The Woman In Black (2012) – movie review

 

The Woman in Black 2012 - pic 1

The Woman in Black  (2012)

 

Directed by James Watkins

Starring
Daniel Radcliffe
Ciarán Hinds
Janet McTeer
Liz White

For a Hammer film, I would expect no less than a gothic ghost-tale, taking place in a deserted mansion, in the countryside of England. Being a period piece only adds to the true Hammer experience of yesteryear. These were elements missing from the re-launched Hammer production’s previous films.

A young lawyer, Arthur Kipps, struggling to provide for his motherless son, is sent on a countryside journey to the estate property, known as the Eel Marsh House. After the passing of tThe Woman In Black posterhe last living relative, Alice Drablow, it is Mr. Kipps’ assignment to wade through the mountain of paperwork at the decrepit estate, in order for his firm to gain the rights to sell it. At the Estate, Mr. Kipps begins to hear strange noises which lead to the frequent sighting of the Woman in Black, a ghastly, dark presence that haunts the Eel Marsh House. In town, there are several deaths of children. Mr. Kipps begins to investigate a recurrence of child deaths throughout many years and their ties to the Eel Marsh House. The intriguing story unfolds in layers as the mystery is revealed.

 

Daniel Radcliffe plays the young lawyer, Arthur Kipps, wonderfully, sporting  old-English style side-burns, causing one to wholly forget his Harry Potter persona. Ciarán Hinds plays an outstanding supporting role as the local neighbor, Sam Daily, who, years earlier, lost his own son to tragedy.

The Eel Marsh House provides a fantastic setting, almost like a character itself; it sits upon an isolated hill that becomes surrounded by water during high tide. There is a small family graveyard on the property, which adds to the creepiness of the house and exudes the perfect atmosphere for sightings of the veiled, woman in woman in black radcliffeblack. The inside of the mansion is suitably run-down, genuinely old, and neglected, with cob-webs, worn edges and dimly lit areas for evil to hide. The cinematography in this film was exceptional, portraying the ugly-beauty of the age tattered estate.

The Woman in Black is a classic, old-fashioned ghost story. It’s a slow-burn with a small cast and low-key feel, self contained in the sparse community surrounding the estate. This is not the full-on, ‘Poltergeist’ style ghost film. The haunting is subtle; a noise, a toy turning on for no reason, a movement seen in the mirror, and movement in your peripheral vision.  It is the type of film that I have purchased on DVD for my own collection and watch it often around Halloween. If the new Hammer Films would make all of their movies in this style and not try to compete with Hollywood, I would be quite pleased.



parlor of horror – movie review

 

My Halloween tale, Bon Fire posted on Cemetery Tomes

campfire2

My Halloween fiction story, Bon Fire,
posted on Cemetery Tomes – modern gothic fiction site.

Have you ever sat around a campfire or backyard fire-pit with a group of family or friends and take turns telling scary stories. Bon Fire is about that kind of get together. Who has the creepiest tale, the most believable urban legend, who’s just recycling the same story from last year? Sit in with my group of friends and find out.

This is semi-autobiographical and makes for some traditional Halloween reading. When I was younger, we used to go camping with campfire 1friends. Besides enjoying the great outdoor scenery, the only other good part was sitting around the campfire at night, drinking Ale and telling wicked tales. (in a bar it’s beer, but when you’re in the great outdoors it’s automatically called Ale) This is what happened on one of those nights.

The story is light on horror, more like a strange tale with gothic overtones. A perfect read for all ages and with a little personalizing, a great tale to relay at your own scary storytelling get-together this Halloween.

read here:
Michael Thomas-Knight – Bon Fire

Originally published in my chapbook, The Clock Tower Black, from Goblin Press (2007). Out of print.

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Nate over at Cemetery Tomes is new to wordpress. Head over to his blog and check out what he’s got going on. For all you horror writers and authors, Nate says he will be open to submissions in November for several story themes. Subscribe to his blog so you don’t miss his calls for submissions. 

