California Adventure–in Photographs

I spent the last Thursday to Tuesday in the Bay Area for the The 2nd Outer Dark Symposium on the Greater Weird and for a quick vacation in San Francisco. The Symposium was held at the Winchester Mystery House. Thanks to the Outer Dark for hosting another stellar conference, particularly Anya Martin, who tirelessly organized the event.

Below are some photographs.

Arthouse horror in Channel Zero’s BUTCHER’S BLOCK

Butcher’s Block (director Arkasha Stevenson), the third installment of SYFY Channel’s anthology mini-series CHANNEL ZERO (based on the creepypasta urban legends), was the most disturbing one yet. It was uneven in many ways, but visually arresting and ambitious.

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Alice (Olivia Luccardi) and her schizophrenic sister Zoe (Holland Roden) move to an unnamed rundown city, where Alice takes a job as a social worker. Her first case is in an especially impoverished neighborhood called Butcher’s Block, a graffiti-filled area surrounded by a defunct meat packing warehouse and an overgrown park. The area, a is known for strange after-dark phenomena (in the form of marble staircases that lead nowhere), mysterious disappearances and poor, if not outright corrupt police activity. Alice’s first day shadowing an older Child Protective Services officer in Butcher’s Block ends in the apparently violent abduction of her clients—a mother and a child. Meanwhile, Zoe has a hard time adjusting to her drug regimen. Through her eyes, we see the whole story of the sisters; they both left a broken home, due to their mother’s severe mental illness, which Zoe has inherited. Both sisters discover the awful secret at the center of the park—that the people of Butcher’s Block are prey to the sinister, cannibalistic Peach clan who once owned the abandoned meat packing company.
Butcher’s Block weaves together several  thematic disparate strands–about family ties, heredity. It has deliberately complex characters, some of whom have hidden depths and grow (or regress) in the course of the show. Best of all, it is delightfully weird and extremely unsettling. Cannibalism and self-mutilation are only the tip of the iceberg in this show. I loved the different mixtures of horror on display. There’s Lynchian dark surrealism, a nod to Dario Argento lurid aesthetic, and a dash of cosmic horror. By no means is Butcher’s Block perfect. There are times when it slips into “the stupid plot,” and the mood whiplash is severe. But it’s an admirable entry into what I’d call “arthouse horror,” and besides, it passes the Bedchel test with flying colors.

 

Cover Reveal for the Outer Dark Symposium on the Great Weird chapbook

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Here’s the TOC:
Cover by Mark Bode
Nonfiction
African American Folklore, Magical Realism and Horror in Toni Morrison’s Novels by Sumiko Saulson
Mining Dark Latino Folklore by David Bowles
Fiction
Hard As Stone – Daniel Braum
Art by Dave Felton
Black Treacle by Craig L. Gidney
Art by Liv Rainey-Smith
The Lake Children by Izzy Lee
Art by Sumiko Saulson
Worm of Poe by John Foster
Art by Liv Rainey-Smith
The Baby in the Forest by Eric Schaller
Art by Paul Mavrides
The Last Plague Doctor by Rebecca J. Allred
Art by Jeanne Maskmaker

Available exclusively to attending and supporting members: https://igg.me/at/theouterdark2018 

(Tickets and supporting membership are still available!)

SIGNAL BOOST: Indiegogo Campaign for the Outer Dark

The Outer Dark is running an Indiegogo Campaign to help fund its second annual Symposium on the Greater Weird on March 24. There are many MAGNIFICIENT rewards to those who contribute.

From their website:

The Outer Dark Symposium on the Greater Weird is the world’s only conference focusing on contemporary Weird fiction, film and art. The 2nd annual symposium will gather more than 25 writers, artists, filmmakers & editors on March 24, 2017 at Winchester Mystery House in San Jose, CA., one of the USA’s Weirdest places. Hear all the readings and panels on The Outer Dark podcast, which airs on This Is Horror, reaching thousands of listeners who are readers of Weird and speculative fiction.

OD 2018

 

The Outer Dark, and Looming Low News

Some writing based news

I will be appearing at the 2018 Outer Dark Symposium on the Greater Weird on March 24. In addition to getting to meet and mingle with other cool authors, the event will be held at the allegedly haunted world famous Winchester House in San Jose, CA!

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Looming Low, the first Dim Shores anthology, has been nominated for a This is Horror award in the anthology category.*

 

*My story “Mirror Bias” appears here.

BOOK RADAR: “Cry Your Way Home” by Damien Angelica Walters

Colleague and semi-local-to-me author Damien Angelica Walters has a new collection out. Some of the pieces I have read before they were collected in CRY YOUR WAY HOME  (Apex Book Company). Walters’ delicate prose style belies the disturbing darkness at the center of her fiction.

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From the back cover copy:

Sometimes things are not what they appear to be. DNA doesn’t define us, gravity doesn’t hold us, a home doesn’t mean we belong. From circus tents to space stations, Damien Angelica Walters creates stories that are both achingly familiar and chillingly surreal. Within her second short story collection, she questions who the real monsters are, rips families apart and stiches them back together, and turns a cell phone into the sharpest of weapons.

Cry Your Way Home brings together seventeen stories that delve deep into human sorrow and loss, weaving pain, fear, and ultimately resilience into beautiful tales that are sure to haunt you long after you finish the collection.

Includes the Bram Stoker Award-nominated story “The Floating Girls: A Documentary”