ART :: CALLING ALL LOVERS OF HORROR!

Recently, I was asked to share my favorite television show in a client meeting. Though people were relatively nice when I replied “The Walking Dead,” you could tell that the response was met with furtive glances and ever-so-slightly furrowed brows. Definitely an element of… “Really… Isn’t that weird?” I get that reaction a lot.

Yes, I’m obviously a fan of HORROR. A denizen of “The Dark.” I wear my fandom on my sleeve. It doesn’t make me weird (I’m just weird on my own), or maladjusted, or a sadist, or anything else but someone who loves a good chill down his spine.

I know I’m not alone.

That’s why I created this series of graphics celebrating that love. Welcome to the “PROUD LOVER OF HORROR” series. Each graphic couples a central horror-driven illustration with a strong central “PROUD LOVER OF HORROR” message. To top it off, a message of solidarity, taken from Tod Browning’s 1932 TOTALLY heart wrenching and absolutely chilling masterpiece “Freaks.” The chant of “One of us! One of Us!” is an embrace within the film and that’s how I mean it here… A clarion call to all of us.

Such a classic.

Please select the graphic that suits your style best ::

~ “80’s Classic” :: A nod to the great slasher period in horror film.
~ “The Golden Age” :: A tribute to the pioneering gothic masterworks of yesteryear.
~ “Contemporary” :: Zombies. Because it’s 2013.

Please print and display the image of your choosing at your workplace, on your fridge, on your bedroom mirror. Wherever you can share it with pride. Better yet, display them all. These graphics would also work great as an addition to your horror blog or other horror site. I have provided links to higher res versions of the images for better printing as well.

All I ask is that you DO NOT steal and claim you invented the images (please note the copyright on these images as part of this site) and please display with with TRUE HORROR PRIDE.

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AND… The higher res images for download. Again, these images may not be altered or stolen, just take ’em and display ’em with pride ::

~ 80s CLASSIC
~ GOLDEN AGE
~ CONTEMPORARY

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ART :: JOSHUA HOFFINE, HORROR PHOTOGRAPHY

Today, I wanted to share some contemporary horror work that I personally find very inspiring. Joshua Hoffine is a photographer based in Kansas City, MO (Represent, MISSOURI!). His dark, carefully constructed photos explore, in his words, “the psychology of fear.” I love the concept of reawakening and recreating the fears of childhood in many of these tableaus. Brilliantly conceived and created work. Take a peek below and please visit Joshua’s site.

All Images in This Post ©2013 Joshua Hoffine

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Annnnnd, BIG UPS to @jseitz for bringing Joshua’s work back into my brain this weekend!

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MUSIC :: FEAR-INDUCING, PULSE-POUNDING SONGS FOR YOUR RUNNING PLAYLIST — PART I

Fear is a motivator. No question. I love to run and I love music that moves me, even through that sense of fear or the devilish grin at a dark tune in my ears.

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I’ll be periodically sharing songs for horror lovers to add to their running (or exercise playlist) to get the blood pumping. This is the first installment ::

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01

“Don Abandons Alice” — John Murphy

HORROR TIE :: From the “28 Weeks Later” soundtrack.

I HAD to start with this one. HAD to. IMHO, this is the granddaddy. For starters, I loved these films and the soundtracks were a huge reason why. When I run to this, I can not help but imagine the truly desperate thrill of survival coursing through me as I sprint, barely ahead of the slavering undead fast on my heels. Awesome.

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02

“M1 A1” — Gorillaz

HORROR TIE :: Built on direct samples and base music from the zombie classic “Day of the Dead.”

This is awesome all the way ’round. The VERY direct ties to Romero’s masterpiece alone makes this sweet, but the band amped it up  a ton and gave it a flavor both urban and punk. Love it.

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03

“Every Day is Halloween” — Ministry

HORROR TIE :: Um… Yeah. Should be pretty obvious.

An electronic / goth shoegazer from my late high school / early college period. This one is perfect for maintaining pace. Even, awesome rhythms and goth thematics. Fun.

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Get out there and do it (he says more for his own benefit than anything)!