Horror Art – William Mortensen

 William Mortensen - pic 7

The Fantastic Photography-art of William Mortensen

William Mortensen – photographer/artist (1897 – 1965)

There’s some artistic nudity on this page. If you feel you would be offended, click off this page now.
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William Mortensen started his photographic career in Hollywood taking portraits of famous actors, including; Rudolph Valentino, Lon Chaney, Jean Harlow, Peter Lorre. He was also responsible for bringing Fay Wray to Hollywood and introducing her to important people. He worked on films with Cecil B. DeMille, Todd Browning and Lon Chaney as William Mortensen - pic 8decorator and designer. He soon developed a photographic style that involved manipulation of photos to resemble Romanticist artwork. What resulted were art pieces that seemed to be photographs.

Inspired by Goya and Bosch he moved into the subject matter of the gothic and grotesque in a collection called, A Pictorial Compendium of Witchcraft. The images were primal, sexual, and violent, often depicting torture and death. Photographic purists, Ansel Adams, Larry Lytle and the photo group F/64 referred to him as the anti-Christ and the Devil. They sought to discredit him as a photographer and obliterate his name and work from photographic history.

His ability to capture the beauty of the female body and bring attention to the grotesque treatment of women in history leaves a statement that holds sentiment to this day. The contrast William Mortensen - pic 6of beauty and ugly seemed to drive his work to new heights of creativity. His techniques of manipulating photos were studied even by his enemies and are standard practices today. There isn’t a photo published in modern times that hasn’t been modified in Photoshop or some other photo manipulation program. Filters, forced exposures and collage techniques common to today’s programs were being used by Mortensen at the beginning of the 20th century. It is only recently that his work has been receiving a second look and is being appreciated by the art and photographic institutions.

Explore more of Mortensen’s work in books: American Grotesque and Monsters and Madonnas 

William Mortensen - pic 4

William Mortensen - pic 14

Michael Thomas-Knight published in Twisted Dreams Magazine, June 2013

Twisted Dreams Magazine June 2013Michael Thomas-Knight published in the new issue of Twisted Dreams Magazine, June 2013

My short story “Lessons in Demonology” has been published in the June issue of Twisted Dreams Magazine.

Follow the exploits of two Demons, Phobos and Deimos, as they torment a terrified woman. This story contains very dark humorous aspects 🙂  – some may even consider it wicked… (insert evil laugh here)

And, as always, Twisted Dreams Magazine delivers dark tales for your morbid curiosity, gothic & macabre pics from photographers, editorials and reviews for the twisted imagination.

Check it out at LuLu.com

PDF download to you computer

PRINT traditional print publication

Issue date: June 1st, 2013

my previous published work

Deadfall Hotel – Book Review

deadfall hotel - temDeadfall Hotel – Steve Rasnic Tem
Solaris books

After tragedy strikes taking his wife, Richard Carter and his daughter, Serena attempt to rebuild their lives. Richard, answering an ad in the help wanted section, is called upon by Jacob Ascher, proprietor of the Deadfall Hotel to fill the job of caretaker. Under the guidance and training of Jacob, Richard learns the eccentricities and aberrations of the long forgotten hotel.

They discover the Deadfall to be a strange place where the horrors of the world go to vacation, retire and perhaps even to die. Richard and his daughter are faced with avoiding and sometimes combating serial killers, evil felines, angry spirits and other nasty entities that reside in the dark corridors of Deadfall Hotel. However, for Richard to truly learn anything he will have to revisit the darkest days of his own life, face the sinister Poolman and escape the blackened waters of the phantom pool that reach deeper than the foundations of the Hotel, itself.

The tale is unveiled as a series of events recorded by Jacob to detail the progress of training a new caretaker. It is easy to warm to the characters as Richard tries to protect his daughter and questions himself about bringing her to such a dismal place to live. Tem shows you the big picture by telling smaller stories which makes the journey interesting and less common than the usual novel. Dangers and conflicts ooze out of the cracks and corners, sometimes catching the reader by surprise and growing into frightening challenges.

