played a key role in nudging her along that path.
I’m not telling you anything more about this one. You have to experience it for yourself. The deaths are over-the-top and gruesome, the humor is dark and perverse, and the blistering pace keeps the reader raw and sore as McHardy and Hawker bestow us with a barrage of absurd, graphic, and hilarious events from beginning to climax.
These two are fantastic on their own. Combined, they craft a seamless narrative that captures the best of both worlds.

This title was released as part of the 31 Days of Godless event at http://www.godless.com for October of 2021. You can pick up a digital copy of this release by going to the website or by downloading the Godless app on your mobile device of choice.

Halloween Kills (2021)

Halloween Kills picks up on the action only minutes after Halloween (2018) rolled credits. As Dylan Arnold’s Cameron walks home, upset with himself and wallowing a bit, he comes across Will Patton’s Officer Hawkins where he lies bleeding on the pavement as he’d been left to die in the final third of the previous installment. Though Hawkins appears to be dead at first, he is soon revealed to be clinging to life.
We are treated to a surprisingly well-produced return to Halloween (1978) in a flashback that shares the concluding events of that night from the perspective of a younger Hawkins and his partner. In this, we discover that Hawkins has cause to feel no small amount of guilt over the events of that night 40 years before.
We witness further events of that night, encountering children having an altercation before being sent home by police roaming the streets in search of Michael Myers. One of those children will be a familiar character to discerning viewers of the older Halloween.
We meet up with Tommy Doyle (now played by Anthony Michael Hall), Nancy Stephens’s Marion (returning to the character for a fourth time in the series, though only the second in this internal timeline), and Kyle Richards’s Lindsey (reprising her role from the 1978 classic) at a bar where open mic night is in full swing. While I would have enjoyed seeing a nod to The Curse of Michael Myers, with Paul Rudd returning to portray Tommy Doyle, I was nonetheless pleased to see so many performers returning to roles they played in 1978 and 1981 respectively. This includes Charles Cyphers returning to take on the mantle of Leigh Brackett yet again.
As emergency services race toward Laurie Strode’s burning home, Jamie Lee Curtis’s Strode shouts a desperate plea that they let it burn. If they had heard her and heeded her request, the movie would have turned out quite differently. A single firefighter falling through the floor into Strode’s trap basement provides the means for the still breathing Myers to remove himself from his imprisonment below the house.
Carnage ensues in a scene that pits Michael against a group of firefighters, in which the killer’s prowess is displayed to be anything but diminished. This is something we experience more than once in this movie that has rarely, if ever, been incorporated in a slasher flick. In Halloween Kills, we are treated to one-against-many conflicts that are typically antithetical to the slow, methodical stalker and prey relationships we often expect from such stories. The Michael Myers of this movie is more a force of nature than we’ve come to expect, capable of bursts of intense violence directed, rather than toward singular targets, at groups of people. An economy of brutality is on display with murderous efficiency, as Myers dispatches multiple opponents with expedience and ruthlessness.
I went into Halloween Kills with the expectation that it would suffer from middle movie syndrome, being the second of a planned trilogy of sequels following the events of Halloween 40 years before. What I experienced was more like The Empire Strikes Back than The Two Towers, a self-contained narrative that–while it is designed to carry the plot between beginning and end of the trilogy–manages to satisfy my needs as a standalone experience.
The performances are spectacular, the kills are savage and visceral, the soundtrack/score was superb, and the story unfolding for the characters as Michael makes his way through Haddonfield toward his natural destination is a vivid enough assortment of threads as to make for a worthwhile tapestry. The sheer brutality of Michael’s murders is almost enough to distract the viewer from the underlying theme of fear spreading through a community primed for terror and harboring a certain tension just beneath the surface for nearly half a century. This explodes in a predictable fashion as the residents of Haddonfield create the conditions wherein Michael is able to thrive and flourish, feeding–as he seems to–on the very anger and horror being amplified by the mob mentality spreading like wildfire throughout the movie.
A bit of dialogue near the end of the movie manages to sum things up nicely. When Hawkins expresses his regret at having made this possible by not letting Michael die back in 1978, Laurie Strode corrects him and explains that this is her fault, that her fear of Michael’s return has been allowed to spread and fester like an infection in the otherwise quaint community.
I know that I am certainly looking forward to the release of Halloween Ends next October, and I truly hope a whole lot of you are as well.

Slaughter Box by Carver Pike

Readers of Carver Pike’s Diablo Snuff books will have first met Kong in Passion & Pain, after his first encounter with the sinister organization. His torture at their hands drove him to seek any information he could find, only to discover they were like ghosts. Our next meeting with Kong is near the end of The Grindhouse, where he appears as a member of Psalm 71. A lot had clearly taken place between those points in time, and Slaughter Box provides us with a glimpse of that missing period of Kong’s life.
Still traumatized and emotionally damaged from his first experience with Diablo Snuff, Kong returns to his hometown where he finds a flier for the grand reopening of a local movie theater. Violating the trust of his childhood best friend, Kong invites that friend’s younger sister, Sammy, on a date. With the flier fresh in his mind, their venue is obvious.
Unfortunately, as the reader suspects, this is a trap.
William Castle, had he been a homicidal monster or a psychopath, would have fallen in love with the painstakingly engineered and hideously cruel alterations to the theater. Bringing the film to life in the most awful ways, Diablo Snuff intends to punish Kong for his persistent search.
I won’t spoil anything, but we know Kong makes it through the events of this book, but will anyone else survive the malicious and inhumane machinations of Diablo Snuff? You’ll have to read it for yourself if you want to find out.
Carver Pike does an excellent job of balancing high stakes, tense horror with more human elements of the story. We learn a great deal about Kong, his life before we first discovered him in that hellish warehouse, and the miserable life he’d been leading subsequent to his escape from the organization’s clutches. We get to know Sammy, and the deep affection between she and Kong is so well-crafted on the page as to feel as palpable and sincere as a relationship between two real people.
As one might expect, Pike manages to fill the pages with a fair amount of sex and smut, in addition to the violence. If you’ve read The Grindhouse–as you certainly should have–you’ll be well aware of what Diablo Snuff is capable of when they’ve got a movie projector available.
This is the penultimate Diablo Snuff book, leading the way into the (sure to be) intense conclusion, The Maddening. It’s been a long ride, getting here…but one cannot claim it hasn’t been enjoyable.

https://amzn.to/3ve3kvz

Bliss by Ash Ericmore

Bliss introduces us to the next of the Smalls siblings, Adam. When we meet Adam, he’s lurking in an alley as a solitary police officer approaches, waiting for his chance to strike. The day was turning out quite differently from how Adam expected.
The day began with some pegging. Look it up. Sadly, the erotic escapades were rudely interrupted, leading Adam on one hell of an adventure involving the Eastern Europeans, some locals who might have mistaken Adam for Edward, human trafficking, and a most unique fashion statement blending protection and style.
Like all of the members of the Smalls clan we’ve been introduced to thus far, Adam has a certain moral flexibility and perversely dark humor. Unlike the previous two brothers readers had the pleasure of meeting, Adam seems perhaps less professionally adept at committing murder and a bit more fluid and driven by poor impulse control. It seems like he’s found the right woman, though, as she seems to compliment him well.
These damn stories are just so good, the fast-paced action and black comedy infused into the few pages is potentially addictive.

You can read Bliss for yourself by going to http://www.godless.com or by downloading the Godless app to your preferred mobile device. The link is below:

Bliss (The Smalls Family III) by Ash Ericmore