About Pat Dreadful

Father of three. Impregnator of one. Pat lives in the backwoods of Pennsylvania where he splits his time between moonshining and moonlighting. He used to be the sole proprietor of a funky little site called Grade Z Horror but jumped at the chance to work with Meli and Colum. He was raised on King and Crichton but quickly found true salvation in the works of Ketchum and Laymon. When not selling plasma to afford those highly sought after Jeff Strand limited editions, Pat can be found sitting on his back porch with a pipe full of Perique and the sounds of summer coming through a beat up transistor radio. Simply put, he is a true ramblin’ boy of pleasure. The books that have shaped Pat’s warped lil’ ol’ mind have included Dweller by Jeff Strand, It by Stephen King, Boy’s Life by Robert McCammon, The Traveling Vampire Show by Richard Laymon and The Girl Next Door by Jack Ketchum. Pat is always on the lookout for a good coming-of-age yarn so shoot your suggestions to PatDreadful@gmail.com You can also follow his unsavory exploits over at theblackwoodsbible.wordpress.com

An Occurrence in Crazy Bear Valley by Brian Keene

Que the Ennio Morricone.  Grab your Stetson and saddle up.  Brian Keene is about to take you to the Old West (with a sasquatch or two)…..

From Deadite Press:

The Old West has never been weirder or wilder than it has in the hands of master horror writer Brian Keene.

Morgan and his gang are on the run—from their pasts and from the posse riding hot on their heels, intent on seeing them hang. But when they take refuge in Crazy Bear Valley, their flight becomes a siege as they find themselves battling a legendary race of monstrous, bloodthirsty beings. Now, Morgan and his gang aren’t worried about hanging. They just want to live to see the dawn.

To say this is a weird Western may be a bit misleading.  It is weird in the same way that McCabe & Mrs. Miller is a weird western.  Both are firmly planted in the era of the Old West and adhere to the preexisting conventions of the genre but both do it in a refreshingly new  fashion.  McCabe & Mrs. Miller toys with the viewer’s sense of traditional locale by setting the film in the snowy Pacific Northwest while An Occurrence in Crazy Bear Valley (although also toying with the traditional setting) has the reader examine what constitutes good and evil in a Western.  Keene doesn’t have a posse hunting a group of outlaws.  No way, that would be too easy.  Instead, Keene creates a race of monsters ,known as the “crazy bears”, who have been wronged by this group of rogue thieves.  The “crazy bears” follow the standard conventions that most heroes adhere to in classic Westerns except, y’know, they are scary as all get out.

These “crazy bears” are no joke!  Imagine of you took the savage humanity of the cannibals in Off Season, mated them with the fierceness of the beasts in The Cellar and filtered it through some down-and-dirty Bigfoot mythology.  These are the “crazy bears” and they mean business.  They may be visitors from space or they may be biblical beings that have been hidden away for centuries but either way, they are angry and out for revenge.

I’ve been on record as saying that Brian Keene can write about the working man like nobody’s business.  His words drip with the authenticity that can only come from the pen of a man who has been through the ringer and lived to tell the tale. This is his strength.  This is what makes him so important to so many readers.  We can identify with the characters on the page- even in a story set in the Old West, involving a pack of terrifying humanoid beasts and a band of despicable bandits.  Keene takes his “every man” sensibilities and applies it to a group of murders and thieves with superb  results.  This are the working class of the era and, after an initial brush with senseless violence, the readers grows to care about these characters who are left to fend off a group of crazed animals.  Again, this is Keene’s strength and this is what makes An Occurrence in Crazy Bear Valley such a fun and effective story.

The dynamic of Morgan’s gang is very intriguing because a normal author would have you hate these people based on their background.  Not Keene.  Keene even adds fuel to the fire by having an opening chapter which invites the reader to despise Morgan and his cronies. I honestly believe that Keene enjoys the challenge of trying have the reader relate to a character they once hated. The story then begins to slowly build these characters up in very convincing fashion.  We see their faults and fears and begin to feel for them as they fight for their lives.  Eventually, we are a member of Morgan’s gang and we, too, are fighting for our very survival. This is the hallmark of Keene’s writing and this why a story about crazed sasquatch set in a long-gone can feel so damn personal.

