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Bill’s Month in Horror, March 2011

Posted on March 28, 2011 by Billzilla

It may come as no surprise that I’ve been thinking about horror lately. It occurred to me recently that there has, at no point in modern US history, been such a vast array of horror material – across all media – available for consumption. Not only do we have a regular horror television series currently airing (Walking Dead) plus many more series no longer in production available in DVD collections, but also a ton of fiction, both in novel and in comic/graphic novel formats. It’s a great time to be a horror fan!

I was glued to AMC’s series The Walking Dead ever since I stumbled across a preview trailer online last summer. My wife complained about the amount of space it took up on our already full DVR, so I conceded and deleted the recordings. The DVD of the first season is available now; I’m waiting for the time to be right to buy a copy. As the highest-rated series to date on AMC, and one of the top five shows from 2010 in terms of ratings on basic cable, the Walking Dead has broken new ground as a continuing horror series. Renewed for another two seasons thanks to its sterling success out of the gate, I have high hopes for the continuing adventures of Deputy Rick Grimes and the rest of the group.

I recently finished several books, reviews of which will be coming up here on Flames Rising in the near future. The first is an adventure for Trail of Cthulhu, titled The Black Drop. Written by Jason Morningstar, The Black Drop finds the investigators going up against an ancient, evil entity; the difference is that this time they have allies of an unexpected sort. Harlan County Horrors is a fun collection of stories that use coal country in general and Harlan County, Kentucky specifically as the backdrop. Dusk is a graphic novel about Ash – a vampire – and Eve – his human assistant, and their adventures dealing with renegade vampires, newly-turned undead, and the fine line between love and obsession. Intriguing and a fast read, Dusk is written and drawn by David Doub.

In researching the H.P. Lovecraft FiIm Festival – held in Los Angeles September 16 & 17 of 2011 – I came across a few films that debuted there over the last couple years. One in particular caught my eye: The Burrowers combines horror and Wild West themes – two of my vices – so I had to check it out. I had to admit being disappointed. The concept was intriguing: (From the Netflix notes) “When the men on a pioneer homestead are brutally murdered and the women and children go missing, a posse sets out to find them, assuming they’ve been abducted by Indians. But the truth turns out to be much more horrific. As they find more bodies, it soon becomes clear that something from beneath the ground is brutally attacking humans. Clancy Brown, William Mapother and Sean Patrick Thomas star in this horror film set in the Great Plains during the 1870s.”

The acting was solid, but the script seemed a bit disjointed and weak. The monsters and their motivation are plausible, but I felt there were enough plot holes to make this film more like Swiss cheese than a serviceable film. The Burrowers is well worth a look on Netflix or for a cheap rental in my opinion, but my advice would be don’t buy a copy before you’ve seen it.

On a final note this month, Odyssey Con is coming up very soon – April 8-10 at the Radisson on Odana Road in Madison, Wisconsin. I, along with fellow Flames Rising columnist Monica Valentinelli will be appearing there on panels, along with luminaries Robin Laws, Sarah Monette, J.V. Jones, James Frenkel, and many others. If you don’t have a membership yet, hurry; rates go up as of April 1. Be sure to stop in and say hello.

Bill Bodden

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