Posted on March 26, 2007 by Flames
From role-playing games to television series, Flames Rising horror webzine offers hundreds of reviews on products from every world of horror imaginable. We feature nationally-distributed and licensed products like Hellboy, to small press ventures like the game InSpectres from Memento Mori.
Our philosophy on reviews is simple: we encourage our horror reviewers to channel their inner Poe to write reviews that are easy-to-read and provide you, the horror fan, with the best information possible.
Whether you enjoy paranormal romance or post-apocalyptic horror, this list has a little something for the monster in all of us. If you would like to be a horror reviewer for Flames Rising, we encourage you to visit our submission guidelines. We go out of our way to reward our regular horror reviewers, and encourage you to add your voice to our choir.
Our reviews are listed in alphabetical order by type of review category (click on the “Read more…” link just below this paragraph). For an alternative means of navigation, feel free to take advantage of the search box on our site to find what you’re hunting for.
Posted on October 2, 2015 by Steven Dawes
I’ve always enjoyed reading “how to” guides on a variety of topics. Even if I’ve read a similar subject before I’ll read them to see the different thoughts, beliefs and takes that particular writer has to say about the subject. Such was the case with Writing Monsters: How to Craft Believably Terrifying Creatures to Enhance Your Horror, Fantasy, and Science Fiction. I’ve read a few guides on writing monsters, but it’s been awhile so this was a good refresher while learning Mr. Athans take on monsters and writing about them.
Being a fan of H.P. Lovecraft’s works myself, this book was off to a good start as the forward was written by the H.P. Lovecraft Historical Society. “While Mr. Athans draws from an extremely impressive array of monstrous sources, we are, of course, particularly delighted to see the works of H.P. Lovecraft cited so frequently and so appropriately in this discussion. Lovecraft was indeed, as Athans states, a master of the monster.”
Posted on September 8, 2015 by Billzilla
Encyclopedia of Demons in World Religions and Cultures by Theresa Bane
There have been an awful lot of demons mentioned in the bible, the Koran, the Torah, in classical literature, and elsewhere. You practically need a scorecard to keep track of all of them. McFarland & Company Publishers has produced a massive volume cataloging the numerous evil entities from the void, The Encyclopedia of Demons in World Religions and Cultures.
Collected by Theresa Bane, this work includes a vast array of not only demons, but includes references to and entries for angelic entities, as well as a few with less clearly defined loyalties. These entities were written about in the religious texts of such diverse faiths as Zoroastrianism, Buddhism, Ashurism, and from such ancient cultures as Sumeria, China, Scythians, Mayans, and many African cultures.
Posted on July 15, 2015 by Billzilla
The Hungry Dead
Selected & Edited by Lester Smith
In a tribute to the speed at which the publishing industry is changing these days, The Hungry Dead is the first collection – that I’m aware of, at least – that purports to have been solicited, edited, collected and at the printer within one month. The fact that the solicitation process took place at least partly online may account for some of that speed.
The Hungry Dead is a collection of poetry and short stories that mostly hovers around the title’s stated theme. The excellent and evocative cover image shows a slightly decayed – yet no less well turned-out – young woman, a plate of brains in front of her, gold-plated knife and fork in hand.
Posted on October 22, 2014 by Flames
On the subway, during lunch, or even under the fluorescent glow of your cubical there is no escape! Now your slow descent into madness can follow you through the day, as well as the night.
The WHISPERS FROM THE ABYSS ANTHOLOGY is the first ever H.P. Lovecraft inspired collection created specifically for readers on the go.
Posted on April 25, 2014 by Steven Dawes
Every so often I get something to review that I have no idea what I’m getting myself into. Getting a copy of Eternal Lies campaign book for the Trail of Cthuhlu RPG (from Pelgrane Press) to review was one of those times. I’ve played Trail of Cthulhu once or twice at gaming cons, I’m familiar with several Cthulhu based games, and I love adventure/campaign sourcebooks in general so I thought this would be a quick and easy review. However, I was simply shocked when I opened up the PDF file for the first time to discover that Eternal Lies has a four hundred page count!
