As Darkness Spreads






It’s hard for someone like me not to love Halloween and this season. There is a feel to the world, a scent to the air that reminds you of being a kid. And that’s something we miss, as adults, that feeling of wonder that the world gives us. That first kiss, that first date, that first time driving on your own, the first place you move into when you leave home, and that first time trick or treating without a parent, those are things that we truly only experience once and ever after that initial wonder, that initial fear is gone and there’s something special about those times that we don’t get back. Sure, they are replaced, as the world always has something new to offer us if we are open to that, but that sense of wonder, that the world is a lot bigger, scarier place than we imagine, is something that we lose along the way. Monsters are replaced by serial killers. The fear of the dark is replaced by the fear of losing our job. And the sense that that just around the corner anything could be waiting for us is replaced by an apathy that whatever happens will happen. 

Halloween is about wonder, and about the primal fear we have of the dark and of things we cannot fathom. And of all of our holidays it is one of the few that still clings to the old ways, to the dark days, and to our unshakable appreciation of mortality. 

And honestly, it’s nice to get a little darkness before we hit the major holidays of the year and have all that cheery music and brightly colored lights. 

So, I offer you my gifts of the season. 

My dark little books that are sure to give you a chill as Halloween nears. 














It’s That Time Again…Time For A Good Scare


Ohhh, you can feel it in the wind.

Can hear it in the rustle of the leaves.

You can even smell it in the air.

Halloween is creeping its way nearer and nearer and it’s a perfect time for stories that will chill your bones.

Well, you’ve come to the right place .

Do I ever have stories to send a shiver down your spine.

You can try my new novel, A SHADOW OVER EVER which is a tale of monsters and zombies and a man setting out to begrudgingly save the world. The book is big, dark, funny, and has all manner of things that go creep in the night.



Or how about one of my short story collections?

These are books full to the binding of dark tales of things within the shadows of our rooms and of our hearts. The hungry things that clamor for blood.


From a dying young girl’s friendship with strange sisters who live in the woods, to an encounter with an ageless horror with an insatiable hunger, to the horrible truth behind a brother’s sudden disappearance, to the awkward realization of a haunted body part and so much more – these are stories that are born of the darkness and live on the borderlands of fear, these are Red Dreams.




From the madness of a father showing his son how to kill, to the quiet desperation of a man trapped by love, to the horrible memories trapped within a haunted bed – these stories shine light into the places of the human condition rarely examined.




These stories are my personal tribute to Halloween and all things dark. Some of the darkest stories I have ever written and written to make you squirm.




This is the perfect season for dark tales and grim delights. For things that go bump in the night. So share a scare, and get ready for the real fun of the season!


Paranormal Activity – Chronology – REVIEW


So here’s the deal, I am a huge Paranormal Activity fan. I appreciate that the series has become the bane of existence for the hardcore horror fans and that for many it’s further evidence of the infection of sequels that plagues Hollywood but, well, I don’t care. The movies are fun, are scary, and have something of a fireside spook story to them. So, needless to say, when I learned that the movies were being released as ‘one’ movie, edited together so that they ran together chronologically, well, I was all aboard.

My major concern with buying the films this way though, and yeah, you totally have to purchase the file digitally, was how ‘chronological’ the films were. To edit them all together so that they ran as one film meant that you’d have to 1. change the initial vision of the directors (which would just take an ‘okey doke’ from them I’d imagine and 2. it would mean moving some footage around so that the films work cohesively. Going into things I was more than a little worried about my purchase. I mean, who wants to drop a bunch of money on something then have it totally not be what we were hoping? We all do it but it’s one of those things that is hard to not be bitter about.

Wow, I can happily say that my fears were unnecessary. This is indeed the Paranormal Activity played out as one film, seamlessly edited together and telling one story, from beginning to its disturbing conclusion. The Chronoly plays out this way – PA 3, 2, and finally with 1. What the Chronology does here is eliminate the introduction to the third film since it isn’t needed – no need for an introduction to a film at the beginning of the story. Instead we are given the story of how Katie and her sister Kristie were first introduced to the malevolent spirit that plagues them in their adult years. The added footage you get here is all pretty solid, most of it focusing on character building more than on scares but there are a couple good scares onhand as well. As the third film ends though it plays immediately into the opening for the second film and the series from here on presents the theatrical versions of the second and first films with one exception, a brief exorcism scene in the second film performed by Martine, the housekeeper. This is a very brief scene but is a good way to lead into the climax of the film and I honestly don’t remember seeing it before, even in the deleted scenes for film two. The first film plays out as it did in theaters until that is the ending, which deviates a little in that the Chronology ends with the very ending of the second film, which tells what happened to sister Kristie’s family and baby Hunter after they had passed the attention of the demon ‘Toby’ on to sister Katie and her boyfriend. Ending the Chronology this way gives things a very bleak, grim ending that leaves you with a cliffhanger that still has yet to be addressed.

