Favorite Horror Films: Part Ten: The Curse Of Frankenstein

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Terence Fisher directed The Curse of Frankenstein for Hammer Studios in England, and Christopher Lee, Peter Cushing and Hazel Court starred. This 1957 movie was the first in the Hammer Studio’s emergence as a major producer of horror films and it was the beginning of a new horror movie cycle. The result was an innovative, fast paced, and  vividly colored film. Hammer Studios completely changed the approach to horror movies of the Universal Studios that had dominated the horror movie cycle from 1931-1945. Color, explicit violence, and sexuality were introduced as central filmic components.

The Curse of Frankenstein was, like so many other movies, loosely based on the great work of Gothic English Literature by Mary Shelley: Frankenstein: Or The Modern Prometheus (1818). Yes, that is the accurate subtitle, although it is usually omitted in most printings of the book.

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This movie was highly successful, both financially and critically.  And like Horror of Dracula would, as Hammer Studios expanded their treatments of classic Gothic novels, it spawned a long series of sequels. A major difference between the direction of the following films was the focus: the monster Dracula was the recurring character in the vampire movies, while Dr. Frankenstein, and not his creature was the repeating protagonist/antagonist of the Frankenstein movies. This is also an  important distinction between the Hammer and the earlier Universal movies in which the Creature was the primary recurring character.

The Creature was also a mindless killing machine in this film, and none of the Creature’s humanity was kept from the novel, which is the film’s major flaw. It is, nevertheless, an important film from this era, and if you enjoy or are interested in horror films, then I recommend it.

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Evil Lives After is available at

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Get The Draft Done! is available here: Amazon.com

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Gallows Hill can be found here in ebook.

Gallows Hill in paperback can be found here.

An interview about Gallows Hill can be found here.

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Please follow the following links to find my novel:

ebook

Print book

Thank you!

The book trailer:

Maledicus:Investigative Paranormal Society Book I

My radio interview:

interview

Available on Amazon

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Available on Amazon

Favorite Horror Films: Part Eight: The Mummy

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In 1932, Universal studios followed up on its enormous success with Dracula and Frankenstein with the release of The Mummy. Riding the crest of his popularity at the box office, Boris Karloff starred, Karl Freund directed, and Carl Leammle Jr. produced the film. The movie was another financial success for the studio and further solidified its power and standing in the cinematic and entertainment world.

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The plot of the film featured a curse on an Egyptian tomb and the resurrection of Im-Ho-Tep who had been buried alive as a mummy in ancient Egypt.  The film capitalized on the public awareness and excitement about the discovery of the tomb of King Tut and the supposed curse on that burial ground. We see Karloff in the full mummy makeup and costume for only a short period in the film, then he appears as the mysterious character Ardeth Bey who is searching for the reincarnation of his lost love.

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The film is atmospheric and an excellent story, but it is distinctly different from the barrage of sequels that were very loosely based on this particular movie. In those films, a monster, often not very bright, and always in full mummy costume and makeup, would trample around and cause terror and destruction until it is stopped.  This film focuses on the characters and the story more than overt horror. Additionally, along with The Bride of Frankenstein, this film is arguably one of the finest examples of creative cinematography of all horror films. The influence of German Expressionism, with its strong use of heavy dark and lights and clearly defined shadows is evident and important in The Mummy.

Jack Pierce created the makeup and continued to establish himself as the finest and most important makeup artist in all of Hollywood. His dual creation of the mummy in costume and full monster makeup and of Ardeth Bey is powerful and visually compelling.

If you have never seen this movie, you should put it on your viewing list.

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What Is One Of Your Favorite Horror Films?

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October is my favorite month of the year. Not only does Fall typically make its full appearance, complete with painted leaves in a wide palate of colors, but October is also the month of my favorite holiday–Halloween!

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The history of Halloween is a subject that I will cover in another post, but I also have a life-long affinity for the Gothic and Horror, including in movies and books. For the purposes of this post, I am interested in hearing from you what your favorite horror film is. I will address the question of favorite horror novels in the near future.

It would, of course, be completely fair to ask me the same question. If I pose such a question to my students in college classes at Lehigh University in Bethlehem, PA or the Department of Graduate and Continuing Education of Muhlenberg College in Allentown, PA, I always make it clear that they may turn the question on me.

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If I had to choose just one horror film, among the many possibilities, it would be It (2017)  and It Chapter Two (2019) based on Stephen King’s brilliant novel. I was prepared to dislike these movies, because I am typically very critical of adaptations of books, but this time I was very pleasantly surprised. The films deal well with the narrative dilemma of two intertwined time periods in the novel by presenting them in two separate movies. The movies not only show the supernatural horror clearly, and much better than the made for TV version, but also the films show, in the most powerful manner, the fear and horror that children can experience from bullying.  This is a theme King often incorporates in his writing, and this movie shows this disturbing reality that many children face very well. If you have not yet seen It (both parts), then I recommend these movies highly!

