A Dark and Scary Place
A Cry from the Inside is a fictional exploration of the human mind, with the emphasis on interpretation and perception. Everyone reacts in different ways to stressful or simply new and seemingly unfathomable experiences. With the slant on Fantasy, this can mean individuals with extraordinary mental abilities, those that make devastatingly wrong choices, or those who know how others think and cleverly use their intelligence to make a difference.
I have always been interested in psychology. There are so many aspects to this science that the ground-breaking researchers of the past have only begun to scratch the surface. Rather than the established disorders such as Ideas of Reference, Munchausen’s Syndrome (or Factitious Disorder), Paranoid Schizophrenia, I am more interested in the spontaneous reactions of people to what most would consider minor circumstances. So, in essence emotions. We are all unique in our amalgamation of thoughts and relative actions, but this collection of stories undoubtedly pushes those boundaries to, primarily, a level of speculative entertainment.
Consequently, I have attempted to emulate the ‘feel’ of a Ray Bradbury story with ‘The Real Me’ (the freedom of childhood memories) and ‘How it Was’ (living in more innocent times). The untapped power of the mind is explored in ‘The Three-Thirds Man.’ The mistakes of the past are reviewed in ‘Second Time Around.’ Is contact from beyond a reality or a concept of the mind? Who picks-up the pieces when we just don’t care? What is more important, other people’s beliefs or your own? Can the cruel hand of fate help someone to capture their youth? How would you react to a curious new ability in the midst of a pandemic crisis? These are just some of the ideas investigated in this new short story collection.
In this current environment of mental health issues these tales are of particular consequence. However, their purpose is solely for entertainment value, because we all need a little diversion from the realities of life, now and then. I hope you enjoy them. Please share your views on the relative Amazon page, and also on my website adarkandscaryplace.com – where you’ll find my other books, reviews, interviews and features.
A lone hiker is murdered in mysterious circumstances on the remote Precipice Walk in the Snowdonia region of Wales; a professional Treasure Hunter is offered a potentially fatal challenge; and a young commuter, obsessed with the London Underground tube network is excited at the prospect of a dangerous job interview for the unreachable goal of his ideal job.
When a killing in Croydon, Surrey appears to have similarities to the one on the Precipice Walk, Detective Superintendent Alan Foster takes two colleagues and joins forces with Tom Farningham and his specially formed murder squad in the Metropolitan Police at London's New Scotland Yard - to investigate a serial killer whose crime locations link North Wales and London, England. The incidents prove to be the first of many elaborately staged crime scenes.
Although there is an early clue, linking the individual murders to the extent they second guess the killer is not an easy task. There is immense pressure to get a result in what becomes a very high profile case. However, Foster Knows that sometimes police detectives have to obtain the evidence and help where they can find it - and accept that it can come from the most unlikely of sources.
A leading forensics expert is escorted from London to a top secret site in Scotland by two mysterious officials. When the man is reported missing, Marek, a Police Detective Inspector turned Private Investigator, sets out on his trail. His former colleagues are strangely tight-lipped regarding the situation, but Marek is far from being wet behind the ears. He finds help from the most unlikely sources: an eccentric college lecturer and a mystery writer. Previously crippled but now sporting experimental new legs, he uncovers not only a covert organisation but a global-wide conspiracy. To get to the heart of the matter and save the life and sanity of another potential victim, Marek will need to enter the mind of a dangerous psychotic with astonishing abilities.
It might just be a one-way ticket.
Psychotica spans many genres and sub-genres, and will appeal to readers of serial killer fiction, crime thrillers, private detective, psychological drama, mystery and suspense, police procedural, government conspiracy, intrigue, and even elements of fantasy.
Welcome fellow Rockers, Metalheads and casual readers alike. Memories of an Ageing Rocker chronicles my weird and humorous experiences over the years going to the various gigs of both local and established bands. It incorporates the rise of a humble little three-piece group, and brings things up-to-date with recent mad occurrences, some of which reflect on the early days.
So, with intriguing titles like:
'Don't show me your flaps and pans...'
'Oh, no, not old Frog-lips!'
'Can I come in and have a chew of your dog's bone?'
'Victim of circumcise...'
'What have you been burning?!'
A Dalek, and Sheep on Stilts.
'There's a bloke on the roof, howling.'
'You can stand a vase of flowers.'
A lion started singing to me.
'You can count to four, can't you?!'
and, 'It needs a gap long enough to get a strange feeling in!'
It promises to be a cool ride. I hope you have as much fun reading this as I did levering these events from my brain's archive.
The brand new updates to the end of 2018 incorporate further intriguing titles such as:
Back before midnight, or I'll turn into a pumpkin.
'Was anyone here born before 1982?'
Rapping and Pillaging.
The Maleficent Seven.
A Saucerful of Biscuits.
'Don't talk to me about Life!'