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LITERATURE :: REVIEW… “SUMMER OF NIGHT” BY DAN SIMMONS

From Dan Simmons’ Summer of Night ::

“Sometimes I think I’ll come into the room and be feeling around for the light cord…you know, it’s sorta hard to find…and instead of the cord, I’ll feel this face.”

Dale’s neck had gone cold.

“You know,” continued Lawrence, “some tall guy’s face…only not quite a human face…and I’ll be here in the dark with my hand on his face…and his teeth’ll be all slick and cool, and I’ll feel his eyes wide open like a dead person’s…and…”

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Summer of Night is truly a modern horror classic, a lush story of youth and summer framed in genuine chills. This FINALLY made it to the top of my reading list. I have just finished it and wanted to make sure I reviewed it here.

The publisher’s book description actually offers a great intro to the story ::

It’s the summer of 1960 and in the small town of Elm Haven, Illinois, five twelve-year-old boys are forging the powerful bonds that a lifetime of change will not break.  From sunset bike rides to shaded hiding places in the woods, the boys’ days are marked by all of the secrets and silences of an idyllic middle-childhood.  But amid the sundrenched cornfields their loyalty will be pitilessly tested. When a long-silent bell peals in the middle of the night, the townsfolk know it marks the end of their carefree days. From the depths of the Old Central School, a hulking fortress tinged with the mahogany scent of coffins, an invisible evil is rising. Strange and horrifying events begin to overtake everyday life, spreading terror through the once idyllic town.  Determined to exorcize this ancient plague, Mike, Duane, Dale, Harlen, and Kevin must wage a war of blood—against an arcane abomination who owns the night…

IMHO, great horror stories draw power from the juxtaposition of common settings and the gentle rhythm of work-a-day life with truly horrifying concepts and scenes. This is central to the power of Summer of Night. Simmons deftly uses this power to create a story with as much charm as it has horror.

The book is rich with the verdant, warm summers of youth. Though the story is set in 1960, so many of the details of the childlike aspects of summer depicted here resonated in a very personal way for me. From dusty dirt clod wars and the sound of bike tires on loose gravel to secret, leafy forts and outdoor community movies, Simmons puts the reader in those halcyon, coming-of-age days with a beautiful eye for detail and a heady tactile sense. This provides the base he builds his terrifying tableaus upon.

Those tableaus are at once ominous, threatening and  at times bloody in the best way they can be for a story of this sort. Simmons conjures the terrors of childhood and makes them manifest. Though his uncannily experiential style you can feel, see, smell and taste the substance of those fears.

I highly recommend this book, especially to those looking for a way to put some real chills in the steam of their summer.

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RATING ………………. 4.5 STARS

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ART :: BELLEFONTAINE CEMETERY, A PHOTO ESSAY

Two years ago on my birthday, my lovely wife and daughter treated me to a perfect day. At the center of the day’s activities was a “photo safari” amongst the peaceful, yet deliciously creepy Victorian gothic splendor that is St. Louis’ legendary Bellefontaine Cemetery.

Bellefontaine was created in 1849 and has hosted 87,000 burials as of 2012. It is an exquisite example of the grand Victorian tradition of the “arboretum cemetery” or “rural cemetery.” It is also a wonderful illustration of the Victorian fascination with death and the dead. Truly gorgeous tableaus abound and there is no shortage of beautifully morbid imagery rendered in the silent, stately stone of the headstones, monuments and crypts throughout the rolling grounds.

I can’t say enough how WORTH IT a visit is.

As I was designing this blog, I mined the results of my photos to create the background for these pages. Looking at the photos again, I thought they would be cool to share here. Below, I have included just a few examples. Visit this link to see all of my photos from the day ::

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SEE THE FULL PHOTO ESSAY >

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Please, visit Bellefontaine Cemetery for yourself. It is a true gem for those who love their beauty tinged with a touch of historic gothic horror.

Address :: 4947 W Florissant Ave, St Louis, MO 63115
Phone :: (314) 381-0750
Hours :: Every Day 8:00AM to 4:00PM

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