I honestly couldn’t be happier with the way the Chronology was put together and presented. I really wish it would have had the ‘director’s cuts’ of all three films but it is what it is. I will say that seeing all three films this way is a pretty hefty task. It’s a lot of film in one sitting. And the way it plays out it does call into question a lot of logic questions – why do they refer to things in the firs film that seem to be proven as false in the third? Who can say? It doesn’t kill the creepy mood of the films but, well, it is a bit of simple logic that seems to have been neglected as the series progressed.

All in all, I can’t say I’d recommend purchasing Paranormal Activity – Chronology unless you are a hardcore fan. If you are, it’s a great watch. Otherwise, it’s my hope that this will be presented as a rental eventually, or even a double dip so people can purchase a physical version. It’s a great achievment for nerds that is nearly perfect. Close but not quite. It’s awfully fun just the same.

8.5 out of 10

And if you like scares and ghost stories, check my site out and my books – Red Dreams, This Beautiful Darkness, or Noches De Corazones Negros. For more, click the link below.
My Books!

The Coffin – review


   Something American films have never gotten right when it comes to modern ghost stories is the sense of dread that the rest of the world, especially in Asia, have nailed even in the worst of their films. There is something that perhaps we have lost in American culture, the reverence and fear of the dead isn’t as strong here so we don’t fear spirits as much until they become violent towards us or our loved ones. But it is the knowledge the dead have of what lies beyond the veil of life that scares those in the other regions of the world, that, and that when the dead return, they don’t usually care to return to the darkness alone.

   The Coffin tells the story of two strangers who come across a ritual done in Thailand where the living go through a burial ceremony to rid themselves of bad karma and they decide to go through the ceremony. What they find after the ritual is that they feel free, free of past worries and sorrows and in the case of the woman, free of Cancer. As happy as they are to be seeing life through new eyes though, they find that the horrors they faced within the coffin, during the ritual, are hanging with them and are becoming more horrifying by the day. It is only when their loved ones begin to suffer that the two begin investigating what is happening and the true nature of the ghosts they are seeing comes to life. It seems that if you rid yourself of bad karma you are merely passing it to the closest person to you. Now these two strangers must discover how to satisfy the things haunting them before they rip their lives and everyone in them apart.

   A very subtle, very slow film, this plays well with the classic Asian ghost stories of recent years. The story isn’t quite as strong, and the scares are not quite as intense as other films but this is a solid tale that offers a lot of terror. There is a lot said here, a lot about coming to terms with your place in life, with death, and with life itself, and these only add to the film and give the viewer something to ponder when the movie is long over. Not a perfect picture, with some lulls in the pace, but a good movie and perfect for fans of subtle ghost stories.

7 out of 10

Paranormal Entity – review


Oh dear, oh dear. The worst thing you can say about any movie that breaks away from the pack and tries to do something a little different is that if it’s at all successful it is immediately on the block to be mocked, or ripped, or both. Such is the case with Paranormal Activity, a movie that took the supernatural and haunted house subgenres and brought something new, and horrifying to them. Naturally, the first thing that anyone did was to rip it off. Slavishly so.

Still coping with the death of a beloved father, a mother and her two children find themselves beset by a spirit that seems to harbor them no good tidings. The mother had, at first, thought she had contacted her dead husband but as the activity (PARANORMAL activity, naturally!) begins to intensify, she and her children begin to question who or what is behind the attacks. The son decides to document what the family is going through, in the hopes of having a record of it all, and in so doing, documents the most horrifying events they will ever face, as the spirit’s attacks become more and more malevolent.

