Michel Parry (1947-2014)

The passing of Michel Parry, horror author and anthologist, was reported November 1. He was 67 and had been diagnosed with cancer some years ago.

James H. Burns says, “I would have first ‘met’ Parry in the pages of Castle of Frankenstein, but I think his anthologies were probably encountered by everybody.”

Michael Parry

Michael Parry

Parry edited about 30 anthologies, including the six-volume Mayflower Book of Black Magic Stories series, the multi-volume Reign of Terror Books of Great Victorian Horror Stories for Corgi, several others co-credited with Christopher Lee, and The Rivals of Dracula, The Rivals of Frankenstein, and The Rivals of King Kong. Most came out within a five-year period in the 1970s.

His own fiction included a film novelization, Countess Dracula, Agro (as Nick Fury), and Chariots of Fire and Throne of Fire with Garry Rusoff.

He had the negative distinction of having two novels pulped. The first was More Devil’s Kisses, credited to Parry’s pseudonym, Linda Lovecraft (an amalgam of Linda Lovelace and H. P. Lovecraft) due to a complaint that one of the stories involved “some explicit goings-on at a children’s party.” The other was Agro, because of complaints that the book libeled the Hell’s Angels. (Parry then revised the book and a different publisher released it under his own name.)

He worked on horror films, too, writing and directing the short film “Hex” in 1969, and writing the screenplay for The Uncanny (1977), starring Peter Cushing, Ray Milland and Donald Pleasence.

For Castle of Frankenstein he conducted an in-depth interview with Christopher Lee that was serialized over several issues.

James H. Burns also observes: “It is odd, and sad, that four of the early, and in at least one case KEY contributors to Calvin T. Beck’s fantasy film magazine, Castle of Frankenstein have passed within the same year: Bhob Stewart, Larry Ivie, John Cocchi, and now Parry.”

Update 11/14/2014: Corrected headline’s spelling of name.

Barron Tribute Anthology

cool-cov300 COMPMany of the brightest lights in dark fiction to pay homage to one of horror’s masters in The Children of Old Leech: A Tribute to the Carnivorous Cosmos of Laird Barron from WordHorde, edited by Ross E. Lockhart and Justin Steele.

Laird Barron is a three-time winner of the Shirley Jackson Award. Earlier this year he won a Bram Stoker Award for Superior Achievement in Fiction Collection with The Beautiful Thing That Awaits Us All and Other Stories.

Co-editor Justin Steele says –

Barron’s fiction has long been an inspiration to his peers. The interwoven stories and novels create a rich tapestry of noir-infused cosmic horror. This mythology makes for an excellent backdrop for the weird tales within.

Lockhart and Steele allowed Barron’s fans, colleagues and friends a unique opportunity to play in what Publishers Weekly calls Barron’s “worm-riddled literary playground.”

Table of Contents

Introduction: Of Whisky and Doppelgängers – Justin Steele
The Harrow – Gemma Files
Pale Apostle – Jesse Bullington and J. T. Glover
Walpurgisnacht – Orrin Grey
Learn to Kill – Michael Cisco
Good Lord, Show Me the Way – Molly Tanzer
Snake Wine – Jeffrey Thomas
Love Songs from the Hydrogen Jukebox – T.E. Grau
The Old Pageant – Richard Gavin
Notes for “The Barn in the Wild” – Paul Tremblay
Firedancing – Michael Griffin
The Golden Stars at Night – Allyson Bird
The Last Crossroads on a Calendar of Yesterdays – Joseph S. Pulver, Sr.
The Woman in the Wood – Daniel Mills
Brushdogs – Stephen Graham Jones
Ymir – John Langan
Of a Thousand Cuts – Cody Goodfellow
Tenebrionidae – Scott Nicolay and Jesse James Douthit-Nicolay
Afterword – Ross E. Lockhart

On July 15, Word Horde will commemorate the book’s official release with a virtual toast to Old Leech himself via social media, where all are encouraged to share their thoughts about the anthology and its inspiration, Laird Barron, using the hashtag #TCoOL.

New Horror Award

Pan Macmillan is establishing the James Herbert Award for Horror Writing to celebrate the late author’s life and career. (Herbert died in March 2013.)

The annual prize will be open to horror novels written in English and published in the U.K. Pan Macmillan also notes:

The prize, which will be awarded annually, aims to discover and publicise a new generation of horror authors working today and celebrate the boldest and most exciting talent in the genre. 

The first award will be open to work appearing in 2014. Self-published novels are ineligible.

The winning author will receive a specially-designed commemorative statuette and a cheque for £2000.

A shortlist of five novels will be announced in January 2015 and the winner named at an awards ceremony in March 2015.

Horror Writers Association Offers Scholarships

scholarships214x164The Horror Writers Association (HWA) has created two annual $2500 scholarships – the Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley Scholarship for female HWA members and The Horror Writers Association Scholarship open to all members.

