The Z Box

The Z Box from Zavvi is a great monthly box of goodies, ranging from books, keyrings, clothing and other great bits. Every month is a surprise, and you can cancel your subscription at any time. The Z Box costs £16.99 and the contents either equal or greatly exceed that amount. 

Also sometimes, one lucky subscriber can win contents like the ones in the picture above. You can’t lose. So what are you waiting for? 

Want a £5 for your first Z Box order? Then click my handy discount link below! 

http://www.zavvi.com/referrals.list?applyCode=JONATHAN-R2M&li
Enjoy! 

JM

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Voices of the Damned (2015)

  
When I read ‘The Venus Complex’ by Barbie Wilde, I was enthralled. It was magnificent in every way, and I knew then that the literary and horror fiction world in general, truly had someone special on their hands. So you can probably imagine my glee when I was offered the chance to review Barbie Wilde’s new work, the brilliant short story collection ‘Voices of the Damned’. The opening story is erotically charged and bristling with descriptions of violence, that those who’ve read Barbie’s previous work will have come to expect. 

   

Hellraiser fans will be happy to discover that the ‘Female Cenobite’ actually has a name and a past which is given great detail in this book. It really is an experience worth having, and those of you with a love of horror, violence and the odd dash of erotica will find much to like here.

 

Dotted between each story are pieces of exquisite artwork from folks such as Clive Barker, Nick Percival, Eric Gross and Steve McGinnis, plus a few others. I found myself studying each piece before pressing on with the story and they really do capture the essence of the horrors Barbie Wilde manages to put down on paper.  ‘Voices of the Damned’ is released on October 31st 2015 and is available for preorder now via this link: 

https://www.sstpublications.co.uk/Voices-of-the-Damned.php

*Update* Barbie Wilde has informed me that there’ll be two editions available of Voices of the Damned. A standard hardback release and a deluxe edition. Both will be available via Amazon on 31st October. However, if you order directly from the link above, you will get a free book will all of the artwork inside. Now that’s great news. 
  
5/5

JM

Interview with Made Flesh author/artist pair Lars Kramhoft and Tom Kristensen. 




The american horror publisher Evil Jester just launched the Indie-go-go campaign (link here: https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/made-flesh) for their upcoming graphic novel “MADE FLESH”, an ambitious, 124-page horror story all in color. The creators of the book are a writer/artist team from Denmark of all places. 

I/WE (?) Horror caught up with the two up-and-coming talents for a quick chat about “Made Flesh” and to figure out why an American publisher believes  these guys will be succesful “over there”:

 

JM: Lars and Tom, can you introduce yourself to our readers?

 

L: Sure. I’m Lars and I’m the writer of “Made Flesh”.I’d like to say thanks for talking to us. This whole crazy journey we’re on is all about the art we make, the fans and friends we meet. It’s so great to feel that people support what you’re doing and now that we have the indie-go-go campaign up and running it really means everything.

 

T: My name is Tom Kristensen. I’m a 32 years old freelance illustrator living in Copenhagen with my lovely girlfriend. I generally work with visual storytelling and try to incorporate the comic book medium in everthing I work on.  

 

JM: Can you tell us a bit about what readers can expect from “Made Flesh”?

 

L: Well, on the surface level it’s a haunted house story about a guy named Michael whose father dies, so he has to travel back to his childhood home with his girlfriend to settle the estate. Already from the beginning Michael is having some problems, he has nightmares and hallucinates. We sense that there is something dark in his past and it is actually threatening his relationship. Of course the past comes back to haunt him – both metaphorically and quite literally, and he has to dig it all up to save himself and his girlfriend. I don’t want to give much more away, but people who are interested should follow the group on Facebook as well as the indiegogo campaign cause we will be posting new material and little bits of extras all through the next thirty days.