For someone who is not a huge fan of modern novels, Tem’s writing is quirky enough to hold my attention. I enjoyed the story and had that melancholy feeling at it’s end; the feeling you get when you have grown fond of the characters and know you’re going to miss them.

Recommended if you like: The Shining, The Amityville Horror

Previous book review

My Top ‘Introduction to Horror’ Films – What’s Yours?

Jaws_pic 2
My Top ‘Introduction to Horror’ Films

The goal is to pick out films to show someone who has never watched horror films. Choose the movies you think would be best suited for them to understand the genre.

Started by Horrific Healing, several other bloggers have jumped in and offered their Top Introduction to Horror Films lists. We want you to post your list, too!

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My Top ‘Introduction to Horror’ Films
I went with 15 , Here’s My List:

1 – Frankensteinearly horror
frankenstein_poster

2 – House of Wax (Vincent Price) – How can anyone know horror without VP
House of Wax 1953 poster

3 – Night of the Living Deadthe ultimate zombie film
night of the living dead poster

4 – Dracula has Risen form the GraveMore modern than Lugosi and represents the 1960’s and Gothic
Dracula-Has-Risen-From-The-Grave poster

5 – Psychopsychological horror and Hitchcock represented

Psycho poster

6 – Texas Chainsaw Massacregotta’ have the chainsaw

texas_chainsaw_massacre74 poster

7 – Jawsnature horror and Spielberg

JAWS_Movie_poster

8 – Halloween got to have a Carpenter film and slasher film represented

halloween_poster

9 – Nightmare on Elm StreetWes Craven’s best

a-nightmare-on-elm-street-poster-original

10 – AlienSci-fi horror

Alien_poster_1979

11 – The Evil Deadpossession film and black comedy

Evil Dead 1981

12 – HellraiserClive barker represented

hellraiser_1987

13 – The RingRepresenting J-Horror style

Ring poster

14 – The Mist S.King represented, not to mention Greg Nicoterra from The Walking Dead

the mist cover

15 – Quarantine or REC representing the found footage/handheld style

Quarantine cover

So, I have represented here: gothic, slasher, ghost story, revenge horror, monster movie, found footage, J-Horror, black & white films, psychological horror, animal/nature horror, demonic possession, black humor and sci-fi horror. That just about covers it.

As you can see I’m partial to American films. After this introduction, I would have another list for foriegn horror films and cover Italian, Spanish and true Asian cinema for my unsuspecting friend to watch.

I know a lot of these are the usual suspects but, they are the best in their categories, why give a new viewer something sub par? Besides, these are all films I really love and wouldn’t mind watching again with somebody.

I say that if you do a list, you should link the other posts that have come before yours. So here are the links to the other posts:

Horrific Healing – – Top 10 introductory Horror Films

Fringevoid – – Introduction To Horror films

Inforthekills – – 11 Horror films for Newbies  

Vics’ Movie Den – Intro to Horror 101

The Awakening (2011) – Movie Review

the awakening- pic 5

the-awakening-2011-movie-posterThe Awakening (2011) – Movie Review

In 1921, London, a young woman enters a parlor with a photo of someone close to her that has recently passed on. She, along with several other grieving families, is attending a séance. When the séance starts the young woman quickly sees the deceit and reveals the medium and her cohorts to be charlatans.

The woman is Florence Cathcart and she has traveled the countryside exposing fakes and frauds of ‘spiritual’ businesses in the wake of WW I. She has even written a book about it. No sooner does she arrive home when she is called upon by Robert Mallory, representing The Rookwood Boarding School. Mr. Mallory’s beliefs are in opposition to Florence. However, he was sent to request her assistance, to calm frightened children after the death of a student rumored to be caused by a ghost. He offers several photos as proof of a haunting.

Florence accepts the job at the school and seems to have quickly squashed the rumors with her sleuthing. She soon learns that she may have bit off more than she can chew as paranormal activities escalate with no clear scientific explanation to debunk them. There are some creepy scenes but what really drives the film is the character of Florence and her transformation during the film. The exceptional sound-crafting as noises echo through the immense estate combined with a classical score create a substantial dark atmosphere.

