Archive for the Horror Category

My thoughts on A Dark Song

Posted in Horror, Magick by Trial & Error, Media Macabre on May 19, 2017 by Occult Detective

a dark song

Liam Gavin has delivered an intense and atmospheric occult thriller that is, in a word, absolutely brilliant. Moody and claustrophobic, the tension escalates throughout, and with but two principle players, the stark tapestry woven between them is mesmerizing.

Catherine Walker and Steve Oram are wonderful in this. Walker’s vulnerability and pain are the linchpin to the story, while Oram’s performance perfectly captures so many occultists I’ve had run ins with.

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Evoking the Abramelin ritual, carefully constructed and acted, this is a movie about so much more than sorcery as the real magic lies in human emotion, raw and visceral. But magic abounds and is captivating and painful to watch as the drama unfolds.

It’s a beautiful and frightening picture, with a resolution that feels transcendent and important.

This is the second vibrant and exuberant esoteric film I’ve seen this year, the first being The Love Witch, a lustful and decadent camp, that was an utter delight. Now, with A Dark Song, we have a more tenebrous exploration of magical enterprise.

A really cannot recommend this picture highly enough.

Available via Vudu, Amazon, or iTunes

Kick Out the JAMS

Posted in Horror, Occult Detective: The Roleplaying Game, Occult Detectives, Writing in Theory & Practice on May 10, 2017 by Occult Detective

mathers rs

Fans of my Cairnwood Manor series might get a kick out of the faux Rolling Stone cover above. Mathers is a character I enjoyed writing a lot, sort of a cross between Jim Morrison, Jimmy Page, and Dennis Wheatley’s Duke De Richleau. He had a prominent role in Keepers of the Dead, and, I’m happy to report, he will be showing up in the future, both in the novel Born Again and in some short stories I’m working on.

Anyway, the purpose of today’s missive is merely to say that I am overjoyed and excited about some things developing behind the scenes. Nothing concrete, and certainly nothing I want to jinx by dragging them out into the light of day just yet, but my fingers are more than crossed, let me assure you…

In publishing news — Still working on finalizing First Born. We’re a handful of weeks out from the launch and I’m starting to get a bit antsy. A lot hinges on this occult detective collection.

Progress is still being made on Occult Detective: The Roleplaying Game. Crossed a hurdle in regard to the magic system and spell lists. Things are really starting to come together.

Been focusing on Connor’s novels, helping to edit them for publication. He’s essentially created a YA occult detective series from the bare bones of an abandoned idea of mine. He’s done some incredibly unique and wondrous things with it. Makes a father proud.

Hope to squeeze in a couple of book reviews tomorrow, but time is becoming a precious commodity.

Today marks the seventh anniversary of the passing of my favorite artist, Frank Frazetta. He is truly and sorely missed.

Today is also John Constantine’s 64th birthday. Happy Birthday, Con-Job. I miss you too.

Till next time, be well & true…

The Weiser Book of #OccultDetectives, edited by @JudikaIlles

Posted in All Hallows Read, Horror, Occult Detectives with tags , , on May 2, 2017 by Occult Detective

wbodI proudly parade my near lifelong obsession for the occult detective genre in all its forms and guises on this blog. That obsession led me to not only pursue a writing career entrenched in the conceits of the genre, but to explore the preternatural outside the realm of fiction as a paranormal investigator.

It is also no secret that October is my favorite month, that I have an unnatural attraction to Hallowe’en, Samhain, and all the trappings the Witching Season has to offer.

Well, when the Season of the Witch rolls around this year, readers are in for a real treat as my two favorite preoccupations collide with the October 1st release of The Weiser Book of Occult Detectives: 13 Stories of Supernatural Sleuthing, edited and introduced by none other than one of the premiere occult authors and scholars of the modern age — Judika Illes.

Judika Illes has compiled an amazing collection of occult detective stories, mining some of the best paranormal mysteries the early twentieth century had to offer, written by such legendary authors as Algernon Blackwood, William Hope Hodgson, Sax Rohmer, Dion Fortune, Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

As one devoted to the genre, both as a fan and an author, I understand the awesome task Illes has undertaken. To pore over the sheer volume of early occult detective tales and select the very best and defining tales for a collection such as this would be a maddening endeavor for any scholar, but Judika Illes has done an admirable job of putting together a brilliant and impressive table of contents here.