An Occurrence in Crazy Bear Valley is a fun story that packs a whole lot of tension into a very small space.  This is definitely “read in one sitting” territory here, folks, and I guarantee you’ll leave the story fully satisfied. Check it out if you’re looking for something a little off-beat!

 If the review above doesn’t sell you, there is also a short story included.  “Lost Canyon of the Damned” is a fun little tale that finds Keene venturing gloriously close to bizarro territory as he tells a story that is one part Western, one part Zombie with a heaping helping of prehistoric, inter-dimensional weirdness.  This is a fantastic piece for those interested in Keene’s upcoming bizarro piece that he has hinted at for the past few years.

James Newman’s HOLY ROLLERS is being adapted for the big screen!

We, here at Dreadful Tales, are huge fans of James Newman.  I guess those who know me probably tire of hearing how Newman is one of the best talents in the genre so it will come as no surprise that I completely lost it when I heard that his short story, Holy Rollers, was being adapted into a film.  James is looking for some supporters to help him get the film made and that is where you come in.  He has set up an Indie GoGo site to help fund the project.

Now, we normally don’t post this type of thing but Holy Rollers is a project that I wholeheartedly believe in and wanted to pass along the information to the DT community.  James is a fantastic writer and one of the nicest folks you’re likely to meet so nothing would make me happier than to see this project get funded.

Don’t believe me?  Check out the story for free and decide for yourself!

http://www.indiegogo.com/holyrollers

Good luck, James!  The whole DT staff is pulling for you!

From the HOLY ROLLER’s Indiegogo site:

We are attempting to raise $5000 to shoot James Newman’s Holy Rollers. 100% of the money raised will go into the production, carrying us throughout the post-production process and beyond. James Newman’s Holy Rollers will be submitted to film festivals worldwide and we are confident that it will shock, scare, amaze and impress audiences the world over.

The film has been budgeted at $5000 which will allow us to pay for the best talent we can find, both in front of AND behind the camera, as well as equipment rental, location fees, catering, editing and sound work in post, music clearances, travel and lodging, and more!

We have different contribution levels with some amazing perks which include digital downloads, DVD/Blu-Ray’s, scripts, T-shirts, books, and more. While we understand that most contributions to our film will come in the $25-$50 range, we highly encourage those who may be so inclined to become a “Hundred-Fold Blessing” contributor as that will get you an extremely-limited edition copy of “Holy Rollers: The Film Companion”, a book that contains both the original short story and the filming script. This book will also contain exclusive behind-the-scenes photos, a new preface by author/screenwriter James Newman, and a foreword by director Kevin Woods. This limited edition will be signed by the author and director.

We are also offering an exclusive Eternal Companion perk which will include one edition of every chapbook, every novella, every novel released after 1/1/13 for the author’s lifetime (*excludes Lettered editions). There is only ONE of these available, so fans of Mr. Newman’s work should act fast!

But any of our contribution levels will have some great perks and we are truly appreciative of any contribution to this campaign. We are excited about this film and we absolutely need YOUR help to make it happen. So please, consider contributing to “James Newman’s Holy Rollers” IndieGoGo campaign, and help us make this film the best it can be!

If we do not reach our $5000 goal here on IndieGoGo, fear not…we have other tricks up our sleeve to make the film happen and you will one day be able to see it. But we prefer that it happens sooner rather than later, and that’s why we need your help to get this in front of the cameras in a timely manner. The money raised from this initial campaign will still go 100% into the production and contributors will receive their promised perks. We WILL make this film happen and we deeply appreciate YOUR support!

Other Ways You Can Help

Yes, times are tough. Sometimes you want to help out…you want to be instrumental in helping get “James Newman’s Holy Rollers” shot…but the money just isn’t there. That’s ok! You can still help us by spreading the word about this campaign! You got a Facebook, right? And just about everyone is on Twitter nowadays. Share our campaign! Anywhere! Everywhere! Help us get the word out about our film on your social networking pages, your website or blog, anywhere! Believe us, your support is just as important as money! We need folks to get behind us, either monetarily or through their actions. So please share our campaign wherever you see fit! It is greatly appreciated.

You can also share our website which can be found at http://www.holyrollersthefilm.info.

