“The Scarlet Gospels”

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I have to admit, I was pretty excited when I heard Clive Barker was writing a new novel about the characters from Hellraiser.  I’ve never been a huge fan of the movie itself (and particularly not of the sequels) however I’ve always liked the characters and ideas behind the movie, so I figured that if Barker had 100% creative control and no limitations (budgetary or otherwise) he’d write one hell of a Pinhead story (pun intended).
When I found out that not only was this to be the ultimate (as in last) Pinhead story, and that it would tie in with another Barker character (Harry D’Amour, the supernatural detective who also got his own movie in 1995’s Lord of Illusions), the excitement increased exponentially.
Unfortunately, all my hopes quickly drained away as I began reading this fairly bad bit of lackluster prose.  I wanted to like it- I even fooled myself into liking it for a bit, but that didn’t last long.  It was just an illusion of me telling myself it was better than it was.
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The story is basically about the Hell Priest (who hates to be called Pinhead) gathering all of the magical power in the world so he can take over hell.  Harry D’Amour (and friends) is pulled into this mess and eventually Pinhead enlists him (unwillingly) to write a witnesss to his actions, to be called The Scarlet Gospels.
Barker has been writing for over 30 years, so it was a big surprise how amateurish and limp the writing was in this.  I really don’t think he was into writing it, and was just doing it because he figures it’s what his fans want.  And to be fair, it does have quite a bit of crowd-pleasing gore scenes, but not much in the way of disturbing ones (he flirts with some truly disturbing events a coupe of times, but never really lets loose).
I also think that knowing more about Pinhead (some of the other Cenobites are mentioned briefly) and where they come from makes them lose some of their appeal.  I think it’s a much cooler idea that they come from a pain dimension that no one can understand (and they can’t understand not knowing pain) than finding out they are priests in hell or demons.

So I wasn’t too keen on this one.  It’s just missing something… some thoughtfulness or dark nuance that he had previously that he’s somehow lost here.  Most of the scenes described are unbelievably ridiculous (not in a good way) and the characters are mostly cardboard and unengaging.

It’s really too bad, since Barker was supposed to be the “future of horror”.  I know he hasn’t been well in awhile, and that might affect his writing some, but I know he can do betteer than this.  Hopefully he will in the future (this would be a horrible book for him to go out on).

Cheap but good read: The Fearmakers


I’ve read a ton of non-fiction books about horror, gore, splatter, slasher, and exploitation movies and their history and directors, and this is one of my favorites.  It’s put together by John McCarty, who’s has written several books about movies and horror movies in particular.  The writing style is very easy to read, somewhat academic but without being boring, and there are a lot of very nice black and white photos from classic horror movies included.
It focuses on 20 directors who have made a strong mark in the horror film genre.  It was released in 1994, so it only follows their careers up until then, but let’s face it- most of these director’s best work was made before that point.
Read the introduction:
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You can find it on Amazon for only 1 cent (plus shipping of course) here.
Some sample pages:

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They also came out with a double DVD that isn’t as good (it’s mainly a talking head show) that you can also find on Amazon used for fairly cheap.

Good, cheap reads to curl up with- you can’t beat that.

Weng’s Chop #5


“Let him who hath understanding reckon the number of the beast, for it is a human numer.  It’s number is Weng’s Chop 5”. -heavy metal song intro

“That’s no moon… that’s Weng’s Chop 5!” -space opera wizard characture

Wing’s Chop #5 is here, and it’s a monster!  This is not a ‘zine, it’s a book.  265 pages (an inch thick and magazine sized) full of horror/ gore/ exploitation/ sleaze/ trash/ sci-fi/ grindhouse/ drive-in/ underground and low budget film from all over the world and all eras.

