Friday, December 21, 2018

Mini Macabre Review #9

 Christmas Evil

Ho-Ho-Ho. How about one more mini holiday review before I begin my own vacation and celebration for the season? This will be my last update for the year, but I will be back in January for more horror reviews and releases of horror books. A truly magical Christmas horror flick. The first time I saw this film I was unimpressed. I was expecting something along the lines of Silent Night, Deadly Night. Now, revisiting it again with a fresh view and understanding of what I was getting into this year, I can say I truly adore this little movie. In my own opinion, it sums up all that is good about Christmas while not shying away from what makes the season so horrible for many families and individuals (like myself). It balances goodness, charity, community, togetherness, and belief with their harder counterparts of avarice, greed, family dysfunction, loneliness, bullying, and faithlessness. It is a psychological horror movie that takes a glance at serious mental illness (taken to the extreme) and the lack of support from those who may need it most. What happens to one man when he hopes for the best out of the Christmas season and is only dealt the absolute worst. He snaps and then ultimately has to try and make his own magic of the season--even if that means killing off a few unmentionables who were on the naughty list before joining in on the season of giving.

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Mini Macabre Review #8

Christmas Presence

Finally, a halfway decent modern Christmas horror movie. It's your normal set up. A group of friends meet up at a secluded location (this time for Christmas) only to be hunted and killed off one by one by a malevolent unseen force. It's a bit like a tamer version of Evil Dead where you can never tell who is possessed or who isn't. The movie begins with a slow startup, but once the paranormal stuff hits, the movie turns out pretty tense and exciting. If there was one thing they got right it was the atmosphere, induced by suspense and an excellent musical score.

However, it isn't a perfect Christmas horror movie. In fact, Christmas hardly plays into it at all. This movie could be set at any time. You only remember it's Christmas when you see the tree in the background. Overall, good for a single watch this season if you enjoy hauntings, possessions, and a And Then There Were None sort of setup.

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Mini Macabre Review #3

The Stuff

Borrowing elements from The Blob and seemingly mixing it with something like a cousin to They Live, The Stuff is a corny romp into sci-fi goofs of the 80s. The special effects are where this movie really shines. While there weren't a whole ton of scenes featuring people getting mutated by The Stuff, the ones they do have are both goofy and gross all at the same time--and that's exactly what you come to this type of movie for.

Unfortunately, uneven pacing and choppy storytelling make the movie less than it could be--even for a silly B-movie where you expect character development to be the bottom of the totem pole. In the end, it's a fun and gooey movie that will appeal to most fans of 80s horror--but not my favorite.

Mini Macabre Review #7

 Black Sabbath

They just don't make them like this anymore. Black Sabbath is an Italian anthology horror film that is truly chilling and frightening without all the gimmicky gore, sex, and special effects of the modern era of cinema. Having recently watched a few newer anthology flicks (and being completely disappointed in them) this film shows that no one has matched these types of films from the era. Split into three parts, Black Sabbath offers up three bite-sized horrors, each with its own merit and worth. The first story is your traditional set up where a woman is home alone and is receiving threatening phone calls from someone who is watching her every move. Seeing the old apartment in this one was a real treat. The second story is the gem of the collection, starring Boris Karloff as an Italian style vampire. This one feels like the great Hammer vampire flicks of the same era, all while making it even scarier somehow. The final story might be the most frightening. It features a house call nurse who steals a ring from one of her dead clients. As luck would have it, the ghost comes back for some very shocking revenge. Don't watch this one at night unless you want to see that ghost's horrific face floating over your bed while you try to go to sleep! After watching a few modern duds this past week, this was a real pleasure to watch.

Mini Macabre Review #6

Chilling Adventures of Sabrina: A Midwinter's Tale

As I've bee going through and searching for decent Christmas horror movies from the past few years--and have been mostly disappointed on every front--I realized I already have a new one that I love that I haven't shared! Now, I forgot about talking about this here on my blog because it is a TV episode and not a full-fledged movie. However, why shouldn't I review my favorite show's Christmas episode when it is the only stand out slice of Christmas chills I've found in many years? My favorite TV show growing up was always Sabrina The Teenage Witch. So, it should be no surprise that when Chilling Adventures of Sabrina hit the "airwaves" it would quickly fall in line as my new favorite show. I've always loved this little witch and the new show is no expectation.

Better than that, in the same tradition of the original live-action Sabrina TV show, Netflix released a Christmas episode. I was in heaven, to say the least. This episode is perfect--especially for a neo-pagan like myself. We have a few different storylines going on here between an evil mall Santa, to Sabrina summoning her dead mother's ghost, to the infestation of spirits that haunt the Spellman household for the holiday season. Yule can't get much better than with good ol' Sab.

