Verses From A Deeply Darkened Mind – Book Review

verses-mary-genevieve-fortier

Verses From A Deeply Darkened Mind

by Mary Genevieve Fortier
JWK Fiction

I have to confess, I’m not a big fan of traditional poetry. Reason being is most of the symbolism and metaphors are missed by me and in the end, I’m usually left with a bunch of nice sounding words that don’t make much sense (did you ever try reading Milton’s Paradise Lost? Ugh!). That is why I have always liked Edgar Allan Poe. His poems were stories that I could easily digest and understand. Now I can add Mary G Fortier to my ‘poets I love’ list. This collection contains dark, visceral tales of terror with accentuating rhyme, cadence and word crafting, allowing me to truly enjoy the terror spilling from its pages.  

Mystical doorways in the woods, creepy church goers, and macabre figures knocking at your entrance in the deep, dark hours of the night, are reasons to keep me awake and to keep on reading. I chose to read a few each night in order to quench my thirst for the macabre and fulfill my own dark passions. There are several B&W art pieces accompanying select poems throughout the book by a host of fantastic artists. If you’re in need of a haunting experience into the ethereal world of the dead and those left behind to ponder, then “Verses…” is an excellent collection. Those with a proclivity for creepy horror will be thrilled by these rhythmic tales of terror. Read them by firelight or lamplight and enter the oblique nightmare world of this modern poet, a definitive horror poet’s omnibus to add to your reading repertoire.

Traditional Paperback only: https://www.amazon.com/Verses-Deeply-Darkened-Genevieve-Fortier/dp/9492558025

mausoleum-mass-michael-thomas-knight-media-charcoal mary-genevieve-fortier

Extraordinary Tales (2015) – movie review

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Extraordinary Tales (2015)

Directed by Raul Garcia

Stories by Edgar Allan Poe screenplay by Raul Garcia

Starring:
Christopher Lee
Bela Lugosi
Guillermo del Toro
Roger Corman

This is an animated collection of five Poe stories. For the most part modern animation styles take a back seat and the styles of more intrinsic art are brought to life for the tales. They each carry theirExtraordinary Tales 2015 - poster own distinct visual flair applied to Poe’s source material. We have the squared-off and skewed shapes in The House of Usher, the stark black & white imagery and cutting lines for The Tell-Tale Heart (in artist, Alberto Breccia’s style), and the graphic novel/Creepy magazine style of The Masque of Red Death. Voice overs and narration are done by Christopher Lee, Bela Lugosi, Guillermo del Toro, Roger Corman and Julian Sands, amongst others, who each provide their unique expression to the benefit of the atmosphere. Lugosi is here courtesy of an old recording/reading remastered for the Tell Tale Heart segment. The wrap around concerns a crow in a graveyard talking to Death. The conversation between them leads us into the stories. Everything is backed by classic musical compositions by Sergio de la Puente with additional music from Javier López de Guereña. I’m surprised this has such a low rating, but with its gothic origins and gloomy mood, I guess that should be expected.  The stories are edited into shorter form than Poe’s original works but they work well with the animation. Also included are The Facts in the Case of Mr. Valdemar and The Pit and the Pendulum to round out the best tales from the gothic master. For someone who grew up reading horror illustrated comics such as Creepy, Eerie, Vampirella, and Heavy Metal Magazine, this is a pleasant throwback to a similar storytelling and visual style. Revisit Poe’s most popular tales with animation worthy of artistic merit in this fine collection.

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This gothic animated film heralding the work of Edgar Allan Poe provides gloomy, yet interesting entertainment.

I give it 3.9 cringe inducing, caterwauling, death wails out of 5 on the gothic haunting horror scale.

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parlor of horror – horror movie reviews

Classic Horror Stories – The early days of horror as a genre

Classic Horror Stories – The early days of horror as a genre

If you want to be a horror writer it’s quite important to read some of the classics, to know your heritage, in order to move forward from the early days into modern story-telling.