Full of writing from people who know their shit, which includes a lot of editors of the very ‘zines that we have been spotlighting here on P.M.T. as well as tons of writers who have been published in other ‘zines and specialty film blogs (and have even written and published books) for decades.
There’s an  article on jungle movies (specifically the ‘jungle woman’ type of jungle movies- future issues are to focus on Tarzan rip-offs and men in ape suit jungle movies) by Steve Fenton (who published one of my fav old horror/ sleaze ‘zines Killbaby), several articles on film festivals (including one on the Exhumed Films 24 Hour Horrorthon by Dan Taylor of Exploitation Retropspect), one on Jiangshi (hopping vampires) by Brian Harris (who has written for tons of ‘zines and several books, and who is co-editor of Weng’s Chop), and quite a few more (some other subjects of articles, which are all in depth and more than a page or two long, are Manos: The Hands of Fate, Filipino vigilante action films, porn director Bob Chinn’s Johnny Wad films, several different thoughts and reviews of I Spit On Your Grave and it’s remake and the remake’s sequel, reminiscences about 3 old sci-fi films by Stephen Bissette, articles on Asian, Mexican ,and Indian horror and exploitation films, several interviews (including one with John Alan Schwartz (director and co-creator of the Faces of Death movies, telling what parts are real and which are ‘re-enactments’, among other things), and reviews.  Oh man the reviews- I haven’t counted them but it would take you years to watch all the movies reviewed in this (including tons of obscurities, all very well written).  Reviewers include the above mentioned Steve Fenton and Brian Harris as well as Tim Paxton, Jeff Goodhartz, Tim Merrill, and many more.  Also reviewed are books and printed matter (including an out-of-print section).

It all ends with all the writers of the magazine plus a bunch of filmmakers and other people of interest giving lists of their favorite movies from last year, and an exploitation movie crossword puzzle.

This is like 4 magazines crammed into one, and costs just slightly more than a single issue of Fangoria.
You can get your copy (and see a few more sample pages) here, or you can order them at some retail outlets and book stores (I know Hastings can get them).

They come in 3 different covers to chose from (I got the jungle goddess cover, pictured above, but you can also get the machete nuns cover or the Jiangshi cover)…

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Doctor Sleep



Here is PMT’s first guest review.  Nick Cato (who used to be known as Nick the Yak) published Stink ‘zine throughout most of the ’80s and early ’90s, and he now writes old school horror, grindhouse and exploitation movie reviews for Cinema Knife Fight.

He also writes books and short stories, and book reviews for both Good Reads and The Horror Fiction Review.  He wrote this excellent review of Stephen King’s newest book (and sequel to The Shining) Doctor Sleep, and I liked it so much I asked if I could use it on PMT (as I haven’t had time to read the book yet, but it is on my list).  He said he’d be glad for me to use it, so here it is:


Doctor Sleep by Stepen King (2013)

King’s sequel to his 1977 classic THE SHINING picks up shortly after the destruction of the Overlook Hotel, then flashes forward a couple of decades to find Danny Torrance working in a hospice in New Hamsphire and dealing with his alcoholism through AA meetings. He still has the ability to “shine,” but not as strongly as when he was younger. His unusual skills do help the dying at his new job to pass over to the other side in peace and feeling redeemed, hence earning him the nickname ‘Doctor Sleep.’

Dan is contacted (spiritually/psychically) by a thirteen year-old girl named Abra, who happens to have the shine, too, and much stronger at that. It seems a group known as the True Knot are after her; they feed off children who have the shine to stay young and healthy, torturing them to death as they absorb their life’s essence (or “steam” as the novel puts it). The True Knot look like your average vacationers, roaming the country in RV’s, but they’re no longer human. Their leader, Rose, has been around a long, long time, and her beautiful features are merely a mask for an ancient creature. And when they learn of Abra’s intense power, they’ll stop at nothing to find her … especially after feeding off a young boy who has infected their ranks with the measles.

Fans will love the many references to THE SHINING here (my favorite being Danny learning how to deal with the female ghost from Room 237), and there’s also some interesting cross-references to Joe Hill’s latest novel N0S4A2. I like that the True Knot have made their home base on the grounds where the Overlook once stood, as it provides a great place for the inevitable final confrontation. But, when Dan, Abra, and Dan’s senior friend Billy finally confront Rose and co., their plans go off a little to easily, and what could have been an epic battle winds up being awfully short. But this is only a minor flaw in what I feel is one of King’s better novels in quite some time.

I don’t think anyone will find DOCTOR SLEEP scary, but I found myself engrossed in Danny Torrance’s struggle with the bottle as well as his mentoring of the young shiner, Abra. There’s also a great scene where Dan speaks with the Overlook’s now deceased chef Richard Halloran through the body of a dying French woman, and the True Knot’s feeding of a young little league player was quite disturbing.