Did I say SLAVISH remake? Seriously, it is embarrassing how hard this film wants to be Paranormal Activity. The shots, concept, style, everything but the main story and the skill with which the film is made are direct rip-offs. We follow the family around as if we are the son, watching as the horror unfolds, and, naturally, there is always a camera present. Well, present that is until the end, which we somehow, despite all the cameras placed around the house, we manage to miss out on. It’s like, they went to all this work to set up the end and then never invited us. What the heck?

The acting is passable but not good, the film’s story is an utter ripoff, the effects are ridiculous, and the filming is less gripping and engaging than their inspiration. There is one sequence that is almost scary, when they find footprints somewhere very strange, and then find where they originate. Good stuff. Otherwise you sit there watching the film waiting to see if and when the actress playing the sister is going to get nude. Naturally, she does. They had a chance to at least use a template that works and to make something effective but instead made a really tepid, really boring imitation of a good film.

Watchable, for sure, but for all the wrong reasons. Yet another example of the direct to home market taking the path of imitation, and wasting both money and time. Heck, they went so far as to even rip off the cover art of PA. Ridiculous. Utterly ridiculous.

4 out of 10

The Entity – review


So I have been watching movies for a while now, as you may have guessed, but sometimes there will still come a movie that just flips my lid and blows my wig back. Sometimes there is a movie so ridiculous that I cannot help but stand up and applaud. My friends, The Entity is just such a film. Based on a supposedly factual case of a woman being terrorized and abused by malevolent spirits, this is a film that just should never have been. Or at least, not been this.

The Entity is a story about a single mother of three children who is trying to make her way in the world. She is putting herself through school so she can get a better career and better life for her family and herself. She’s young enough to dream but old enough to know better. Little does she know though that as she goes about her life there is an evil spirit that is watching her with lustful eyes. This comes to fruition one night while she is undressing and the spirit attacks and violently rapes her. She is traumatized and shocked and goes to the doctor (who I guess is a psychiatrist) to see if she was actually attacked or is simply going mad. Well, no sooner than she gets told that it’s probably all in her head she is attacked again and each time she fights it and each time the invisible force wins, and no matter what evidence she has to show, her doctor believes it is in her head. When the situation begins to effect her children and her friends, and just as it seems like it may turn deadly, she breaks off all dealings with her shrink and makes the acquaintances of some parapsychologist, who are conveniently shown some spooky business to convince them to help her. Needless to say there are more attempted attacks, there are some light shows, and there is lots of ‘oohi’ng and ‘aah’ing from the ghost hunters. This is their dream case. Evidence in hand, the ghost guys get the go ahead and come with a way to ‘trap’ the spirit and thus prove that there are beings outside of our realm. How this will help the woman is sketchy at best. Well, the gang gets their chance but things don’t go quite as they hope and unless she can face her attacker, the young mother may end up not only a victim but dead.

Holy crap this movie is silly. No way, and no how should a film depicting rape make you laugh but, and I am sorry to the woman who claims to have really gone through this, to see how they portray this stuff is RIDICULOUS! The woman is doing her thing, and suddenly BOWMP BOWMP BOWMP BOWMP and the attack happens. It is so exaggerated and violent and the music so dramatic that you can’t help but be dumbfounded. I am sure this was scary to the housewives of the eighties but, seriously, there are not rapist ghosts trolling for MILFs. Worse than those scenes though is the weird mix we get of ghost story AND psychodrama, so that every time we get a scary scene it is followed by a white coat telling us it’s all in her head. And it never matters who sees the stuff happen, it is always followed by ‘you’re crazy’. This may be how it really happened but in the film, it feels false. What ruins the film though is the ending, which for some reason someone felt the need to take a rocket over a shark tank and just blow the whole film. How do you come up with a notion to freeze a freaking ghost? HOW? And then when it goes down, the ghost 1.falls for their trap (a false version of her house set up in a college gym (YES, totally happens) and 2. that it decides to suddenly turn the tech against the woman. WHAT? Then after all that you have a ridiculous ending that proves that things are not as tidily handled as we had hoped, only to just ignore that fact. This is such a melodramatic, sloppy film that it embarrasses me that people are seeking this crap out on DVD only to find it is out of print. People want forty bucks and up for this nonsense. Good grief!

I appreciate that times have change but, my god, this is so silly that it’s nearly unwatchable. It does fulfill the needs of a ‘party’ film though and on that end, it’s fantastic.