Here are some important links for you to read some of the classic horror authors and stories online

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Poe

Edgar Allan Poe – Ligeia
Read Ligeia at Online-Literature.com

Many if not all of Poe’s Stories and Poems can also be found here:
http://www.poestories.com/stories.php

ligeia - poe

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Bram-Stoker-

Bram Stoker – The Dream of Red Hands
Read The Dream of Red Hands 
(thanks to Paula Cappa for the suggested reading)

The Bram Stoker site includes more short stories:
http://bramstoker.org/

stoker - the dream of red hands bram-stoker-case

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hp_lovecraft
Perhaps the pinnacle in Lovecraft tales:
The Whisperer in Darkness
Read it here: http://www.hplovecraft.com/writings/texts/fiction/wid.aspx

Need to read some Lovecraft Tales:
http://www.hplovecraft.com/
and
http://www.dagonbytes.com/thelibrary/lovecraft/

whisperer in darkness - creature

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More horror fiction short stories:

More stories, Hawthorne to Stevenson – Polidori to Blackwood
Literary horror short stories:
http://www.eastoftheweb.com/short-stories/horrorindex.html

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My Top 5 Gothic Vincent Price Movies

Check out my guest post at Vic’s Movie Den,

My Top 5 Gothic Vincent Price Movies

In the 1960’s, Vincent Price was the master of gothic horror suspense. With the help of Roger Corman, AIP, and writer’s like Richard Matheson, Edgar Allan Poe and Nathaniel Hawthorne, the gothic horror film was in it’s prime. Check out my top VP picks for the era.

Also Thanks to Vic’s Movie Den for the guest post spot. While you’re there check out some of Vic’s other awesome movie posts.

 

Torture Garden (1967) – Movie review

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Torture Garden (1967) 

Directed by Freddie Francis


Torture Garden dvdTorture Garden has one of the best set-ups of all the Amicus anthology films, not surprising considering the screenplay was written by Robert Bloch. The film builds on the excitement of carnivals and the strangeness of Carney folk. A midway soapbox pitchman attracts a small audience into the Torture Garden side show. Once Inside, Dr. Diablo (a masked Burgess Meredith) demonstrates torture devices upon wax figures. By the end of the ‘show’ the audience is moderately amused, but before they depart, Dr. Diablo offers a chance to see the bonus exhibit for an additional 5 pounds. He promises to show the patrons something they could not see anywhere else. He gets a few customers to shell out the additional payment and they enter another curtained section. Much to their dismay, they are confronted with a wax figure fortune teller. Dr. Diablo insists that all they have to do is step up, look into her eyes and they will see their future and certain danger that awaits them. Of course, theytorture garden pic 1 do and we enter each one’s story.

Colin visits his sick uncle looking for a big monetary hand out after hearing rumors of his uncle paying for items with gold coins. When the Uncle begins having an attack, Colin holds his medication out of reach until he reveals the hidden gold. The uncle dies and soon after Colin is ripping the home apart, looking for the coins. He breaks into a trap door in the basement and is confronted by a cat with hypnotic eyes. In a trance, Colin goes out and kills the neighbor with a pitchfork. The cat rewards Colin with gold coins upon return. It turns out the feline is some nefarious deity.  It is not long before Colin has a wealth of gold coins and the suspicions of the police.

A young woman, struggling to be an actress, double crosses her roommate and meets some wealthy Hollywood hot shots. Her torture garden pic 8career skyrockets until she learns the truth of how stars are able to sustain lasting careers and the sacrifice she will have to make to hold her place in the Hollywood elite.

The next story sounds ridiculous but is filmed with enough conviction that allows you to accept what you’re seeing. A concert pianist meets a young lady reporter and it is clear that she wants more than an interview. When they begin to fall in love his prize piano becomes jealous and is intent on ending the relationship.