This has the feel of some of King’s older works, and while not perfect, is one of his more satisfying recent novels.


Vincent Price died 20 years ago today. Read his biography to find out what a fascinating person the world lost…


There are few celebrities who deserve a tell-all biography more than Vincent Price.  The man was full of life; he lived big, surrounded himself with wonder and tried to experience everything he could.  Vincent Price- A Daughter’s Biography (released in 1999) was written by Victoria Price, who called upon not only her own memories of her father, but also dug through tons of his writings and memoirs and interviewed many of his friends and co-workers.
Price’s life was fascinating, and I’ve read this book several times.  Most people know him as Vincent Price, the creepy horror movie villain, but as Victoria points out in her introduction, “…fewer than a third of the more than one hundred pictures he made in his fifty-five year career as an actor were horror movies”.  He was so much more than just a horror movie star- an artist, a father, a lecturer, a wordsmith and master letter writer, a fountain of knowledge on all kinds of subjects, a book writer, and a true renaissance man, always trying new things and wanting to learn, experience, and meet new people.  In this book we see the highs and lows of his life (and tho she is his daughter, Victoria does not ignore the darker points, including admitting that he could be a ‘mean drunk’, and going over the split between him and her mother and his affair with the woman who would become her step-mother, who she did not get along that well with).
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It starts off with Price’s birth on May 27, 1911 in St Louis, after giving a little history on his father who had become fairly wealthy in the candy business (and his grandfather as well, who had experienced financial ruin, which in turn fueled some of Vincent’s depression and continuing fear of his own financial failings).
Vincent was a world traveler and an art collector.  He set up his own little art shop in California, and collected art and reveled in it until his death.  In the early ’60s Sears, Roebuck and Co approached him to open his own line of art for them to sell in their stores, the Vincent Price Collection.  He also became an avid chef, and co-wrote a cookbook with his wife (as well as several books on art).
The biography goes over all of this in detail, as well as his Broadway plays, lecture circuits, and radio show appearances (and monologue on Michael Jackson’s Thriller).  All of his television guest spots (including a lot of game shows and eight years hosting Mystery!), and joy of life.  Vincent Price loved life.  He was a strong animal rights advocate, and loved to eat hot dogs and drink root beer floats and ride roller coasters and have Christmas parties.  He lived his life to the fullest, but still was always afraid of losing his popularity and not being able to find work.
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But of course that never happened, because along with all of the above, he made movies.  A lot of them.  Victoria talks about most of them to some extent, telling the stories we want to hear, such as how a camel fell in love with him on the set of one movie, and how he burned his eye lighting a match on another and after it healed had to keep squinting in a certain way for the rest of the movie (for which critics lauded him).  About how he didn’t get along with Michael Reeves when they filmed Witchfinder General (aka The Conqueror Worm), what he thought of his fellow horror legends like Boris Karloff and Peter Lorre, and how Roger Corman talked AIP into making a movie based on Poe’s The Fall of the House of Usher, and furthermore somehow talked them into spending twice as much time and money on it as they usually spent on their movies, and getting Vincent to be in it.
She goes through his college days, and the dark times of the Red Scare, where Joe McCarthy was attacking Hollywood and destroying careers.  His damaged first marriage and both of his divorces, his battle with Parkinson’s disease, even his unflattering later years (including his joy at working with Tim Burton and Johnny Depp), and his dislike of riding horses (“The horse and I just don’t see eye to eye.  In the first place, the top of a horse and my bottom don’t fit.  My legs are too long, and my torso too short- in short, I look ridiculous on top of a horse and I suspect it feels ridiculous under me.  Maybe the situations should be reversed.”).
Reading this book makes you want to lead a more full life yourself, which I’m sure would delight Vincent.  Fascinating and inspiring are the two words which best describe his life, and anyone even mildly interested in horror movie history, Hollywood history, or people who lead interesting lives should check it out.  It’s a great read and his daughter writes it in a way that keeps your interest throughout (some biographies can get tedious and boring; not this one).  And as a master of horror, reading about him is perfect for this time of year.