This film is wholly British in style and execution, delivering a classic ghost story, in a slow burn, period piece. The acting is superb; both Rebecca Hall and Dominic West (Florence & Robert) offer top-shelf portrayals. This was not a full-tilt Paranormal Activity style haunt but much more low key. The film is aligned with a more discerning viewer, who likes some serious drama. I would say The Awakening is along the lines of The Others, The Woman in Black and The Sixth Sense. It is not for everyone but I enjoyed it.

The-Awakening-pic 1
the awakening
the awakening pic 4
the awakening pic 3

My new Horror fiction published in Infernal Ink Magazine

Michael Thomas-Knight, published in Infernal Ink Magazine
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Just in time for Halloween, my latest horror-fiction, short-story, ‘Mother’s Milk’ has been published in the new issue of Infernal Ink Magazine. It’s the October issue with loads of horror fiction, articles and poetry. Discover the tale of a bound and captive young woman in medieval times, saved from her harsh reality by a motherly figure. What will she have to pay, in return for this kindness? The issue is currently available in print, .pdf, and Kindle versions

Infernal Ink Magazine
publishing extremely dark fiction and poetry, favoring pieces with erotic, sexual, or humorous aspects. This magazine contains adult content and themes and is not meant for readers under eighteen years of age.

If you are interested you can order from the following links:
(.pdf version is only $1.80, how can you beat that!)

Infernal Ink Magazine:
October Issue

Print Issue from Lulu.com

PDF Issue from Lulu.com

Kindle Issue from Amazon.com

Nook: COMING SOON!

Support the underground horror scene, C.O.D.A.

Best Ghost Stories of Algernon Blackwood – Algernon Blackwood – book review

Best Ghost Stories of Algernon Blackwood – Algernon Blackwood
Dover Publications
Selected and introduced by E.F. Bleiber

These collected tales by Algernon Blackwood are not all traditional ghost stories but are supernatural in a larger sense. I had been familiar with his more famous tales in this collection, The Windego and The Willows which portray elemental powers – where natural geographies possess a conscious malevolent will. In The Glamour of the Snow, we find that same elemental will as swirling flakes materialize into a beautiful maiden and lure a man further from the safety and warmth of his mountain holiday hotel. In Secret Worship, a phantom boarding school in the German Alps calls to its alumni in order to continue its secret ceremonies of dark powers.

While the British author is famous for these weird tales and expanding the field of horror to encompass more (along with his contemporaries, Lovecraft, Machen), it is the traditional ghost stories in this book that intrigue me the most. My favorite, The Listener, is a tense ghost story that builds suspense in small steps and never lets up. A writer, seeking the seclusion of a quiet boarding house, finds no sanctity as he is slowly tormented and pushed to the edge of sanity by a malicious entity. The Empty House dares a young man and his aging aunt to stay the night and see the truth, in this epitome of the haunted house tale. The story increases intensity with every paragraph. I would highly recommend both of these tales to anyone who wants to read a good ghost story, write a ghost story, or just wants a chilling yarn to keep them awake at night.

Blackwood does not feel the need to explain the supernatural happenings in his fiction. He only presents them in the stories as fact and for the reader to accept that these things exist. Noting the impact of these stories as I read them, I shudder to think what his readers felt like when these tales were first published in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s. I imagine that many readers fostered little sleep and kept lanterns burning through the night. Don’t be misled by my analogy, these stories are timeless and will have the same impact today, for those who dare open the pages of this book.

My new horror fiction on MicroHorror.com

My horror-fiction, short-story, Aberration’ has been published on MicroHorror.com. It is a gothic tale of Old-style Macabre, that I think you may enjoy. Best of all it is FREE! So, stop by and give it a read, let me know what you think.

direct link: Aberration on Microhorror.com

MicroHorror.com Homepage: www.microhorror.com