The Circle by Bentley Little

From Cemetery Dance:

“The shrine. How does it operate? Do you just pray to it or do you have to bring it something or what?”

In this unsettling novella by Bentley Little, many strange occurrences unsettle the inhabitants of William Tell Circle:

For Helen, a knock on the door brings an unexpected visitor along with lavish gifts, and it seems all her wishes have been granted…but at what cost?

For young Frank and his friends, a fabled neighborhood shrine may answer their prayers for a girlfriend, just as their older brothers hope the same source will grant them money. But the older boys’ improvised ritual turns into something horrible…

For Gil Marotta, a rescue mission to the shrine leads him into a chilling confrontation with the local witch…

The Circle tells the story of a normally quiet community, plunged into the kind of surreal nightmare only Bentley Little can deliver.

Simply stated, The Circle is not Bentley Little’s best work.  I originally read the story about 10 years ago when it was part of the FOUR DARK NIGHTS collection and remember being entertained by it.  After all of these years my opinion of the story has lessened quite a bit.  If you were to take the story apart and examine each of its “components” it works but unfortunately as a whole the thing just comes off as disjointed and confusing.

The story takes place on a typical cul-de-sac in a mundane suburban neighborhood where the residents are as cookie cutter as they come.  Unfortunately for the residents of the circle, there also happens to be a modern day witch living in their midst and they have just pissed her off.  What follows is a series of horrific scenarios as the witch looks to bring retribution on her unsuspecting neighbors.  The actual story was fresh, fun and surprisingly believable.  Things just fell apart in the execution.

Little usually reaches the line where most authors would stop and he crosses it with a grin on his face.  Nothing seems too violent or graphic for Little. This wasn’t the case in The Circle.  On more than one occasion I was waiting for a huge payoff but was left complete blue balled.  Even in the opening (arguably the best part of the story) the premise is absolutely disgusting but it didn’t hit on an emotional level the way Little’s other “gross out” scenes play out. I guess this is what happens when you grow up with an author and then go back and re-read some of their earlier work.  It also explains why I may have enjoyed the story a bit more when a read it a decade ago.

I’m sure most Little fans will scoop this up immediately and I wouldn’t want to discourage anyone from doing so. As usual Cemetery Dance has done a bang up job with the presentation here and this will look beautiful on any collectors shelf.  Now for those who are not necessarily Little fans or those new to his work, this may not be the best read for you.

News: The Cover of Joe Hill’s New Novel and The Bighead… as a movie?!?!?!

JOE HILL

Big news today as Joe Hill recently unveiled the tentative cover to his next novel which is descriped as an “epic vampire road novel”.  Yes, please!  Interestingly enough, Hill’s father will have an “epic vampire Winnebago novel” coming out next year as well.

http://joehillfiction.com/2012/07/start-your-engines/

Awesome!

‘THE BIGHEAD’ SHORT FILM KICKSTARTER

A Kickstarter fund has been established in an attempt to bring Ed Lee’s disturbing novel to us in short film form.  If you’ve always dreamt of seeing such depravity on the screen, this is your chance!

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1171142316/edward-lees-the-bighead-the-movie

A Few Words From Jeff Strand

We invited Jeff Strand over to the site to say a few words about his new YA novel, A Bad Day For Voodoo.  Take it away, Jeff:

In what I believe is a first for the blogosphere, I am writing this guest blog while on fire.I don’t mean that I’m wearing a pair of gloves and one little pinky has a tiny flame on it or something weak like that. I mean that I am literally writing this blog while engulfed in flames, screaming and running around the room, getting soot all over my iPad screen.Sure, I could jump into the shower, but then this would just be a blog by somebody who was recently on fire, and that’s not all that impressive. No, even though it hurts pretty darn bad, I am going to remain alight until I finish this blog. That’s how important it is to me that you get cutting-edge content.

It’s possible that some of you don’t believe me. “Hogwash!” you’re shouting. “Nobody in that situation would continue to write a charming blog entry instead of seeking medical attention! Hogwash, I say!”

Why has our world become so cynical? Do you really think that I’m so desperate to attract attention to my upcoming young adult novel that I would lie about writing a blog post while on fire? I’m doing this for you. I downplayed the damage to my iPad earlier so that you wouldn’t feel guilty, but it’s melting all over the place and I’ll probably have to buy a new one.