The scholarships are designed to aid the winners’ professional development and may be spent on “approved writing education over the two years following the granting of the scholarship.”

HWA President Rocky Wood explained the intent behind The Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley Scholarship:

It is very clear to the HWA that there are unseen, but real, barriers limiting the amount of horror fiction being published by women. There are many fine women writers being published in our genre but we also see potential for the percentage of horror fiction being published by women to increase. This Scholarship, named after the great female horror writer, aims to encourage more female writers to enter our genre and to aid in the development of those already working within it. At the same time the HWA exists to extend the horror genre in all its aspects, so we are also establishing Horror Writers Association Scholarship, which is open to all our members, regardless of gender.

Applications will be accepted from November 1-December 31. The winners will be chosen by a subcommittee of the HWA Board and the first recipients will be announced around March 15, 2014.

The criteria that the subcommittee will consider in making its choice include

[The] quality and potential shown in each applicants’ written work to date; the likelihood that the applicant’s career would benefit from further writing education; the likelihood that the applicant is committed to the horror genre; the likelihood that the applicant will contribute to the development of the genre, including increasing and/or broadening our readership; an Education Plan the applicant submits; the applicant’s financial need; and the broad interests of the HWA and the horror genre.

Under the rules the winner of the Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley Scholarship must —

1. Be born as a female; or

2. Be a transgendered, hermaphrodite or intersex person living publicly as a female. Those transgendered persons living publicly as a male are not eligible for the Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley Scholarship but are eligible for the Horror Writers Association Scholarship.

[Via Locus Online.]

Philip Nutman (1963-2013)

PhilipNutmanPhilip Nutman died October 7 in Atlanta after being taken off life support.

His novel Wet Work (1993) received a Bram Stoker Award nomination. Two shorter works “Full Throttle” and “Churches Of Desire” were included by Karl Edward Wagner in The Year’s Best Horror Stories XIX (1991) and XX (1992).

He was Fangoria’s first British Correspondent and wrote over 120 feature articles during his 10 years with them. He was the first reporter to interview Clive Barker for a national American magazine.

“Clive was the first successful published author I met who took a serious interest in my initial fumbling attempts at fiction, and who gave me an enormous amount of advice and encouragement. He really was a mentor at the time I needed one the most,” Nutman wrote.

As a freelance media journalist Nutman sold over a thousand articles to magazines including Penthouse, Spin, Twilight Zone, The Comic Buyer’s Guide and Gorezone. He wrote and edited over fifty comic books, had a number of screenplays under option, and once was even cast as the villain in a horror movie.

[Thanks to Andrew Porter for the story.]

Gary Brandner (1933-2013)

Gary Brandner

Gary Brandner

Howling author Gary Brandner, who published more than 30 novels and over 100 short stories, died September 23 of cancer of the esophagus

The Howling, the first novel in his werewolf-themed trilogy, was adapted as motion picture in 1981. Directed by Joe Dante, it launched a multi-film horror franchise.

Brandner worked on the screenplay for the second film in the series, a maddening but profitable experience as he revealed in a 2010 interview with Dr. Gore’s Funhouse —

Were you involved at all during the early stage of production for the movie adaptation of The Howling and were the earlier drafts closer to the tone and structure of your novel?

Nope. I sold the rights for an exorbitant sum and the next thing I knew I was at the screening.

How do you feel about Joe Dante’s 1981 movie and were you disappointed that it shared little relation to your story?

Joe Dante, despite our personal differences, made a fine movie, although I might have liked to see more of my book in it. However, it has been an annuity for me, so who’s complaining.

Why did you agree to co-write the screenplay for Howling II and how come you decided not to adapt your novel of the same name?

A longish story, which I’ll abridge mercilessly. I agreed for the same reason professional writers agree to anything – money. And, sure, there was a pride of authorship involved. My first draft was lovingly true to the book. At the original story meeting: ‘Gary, this is great, but the producer would like a part for his friend Fernando Rey.’ I dutifully went home and wrote in the veteran actor. Next meeting: ‘Wonderful, Gary, but the money is coming from Spaniards, and they’d like the story to take place in Spain. And, oh yes, Fernando Rey is out.’ Okay, I bundled up my plot and my people and moved everything to Spain. Next meeting: ‘Perfect, Gary, but the Spanish money dropped out and we’re shooting on the cheap in Yugoslavia.’ Here I had to bail out since I had a book contract with a deadline approaching. They hired another writer who is responsible for what you see on the screen. I retained co-screenwriter credits which brings in a few dollars twice a year.

In years past Brandner participated in the local Vintage Paperback Show.

[Thanks to John King Tarpinian for the story.]

A Con With Frightening Possibilities

ScareLa premieres next weekend, August 10-11, a Los Angeles convention about celebrating Halloween that will feature top haunted/scary attraction designers and operators, manufacturers, artists, and filmmakers.