Once again, what is your favorite horror film?

 

GetthedraftdonepossEbookcover!-page-001

Get The Draft Done! is available here: Amazon.com

GallowsHillFinalCoverEbook

Gallows Hill can be found here in ebook.

Gallows Hill in paperback can be found here.

An interview about Gallows Hill can be found here.

32570160

Please follow the following links to find my novel:

ebook

Print book

Thank you!

The book trailer:

Maledicus:Investigative Paranormal Society Book I

My radio interview:

interview

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Available on Amazon

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Available on Amazon

Book Lovers’ Week!

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I realized that I had somehow missed that August 9 was the day of the unofficial Book Lovers’ Day. So, I have decided, without any authority, of course, that I am declaring the entire week of 8/9/17-8/15/17 to  be the unofficial holiday of Book Lovers’ Week!

Why should we celebrate only one day?  Let us embrace the week as a period of declaring to the world that we love books!

If you are with me on this idea, please spread the word!

I love books!

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My Current Writing Progress

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It has been a while since I have updated my writing progress, so I decided this would be a good time to do so. I just finished the first draft of a horror novel about a werewolf.  It is clearly a misshapen skeleton of a book at this point, but at least, it is done and can be developed and edited later. As indicated in my previous post, without words down on paper, there is nothing than can be revised.

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My writing goals for the first half of 2016 follow. First, I will revise my horror novel Evil Lives After, which would be its 9th draft and to continue submitting it to agents and publishers. If I have no success, I will then plan on self-publishing this book.  I believe it is time. Next I will revise the first book of my YA series and also submit it to agents.  I am not sure if submitting two books is recommended or not, but I am following my own plan of action.  We will see what happens. Finally, but definitely not least, I will write the first draft of the second novel of my YA series.

As long as I maintain the pace I have been keeping over the last few years, I should be able to accomplish these goals.  We will see at the end of June if I have reached the destination.

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The Cogsmith’s Daughter by Kate M. Colby Blog Tour

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WHEN THE STEAM-POWERED WORLD DRIES UP…
Two-hundred years ago, the steam-powered world experienced an apocalyptic flood. When the waters dried up, the survivors settled around their steamship in a wasteland they named Desertera. Believing the flood and drought were caused by a scorned goddess, the monarchs demanded execution for anyone who commits the unforgivable sin—adultery.
ONE KING RULES WITH ABSOLUTE POWER AND UNQUENCHABLE LUST…
Today, King Archon entraps his wives in the crime of adultery, executing each boring bride to pursue his next infatuation. Most nobles overlook King Archon’s behavior, but when Lord Varick’s daughter falls victim to the king’s schemes, he vows revenge.
UNTIL THE COGSMITH’S DAUGHTER RISKS EVERYTHING FOR VENGEANCE.
When Aya Cogsmith is thirteen, King Archon has her father executed for treason. Orphaned and forced to turn to prostitution for survival, Aya dreams of avenging her father’s death. When Lord Varick approaches Aya with plans for vengeance, she agrees to play the king’s seductress—even though it puts her at risk for execution.
Packed with high-society intrigue, dappled with seduction, and driven by revenge, The Cogsmith’s Daughter is a steampunk dystopian novel with the perfect mixture of conspiracy and romance.
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Please join me in giving a very warm welcome to Kate M. Colby, a talented and skilled author whose first book, The Cogsmith’s Daughter,  is available today. I’m very excited to be part of her book launch blog tour, and I extend a round of applause for this emerging and talented writer.  Kate is here to speak with us about becoming a writer and how she came upon the idea for her novel.

How I Became a Writer (and Stumbled Upon the Idea for My Novel)

I never quite know what to say when I’m asked how I became a writer. The most honest answer is, “I didn’t. I just always have been.” As long as I can remember, I’ve defined myself as a writer. My mom claims it began when I was a toddler. Apparently, I would recite my bedtime storybooks from memory, often adding my own embellishments to the tales. My first writing memory comes from second grade, when I wrote and illustrated a book for a class assignment. My teacher recognized my talent and encouraged me to keep writing. I did.

As for my “professional” writing background, that is more substantial. I have a Bachelor of Arts in English literature, creative writing, and sociology. During university, I belonged to Sigma Tau Delta (the international English honor society), and presented twice at their annual convention. The first year, I presented a poetry collection, and the second, I presented a creative nonfiction essay (which placed third at the convention). Even though my heart has always been with fiction, I didn’t write much fiction in university.

When I graduated college, I worked as an administrative assistant. I enjoyed my job and loved my working atmosphere, but I still felt unfulfilled. I decided that I was ready to finally write my novel. I just had to know, once and for all, if I could do it. I signed up for National Novel Writing Month (an event where writers challenge themselves to write 50,000 words in 30 days), and I wrote the entire first draft of The Cogsmith’s Daughter (Desertera #1) in November 2014.