4 out of 10

The Opening Night Jitters – a Halloween story


The Opening Night Jitters

Billy put the last body in place and let out a long breath. It was done. At least his part in it. Beyond the zombies and the skeletons wasn’t his problem, that was Mark’s job, and if Mark was still making eyes at Dani, well, that sir, wasn’t his problem, now was it? Billy got up off his knees and walk to the entrance of the Zombie Walk, his sort of homage to old school horror and modern pop culture. It was the third to last room in the haunt and was a set up for the big finale, a scene where the guests went into a large room with what look like more dummies of dead people but ah, there was the rub, they were not dummies at all, well, most of them weren’t. No, they were people playing dead, or undead maybe, and just when the guests reached the mid-way point in the room and were bellyaching about how fake it was, that was when the dead woke up to play. Oh, it was gonna be great. It was going to be epic, it was going to…

“William, Bill. BILLY! Hey, hey, hey shut it down. Shut it all down. We’re done.”

Billy looked at Nate dumbfounded. Unsure he’d heard him right.

“Yeah, you heard me. We’re cooked. It’s over. There ain’t gonna be no haunt this year.”

Nate’s eyes fell to his cowboy boots and he let out a sigh that blew his mustache out in a puff. He was beat, and it was clear. Billy pushed his hands into his pockets and kicked at the sawdust on the floor of the vampire room. This was one of the last rooms left that needed some work but it looked like it would never…

“Well, what if I, hmm, what if I could, you know, fix things, make it work?”

“Whatcha mean Bill? How ya gonna fix things?”

“Well, Nate, you just gotta trust me. Open it for one night, say, next Friday, and if that night ain’t a success then, well sir, you can shut the haunt down for good.”

“Damn, Bill, that’s still a couple hundred bucks of pay I gotta give people. And what do you want out of it all?”

“See, the beauty is that I will take care of things. I will get, uh, I will make sure the haunt is running, has, uh, is, uh, well, that there are scares, and all for a very low price.”

“Crap, Bill, what do you want? Spit it out.”

“Well sir, I had my eye on a new snow blower, say that Magnum 600 PX they got in at Wanger’s Lawn Care, and well, that seems pretty fair to me.”

“Dammit that’s, well, that’s…”

“Trust me Nate, just trust me.”

And Nate stood looking at Bill and scratched at his beard, wondering if there were still some crackers from lunch left in there, then he realized he was supposed to be thinking about this proposition. He had known old Bill for some three years, and the fella had worked for him for two of those three and, while his work on the haunted house wasn’t that great, well, he was spirited when he scared people, and that went a long way. Heck, he knew old Wagner and could get the snow blower for cost, which was less than the two hundred it’d take to run the haunt for the night so, well, it seemed pretty clear.

“Well Bill, I think we’ll just stay closed, yeah, that’s it.”

“Dammit Nate. Ok, gimme a six pack of Proctor’s Finest and I’ll do it. If it works, you owe me that blower. Deal?”

“See ya next Friday, buddy. Remember to lock up at night.”

Billy spat as soon as Nate was gone, the old fella’s fingers digging in his beard again for forgotten foods. Billy was mad, sure was, but, a sixer of Proctor’s wasn’t anything to fart at and, after he had the locals wetting themselves over the haunted house next Friday, well, he’d be blowin’ snow in style. Yes. Sir. Satisfied, Billy went off to get himself a cool one and see what the local ladies of the evening were up to ‘round this time of night.

The week passed like this for our Billy. He’d wake up at noon, wander in to work at the convenience store, get hollered at by his aunt, the owner, then leave from work and head right to the bar and, if he was lucky, wake up in some strange woman’s bed. It wasn’t until Thursday night that he remembered he was supposed to be working on the haunted house.


It was ten at night and Billy was more than a little buzzed as he stood in his aunt’s basement peeing into the corner. This certainly wasn’t how things were supposed to work out, no sir. He had planned, back when he was talkin’ all big thunder to Nate, that he was gonna pull out all the stops on the haunt and really do the place up, really put some work in to it, and sure, he might borrow and idea or two from some of the other haunted attractions in the area but, you know, finders keepers. Well, he let himself get distracted, like he always did, and, well, that was sorta that. Billy finished peeing and stood wobbling a moment, the room sort of spinning as he tried to focus and that was when he saw it. The book.