Both Tom and I are very ambitious about our art, be it writing or drawing, and when we made “Made Flesh” we comitted to create something genuine and genuinely scary. To be honest, I didn’t know if anyone was going to want to read it, so at some point I just said – fuck it, let’s go all the way. No compromises. Let’s give them hell. So we did – and it paid off. This book is our vision – surreal, visceral, psychological, litterary and artistic, creepy and disgusting. 

 

 T: In regards of the visual experience I wanted Made Flesh to have a strong visual side that would fit the psychological aspects of the story. Things aren’t so clean shaven in the tale so I took the drawings down the rabbit’s hole as well. I decided to approach the artwork with a more of a illustrative feel instead of trying to have everything perfectly inked. The pencils give a lot of nice textures that help setting the mood for this spooky tale

 

JM: Obviously, you are both hugely into horror entertainment, but what can a graphic novel offer in terms of horror that is different from a novel or a film and how did you make “Made Flesh” scary?

 

TI think comics and graphic novels have a huge potential when it comes to tell deep compelling stories. The way graphic novels demands cooperation from the reader. You need to be willing to merge yourself with the artwork and text in order for you to get the full experience. A lot of the story happens in-between panels and the reader needs to make it happen in his og her mind. That is one of the great things about the medium. A picture can hit a lot faster than a page full of words and that’s one of the things that make graphic novels suited for horror. You decide what the reader will see and what she’ll imagine. That’s pretty powerful, if you ask me. You can’t really create shock effects in a physical book unless it’s some sort of crazy popup book (I’d buy it!). So you need to take it in another direction. A much more interesting direction I might add. You need to create real emotions in your characters. They need to feel real in order for the scary things that might happen to them feel real to the reader. You want to work a lot with ambiance and atmosphere.

 

JM: For a lot of writers and artists in comics it can be quite a challenge to find the right people to collaborate with. How did your working together come about? Did you meet a convention, online or somewhere else entirely?

 

T: I wanted to create a graphic novel for my master’s degree at the design school. and I had met Lars at the Animation Workshop’s artists in residency Open Workshop earlier that year. I knew he wanted to write and I needed a story to work with so I asked him if he wanted to write it. Luckily he said yes. After I graduated we decided to finish the book. We’re both very committed to making art and stories so it felt only natural to collaborate.    

 

JM: Like many other up and coming comic book writers and artists, you went the self-publishing way before being picked up by a publisher. How did you go about that? Is it something you will recommend to others?

 

L: We definetely went the DIY-way and to be honest, we worked our asses off. I have always related what we do to punk bands who do everything themselves and sleep on their friends couches when they go touring. I basically spent all my money on self-publishing Made Flesh, and had to go on the dole for a month afterwards. Tom and I would ride our bikes around Copenhagen to get stores to sell our book, and we stood behind our own table at conventions in Denmark, Germany and the UK selling the book. There really is no easy way to do something like this. It’s hard work, but it’s also extremely rewarding because you’re doing what matters to you, and you live life as if it actually mattered  you’re not cheesing itI recommend doing it this way, because the best way to learn something is by actually fucking doing it. You know, Tom and I both have  creative educations, but I still say I my real education was all that time I spent making underground comics, writing and drawing for myself. It teaches you the craft, self-discipline and dedication.  

 




JM: Obviously, getting published is a big deal for all writers and artists. How did you get picked up by Evil Jester?

 

L: Yeah, it’s like, all that hard work and dedication I talked about has paid off, you know? Because first we got published in Denmark. Then we won the award for best Danish horror publication in 2013. Now we’re ready to bring our vision of horror and madness to an even bigger audience. I had already been writing a bit with the editor Charles Day about doing something for them because I knew they were doing awesome stuff, and when we eventually submitted the book to them they pretty much accepted it right away.  

 

Q: So you made the book – and now you want to do it again!? Or what is the deal with the indie-go-go campaign and why should the readers donate their hard-earned money to it?