Chain Saw Confidential: How We Made the World’s Most Notorious Horror Movie


What can you say about the Texas Chain Saw Massacre (the 1974 original) that hasn’t already been said?  It’s been studied, broken down, copied, and intellectualized to death, and the general consensus among both horror fans and art fans is that it is one of the most important films in movie history.

Despite it’s legacy being watered down by a slew of sequels and remakes of dubious quality (let’s be honest- most of them outright sucked), it’s still one of the only horror movies inducted in the Museum of Modern Art in New York and began at least 3 or 4 horror movie trends in the United States (group of teenagers being preyed on by killers, crazy homicidal rednecks, a killer who wears a scary mask, and the final girl trope).  So it’s fans already know a lot of the stories and rumors surrounding it- about the horrible conditions it was filmed under (including incredible heat and dangerous stuntwork that injured several of the actors and crew), the grueling 27 hour dinner scene shoot, the real carcasses and roadkill that made up (and stunk up) the set dressing, and all the financial troubles and Mafia double-dealing it underwent after it was released.  A lot of the actors refused to talk about it for years because of the pain they went through and the lack of financial compensation they received.  Many of them are still angry about it (I incensed Ed Neal (who played the Hitchhiker) at a convention one year asking about it, and he became more and more angry and agitated as he tried to explain it (the “moving decimal point”, as he calls it, wherein the more fingers that are in the pie, the farther the decimal point moves to the left in the amount of money him and the other cast members receive).   To say there were a lot of hard feelings would be an understatement.
There was a story a few years ago in the convention circuit that Tobe Hooper (the director of the movie) was terrified of Gunnar Hansen, who played Leatherface (the main killer) and that anytime both of them were booked to do the same convention, Tobe would cancel.  He also would not do the commentary for the Texas Chain Saw Massacre dvd at the same time as Gunnar without someone else there because he was afraid to be alone with him.  Now, that same Gunnar Hansen has written a book detailing his experiences making The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, and it’s a fascinating read.

After paraphrasing Herman Melville, he begins at the beginning of his involvement with the movie, and tells how he got the part of Leatherface and the things he did to prepare for it.  He describes most of the key scenes in order and gives little asides and tidbits of information about them.  His writing style is very to-the-point and matter of fact, and he discusses and debunks (and verifies) a lot of rumors and myths that have been told and believed about the movie and the making of it for years.  It’s all told from his point of view, however he did interviews with all of the surviving principle cast and crew (except for Tobe Hooper, which lends more weight to the thought that there is some bad blood between them.  He does not, however, speak ill of Tobe (for the most part) and does quote an interview done with him from 2008 for thoughts from his side of the story) and has quotes from them, as well as several members of the horror community such as Stuart Gordon, John Landis, and Doug Bradley (who all have thoughts on the legacy of the Texas Chain Saw Massacre).  He also talks about how the film was received, the reviews both good and bad (“a vile little piece of sick crap”), and goes into details about the distributing fiasco and Mafia dealings (and manages to not sound too bitter about the whole situation).

He dedicates a few chapters at the end to various thoughts on horror, the horror movie, how the Texas Chain Saw Massacre fits into the horror movie history,  and censorship (which will probably be preaching to the converted,  with most of the likely readership of this book).  Most Chain Saw fans probably already know a lot of these stories, but it’s good to have them verified by someone who was there and all in one place, so that when someone tells you they were in prison with the guy that Leatherface was based on you can tell them they’re full of shit and have this book to prove it (since he was barely loosely based on Ed Gein, and most of the story was totally made up).

This is a great book to read for anyone interested in horror movies, or even just indie/ guerrilla  filmmaking.  At just 234 pages (including 16 pages of photos), it’s a fast read as well.  Definitely recommended.

“Peter Cushing: A Life In Film”

Today would have been Peter Cushing’s 100th birthday, so the time is right to review a newly released biography about him (released April 16th from Titan books).


From his beginnings in repertory theatre, to his starring roles on television (he was a very popular television star in the 1950’s, and Hammer had a big job luring him away from that), to his days at Hammer, and the dark times beyond that (after his beloved wife Helen died in 1971), this book encompasses it all.  If you’ve read his autobiographies from the ’80s, this is still a good read and adds a lot of detail and information to what you already know.  It also has a wealth of photos (well over 200- there’s at least one on almost every page), mostly black and white but with two sections of color photos as well.

