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Through the present darkly ... 

Is it fair to say that just recently Kate Beckinsale has turned into a kind of Queen of Horror, starring first as a werewolf killing vampire n Underworld, and then as a vampire hunter in Van Helsing?  Rumour has it she's up for Underworkd 2 too!

British horror is far from dead, too, well, at least it's "living dead" with Simon Pegg and co. in the hilariously horrifying Shaun of the Dead (uncanny that it came out at the same time as the remake of Dawn of the Dead!)

Cabin Fever has proved that theres still life in the cabin in the middle of nowhere reminiscent of Evil Dead type movie. Dawn of the Dead and the aforementioned almost namesake Shaun of the Dead have shown that were still hungry for zombies (and they're hungry for us!)

Anyone watching Stephen King's Kingdom Hospital? British viewers probably suppress a smile as it is very similar to a horror spoof that aired here; Garth Marenghi's Darkplace (reviewed in the last issue!)

Lastly "Evil" Big Brother isn't very evil is it? They need some nasty spikes in the right places, if they want to be really evil. Basically re-design the place in Marquis de Sade décor and furnishings (sandpaper loo roll - that sort of thing!) rotweillers patrolling the garden, you get the idea? Maybe a murder or two, like a real life version of Battle Royale! Which would make a great reality show by the way!

Oh yes! They could get Davina to interview the dying contestants before they croak. Instead of their lives flashing before their eyes in their last moments, they could get to see their best bits!

Zine Review



The Horror Express 

bi-annually, 84pgs, £4.00



Weighing in at 84 pages this short fiction magazine is larger than most, although unfortunately it’s only published twice a year at the moment.

This horror magazine mixes big name contributors, such as Shaun Hutson and Simon Clark, with lesser-known horror names, and new writers.

The mix of stories ranges from a tale of a murderous, revolting Santa and his equally revolting helpers in a department store (Shaun Hutson’s opener, Silent Night), to a story about a woman who clones her own mother to take revenge on her for her father’s death (the closing tale, Like Mother, Like Daughter by Barry J. House.)

Along the way there are tales of: strange creatures scuttling around in the dark (Leila Eadie’s In the Dark) in an underground railway station during a power cut, a worm-like winged creature that appears above the house of a woman and her husband, which takes a shine to their apple tree (in Peter J. Merrigan’s Manzano) a story about a hungry ghoul (Tim Curran’s Hunger Pains) a tale about someone with a phobia of the number 13 (apparently it’s called triskaidekaphobia - you learn something new everyday on the horror express!) and who gets a job on the thirteenth floor of a department store, oh dear (in Jeff Skinner’s Death Stop 13.)

As well as fiction there are interviews with the star of the Evil Dead trilogy, Bruce Campbell, and author Storm Constantine. And regular features, Kevin Etheridge’s Horror Bookshelf, this issue centring on best-selling and prolific horror (and many other a genre) writer Graham Masterson, and The Review Column, which this issue reviewed books, Dean Koontz’s Odd Thomas and Christopher Fowler’s Full Dark House, as well as movies, the Stephen King adaptation Dreamcatcher, and The Butterfly Effect.

All this and, poetry too! Get aboard the Horror Express; it’s a ride and a half!

For more information about The Horror Express, and details of subscriptions and writer’s guidelines, visit the website: www.horrorexpress.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk

Music Review



Band: Nox Arcana

CD: Darklore Manor

URL: http://noxarcana.com


Let me begin by saying I am a HUGE fan of Joseph Vargo's artwork. Ever since I bought my first calendar of his years ago I have been in love with his dark and alluring renditions of vampires and ghosts. When I heard about Nox Arcana and the Darklore Manor cd, it sounded too good to be true. I didn't want to set my hopes too high, in case the music didn't meet my expectations. Before this album, I could only imagine what a soundtrack to the images in Vargo's dark world might sound like, but never in my wildest imaginings did I envision music so hauntingly beautiful. Vargo combines his talents with soundtrack composer William Piotrowski to create a captivating realm of gothic wonders. Listening to this cd, one can easily envision ghostly specters wandering through misty cemeteries, and vampires rising from their graves during the midnight hour. The music varies from woeful piano melodies to menacing pipe organ music to full-bodied orchestral compositions. The main melodies are accented by tolling bells, ghostly choirs and the occasional chorus of Latin chanting. My favorite tracks were "Remnants," which combines eerie harpsichord music with a sad violin melody, and "Phantom Procession," which utilizes sinister church bells to toll out a haunting refrain. Throughout the cd, we are treated to creepy poems from the various undead spirits that inhabit Darklore Manor, an abandoned gothic mansion that has become the resting place of an undying evil. The photos and storyline in the accompanying booklet tell the tale of an ancient curse that looms over the forsaken abode. Darklore Manor is a masterpiece of gothic music that takes the concept of an atmospheric horror soundscape to new heights.  --  Angela Ramsland

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