The Death List by Thomas R. Clark, Narrated by Cheryl May

In The Death List, Thomas R. Clark takes the baton carried by John Skipp and Craig Spector through the 1980s and runs with it as if he’s being pursued by some entity from one of their novels. Rock ‘n’ roll and exquisitely perverse horror come together with Clark’s guidance and wry humor to produce a thrilling experience from the shocking beginning through the blood-soaked conclusion.
Ronnie Dark had it all, but those years were behind him, and it was beginning to look like he was about to lose everything. Bitter and driven by cruel impulses, Ronnie sets his mind on a path he’s sure will display all of his spite and condemnation of those he perceives as having wronged him. Unfortunately, Ronnie’s plans didn’t factor in the previous resident of his mansion making his way back home.
Patrick Dermotty, nurtured on a diet of television game shows and influenced by the dark goddess who inspired the graphic and horrifying murders that earned him the title of the Balloon Boy Killer, has escaped from the institution where he’s been all but catatonic for the previous three decades. Dermotty’s bloody, violent rampage is far from over, and he’s on a collision course with Ronnie Dark, a man with nothing left to lose.
The Death List is heavy metal Halloween, with one of the eeriest and most unsettling killers ever described on page or screen.
The narration provided by Cheryl May is spectacular, especially her delivery of Dermotty’s unnerving dialogue following his escape from the asylum. She captures the creep factor of Clark’s novella and brings it to an awful but entertaining life.

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

Reincarnage: Maximum Carnage by Ryan Harding and Jason Taverner

If you can imagine the natural outcome of the much-maligned ninth installment of the Friday the 13th series, Jason Goes To Hell, you’ve got some idea of what you’re in for with Reincarnage by Ryan Harding and Jason Taverner.
With the titular Agent Orange, Vietnam Veteran turned slasher extraordinaire, we have a masked, seemingly immortal serial killer who routinely returns to slaughter people who make the mistake of venturing into his territory. The government knows he exists, and they know they’ve found no way to stop him in his murderous rampages more than temporarily. The only solution is to evacuate the region and build a fortified perimeter around the region Agent Orange inhabits. Patroled by military personnel tasked with killing him, again and again, to keep him contained within the walls, the perimeter isn’t perfect but it’s all that separates Agent Orange from the outside world.
Taking a page from Arkady and Boris Strugatsky’s Roadside Picnic, Harding and Taverner imagine a culture of “stalkers” developing; brave or insane souls who venture into the kill zone for memorabilia, or for the sake of saying that they survived crossing into Agent Orange’s territory. At the point when Reincarnage takes place, Agent Orange has become as much a part of pop culture as Charles Manson or Jason Voorhees. Books, video games, and collectibles of all sorts proliferate the world the authors introduce us to.
When eleven people wake up in an otherwise abandoned hotel, it doesn’t take long for them to realize they’re on the wrong side of the walls, with no idea how they got there or why they’ve been deposited in the last place any of them would want to be. Conspiracy theories abound, but answers are harder to come by. Maybe, if this band of survivors could find the time to catch their breath and think things through, they could discover why they’re in the ghost town of Morgan and who would want to leave them there; but the number of survivors is steadily diminishing, and staying still for too long only invites disaster.
Will anyone stay alive long enough to discern the truth?
Will anyone escape?
You’ll have to read it to find out.
This edition of the book includes additional material focused on another group of survivors venturing through the kill zone simultaneously, with no better fortune favoring them.

You can obtain this edition of the book by going to http://www.godless.com or by downloading the Godless app to your mobile device of choice. The link is below:

A Contest For the Ages

Because my blog receives traffic that doesn’t necessarily overlap with my other social media accounts, I would be remiss if I didn’t share this here.
Because I’m an absurd human being, I’ve decided that I want to reward readers/reviewers of my December 2021 short story, When You’re Here, You’re Fatalities, available exclusively through http://www.godless.com
You’ll want to pay attention to this!

Sadly, this is only valid for individuals located in the United States. If I could extend this to other countries, I would gladly do so, but the logistics involved are just too much of an issue.