This episode hit all the right spots from chilling to funny. It keeps the spirit of the holidays while not being afraid to spook us--all without using an excess of blood, gore, or sex just for shock factor. (You know how much I hate sex and violence just for sex and violence sake).

In the end, this may be my personal most perfect Christmas TV episode of all time. Thanks, Sabrina! 

Mini Macabre Review #5

All The Creatures Were Stirring

Have you ever seen a creative project that was trying too hard to be too many things at once? Well, All The Creatures Were Stirring is that type of movie. A touch of Saw, the paranormal, creature features, the Twilight Zone, slashers and even Charles Dicken's Christmas Carol come together to make this uneven and somewhat unsatisfying movie. I personally believe that if you are going to make an anthology style horror movie, such at this one, it is better to keep a consistent theme and tone throughout--rather than this smorgasbord of rather mediocre attempts at every sub-genre that exists. That isn't to say the movie didn't have its good moments. I thought the black and white Twilight Zone style episode was in excellent taste for a Christmas movie (especially since those old school anthology tv and radio shows always did Christmas episodes). However, much of the rest of the movie falls short. the acting is wooden much of the time, the writing a bit faulty, and many loose ends or left untied. Most of all, for a Christmas movie, it has very little holiday cheer to accompany the lack of scares. At least I can give it credit for not being discuting and disturbing just for the sake of it.

Thursday, December 13, 2018

Mini Macabre Review #4

Better Watch Out (2016)

A disturbing and unhappy little Christmas movie without any of the chilling cheer of many other holiday horror classics. I haven't disliked a horror movie this much in a very long time. Rather than the combination of goofy fun slasherific kills and a touch of Christmas humor and holiday chills (like you might find in Black Christmas), this movie falls more in the camp of Wes Craven's despicable Last House on the Left . . . only with children involved. Need I say more? While there is no explicit sexual violence, the motives for the killer are misogynistic and come with rather unsettling sexual overtones--made all the more unsettling by his age. Halfway through, I had actually hoped this would turn into a sort of Tales from the Crypt sort of vibe where the killer gets their disgustingly satisfying just desserts in the end. But no, this holiday "home invasion" flick is something that just isn't worth watching again . . . or for the first time even.

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Mini Macabre Review #2

Hello Mary Lou: Prom Night II

What if Freddy Kruger was a girl? She would be Mary Lou. This is a seriously wonderful hidden 80s horror gem that should not be overlooked due to it's unnecessary re-titling as a Prom Night sequel. It is a stand alone film that has no connection, plot wise or thematically, to the original slasher classic (which of its own merit is a fantastic film). Hello Mary Lou is a much more supernatural affair about a ghost of a dead prom queen coming back to take vengeance, Carrie style, on the high school she once attended. As a result, you get a ton of awesomely crafted dream sequences with some trippy imagery akin to Nightmare on Elm Street. Not to mention the references to countless other horror movies and writers throughout the entire film. However, even without recognizing the connections to other horror flicks, this is one fun film on its own. This movie deserves a proper remaster and blu-ray release.

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Mini Macabre Review #1

Pulse (Kairo) 

I love horror movies. They are my favorite hobby. My favorite pass time next to table top gaming.

Those of you who don't know, I used to be a horror publicist and journalist. I ran multiple horror blogs and magazines and wrote for others. In those, I always did movie reviews.

Now, being a full time horror/crime writer, I don't have as much time for writing lengthy reviews and I no longer run a dedicated horror blog. But I didn't want my love of horror movies to dissapear from my online presence.

Therefore,  I am starting this new post entry here on my own author blog called Mini Macabre Reviews. It'll be mini reviews of horror movies and other horror related things of 500 words or less each. And, since I recently signed up for Shudder, I'll have many movies to review.

So without further ado, here is the mini review of the Japanese movie Pulse:

Pulse is a good spooky movie about a techno-ghost apocalypse. However, the story can be a bit confusion, slow, and convoluted at times. However, this doesn't detract from the overall tense and foreboding atmosphere that this movie presents so well. The story isn't as complex as it seems after a first viewing. Things just aren't blatantly explained in a basic way (treating the audience as ignorant) such as in most western media. The ideas are interesting and disturbing and still ring true to today's technologically centered world. Not the best in Asian horror, but still a good film with a lot to offer if your willing to be patient.

Thursday, October 11, 2018

The Black Mountain Haunting

A secluded mountain cabin, a killer, and ghosts? What could be more Halloween than that? Take a weekend vacation (or just a weekend staycation snuggled up with a warm blanket and a horrific novella) and find out just what terrors await on Black Mountain.

That's right, friends, fans, and readers. My newest horror novella is finally out! The Black Mountain Haunting is my second book from S. Prescott Thrillers and my second "Haunting" novella. This series of books features a different spooky story in each entry (like the anthology style of Tales from the Crypt or Tales from the Darkside) just waiting to be devoured in an hour or two. Easy and fast paced reading for fans of modern horror. You don't have to have read my first book to read this one!