 

L: The thing is, getting pubslihed in the US doesn’t automatically mean you hang out with Stan Lee and get a big bag of money handed to you. Evil Jester is a small company – they’re a quality publisher, but they’re small. And printing a big, full color comic book is expensive. And that’s not even taking something like marketing into consideration, which is a big part of it too. Obviously we’re not putting this money in our pockets – we’re trying to raise enough that we can publish a really, really, cool version of Made Flesh, hopefully a hardcover. That’s why people should support us if they’re into indie horror and good comics because we put our blood, sweat and tears into this. It’s not some Sunday school trip – we really love horror and we really, really worked hard to create something special here.We also want to make even more books, so if you guys help us here now, we promise you we’re going to deliver on the goods. 


JM: Before starting Made Flesh, was there anything that really inspired you and helped in the creative process?


L: Well, for my part, I had just graduated from animation school and had gotten my bachelor, but I knew I wasn’t going to work with animation. I started to do comics again, but then I just gravitated towards writing more and more. That’s like the context, but to answer your question I would say that someone like Grant Morrison inspired me a lot, because he really opened my eyes to how much you can do with comics. For me, he made comics sexy and rellevant. It was like, when I was reading his books, I would think – yeah, this is the kind of thing I want to do. Like Arkham Asylum which was a huge influence on MF.


T: Yes, I’d done a 112 page danish comic called Deadboy so I knew that I could actually finish a longer story. A lot of the time in the creative process you really just need to believe you can do it. During the time of drawing Made Flesh I went to the library a lot to read comics. I take a lot of inspiration from looking at other comics and say to myself: It they can so can I.





JM: Preacher would also be something that has great writing and isn’t afraid to be daring.


L: Totally! I have like four books that are the hallmark as far as I am concerned, Sandman, Preaher, Hellblazer and The Invisibles. For me, those four books, that time at Vertigo, was the best in horror comics.


JM: That’s what I liked about Made Flesh. It was very daring but treats the reader with respect. I love mature stories like that.


L: Yeah absolutely, I try to make something that I would like to read. I’m really satisfied with all the layers in the story, and how it doesn’t get spelled out, but you get the feeling of a world and a cosmology with spirits and demons even though you are never told exactly how it all works. 


JM: Guys thanks so much for your time. Good luck with the book and the campaign. 


JM

Crimes of Passion (2014)

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Scandinavian drama is doing very, very well in the UK. Now adding to the long list is Crimes of Passion, based on the best selling novels by Swedish author Maria Lang. Starring Ola Rapace as Christer and Tuva Novotny as Puck, it’s a lavishly designed period drama/murder mystery.

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The set which has been kindly provided by the folks at Arrow Films, contains six feature length mysteries, packed to the gills with sex, intrigue and whodunit’s. Everyone is on top of their game, and the stories leave you really scratching your head until the final third. It’s currently being screened on BBC4 here in the UK, and has audiences responding really well. Tuva Novotny is great as Puck. She plays the part really well. Puck is attentive, yet strangely manages to always be in the right place at the right time. Her inquisitive nature is usually the key to cracking whatever mystery befalls her and her friends.

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It is a wonderful programme, very reminiscent of Midsomer Murders or even Inspector Morse, well to me anyway. The set is released on October 6th and is available to pre order from http://www.arrowfilms.co.uk now.

4/5

JM

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What Monsters Do (2012)

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Well. Allow me to catch my breath, such is the speed at which these tales unfurl. I have to say my hands are still a mite clammy. With this, his first collection, Nicholas Vince as shown what a dab hand he is at wringing tension from situations that you can imagine would be scary, but not like this. From the first story (Family Tree), where blood ties are put to the test, to the last tale (The Beast In Beauty), a tale of Satanism and almost overbearing sensuality.

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Well will know Nicholas Vince from his role in Clive Barker’s Hellraiser movies as the ‘Chatterer Cenobite’. A character which cements itself in movie folklore with his scarred visage all mangled and bloody, with the teeth constantly making that sound. Another iconic role, which I’m sure many will agree, was Nicholas’ role as Kinski in Clive Barker’s ‘Nightbreed’. The crescent moon shaped face another eye catching design which stays with you.

