Category Archives: News

CREEP, CREEP 2, DARK DISCUSSIONS and the most unsettling Christmas present EVER

Peachfuzz 1

There are some Christmas gifts that are just so personal, clever, and awesome it’s unlikely they’ll ever be forgotten. I came home from a particularly rough one and received just that—and so did my friends Eric and Phil.

 

Most of you know that I’m a part-time co-host on a horror film podcast called Dark Discussions. The five of us—Phil, Mike, Eric, Abe, and me—tend to be irreverent and do a lot of laughing. A year or so before I joined them, they discussed an unsettling 2015 indie gem called Creep. Much joviality surrounded one of the movie’s more outlandish moments which was a little on the dirty side, if you get my drift.

You can listen to the DD episode on Creep here and the one on Creep 2 here…and you can watch the films here:

Creep

Creep 2

Creep Episode 195

The masthead for DARK DISCUSSIONS Episode 195, CREEP. Look at the picture bottom left–yup, it’s the stuffed wolf! Collage by Philip Perron.

*SPOILER ALERT*

The Creep franchise focuses on a serial killer; but, much like a narcissist, he likes to toy with and manipulate his victims first in a series of bizarre emotional ploys. He first cons his victim—in both movies, an aspiring filmmaker—with the lure of cash to film him for one day, evoking sympathy with one sob story after another as things get more complicated. What’s key to my anecdote, though, is that at one moment in the original film, he dons a wolf mask he calls “Peachfuzz.” That dirty moment I referenced? He touches himself while murmuring Peachfuzz’ name, later explaining to his victim that he thinks of himself as a wolf—tough on the outside, tender and loving on the inside.

After the victim leaves to go back to his life, our serial killer regresses to mailing strange packages before doing him in. The contents of at least one of the packages always contains a stuffed wolf.

As far as my scary little package, we’re still not sure which co-host did it; nobody’s owned it yet. Or even better if we never know. Because the brilliance of this isn’t only the reference to all the fun we have on the show, it’s got that creep factor: I could, indeed, be this guy’s next victim. Oh, Peachfuzz…

Creep 2 Episode310

The masthead for DARK DISCUSSIONS Episode 310: CREEP 2. At the top left, you can see the Peachfuzz mask. Photo collage by Philip Peron.

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The Bronx Zoo’s Extinct Species Graveyard

Extinct Species 1 - Headstone

The Extinct Species Graveyard at the Bronx Zoo’s BOO AT THE ZOO Event was fascinating–and sad.

Nathan and I love to visit the Bronx Zoo, which is just about an hour from our house—it’s like being on vacation for a day, and it could be said the zoo is part of our lives (we’ve “financially adopted” many of their animals over the years, everything from a bat to a Madagascar Hissing Cockroach we named Mountain King). Since we’re members, we try to make it down for the zoo’s special events throughout the year.

October brought Boo at the Zoo: weekends full of activities such as a beer garden, pumpkin carving demonstration, not-really hay rides, marshmallow roasting pits, candy trails, a corn maze—and my favorite, a Haunted Forest in the abandoned World of Darkness Building. Little known fact about me? It was my first-ever walk-through Haunted House, and I did pretty well!

It was lots of fun to see kids in costume.

Look who I ran into in New York City!

…and to visit our hissing cockroach, Mountain King.

The exhibit that struck me most was the Extinct Species Graveyard, which was set up in a little-used grove of trees next to The Mouse House. It wasn’t there for a Halloween thrill, nor was it there as just another decoration to fill up space; it seemed part educational, and part memorial. I was surprised by the profound sense of sadness I felt as we wandered through the headstones.

Here’s a tour!

Extinct Species 6 - Falkland Islands Wolf

Officially discovered in the late 1600s, the Falkland Islands Wolf’s tame nature spelled its doom—it hadn’t learned to fear humans, so settlers could easily trick it into coming close enough to kill it. They were hunted for meat and fur, and were considered threatening to sheep. The last one was killed Read the rest of this entry

DARK DISCUSSIONS dives 47 METERS DOWN

 

Dark Discussions 47 Meters Down Mast_Episode293

47 METERS DOWN collage by Philip Perron.

Shark Week may be a long 10 months away, but there’s still plenty of thrills to be had in this year’s much-delayed Mandy Moore vehicle 47 Meters Down, which had been titled–and even briefly released, as I understand it–under the moniker In the Deep.

Dark Discussions delves deep into what works and what doesn’t in this film (which personally I didn’t get all the hate for–it’s a friggin’ shark thriller, for God’s sake, why are you all expecting high art?) which is available on Blu-Ray and DVD today. Pick it up here — http://a.co/20Q1UNs — then dive into what we thought!

You can listen to our episode on Stitcher, iTunes, and here: http://www.darkdiscussions.com/Pages/podcast_293.html

1280_in_the_deep_47_meters_down_poster

Creative Spark: Melissa Crandall on ‘Three on a Match’ (Q&A)

TODAY IS THE BIG DAY! THREE ON A MATCH – which contains my novella, “Splendid Chyna,” gets released! Here’s an interview with one of the writers, Melissa Crandall! Stay tuned for more!

johnbvaleri

Today, I have the pleasure and privilege of sharing virtual space with Melissa Crandall.