The Black Mountain Haunting is based in one of my most enjoyed horror movie tropes--the cabin in the woods. One of my favorite movie series is Evil Dead (I prefer the 2013 version best out of all of them, followed by the original) and most of my works I have ever written are influenced by it in some way. Evil Dead is the quintessential "cabin in the woods" story and I hope you can sense some of that same atmosphere and dread in this book. You may also sense hints of the original Friday the 13th and Wrong Turn here (two other horror film favorites).

Also, the cabin in this book is based off a real place I've stayed which was very nice, had electricity and running water, but got to be real spooky at night. The only difference was I was there in the winter and this story is set in the late summer/early fall.

In any case, you can pick up The Black Mountain Haunting now on Amazon Kindle for only 99 cents! Get it before Halloween!

Friday, June 22, 2018

The Hillshire Haunting is Out Today on Kindle!

Today, I am very excited and proud to announce the release of my very first horror novella in over two years. Happily, this book and many more are being released under the supervision of S. Prescott Thrillers--a division of Summer Prescott Books Publishing where a very dear friend of mine has worked as a cozy writer for the past two years. 

But now it's my turn up to bat!

The Hillshire Haunting was a labor of love on my part, balancing scares, gore, and fun into one cohesive story. Along with my editor, publicist, and publisher I was able to hone the elements of this story into such a tale that would befit many different readers (readers, hopefully, just like you). In my opinion, horror should be scary and pulse pounding but not disgusting or disturbing. Horror, just like much of fiction, is an intended escape and release from everyday reality. If the horror in the story gets too "real," I feel it defeats the purpose of reading the story at all! 

I sincerely hope you agree when you read this ghost story. 

I have been a student of the horror genre, and genre fiction in general, for over five years. I've worked as a blogger, journalist, editor, and publicist in the horror and dark fantasy genres in this time. Additionally, I wrote up dissertations and discussions on the important tropes, story arcs, cliches, and styles of both Gothic and horror fiction and how they apply to our current social, emotional, and cultural selves--specifically on an individual level. I've presented my theories and findings in various forums and professional circles.    

In the end, all of that work and effort has led me to this point--where I can finally share my own horror stories with a wide audience of readers. It's all thanks to my publisher Summer Prescott, my editor/publicist Gretchen Allen, fellow writer Carolyn Q. Hunter, my wife, and even her parents who've always supported my passion and profession. 

And to you, dear reader, thank yo for taking a chance to read this short tale of terror. I hope you enjoy it . . . but don't turn off the lights!

Buy the book on Amazon now for only 99 cents for a limited time. Here is the official Blurb:

How could a weekend writer's retreat go so horrifically wrong?
For eighteen-year-old Agatha Reed, life has never been easy. She’s socially awkward, making her an obvious target for school bullies, and she can't begin to fathom how to connect with her single mother. All she wants from life is to be left alone in her own little world, and to eventually become a successful mystery writer.

When Agatha receives an invitation for a weekend writing retreat, hosted by her all-time favorite mystery author, Francine Gothic, it seems like a dream come true. Unfortunately, what none of the guests realize is that the old plantation manor, where they’ll be staying, has a history that is quite dark, and will impact them in ways that they never imagined. 

An incident which seems, initially, like a harmless prank takes a terrifying turn, and Agatha will need to muster every ounce of her strength and creativity to find an escape if she wants to survive the night.

This stunning debut novella of haunting and murder, by author N.C. Patterson, will have you screaming…for more.

Tuesday, June 19, 2018


N.C. Patterson is a full time writer and publicist of horror fiction. He is the author of soon to be released The Haunting supernatural horror series being published under Summer Prescott Books. He has previously worked as a horror journalist/blogger where he connected with various authors, publishing houses, and film studios for the latest horror related news. He has also worked as the editor of a horror themed magazine. He received his BA in English with an emphasis in creative writing and literary analysis from BYU-Idaho.

He has made a study of horror fiction and film throughout his career, focusing on tropes, story arcs, ideas, history of the genre, and how it impacts readers today. He has written articles, essays, and dissertations on the subject and has presented his theories and findings during various conferences and conventions.

In his free time N.C. enjoys reading horror fiction, watching horror flicks, and hiking. His love of reading horror themed books as a child inspired him to start writing. Additionally, his appetite for horror movies helped drive his passion. Some of his favorite horror movies include House on Haunted Hill, The Screaming Skull, Night of the Living Dead, The Shinning, Wrong Turn, and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.

N.C. currently lives in downtown Omaha, Nebraska with his wife where he works full-time from home.

Find out when the first book is released! Get the latest updates by following along on Facebook and Twitter.