Once I finish writing a novel I like to check around out there for similar works, to get an idea of the market cilimate. Back around the time Progeny was released I became aware of a book called Vicious, by Bryan Alaspa, about some vacationers trapped inside a cabin by killer canines. Progeny of course, has its cast boarded up inside an isolated country house while stalked by a pair of pissed-off bigfoots (the worst kind.)
Vicious is harsh and brutal, yet thoughtful; similar in set-up but wildly divergent in execution, compared to my novel. It’s not surprising that Bryan and I became good friends in the wake of our respective novel releases.
With the conclusion of the Haunted Hollow Chronicles trilogy.
I discovered another such parallel tome –Autumncrow– and another cool friend, in author Cameron Chaney, a hardcore horror book nerd with his own youtube channel, on which he reviewed Red Harvest. He expressed affinity for its setting so it came as no surprise at that time that he had his own Halloween heartstopper in the works.
His book hit just a few months ago and I quickly slapped it into my Kindle queue.
Like many readers, I’m a good several tens of books behind in my reading. But I finally cracked Autumncrow in the last few days for perhaps the same reason many of you might. It’s a good dose of Halloween spirit when it’s needed, here at roughly the halfway point when our favorite unholy day seems both a distant memory and a teasing promise; when we could use a bit of descriptive recall to summon the spirit of crisp air, falling leaves, brush fires and the various synthetic materials comprising freshly-stocked department store costumes.
Enter Autumncrow. It’s a novel of intertwining terror tales taking place in a small town, not unlike my own Haunted Hollow Chronicles, or the film “Trick R Treat”– as well as roughly one trillion other works. This is not to say it’s a tired premise, but rather one that remains a bottomless well of creative potential. I imagine I’ll always be drawn to its tropes, as both a writer and a reader.
Hell, the title alone summons thoughts of umber early evening skies, and once-plush trees growing more skeletal by the day. I’m not one for synopsizing someone else’s work but I can absolutely recommend Autumncrow for your Halloween fix, year-round.
Chaney’s are troubled characters of all ages, for whom the holiday serves as a trial-by-fire. There is something sinister just out of sight in the bushes, you see. A hidden underground chamber occupied by a sassy dead dude, a family whose separate members are attached to their very own tormenting monster…
Moving on, I’ve been working my way through season one of “The Exorcist” television series, based on the novel which birthed the 72 movie. I’d resisited it, unconvinced that an entire series devoted to a single exorcism, or on the other hand, an exorcism-of-the-week motif, could succeed.
In the words of the good Doctor Channard “To think — I hesitated.” “The Exorcist,” season one at least (available on Hulu) is dialed right in, with high production values. a great cast that keeps the stockish characters interesting and the appropriate pacing compared to the film.
I see that “Hannibal” has hit Netflix now, which I take as a reminder to watch the much-ballyhooed third and final season.
Keep an eye out for my twisted thoughts on retro-80s aesthetics, horror punk bands and the return of mini-reviews for lesser known or nearly-forgotten flicks and films.