What’s that mean? Consider just one example of who’s on the guest list — Chris Williams, Art Director for Universal Studios Hollywood’s Halloween Horror Nights. Theme park and private haunted house designers are part of the mix.

The event will include —

  • Curated collection of exhibitors showcasing scary goods, services & job opportunities
  • Expert and celebrity panels on the haunt business, horror entertainment and more
  • Presentations of top and upcoming local haunts with sneak peaks and unveils
  • Performances by local horror themed theatre companies and musicians
  • Professional demos of makeup, set building, costume creation, animatronics and more
  • Hands-on workshops taught by top haunt industry professionals for all skill levels and ages
  • Onsite  haunt experiences.
  • Screening room showing premiere attraction walk-throughs and local horror filmmakers

Del Toro’s Horror Fiction Favorites

American Supernatural TalesPenguin is bringing out a new edition of American Supernatural Tales edited by S. T. Joshi, whose vast resume includes editing the recently published Nolan on Bradbury.

American Supernatural Tales covers two centuries of weird and frightening American short fiction by Edgar Allan Poe, H. P. Lovecraft, Shirley Jackson, Ray Bradbury, Nathaniel Hawthorne, and Stephen King.

The collection, which first appeared in 2007, is projected as part of a six-volume series of the best in classic horror curated by Guillermo del Toro.

Included here are some of del Toro’s favorites, from Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein and Ray Russell’s short story “Sardonicus,” considered by Stephen King to be “perhaps the finest example of the modern Gothic ever written,” to Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House and stories by Ray Bradbury, Joyce Carol Oates, Ted Klein, and Robert E. Howard.

The series is due in September. The other titles are:

The Raven
Tales and Poems
Edgar Allan Poe, Guillermo del Toro

The Haunting of Hill House
Shirley Jackson, Guillermo del Toro, Laura Miller

The Thing on the Doorstep and Other Weird Stories
H. P. Lovecraft, Guillermo del Toro, S. T. Joshi

Mary Shelley, Guillermo del Toro, Elizabeth Kostova

Haunted Castles
Ray Russell, Guillermo del Toro

The volumes feature original cover art by Penguin Art Director Paul Buckley.

 [Thanks to John King Tarpinian for the story.]

David B. Silva (1950-2013)

Horror author and editor David B. Silva, 62, died of unknown causes on March 13; he had been in declining health for some time.

He had almost 60 published short stories — “The Calling” won a HWA Bram Stoker Award (1991), and some were selected for The Year’s Best Horror, The Year’s Best Fantasy & Horror, and The Best American Mystery Stories. There were four collections of Silva’s stories, These Dreams That Sleep Disturbs (1992), Through Shattered Glass (2000) an International Horror Guild award winner, A Little White Book of Lies (2006) and The Shadows of Kingston Mills (2009).

His novels include All the Lonely People, Child of Darkness, Come Thirteen, The Disappeared, The Presence, and The Many.

Silva’s small-press magazine The Horror Show received four World Fantasy Award “special award, nonprofessional” nominations, winning once in 1988. It became the primary magazine for new writers Poppy Z. Brite, Nancy A. Collins and Bentley Little. And his Hellnotes (edited with Paul Olson) was a frequent Bram Stoker nominee.

Robert Smartwood posted a lengthy tribute to his friend Silva, part of which gives his background and importance to the horror fiction field.

From February 1997 until September 2002, and from late 2004 until the present, Silva has served as editor of Hellnotes. Originally a weekly subscription newsletter dedicated to the horror professional and horror fan alike, Hellnotes was recently purchased by JournalStone Publishing and is currently a free blog, updated several times a day by Silva with latest news in the horror genre.

Anybody familiar with this blog knows just how much I loved Dave’s work. I must admit, The Horror Show was before my time, but in high school I read several issues of Cemetery Dance, which I later learned had been inspired by The Horror Show. In fact, when Jesus Gonzalez showed me some past issues of The Horror Show, it was clear that CD had used it as a model — the layout, formatting, everything.

The Horror Show was groundbreaking and seminal and it launched the careers of so many writers. Talk to any horror writer over forty years old and they’re apt to tell you just how much The Horror Show influenced them. In many ways, it helped shape and nurture the horror genre as it is today.

[Thanks to Andrew Porter for the story.]

James Herbert (1943-2013)


James Herbert

James Herbert

James Herbert , UK horror novelist, died March 20. Herbert’s first two books, The Rats (1974) and The Fog (1975), were disaster novels with man-eating giant black rats in the first and an accidentally released chemical weapon in the second.

He wrote three sequels to The Rats – Lair, Domain and The City (a graphic novel). His 23 published novels sold more than 54 million copies worldwide. He was awarded an OBE in 2010.

[Thanks to Andrew Porter for the story.]