The book looked to be one of his aunt’s weird old photo albums she always had sitting around the house, or maybe it was one of the weirder cookbooks she said came from ‘the old country’, but which for him was code for something that came from a re-sale shop but this didn’t seem like the other smelly old books his aunt had around. No, the other ones didn’t really glow when you peed on them, not that he could tell at least. Billy hiked his pants back up and belted them and stumbled over to the book, which he kicked. Sparks flew from the book as soon as the kick landed and Billy laughed and kicked it again, which made more sparks fly from it as it opened to reveal its insides. Curious, Billy knelt and squinted to see what secrets the book held.

Would it tell him out to make gold?

Perhaps it’d tell him how to win the hearts of beautiful women.

Oh, maybe, just maybe it’d get him that awesome speed boat he wanted.


The book told him none of that, only revealing, in a list that really did look like a recipe, how to summon the dead to do one’s bidding.

Bah, what good…

Billy tilted his head to the side.


It took a moment but it hit him all right, and hit him hard.

Oh yes, it hit him, and so he grabbed the book up, brushing the dampness onto his pants as he did, and stumbled towards the worktable his aunt kept beneath the giant pentagram and the jars of body parts.

Once Billy had gotten the lights on and the book open, he did something he only did when he was alone and unwatched – he read.

Billy had sobered up by the time he made it back to the haunted house but he felt pretty rough, a big part of that coming from the book he had found, which had turned out to be a sort of How To guide to getting up to mystical mischief. From the look of it, his aunt, or some other witchy lady had been up to lots of shenanigans, or at least had some planned, what with all the stick ’em notes littered through the thing. Billy knew the book was old because it had the same smell his grand dad had and, like pee and menthol cigarettes. Billy, still well into legally alcoholic, flipped through the book, not so much reading the passages as looking at the pictures, which sent shivers down his spine. That was when he got the idea – what if he could get some of these fellas into the haunted house that night. If he could figure out how to get these guys to show up, and could sort of command them then there still might be a chance he could get his snow blower.

Maybe he was drunk, but Billy smiled and started gathering supplies.

The easiest thing for him to have done would have been to just ask his aunt for some help but no one likes to do that, especially Bill, who thought his aunt might have some problem with conjuring up the minions of the abyss to do his bidding. She could be a bit of a bitch like that. So instead of asking, Billy just sort of, well, took her book, and most of her witch supplies, put them all into his duffel bag and headed towards The Gray Wizard’s Pirate Revenge, Mark’s haunt. It was a stupid name, to be sure, Billy just thought that wizards were never pirates, and didn’t think anyone else would buy it either. Oh well. Lugging the bag and its contents the three miles to the haunt was no fun, and was made less so with the downpour he had to walk through but it would be worth it in the end when he got that sweet snow blower. Billy bumbled his way into the haunted house and set the alarm off, which was luckily just a set of rusty wind-chimes that were set up in the back entry. The sound echoed in Billy’s head and started his guts churning so he sat heavily onto his but, and let the room stop spinning as he pulled the supplies out of the bag. He lined up the jars in a row and then pulled the book out last, which didn’t really smell that bad anymore; it had an odor that was sorta like spice or something. He looked at it and didn’t see any page markers. Well, that’s ok, they must have fallen out. He dropped the book onto the floor and opened the book. For some reason he was looking down at a picture of a meatloaf. He turned the page and it was a picture of chili. He turned twenty pages and it was a picture of guacamole. Billy closed the book and looked at the cover. Oh dear, sweet Lucifer’s corns, he’d grabbed his aunt’s cookbook. The book she’d written in the sixties when she had still wanted to be a famous chef and not a famous witch.

Oh god.

Billy’s heart sank.

He looked down at his watch, saw it was half past five in the morning, and it sank lower. He looked in the duffel bag and saw nothing but some old corn chip leavings and a dirty sock. His shoulders slumped and he felt like he wanted to cry. He looked at the jars lined up and saw the eyes were watching him, the ears were listening to his sobs, the noses were smelling the stink of his failure, and the, well, let’s not talk about what was in some of those others jars.

Ah, but Billy was not one to give up easily, not when a snow blower was on the line.

