Apparitions Appear Tonight on BBC One!

NEWS FLASH: Scanning through my Sky+ programme listings (we have all the mod cons here at the Apparitionsol’ Hussey homestead) I noticed that Joe Ahearne’s new supernatural drama Apparitions starts tonight on BBC One at 9pm. This six-part series from the writer/director of, among many other televisual treats, Ultraviolet and Doctor Who,follows Father Jacob, played by the gruff and barky Martin Shaw (pictured right), an exorcist in the Roman Catholic church. The opener finds Jacob being approached by a young girl who believes her father is possessed by the devil. Ignoring the misgivings of his colleagues, Jacob is forced to stage an elaborate exorcism to keep the girl safe…

Sounds like intriguing, exciting stuff! And, although I’ve yet to be convinced by Shaw in any role except for that of Cecil Rhodes, a part he played brilliantly in the late ’90s, I’m looking forward to this series. Joe Ahearne has an excellent genre pedigree. Apart from anything else, how great is it to see a new supernatural series on the Beeb? I thought they’d given up after messing about shamessly with the excellent Sea of Souls. One thing strikes me, however, and tempers my enthusiasm: why haven’t I seen any trailers? Why have the Beeb not given Apparitions its own web presence? Maybe I’ve missed all the hype – I have had my head down editing – but I’m hoping that the apparent lack of advertising etc simply means that it has all just passed me by. I think I’m right in saying that the Beeb were so impressed with the show that the original plan for a two-parter was expanded to six, so that at least bodes well.

Anway, good old Sky+ is series linked in anticipation of something special…

November 13, 2008 at 7:15 pm 1 comment

Rules of the Living Dead (or should zombies run?) by Bill Hussey

dawnofthedead_zombies_10797160002A fascinating and entertaining article has appeared on the Guardian website. Penned by comedy actor and writer Simon Pegg – of Shaun of the Dead fame – it is, in part, a review of last week’s E4 zom-com Dead Set.

As evidenced by his and Jessica Stevenson’s superlative sitcom Spaced, Pegg is a geek of many colours; a lover of comic books and Playstation games, horror and sci-fi movies (just don’t mention those Star Wars prequels! Even though long-time collaborator Peter Serafinowicz provided the voice for Darth Maul, Pegg is not exactly a fan of ‘Vader: the early years’). Pegg’s passion for zombie films is obvious from his work on the lovingly-crafted homage that is Shaun. I’ll never forget laughing like a nitrous oxide doped hyena during the scene in which Nick Frost’s Ed shouts down the phone ‘We’re coming to get you, Barbara!’ – a wicked little Romero in-joke. Pegg has also written a cover quote for Max Brooks’ excellent zombie holocaust novel World War Z . I was interested, then, to read his take on Dead Set.   

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November 12, 2008 at 1:32 pm 10 comments

On how Stephen King influenced me and what that really means by JD’L

king_the-stand2

There’s no doubt that Stephen King has affected the writer in me. But he affected the reader in me first.

I wanted to share a few thoughts on which of his works have impressed me the most. I use the word impressed very deliberately. It’s only those tales that psychically ‘pushed into’ me I’m going to talk about, those works whose touch is still upon me. It would be very easy for me to go and pick some of them off my shelf or call them up online to refresh my memory but that would be cheating. I want to comment only what remains with me after all these years.

I was about 13 when I discovered Stephen King. I read his work with commitment and loyalty for many years. The novel I loved the most was The Stand. There was a tale to get lost in if ever such was written. Not only that, aged 14 or 15 by that time, I truly believed the end of the world was coming one way or another. The world in The Stand was therefore all the more real for me to enter and dwell in.

Yet, it wasn’t usually Stephen King’s novels that truly affected me. It’s my belief this gentleman of fiction is primarily an extraordinary craftsman of the short story and it is in those works that I really connected with his imagination – or his connected with mine. Many of his best works were collected in the 1978 anthology Night Shift – in there you can even find one of the seeds that went on to become The Stand; a post viral apocalypse tale called Night Surf.

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November 11, 2008 at 10:33 am 2 comments

The Garbage Man ‘cover’ by JD’L

I’d like to echo Bill’s sentiments on cover art.

I’d like to do that because today I received the proof copies of The Garbage Man. I’d like to talk about ‘mood’, ‘subtlety’ and ‘menace’ as key aspects of my latest cover.

I’d like to but I can’t.

Here’s why:

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November 9, 2008 at 12:53 am 5 comments

Film Review: The Dead Outside

tdo1Another twist on the zombie genre – a neurological pandemic has swept the United Kingdom, but those with the infection don’t die immediately, becoming increasingly incoherent, unstable and violent. The infection mutated, went airborne and the government’s so-called vaccine only slowed down the symptoms. The result: the infectious period was extended and the disease spread unnoticed and the virus wiped out most of the misinformed population. Six months later, and the landscape is littered with wandering psychopaths and scavenging survivors.

The Dead Outside has an overwhelming air of purposefully half-explained menace: the virus might still be airborne; touching the afflicted in any way might result in infection; the turned victims are after blood and attracted by noise, so living a quiet life becomes vital to survival. So what better place to be than in the Scottish borders? Sparsely populated, lots of space and plenty to eat if you find a suitably isolated farm and can grow your own. Which is exactly what Daniel does after his wife and child are infected. But he wakes up the next morning to find April peering down the barrel of a shotgun at him. Braehead is her family’s farm and she doesn’t exactly welcome strangers, not even healthy ones.

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November 7, 2008 at 12:38 pm Leave a comment

‘The Absence’ Cover

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Well, after blogging about the importance of the cover, I’m happy to give HR a first proper glimpse at the cover design for my second horror novel, ‘The Absence’. I’m absolutely thrilled with the artwork, which conveys just the mood I have tried to capture in the book. As with the subtle design of ‘Through A Glass, Darkly’, I hope you will agree that the artwork is sombre and menacing without being a traditional in-your-face horror cover. Anyway, over to you – what do you think?

November 6, 2008 at 11:59 am 7 comments

Digital Wasteland #1

This will be the first of a regular update, (is ‘regular’ non-commital enough, JD’L and Bill?) concerning recently published articles of interest for all us horror fanatics. Not much comment on my part you’ll be glad to know I’m sure, just plain, old-fashioned linkage. Hopefully it’ll save you guys and gals some time trawling through this great stinking, dripping Digital Wasteland. 

First up, something for genre readers by Lisa Tuttle. She reviews horror, science fiction and fantasy for The Times’ Books supplement on a Saturday. A few nice, new parchments of darkness to budget for can be found here.

Weird Tales – yes THAT magazine, (good old HPL et al), is giving away the July/August  issue as a PDF here. It’s a big 100 page baby that make takes a few minutes to deliver, but it’s worth it. But be quick, it’s for a limited time only and obviously trying to encourage a subscription-drive. The issue features fiction from Norman Spinrad, Nick Mamatas, and Karen Heuler; an in-depth interview with Hellboy creator Mike Mignola; a journey into H.P. Lovecraft’s dreamlands; an exclusive excerpt from Stephen Hunt’s steampunk epic The Court of the Air; and lots of other things. Even the ads are worth a read.

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November 5, 2008 at 8:00 am Leave a comment

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