So near and yet so ... couldn't be bothered!'
Don't forget to look out for the new paperback version. Enjoy. I'll see you fellow music lovers at the next gig.
Are you developing goose bumps?
Are the hairs rising on the back of your neck?
Is someone walking over your grave?
For more than a hundred years horror films have thrilled, chilled, terrified, and even disgusted cinema and home viewers alike.
This is a collection of around 200 reviews written for popular internet websites sci-fi-online and reviewgraveyard.com. Many of the releases are sets or collections incorporating several movies, so you get even more reviews for your money!
There are classics and turkeys on parade here, covering a multitude of sub-genres, including: Slasher, Occult, Ghosts and the Supernatural, Monsters, Psychological, Mechanical and Technological, Vampires and Zombies, and more besides.
Film reviews featured include: The Exorcist, The Omen, Friday 13th, 28 Days Later, The Ring, Basket Case, The Black Cat, The Cavern, Invasion of the Body Snatchers, The Evil Dead, Village of the Damned, Hostel, Masque of the Red Death, The Grudge, John Carpenter's The Fog, It's Alive, The Devil Rides Out, The Thing From Another World, Horror of Dracula, Quatermass and the Pit, The Abominable Dr Phibes, The Eye, The Legend of Hell House, and many, many more.
With acting legends such as Peter Cushing, Christopher Lee, Vincent Price, Boris Karloff and Bela Lugosi - performing to a backdrop of scripts adapted from such master storytellers as Edgar Allan Poe, H.P. Lovecraft, Graham Masterton and Stephen King - there is plenty here for the discerning horror buffs to get their vampire teeth into.
However, this is just as much about the surprising little gems and the awful attempts which cause you to laugh or even cringe. So, whatever your own opinion of these films, I very much hope you enjoy reading the reviews and are inspired enough to seek some of these out (no, you can't borrow my copies!).
Oh, the horror of it all!
‘Mother! Oh God, mother! Blood! Blood!’
‘I just can't take no pleasure in killing. There's just some things you gotta do. Don't mean you have to like it.’
‘It's in the trees! It's coming!’
‘I'm twelve. But I've been twelve for a long time.’
‘I know what you've got. You've got a gateway to hell under your house. And that is really cool.’
‘I met this six-year-old child, with this blank, pale, emotionless face, and the blackest eyes... the devil's eyes.’
These are lines from just a few of the 200+ films scrutinised in this new collection, More Graveyard Horror Reviews – originally written for the popular websites sci-fi-online and reviewgraveyard.com between 2007 and 2011.
So-called mainstream critics continue to belittle or ignore the Horror genre. But it refuses to go away, because it’s essentially a part of us. Whether it be nightmare scapes, dream paralyses, imagined entities in the darkness, a thousand and one phobias, the devil and the occult, mythical creatures, ghosts and the supernatural, or psychotic maniacs…there’s plenty out there to make us revert to our basic instinct to fear the unknown.
On parade here are projects from classic directors, such as John Carpenter, Wes Craven, Tobe Hooper, George A. Romero, Sam Raimi, Dario Argento and Alfred Hitchcock.
Film reviews featured include: Psycho, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Outpost, 30 Days of Night, The Last House on the Left, Dark Water, The John Carpenter Collection (7 films including, Halloween, and Prince of Darkness), The Oblong Box, Let the Right One In, Hush, A Haunting in Connecticut, Triangle, Silent Night-Deadly Night, Street Trash, Drag Me To Hell, My Name is Bruce, The Hole, Tony: London Serial Killer, Mirrors, and Night of the Demon.
As with Volume 1, I have included the DVD covers to offer a visual connection to the words. If you zoom on the picture it will come up a little larger. A new feature for this volume is the Table of Contents, which contains direct links to the relevant reviews. There is also an index table at the back of the book. This lists all the films alphabetically. It shows the cinematic year of release (or straight to DVD year), the certificate rating, the name of the director, and my verdict out of ten. The reviews themselves feature in the order in which I originally did them, so that those people who choose to read them randomly can still do so.
'Oh, the horror of it all!'
The Shivers… The Willies… The Creeps… The Needles… The Jitters… The Heebie-Jeebies… The Night Terrors...
There are countless words to express feelings of unease, dread, or outright fear. Our inner psyche needs fictional horror as balance to counteract our everyday lives. It feeds our imagination, filling in the gaps in the darkness with hidden spectres.
As companion piece to Graveyard Horror Reviews and More Graveyard Horror Reviews, this third collection – originally written for popular websites sci-fi-online and reviewgraveyard.com – features intricate procedural dissections (Doctor Frankenstein showed me how!) of DVDs and Blu-rays which offer Nail-biting Dread, Tremulous Palpitations, Butterflies of Anxiety and Apprehension, Fretfulness and Trepidation, Creeping Chills, and Rising Panic. Of course, you’ll also come across some which might be described as Laughingly Bad, Achingly Lacking, or merely Yawn-Fests. Opinion is always subjective and that’s half the fun.