As well read in the genre as I am, Judika Illes has managed to unearth no less than four spectacular tales that had escaped my attention: The Dead Hand by L.T. Meade and Robert Eustace, The Vampire by Alice and Claude Askew, The Witness in the Wood by Rose Champion de Crespigny, and The Eyes of Doom by Ella M. Scrymsour.

Whether you are new to the genre or a lifelong fan, The Weiser Book of Occult Detectives: 13 Stories of Supernatural Sleuthing is a collection you absolutely cannot do without. Why, I am already pining for the coming of October when I can once more crack the spine of this assemblage of paranormal thrillers and read them when the moon is high and unseen spirits roam unfettered.

The Weiser Book of Occult Detectives, edited and introduced by Judika Illes is available for preorder from amazon.com.

 

A Feast of (Fictional) Friends

Posted in Horror, Occult Detectives, Writing in Theory & Practice with tags , , , on April 26, 2017 by Occult Detective

“Death makes angels of us all and gives us wings where we had shoulders smooth as raven’s claws.” — Jim Morrison

Apologies for being rather scarce this month. I’ve been insanely occupied by several projects. Expect me to continue being scarce until Là Bealltainn, then we’ll see to getting back to some semblance of a routine.

Here’s a little sneak peek into some of what I’ve been working on, related to both the Occult Detective RPG that is still in development and a collection of occult detective tales, the first installment of the Liber Monstrorum Chronicles, set to be released in a short number of weeks.

lmc jam

Up front, that’s Landon Connors in the leather armchair, of course, with Martin Crowe kneeling nearby. In back, from left to right, we have Cassidy Martin, Dale Parker, Allen Parker, Sarah Jones, Brooks Autry, Father Francis Rainey, Thea Hill, Selina Wolfe, Tracy Larson, and Greg Mitchell.

I suppose if it’s a group photo, then Michelle Hawkes is taking the picture ;)

All are characters to be found in First Born, debuting in July from Seventh Star Press.

Hungry like the Wolfe

Posted in Horror, Occult Detectives, Writing in Theory & Practice with tags , , on April 5, 2017 by Occult Detective

wolfe

An illustration of Selina Wolfe, one half of the the occult detective team Wolfe & Crowe.

Selina and her partner, Martin Crowe, will be appearing soon in the Liber Monstrorum Trilogy from Seventh Star Press.

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First Born

Posted in Horror, Occult Detectives, Writing in Theory & Practice with tags , , , , , on March 9, 2017 by Occult Detective

Cover 01 First Born

Mark July 14th on your calendars. That’s right, at long last, I have a release date for my occult detective collection forthcoming from Seventh Star Press — First Born: Tales of the Liber Monstrorum.

For review requests or press inquiries, you can contact my publisher via ccjames (at) seventhstarpress (dot) com or email me direct through my freeman (at) occultdetective (dot) com address.

You can also sign up for the Seventh Star Press Read to Review Program

ssp 3.

My 13 Favorite Horror Comics?

Posted in Horror, Media Macabre, Occult Detectives on October 30, 2016 by Occult Detective

This may have been the toughest challenge I’ve given myself. Listing my thirteen favorite horror comics, in no particular order beyond my number 1, and already I’m second guessing… Swamp Thing, Son of Satan, Kirby’s original The Demon run, Unexpected, Hellboy and BPRD, Sandman, Secrets of Haunted House, Fatale, Nocturnals, Night Force… I could make a legitimate “Best Horror Comics Ever” list out of the the stuff I’ve left off.

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The 12 comics above are all solid contenders. Most have forty years of nostalgia on their side, but others, like Afterlife with Archie, Locke & Key, The Damned, and Chilling Adventures of Sabrina are there because they’ve revitalized my love for horror comics in recent years. And word is, a new The Damned comic is coming, so, yeah, it’s not a bad time to dig horror comics, let me tell you.

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Of course, the one comic for which there is no question is John Constantine: Hellblazer.

It survived for 300 issues before inferior dopplegangers started showing up. 300 is a good run. I didn’t love every creator that worked on it over the entire series, but when Hellblazer sang, it really sang.

Hellblazer was more than just a horror comic, more than just an examination or chaos magic. Hellblazer at its best was infused with political and social commentary. And the book was decidedly British.

John Constantine is a bastard, don’t get me wrong, and you’d never want him to get too close. His friends, if you can call them that, generally end up in harm’s way, but when things go bump in the night, you need John Constantine. Just don’t turn your back on him.

Here to wishing you a magical and mischievous Devil’s Night tonight… There’ll be a New Moon overhead, so be ready. You never know what kind of haint might crawl up out of the Nevermore…

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