So, in its simplest form, that’s how I “became” a writer.
But that doesn’t answer the second question. How in the heck did I come up with my novel idea?

The germ of the idea came during my senior year of college. I was working in the English office, and one of the professors asked me to help format some of her students’ articles that were being posted online. The articles were on The 1,001 Nights (aka The Arabian Nights). For those of you who are unfamiliar, it’s a tale about a king who believes women can never be faithful. He marries them, beds them, and then executes them the next morning. One wife is smart enough to keep his interest by telling elaborate bedtime stories, always ending on a cliffhanger so the king wants to know more the next night. As I read the class’ plot synopses and analyses, I thought to myself…what if the king took a different approach? What if adultery (which this king thinks all women will commit) was punishable by death?

And that’s how the plot of The Cogsmith’s Daughter was born.
Of course, I didn’t realize it at the time. I scribbled the thought down in my idea journal and continued with my shift. It wasn’t until September 2014, when I was searching back through my journal for an idea for NaNoWriMo, that I revisited the thought again.

As I pondered my original idea, more questions emerged and answered themselves. What if the king abuses the adultery law, using it to get rid of his wives whenever he is bored with them? Wouldn’t someone notice the king’s pattern? Wouldn’t someone try to stop him? What if these opponents brought in a seductress to help frame the king in adultery, the same way he frames his wives?

And on and on it went. Eventually, I fleshed out the details of the setting and wrote a plot outline. A lot changed as I did my planning, and even more changed while I wrote, but in the end, I came away with a novel.

That novel released to the world today—less than one year after NaNoWriMo 2014. If anything, it just goes to show you—the smallest, seemingly insignificant thought can turn into a novel; you never know when you’ll find inspiration, so be open to everything and for the love of literature (and the joy of your future readers), write it down.

If you want to see how that germ of an idea evolved into a novel for yourself, you can enter my Goodreads giveaway for your chance to win one of three signed copies of The Cogsmith’s Daughter HERE.

Don’t like leaving things up to chance? Me either. You can grab your copy of The Cogsmith’s Daughter at these fine retailers:
Amazon US, Amazon UK, Amazon AU, etc.
Barnes & Noble
iBooks
Kobo
Smashwords

AP Fiction Book Covers

Kate M. Colby is an author of cross-genre fiction and creative nonfiction. Her first series, Desertera, consists of steampunk dystopian novels with themes of socio-economic disparity, self-empowerment, romance, and revenge. She lives in the United States with her husband and furry children. You can learn more about Kate and her books on her website: http://www.KateMColby.com.

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Thank you to Kate Colby for spending time here today and talking about her new novel!  I recommend this book highly–I have read it and loved it! I posted a review of it the other day in this blog.

Remember, today is the release day for The Cogsmith’s Daughter!

Again, thank you Kate!

Helen Murray’s Peanut Butter Cookies

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I have shared some recipes from the three gentlemen who make up the ghost hunting group in my horror novel Maledicus: Investigative Paranormal Society Book I. These are the main characters in my novel, but there are other very important people also, and they will also share recipes with you.   Today, I wanted to offer a baking recipe from Helen Murray.

Helen Murray, one of the main secondary characters, is a high school history teacher and the guardian of her niece Helena who was named for her.  Helen became the child’s guardian when her sister and brother-in-law were killed by a drunk driver.  The child was an infant when this tragedy occurred, so she has grown to the age of 5 thinking of Helen as her mother.  One of the tasks involved with caring for the little girl that Helen embraced was baking.  Previously, she had done very little of it, but after gaining the responsibility for taking care of this little girl, whom she loved, she found a passion for baking.

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One of her simple recipes is also one of Helena’s favorite treats: Helen’s peanut butter cookies.

1/2 cup peanut butter (creamy)

1/2 cup butter–softened

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup brown sugar

1 egg

1/2 teaspoon vanilla (or 1 vanilla bean if adventurous)

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1&1/4 cups all-purpose flour

Put peanut butter and butter into mixing bowl. Use medium speed, and beat until the mixture is smooth (about 1-2 minutes). Add sugar, egg and vanilla.  Use medium speed, and beat about another minute.  Scrape bowl and combine together.

Add all the other ingredients for about 1 more minute of beating.  Roll the dough into one inch balls.  Press flat with a fork into a criss-cross pattern.

Bake at 375 degrees until golden brown.  In Helen’s oven, that takes about 10 minutes.  It could vary by a few minutes.  Remove from baking sheets and let cool. This recipe will make about 33-37 cookies.

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As an extra treat, Helen sometimes will dip half the cookie in melted chocolate and add rainbow sprinkles and let them cool.

Helena always loves these!

More recipes from characters to come in the future.