Some of the examples lining-up for inspection this time include: House of Wax, The Legacy, Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark, Dead of Night, Creep, The Skull, Piranha, Bite, Scream and Scream Again, Hidden, Cat People, Fright, Let Us Prey, The Haunting of Radcliffe House, John Carpenter’s The Ward, Mimic, The Raven, Cockneys Vs. Zombies, Suck, The Man Who Could Cheat Death, Creepshow, The Relic, Big Ass Spider, Inbred, Evil Aliens, Rosewood Lane and I Am Not a Serial Killer.
Directors include such luminaries as Guillermo Del Toro, John Carpenter, George A. Romero, Terence Fisher, John Gilling, Stuart Gordon, Wes Craven, Freddie Francis and Joe Dante.
Additionally, and new to this release, you’ll find a Horror Book Reviews section, which includes: A Brief Guide to Stephen King, Crystal Lake Memories (the Jason films), The Silver Scream (classic early films), The Ring Companion, A Vault of Horror (80 films studied), The Hellraiser Chronicles, Behind the Mask of the Horror Actor, The Art of Hammer (film posters), Horror – A Literary History, The Classic Stories of H.P. Lovecraft, A Nightmare on Elm Street (Graphic Novel) and Zombiemania… to name but a few.
Again, the DVD covers are included; you can zoom in on the picture and it will come up a little larger. Retained from Volume 2 is the Table of Contents feature, which this time is in alphabetical order. It not only contains direct links to the relevant reviews but incorporates additional information which was in a separate index table last time around. This includes the DVD or Blu-ray year of release, the certificate rating, the name of the director, and my verdict (score) out of ten. In the case of the books, the author is in place of the director.
Spoiler Alert!! Just a reminder that a number of these reviews contain spoilers. Getting inside the minds of the characters and crew can be quite an insight. But don’t stay in there too long or you might not make it out…unchanged. Even now Norman Bates emerges every so often to remind me that “Mother…isn’t quite herself today.”
Have you ever had one of those days?
Well, Richard ‘Red’ Head has had one of those weeks… and it shows no signs of letting up.
If only he hadn’t let his curiosity get the better of him and set off to investigate an insistent pulsating green light emanating from the woods behind his cottage, he wouldn’t have lost five years of his life in one night, been exploited on live TV by his ex-wife, metamorphosed into a rampaging monster, and dragged from pillar to post by a mysterious and annoying old crone who knows significantly more than she lets on.
What’s more, he might have avoided being pursued by a bizarre government agency based beneath the streets of Sidcup, side-stepped an encounter with yellow, bell-shaped creatures, a world-wide dimensional breakdown, and getting trapped in a calendar. And that’s only half of it.
It seems some days you just can’t help making the wrong choice…
Reality is a matter of opinion. Reasoning is the journey to those realities. So, join me on this journey to Future Worlds and Alternative Technologies... To strange new Environments and bold new Theologies, where the rules are changed and morals become blurred. To situations where nothing is quite what it seems.
Among this original collection of Science Fiction short stories you'll find: A solitary man who fights for the survival of the human race in a court case against a bizarre new alien species... The young inventor of a radical new media-related technology who attempts to go up against the mega-corporations... Two research institutions take an unhealthy interest in a man who is suffering from memory loss... An internationally renowned clairvoyant who makes an announcement which changes the world virtually overnight... A man with meagre psi abilities is involved in a life or death battle of wills for a mysterious prize... A time paradox produces astounding revelations for a deep space team... A journey of discovery to see what lies at the end of the universe nears its conclusion...
So, take a first step into these realities, and explore the start of countless possible futures. You might just make it out with your sanity intact.
Horror is not just our dark side, it’s our psyche. Our minds play tricks on us; it looks for faces and humanoid shapes in the darkness, where there are none. Less is more, both in fiction writing and on film, for this very reason. The mind cranks up the tension and unseen imagery to a point where it will scare you the most; which is why when the ‘nature of the beast’ is realised, it loses most of its power to frighten. Fear of the unknown is infinitely greater than fear of something real and specific. So, keep to the shadows and you won’t be disappointed…as you’ll find out in more than one of the following stories.
Among the tales on display here we investigate:
A man who has spent years hidden in the darkness.
What happens when the body's defences are low and your inhibitions come out to play.
A man's gift to his pregnant wife which takes on a life of its own.
Someone who has been plagued by catastrophic bad luck his entire life.
Whether innocents can suffer the sins of the father.
A man who dreads being an organ donor, with just cause.
A father and son's startling discovery on a deep sea diving expedition.
and... A new tenant's unhealthy interest in a building's dark past.
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