Peter Cushing’s multitude of ups and downs are all represented here, and it features a lot of interviews (both reprinted and newly conducted for this book) with friends and co-stars (and the man himself).  The writing is a little academic and undynamic, but the source material shines through and engages without really needing a charismatic host to bring it to you.

Most actors, if they are lucky, get to play a famous character or meaty role that they become beloved for or associated with.  Cushing played many- Winston Smith, King Richard II, Dr. Frankenstein, Professor Van Helsing, Sherlock Holmes, Dr. Who, Captain Clegg, Grand Moff Tarken.  The joy he’s brought to people over the years with his thoughtful portrayals of these characters and many more is unquantifiable.  One thing you always hear when people describe his performances, is how he didn’t always choose the best material and movies to be in, but he always gave his all to every role and brought a humanity to even the most absurd or cardboard characters and storylines.  My favorite thing about PETER CUSHING- A LIFE IN FILM is that it tells a lot of the changes and improvements Cushing made to scenes, scripts, and characters- he was always suggesting little changes and enhancements, most of which the directors saw value in and used.

From Peter Cushing- A Life In Film, a page about the production of Amicus' Tales From The Crypt (1972) and how Cushing molded the role to make it his own.

From PETER CUSHING- A LIFE IN FILM, a page about the production of Amicus’ Tales From The Crypt (1972) and how Cushing molded the role to make it his own.

Peter Cushing, like Vincent Price, was incredibly beloved by all of his co-stars and fans, and I’ve never heard a bad word or derogatory tale about him.  By all accounts was a very friendly, gracious, and honorable man, and a fantastic and charismatic actor; he is still missed.


Lunch with Lydia

Lydia Lunch






You ever wonder what all the old school subversives are doing now?  Is Richard Kern doing ads for Esquire?  Is Nick Zedd doing commercials?  I know Rollins is doing documentaries.  How many of them are dead, or worse- born again Christians?

Well wonder no more when it comes to Lydia Lunch- she’s still tearing it up performing music, spoken word, acting, attacking Joe Rogan, and writing a book (and not the type you might think).  A cook book, to be exact, called “The Need To Feed”.  Here’s a sample:

I Said Jerk That Chicken!

 If it’s hot…no doubt I’m going to want to stick it in my mouth. Just the way I am. I love any food that makes me break a sweat. Slowly savoring the healing heat as it penetrates every cell, kick starting the nerve endings and revitalizing the synapses as they gush with endorphins. Gooey good fun! Jamaican jerk marinades are magic to the mouth. The combination of heat, sweet and pungency create a powerful tangy rush of oral delight! Jerk is exotic, deeply penetrating, incredibly satisfying and yet highly addictive goodness. Gotta love it.

1-tablespoon ground allspice 
1-teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2-teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/4-teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 teaspoon ground black pepper

1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves or 1 teaspoon dried thyme

6 scallions, green tops only, thinly sliced

2 small yellow onions diced 
2 large cloves of garlic minced
1 inch of fresh ginger minced
2 – 3 Scotch Bonnet chili peppers deseeded and chopped
1 tablespoon dark-brown sugar

1/2 cup fresh squeezed orange juice

Juice of 1 lime
1/4 cup red-wine vinegar

1/4 cup low sodium soy sauce

1/4 cup olive oil


Toast the allspice, cinnamon and nutmeg in a dry pan on low heat for 1 minute. Transfer to a blender adding cayenne, black pepper, thyme, scallions, onions, garlic, ginger, chili peppers, brown sugar, orange juice and lime juice, vinegar, soy sauce and olive oil. STAND BACK! And blend. Refrigerate for a few hours.

Use as marinade for chicken, turkey, pork or vegetables. Lather both sides of meat in jerk sauce and marinate for at least 2 hours in the fridge. Reserve the rest of the marinade for dipping. Grill, broil or bake. Use to brush on vegetables before grilling. Serve with rice and Mango Salsa.

I always wondered what would happen when we all became grandmas and grandpas- I’m happy to see some of us refuse to age gracefully.  Go buy her book, and I’ll be awaiting Lung Leg’s knitting guide expectantly…