Some of you may be wondering why I don’t post pictures to prove it. I’ll tell you why: because I’m on fire and don’t really have time right now to take pictures of myself just to address your doubts! C’mon, if somebody said “Hey, I drove my car through a guardrail and now I’m teetering over the edge of a cliff and am seconds away from plummeting six hundred feet onto rocks, explosives, and quicksand!” would you ask them to take a picture to prove it? Of course not. That would be rude. All I ask is for the same consideration.

I know, I know: you think that a blog post written while on fire should have more typos. Well, I do have an editor, who will be translating sentences like:

gaswghsarw!!kk

Into:

“In what I believe is a first for the blogosphere…”

Anyway, I’m seeing a lot of visible bone on my arm now, so it’s probably time to wrap this up. Thank you for allowing me to make Internet history!

The man is pure genius!  Needless to say you should run out and pick up everything that Jeff has ever put out but in particular check out A Bad Day For Voodoo!
Keep those peepers peeled because in just a bit we will be running a Ex-Strand-aganza as we run a cool little contest! Stay tuned.

News Briefs: HorrorFind, Jobs in Hell and Necon

HORRORFIND AUTHORS ANNOUNCED

As we mentioned yesterday, HorrorFind recently released the first wave of their author programming last week.  The annual con takes place in Gettysburg, PA and offers a nice mix of film legends, genre staples and up-and-coming authors.  If you haven’t bought tickets yet, I suggest you do.  Aside from this initial crop of very talented writer’s, I happen to know that there are one or two author additions that will make fans of the Dreadful Tales Book Club as happy as a pig in mud.  Here are the first literary guests:

Ronald Malfi

John Everson

Hunter Shea

David Bernstein

Brian Moreland

Russell James

Mick Ridgewell

Nicole Viachos

Check out the full Guest List here:

http://www.horrorfindweekend.com/celebrities.html

JOBS IN HELL RETURNS

Brian Keene has started his column, Jobs in Hell, up again.  This time it takes the form of a Tumblr page.  Jobs in Hell was the feature that was of the most humorous, scathing and honest features aimed at writers and fans, alike.

http://briankeene.tumblr.com/

ARE YOU GOING TO NECON?

The staff here at Dreadful Tales was really looking forward to attending Necon this year.  Unfortunately, life got in the way and we won’t be there but we are looking to live vicariously through you!  If you are attending and plan on taking pictures we would love to see them (especially if they involve Jeff Strand frolicking through the woods under a full moon) and post them on the site.  Feel free to tweet them to @GradeZHorror or shoot an email to PatDreadful[at]gmail[dot]com.

News: Brian Keene Has Something Very Mysterious On His Site

UPDATE: The poll is now closed!

Every morning I check all of my favorite literary sites to ensure that I am hip to all of the goings-on in the genre.  This morning, while visiting Brian Keene’s site, I noticed a very interesting poll.  Of course, this is pure speculation on my part but it appears as if Brian may be interested in starting his own convention which would be huge.  Currently there are a handful of conventions devoted to genre literature (which is mildly surprising given the abundance of shows dedicated to genre films) and even fewer conventions that are run by authors for the fans.

We have seen many genre lit conventions go under and others cut down on their literary guests.  Just take a look at how the guest list was handled for Horrorfind this year.  Sure, they have secured two of my favorite authors with Ronald Malfi and Hunter Shea but it wasn’t given the same treatment as past years.  Maybe there isn’t money to be made with genre authors or just maybe the perceived popularity isn’t there.  Who knows?  What I can say is that we need something big.  We need a gathering that attracts authors from all of our beloved genres- not just horror. I picture something like WHC mixed with BizarroCon and set in a punk rock club.  Sure, this may just be me dreaming but one can never be sure when Brian Keene is involved.

Now I have no idea what Brian has planned but if history is any indication, this will be a show unlike any other designed for the ultimate fan experience. I encourage everyone head on over to Brian’s site to vote and show him support in this endeavor.

RELATED:

Dreadful Tales interview with Brian Keene, Mary SanGiovanni and JF Gonzalez.