How could this be? As I understood it, Eternal Lies is a sourcebook for only one complete campaign. I’ve seen campaign books half this size with several adventures in it, but nothing this large before. How can this book be 400 pages? And all 400 pages for one campaign? The audacity! The immensity! The madness! The size, and there for the incredible scope that this adventure must be was suddenly daunting.
Posted on April 23, 2014 by Michael Holland
From the moment I opened up the PDF on my laptop I knew Gygax, a quarterly adventure roleplaying aid, was going to tap into everything that has made gaming great since the beginning. The cover was “classic” in every way and it reminded me of the many old Dragon magazines I have flipped through over the years. I immediately felt comfortable like I was meeting up with an old friend, one I had not seen in quite some time and someone I was very fond of. The cover art titled “Still Unlucky” by Daniel Horne depicts two poor adventurers being snuck up on by a nasty looking ettin and it made me laugh.
Posted on March 19, 2014 by Steven Dawes
Hey there fans of Flames Rising! I gotta tell you, I was pretty excited about diving into issue #3 of the Dept. of Monsterology. So far the issue has been well written, possesses some good, witty dialogue, and the artwork has been spot on in setting the feel and tone of this pulp-supernatural series. Issues 1 & 2 were interesting rides while building up to some serious trouble for both Team Challenger and Team Carnacki. Things were already going downhill for Carnacki by the end of issue #2, and trouble loomed on the horizon for Team Challenger. So how does issue #3 fare?
Posted on February 9, 2014 by Flames
Monsterhearts should come with two warning stickers. The first is “Warning: This is a game for mature gamers and deals with adult themes.” It doesn’t have this because that sort of warning fits the Book of Erotic Fantasy rather than a genuinely mature take on the subject matter. It has lead to some of the most intense and immersive experiences I’ve ever had roleplaying, but I refuse to play it with my main tabletop roleplaying group.
The second is “Warning: This game can go into uncomfortable territory. Discuss expectations and respect boundaries.” It doesn’t have this, and Monsterhearts is the only game I’ve played that’s imploded when it has become clear that one player doesn’t know the meaning of the word “consent”. Better there than in real life.
So what is Monsterhearts? Monsterhearts is based on the Apocalypse World rules and claims to be about “The messy lives of teenage monsters”.
Posted on January 18, 2014 by Steven Dawes
Review by Steven Dawes As a reviewer, I make it a point to not give out any spoilers if I don’t have to. However, after reading issue Department of Monsterology Issue #2 (and #3 once I finish this review), a few spoilers tidbits will have to start coming out. If you don’t want to risk […]
Posted on December 12, 2013 by Steven Dawes
“Officially, it’s the Department of Cryptozoology, Mythological Studies, Parapsychology and Fortean Phenomena. But to the rest of the students and staff at the Dunsany College, baffled by the cloak of secrecy that surrounds the Department and its affairs, it has another, more dismissive, name: The Department of Monsterology. Their brief: to investigate the dark and unexplored corners of our world – the places we’ve forgotten, lost or believe to be mythical. And to study those things that may still be lurking there.”
Looking at the cover of “Dept. of Monsterology” from Renegade Arts Entertainment, I knew right off the bat that it had potential. The color palette is minimal and bleak, with plenty of blackness and shadows mixed in to compliment the mysterious tone of the comic.
Posted on August 12, 2013 by Billzilla
What is the fascination with Nazis and their pursuit of occult knowledge? The popularity of Raiders of the Lost Ark offers some evidence that we as a culture find the concepts intriguing to say the least. Perhaps, deep down, even the most cynical skeptic wants to believe that supernatural magic is real.
Posted on June 19, 2013 by Billzilla
I first got hooked into the World of Darkness about three years ago; I became intrigued by the Vampire: The Requiem setting thanks to a particularly good game I was in at the time, and my passion for the world hasn’t diminished since then. In support of Free RPG Day (June 15 this year) Onyx Path released a sharp-looking product called Reap the Whirlwind, a complete quick-start introducing new players to the vampire branch of the World of Darkness.