Billy stood up clumsily, hitting his head on a low hanging light as he did, and ran over to a mock work table that was in the room. He grabbed the plastic bucket that was on it, dumped out all the fake guts onto the floor, and ran back to where he’d left his supplies. He placed the bucket onto the floor and began dumping the contents of each jar into it, and when he’d emptied all seven jars, he threw in the corn chip dust, the dirty sock, and spit in the concoction for luck.

Now, for the secret, magic words that would create a horrible, evil creature to do his bidding.

“Shop…at…Salamander’s…for savings…and more…and…uh…uh…come forth…uh…evil spawn what does…my biddin’…to get me my snow blower….thanks”

Satisfied he sat back down onto the cement floor and waited.

Ten minutes passed and nothing happened.



Billy stood up and kicked the bucket over in a rage. What use was magic and evil if he couldn’t use it for personal gain? Ah, but when the bucket was kicked over, something started to happen. Thick, red smoke rose from the steaming pile of muck on the floor. The light in the room grew dim. And suddenly, Billy had to pee. Something moved in the goo on the floor, it moved again, and then it began to take shape and rise from the mess.  A small form rose from the floor, the concoction forming and taking shape until before him stood something four feet tall and gray. Features quickly formed on the thing and, as it took shape, he realized the horror he had summoned and sensed the evil that would be unleashed. He took a step away from it as it came into full focus and took its first infernal breath.

Standing before Billy was a ten year old girl with long blonde hair and wearing a fashionable dress and black paten leather shoes. She looked around the room, looked at Billy and then smiled.

“You smell weird. And you’re fat.”

Having said this the girl skipped away from him and off into the haunt. Just as he was letting his breath out, the girl stuck her head around the corner, smiled again, put a finger to her lips and shushed him before disappearing again.

Billy let out a scream and ran.

Twelve hours later he awoke and realized the terrible thing he’d done and ran to the haunted house.

There was a line outside the place, which opened at seven, which was only fifteen minutes away. As he passed   the people in line he caught the buzz – they had all heard something truly horrifying was going to be on store tonight and they were in. They had to see it. Had to experience it.


Billy picked up his pace and, seeing Mark at the head of the line, broke into a run.

“Mark. MARK! Ya gotta shut it down. Bring it all down.”

“What’s going on Billy? What’s wrong?”

“I, I did a terrible thing. The haunt, the haunt it’s…”

Nate walked up on the two men, shaking his head at Billy.

“Look Bill, I knew when you talked me into that crazy scheme of yours that you wanted that snow blower bad. Real bad. I never realized though how far you’d go to get it.”

Billy’s heart sank. But at least he was in time.

“I am so sorry Nate, really, I am…”

“Sorry, hell, boy, you should be. That was the scariest damn thing I ever seen. Great goose gravy. I mean, you go in there, waiting for something to happen and nothing happens. Nothing happens in any of the rooms and the tension just builds and builds and builds until you can’t take it and then when you get to the very last room you find it. She’s sittin’ there, all crossed leg and nodding her head back and forth and humming to herself and you go into the room and she just looks up at you and tells you all your flaws and faults and tells ya, basically, what a big, fat, turd you are. And I heard that and ran out with tears in my eyes. It was the scariest thing I ever saw. You are a genius. A horrible, horrible genius. And you’re gonna make me…er, US rich.”

Nate smiled a wide smile, showing his bleeding gums.

“So, you, uh, liked it?” Billy asked.

“Like it, I LOVE it. It’s genius. And you can tell the kids are excited for it. Man. I wish you woulda thought of this sooner. Coulda had yourself TWO snow blowers.”

“You mean I still get the snow blowers?” Billy asked.

“Hell yes. And with all these customers, everyone gets to stay on to manage the line and sell concessions and crap. Hell, you saved the business, buddy.” Nate clapped Billy on the back, and as he did, so did Mark.

Billy smiled and felt a little wobbly. His head was full of possibilities now. A door had opened, a big, evil door, and the world was his. He could do anything now.


“Whathca thinkin’ Bill?” Asked Dani, who had joined Mark and Nate.

Bill wickedly.

“I think…I think I am going to become…a snow blower this winter. Imagine all the loot I can make with that new blower I am getting. Man…I will be rich. RICH!”

Off in town the church bells rang and the crowd let out a cheer.

It was seven.

Haunting time.

And time for the screams to start.