Melissa is a contributor, most recently, to Three on a Match (Books & Boos Press)—the second title in the publisher’s “Terror Project,” following Triplicity (2016). A Pushcart-nominated author, she writes narrative nonfiction and speculative fiction, and recently sold a short story–“The Last Zookeeper”– to The Wild Musette. Her book, The Man Who Loved Elephants: 30 Years at Oregon’s Washington Park Zoo, is currently being shopped to publishers by agent Bonnie Solow. Melissa’s work has appeared in Tricks and Treats: A Collection of Spooky Stories by Connecticut AuthorsChicken Soup for the Soul: The Power of Forgiveness, and Allegory, and has been featured on The Drunken Odyssey; she made her professional literary debut with media tie-in novels for Star Trek, Quantum Leap, and Earth 2. A member of The Authors Guild, Melissa…

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INVOCATIONS coming soon!

Invocations Cover 2

Just in time for Halloween season, Great Old Ones Publishing reveals the cover and table of contents for Invocations, an anthology focusing on all those things we shouldn’t be summoning.

The cover is by Mj Preston, author of The Acadia Event.

Invocations Cover 1 by MJ Preston

My short story “We’ve Always Been Here” – a little bit of a different take on killer clowns – will be featured alongside these other fantastic contemporary horror writers. I’ll keep you posted on the release date. The TOC is as follows:

Foreword by Dan Lench
1. High Tea with Ancient Gods by Judi Ann Calhoun
2. Uncanny by E.g. Smith
3. American Macabre by Gregory Norris
4. Hunger by Dan Szczesny
5. Mirror, Mirror by Edwin Berne
6. Black Eyes, Blacker Soul by Patrick Lacey
7. Down Time Children by Irene Gallant
8. Hell and Back by Marinda Dennis
9. Let’s Go See the Honeyman by Kyle Rader
10. One Shot, One Kill by Eric S Brown
11. The Snow Lion by Coopersmith Black
12. Eyes by Tony Tremblay
13. The Butterfly Queen by Shannon Grant
14. Penance and Pressure Cookers by Philip Perron
15. We’ve Always Been Here by Kristi Petersen Schoonover
16. The Leyak by Mj Preston

THIS WRITING LIFE EPISODE 10: DAMNATIONLAND is up!

Episode 10 This Writing Life

This episode of This Writing Life road trips to Portland, Maine!

For me, being a writer means always studying other media—film, music, art, whatever. One of my favorite things to do is attend DAMNATIONLAND—a horror film festival which showcases short films by independent Maine filmmakers. I probably did more partying than studying…but come take the ride with me! Watch This Writing Life Episode 10: Damnationland here: https://youtu.be/1ro3aNkm89M

If you wanna do it for real? You can check out the dates for 2017 on the Damnationland FB page here: https://www.facebook.com/Damnationland/?ref=br_rs

Damnationland Art 2

Coming soon! INK STAINS JANUARY 2018: DECAY

Ink Stains Update 2

I spent the first six months of this year as a guest editor for an upcoming issue of Dark Alley Press’ Ink Stains anthology series, and I’m pleased to announce that, except for a couple of rounds of proofing and the fact that the cover isn’t complete, it’s in the can!

This was my first stint as guest editor, and it was nothing short of a magical experience. There was something special about not just cherry-picking pieces for a collection from a slush pile, but curating a collection; tapping talent for some unpublished stories that had haunted me for—in some cases—a quarter of a century, or always anticipating that moment when that perfect story I have to have! would appear in the submissions manager.

In addition, every writer I worked with shared the vision; it was an enlightening journey in every sense of the phrase.

The theme of the issue was my choice—decay. It’s a pervasive Read the rest of this entry

Creepy clowns…they’ll always be here…

We've always been here art 2

I’m thrilled to announce that my short story “We’ve Always Been Here” will be appearing in Great Old Ones Publishing’s upcoming anthology Invocations.

I don’t want to say much and ruin the surprise, but I will say the first draft of this story was written last Halloween (October 31) and was inspired by yet another report of a “creepy clown” attack. Remember those?

As of today, the release date is slated for September 1. I’ll let you know when it’s available.

TOT TERRORS: THE BERMUDA DEPTHS (1978) – and wow, is there a SEQUEL in the works?

I often get asked about what influences my work as a writer. Inspired by the amazing website Kindertrauma–which is right up my alley–I’m compiling all of my childhood (and some adult) terrors.

TV GUIDE BERMUDA DEPTHS

The full-page ad that appeared in TV Guide. Those old ads were very effective in enticing people to watch things. I don’t think ads today have the same kind of power.

In 1978, the ABC Friday Night Movie aired The Bermuda Depths. It was billed, in the original TV Guide full page ad, as a frightening mystery surrounding the Bermuda Triangle—a hot topic back in the In Search Of-cryptid-paranormal-UFO-obsessed decade that was the 1970s. I didn’t know this then, but it was written by Alan Rankin, produced by Jules Bass (yes, the Rankin/Bass behind Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer) and directed by Tsugunobu (Tom) Kotani of 1977’s The Last Dinosaur fame—which meant creatures and creepy imagery, and it would certainly deliver.

Bermuda Depths 1

THE BERMUDA DEPTHS is a Rankin/Bass production that aired in 1978.

In the 1970s, Read the rest of this entry

DARK DISCUSSIONS rediscovers DONNIE DARKO

DD Donnie Darko Mast_Episode288

Photo collage by Philip Perron.

Dark Discussions rediscovers 2001’s Donnie Darko! On Stitcher, iTunes, and here: http://www.darkdiscussions.com/Pages/podcast_288.html

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