Initially, the plan was that if I could sell 250,000 copies of the story, I would randomly select five winners from those who have reviewed the title at Godless. Those five individuals would need to provide me with their contact information–including the physical address–as well as a time frame that would work best for them. I would then plan a road trip with my girlfriend (and possibly my teenage daughter) to travel to that reviewer’s location. We could spend the day hanging out, doing touristy things, or whatever. To conclude the evening, I would take the winner and their immediate family (or significant other and whatnot) to dinner at the nearest Olive Garden location.
I have modified the plan slightly since the original goal is altogether ludicrous. Of course, the adjusted step goals are also ridiculous, but you shouldn’t expect anything different from me.
Upon selling 100,000 copies of the story through Godless, I will select two winners who have posted reviews of the story, to Godless and/or Goodreads.
After another 100,000 sales, I will select another two winners from the remaining reviewers who had not won.
And, if I happen to sell another 50,000 copies of When You’re Here, You’re Fatalities after that, I will select one more lucky winner from those who have not already won.
Assuming every buyer leaves a review, that’s a 1 in 50,000 chance of winning a family dinner at Olive Garden with a horror author who wrote a short story that takes place in a fictionalized version of an Olive Garden restaurant. For only fifty cents to get your name in the drawing, it’s probably a better deal than many raffles and drawings in which one might participate. But there’s always the fact that many people still won’t leave reviews, and that improves the odds in your favor.

The title can be obtained by going to the following link at Godless:

You would also post your review there.

Additionally, I will accept reviews posted to Goodreads at the following location:

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/59777373-when-you-re-here-you-re-fatalities

You have nothing to lose beyond fifty cents and a little bit of time.

Spread the word far and wide!

The sooner we reach those sales numbers, the sooner you’ll have a chance to sit down for dinner with me.

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.

The Final Girl Support Group by Grady Hendrix, Narrated by Adrienne King

The Final Girl Support Group is Grady Hendrix’s addition to the meta-slasher subgenre of literature. In some ways, this book succeeds in breaking new ground and adding a unique voice and commentary, though I couldn’t help but find the overall story disappointing. While I found the writing/narrative style of The Last Final Girl jarring and occasionally disruptive to my enjoyment, I would recommend either that or My Heart Is a Chainsaw, both by Stephen Graham Jones, over The Final Girl Support Group. If you’ve already read and enjoyed those two books, there’s no harm in checking this one out.
The best element of this novel is the commentary on slasher fiction provided by the author. Hendrix infuses the narrative with critiques on the latent misogyny involved in slasher films, the unhealthy obsession with serial killers, violence in society, and the psychological effects of trauma.
Shared via the unreliable narration of Lynette Tarkington, the survivor of the Silent Night Slayings (think Silent Night, Deadly Night), the narrative leads us along in a stuttering, stumbling adventure. We experience a world where alternate versions of the slasher flicks that defined–and redefined–the genre were based on real people and events. The survivors of these massacres make up the titular Final Girl Support Group; Adrienne (Friday the 13th), Marilyn (Texas Chainsaw Massacre), Dani (Halloween), Heather (A Nightmare On Elm Street), and Julia (Scream).
After Adrienne’s murder and an attempt on Julia and Lynette’s life, Lynette finds herself unable to remain in the false safety and security of her life of isolation, obsession, and paranoia. She was never as safe as she believed herself to be, and she’s convinced that her sister final girls are in danger as well. But will anyone listen to her? Is there a conspiracy to slaughter all of the final girls, or is Lynette jumping at shadows that exist only in her traumatized mind? Will the truth be revealed before it’s too late?
The twists are nothing readers won’t see coming, whether by design or not. Readers will find themselves wanting to shout at the pages–or along with the audiobook–the same way viewers shout at the screen, screaming for Lynette to put the pieces together correctly as we helplessly watch her fumble and chase red herrings.
The audiobook was narrated by Adrienne King, the final girl from Sean Cunningham’s Friday the 13th. There perhaps couldn’t have been a better choice of narrator, as one of the first final girls of film history and someone who experienced real-life horror in response to that role. King brings Lynette to life in a way no other narrator probably could as well as successfully tackling the voices of the supporting characters.