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However, I am so glad that the talented actor Nicholas Vince, has now decided to also become the talented author and playwright Nicholas Vince. Going to show that you can never have enough splendid feathers in your cap. The collection of short stories in ‘What Monsters Do’ leave such an impression on me that I have already started devouring his second collection called ‘Other People’s Darkness’. The review of that will follow soon. I urge everyone to seek a copy of this wonderful collection out, it is the perfect reading material for bedtime, the journey to work or even just reading a short story on your tea break. Folks who read my reviews of movies and books will know I do not blow smoke up people’s arse, and that I am brutally honest. So it’s worth knowing that I truly enjoyed these macabre tales, and recommend them to everyone. I would like to thank the wonderful Nicholas Vince for graciously providing me with a copy of the book, which is now available via Amazon UK in Kindle or paperback.

5/5

JM

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The Venus Complex (2012)

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Michael Friday is an art professor. His life is drastically altered whilst driving home with his wife, when he finds out that she has been sleeping with another man. Michael flies into a fit of rage, and floors the accelerator, driving the car straight into a tree. Michael survives, his wife does not. Michael is then hospitalised with his injuries. Upon leaving hospital Michael finds that everything in his life no longer has the same meaning it once did. Michael’s desire to work, and study art leaves him. A different side emerges to Michael. A darker side. Michael begins having perverse sexual dreams, involving necrophilia and murder, which he starts to enjoy. To fill the gap his job once took, Michael decides to find another project, one that sees him plunge head first into insanity.

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People will most likely remember the author Barbie Wilde as the female Cenobite in Hellbound: Hellraiser II. For this first novel she has delivered a brilliant tale of lust and perversion. The story consists of Michael’s diary entries in which he speaks of his disgust and disdain for society and how it has become. He describes, in vivid detail I may add, his dreams and fantasies as they become increasingly violent in nature. Barbie Wilde has an imagination that is wonderfully vivid, creating a disturbing image of a man’s decent into madness. Yet we empathise  in places with Michael. He is not a thoroughly despicable person, despite his perversions. We understand his frustration for society and how materialistic we have all become. Credit for this goes to the author. Barbie Wilde gives heart and wit to a character that may have been overcome by his failings in the hands of other authors. If this is what she delivered for her first novel, then roll on the next one.

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This copy of The Venus Complex was graciously provided by Barbie Wilde. You can purchase your copy now from http://www.amazon.co.uk and all other major stockists.

5/5

JM

 

 

Two of the best friends I ever had.

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Hi again folks. Now I know this is a movie and movie related stuff blog, but Calvin and Hobbes played such an integral part of my growing up, and also in shaping my love for media and the wonderment it brings, that I felt it would be a great disservice to them if I didn’t acknowledge them here.

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Bill Watterson who created these two lovely icons was and still is a genius. The essence of what made growing up and youth in general such a journey full of highs and lows, is captured wonderfully by Watterson. Be it the made up sport of Calvinball where the rules constantly change, or the adventures of Spaceman Spiff, Watterson showed what it was like to be a child with an incredible imagination. Never mind the fact that Calvin acts like someone in his mid forties, and less of the six year old he actually is. It’s all captured brilliantly.

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I remember the first time I picked up a Calvin and Hobbes book, I was immediately captivated. The love between this boy and his little stuffed tiger (who appears only real to Calvin) was heartwarming. It showed me the importance of friendship, and how having that one friend in your life can make all the difference. I’m glad Watterson never showed Calvin growing up, I don’t think I, let alone Calvin, could have taken the pain of having to say goodbye to that world.

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It’s been years now since Bill Watterson finished Calvin and Hobbes, but the legacy lives on. If you’ve never read any of the books, give them a whirl. It will change your life.

JM

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