The fourth story is my favorite and was worth watching this movie for, alone. Jack Palance plays Ronald Wyatt, an historian and rare collector of the works of Edgar Allan Poe. At an exhibition, he meets Mr. Canning (Peter Cushing) who owns some rare items himself. The two men hit it off and Canning offers an open invitation for Mr. Wyatt to visit him when he’s in the states. Wyatt does pay Canning a visit to view his personal collection. The two men talk about Poe’ s work, exchange stories about their collections and indulge in quite a bit of brandy. Near the end of the night, Canning unveils the holy grail of Poe collectables, a lost, unpublished manuscript, The House of the Worm. The story about how Canning came into possession of this work is as fantastic as…one of Poe’ s fictional stories. As a Poe fan, this tale had me fascinated and intrigued.

All in all, an good Amicus anthology with fleshed-out stories and an interesting wrap-around. Worth a viewing.
Torture Garden pic 7

Related articles:

Amicus Films – overview

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The Following and filming location pics

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The Following and On Location pics

Don’t know if anyone has been watching, The Following, but I finally caught up with the season finale which originally aired Mon. 4/28/13

The Following is an FBI serial-killer, crime drama, starring Kevin Bacon as Ryan Hardy, the down and out agent, called back to duty, in order to recapture convicted serial killer Joe Caroll. The escaped killer has a penchant for Poe, and is writing a book about the true-life crime-drama that he is creating, while taunting the FBI.

It captured my interest early on and was interesting enough to keep me watching. To my surprise, all of the outside scenes of the season finale were filmed at The Fire Island Lighthouse, which is close to where I live. It was one of those, Oh, My God! I know where that is…, moments.

So I thought I would share some pics from my family outing a while back – our last visit to the light house.

Have you ever had one of those moments where you see a location in a movie or show that is in your neighborhood or surrounding areas?

The Raven (2012) – Movie review

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The Raven coverThe Raven (2012)
The Raven is a fictional account concerning the last days in the life of Edgar Allan Poe. On October, 7th, 1849, he was found on a park bench in Baltimore, close to death. He died a short time later. This film attempts to explain the events leading to his demise. A psychopath is stalking Baltimore, killing innocent victims and using Poe’s stories and prose as a guideline. Life imitating art. Poe is called upon by the Baltimore police to help unravel a series of clues and riddles left by the perpetrator. The killer kidnaps Poe’s love interest, Emily Hamilton, and holds her hostage – actually, he buries her alive, in a coffin – and dares Poe to unravel the mysteries he has laid out and find her.

The Pendulum scene is quite jarring as I myself began to suck in my gut as I watched every swipe of the blood splattering blade. The film portrays a thick gothic atmosphere as horse-drawn coaches race through the lamp-lit, cobblestone streets of old Baltimore, in attempts to beat the killer before the next death occurs. The Raven pic 1There are rich sets and wonderful costume portraying this period piece without being garish. John Cusack does a good job portraying the dark and egotistical drunkard, Poe, but the script never seems to take this aspect far enough. Alice Eve, as Emily, shows herself to be a solid actress, refined, and playing her part with an understated charm. All the acting is solid in this film, with equally good parts by Luke Evans, as Detective Fields and Sam Hazeldine, as Ivan. So, why isn’t this a better film?

One drawback is that much of the murders are not seen on film, which I think would have had more impact. Aside from the pendulum scene, in most cases we get to see the dead bodies but not the actual murders themselves. As far as mysteries go, this film leaves no room for the viewer to use their mind and intellect to solve the clues for themselves. Much like Poe’s stories, ‘The Raven’ must have a tragic ending. The impact of the ‘trade-off’ at the end could have been an emotional pinnacle for the film but the director failed to capitalize on it and missed a great opportunity. However, I think the biggest problem with this film is – it reminds one of just how good E.A. Poe’s stories were and makes you wish you were entrenched in one of those stories rather than this film. It is a watchable film for the Poe fan despite falling short in so many areas, but more likely for novelty reason and visual appeal rather than story.
The Raven pic 5 The Raven pic 2 The Raven