Posted on March 13, 2013 by Michael Holland
When the New 52 launched I, Vampire was one of those titles I was recommending to everyone. Written by Joshua Hale Fialkov (Echoes) and penciled by Andrea Sorrentino (X-Files/30 Days of Night crossover) there was so much packed into the first issue I just knew this comic was going to be a big hit. And it was a big hit until issue #2 hit the shelves and nothing really happened. Then nothing really happened in issue #3, 4 or 5. Then something really bad happened in issue #6 but it was okay because I didn’t really care about the characters. I, Vampire Vol. 1: Tainted Love collects the first six issues of this disappointing series.
Posted on February 20, 2013 by Michael Holland
DC Comics’ New 52 has had about a year and a half to find its footing and one of the nicer aspects of the “reboot” is DC’s revived focus on supporting the supernatural side of the DC universe. Along those lines the famed Justice League has been divvied up into numerous teams (and titles) with each focusing on different aspects of the JL’s mythos. While Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman and their closest friends handle the big threats the Justice League International team stumbles about handling other… less important… threats. So who handles the ghosts and goblins of the DC universe? That would be Justice League Dark.
Posted on January 29, 2013 by Steven Dawes
I’ve been hearing about Hansel & Gretel (H&G) for well over a year now. It was supposed to have hit the theatre a few times over the last year before it if finally escaped this weekend. If I had to guess, the studio was probably waiting for an opportunity to dump it in hopes of making a quick buck and then forgotten about, and after the “Avengers” made it so big and everyone recognizes Jeremy “Hawkeye” Renner these days, now was the time to start this witch hunt. It was probably the right move; my niece was dying to go see this with me, simply because Hawkeye was in it. So with a couple of teens and my wife forming a hunting party, we all went to see G&H. And how did the hunt go?
Posted on January 1, 2013 by DecapitatedDan
There was a point in my life, oh lets say about a year ago, when I was sick of vampire comics. The typical blood sucker story seems to just get played out when done over and over again. Sure there is some good horror and gore in those books, but the stories are so blah and easily passable. Then I get this little catalog sent to my house called Previews, and I see the cover to The Strain #1 listed in it. I’m instantly thinking, “Great, here we go again.”
Being a horror nut though, I check out issue #1, and wouldn’t you know it, my head fell off. That first issue had something new, something fresh and something I needed to enjoy a vampire comic again (seriously, the last one I really enjoyed was Devil from Dark Horse).
Posted on December 27, 2012 by Monica Valentinelli
James Herbert is a horror writer who hails from the U.K. He’s been compared to Steven King and, for the first time, his work is available stateside. The novel I read, ASH, is a reprint through Tor Books.
Herbert is a multi-novelist with almost two dozen books out in the wild. (Sadly, the author does not have an official website, or I’d link to it for you so you could see his bibliography of published works.) This is the first time I’ve read Herbert’s work; this type of story is more my fare than a continual stream of blood, guts, and gore. ASH begins with a mystery and a haunted castle. The main character, David Ash, is a ghost hunter and parapsychologist who works for the Psychical Research Institute. His abilities give him an edge and we, the reader, find out more about them as the story progresses.
Posted on December 18, 2012 by Megan
Packed into but four pages (the other four being filled with a fancy cover, the credits and an introduction explaining what it’s all about, and a page of adverts for other Legendary Games product) here is a wealth of material designed to support and enhance one of Paizo’s Adventure Paths. As explained in the introduction, they have chosen not to mention just which Adventure Path (so as to avoid even suspicion of using Paizo’s intellectual property) but as I am GMing the one in question at the moment, it’s not too hard to guess. (‘Carrion Crown’ if you really want to know!)
Posted on December 10, 2012 by Megan
The Zalozhniy Quartet provides resources necessary to running a complete campaign utilising the Night’s Black Agents concept and ruleset to the full. It’s not, however, something you can flip through and then run, like the game itself it requires thorough preparation and planning by the Director (GM) in advance, but will repay that effort by inspiring an epic and memorable experience for all involved.
Involving the core concept of the game – a vampire-led conspiracy across post-Cold War Europe – the book presents a detailed Conspyramid (the mechanic used to map the conspiracy player-character agents are combating) that spreads its tentacles from central Europe clear across to Baghdad. Resources provided include allies as well as enemies, locations in several cities, complete city details, maps and an almost bewildering array of events that you can throw at your characters… even some pre-generated ones, of particular use should someone fall by the wayside as the adventures proceed.