Lisa's April 2017 Newsletter (#4)
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Hi Gang!

This newsletter might seem a little truncated, because there's this thing coming up, this thing that's a big event, this thing called StokerCon, and I kind of have to be in charge of lots of stuff for it...

Hey, the good news is  it's going to ROCK. I'm so pleased with how it's coming together. Being president of a large writers organization comes with its share of worry and stress, but there's also much satisfaction in watching a team of good, talented, hard-working people pull together something that will benefit a lot of other writers.

I look forward to seeing at least a few of you on the Queen Mary at the end of April, and by May it'll be back to business as usual! 

Still Life
In which I rhapsodize about favorite movie photos from my collection
Last month I talked here about Dark Star, a microbudget '70s scifi (non)extravaganza co-written by John Carpenter and Dan O'Bannon. This month, let's look at something Dan O'Bannon would make a decade later that would become an '80s classic: Return of the Living Dead.

For Return of the Living Dead, O'Bannon took the George Romero zombie template and grafted a punk sensibility onto it, creating one of the most entertaining and unique zombie films ever. But underneath the wild (and often comedic) dialogue and situations is a truly nihilistic point-of-view, something that serves a punk horror film very well. 

Return is also the movie that introduced brain-eating to the zombie mythos, and gave us the classic zombie moan for "BRAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAINNNNNSSS." 

Personal side note: I had a passing acquaintance with O'Bannon. We were both around the L.A. film scene in the '80s, and we both knew a lot of the same people. When I first met Dan, he was suffering from a mysterious illness and spent a lot of time sleeping on a friend's couch, but when I saw him just before he started production on this film, he was invigorated and excited. That's one memory I really cherish now.
The Halloween Spirit
Tips for keeping it going all year 'round
At the risk of sounding like a commercial*, this month's "Halloween Spirit" is all about a remarkable company called Cryptocurium. Cryptocurium is run by a fabulous sculptor named Jason McKittrick. I first discovered Jason's work when a friend recommended that I check out his monthly "Parcels of Terror", which are boxes of hand-crafted works (you might get a wall-hanging, a magnet, and/or a brooch), along with prints from other artists and fun little horror geegaws (a Freddie Krueger matchbox - what's not to love?). I signed up for a monthly subscription; I just love finding that box waiting for me every month, full of tiny treasures.

Jason shares my love of Halloween, so he recently got together with the talented artist Sam Heimer, and they created "The Order of the Thinned Veil", a society dedicated to our holiday. The Order offers membership kits at different levels, but all include not just delightful art by Jason and Sam, but also honest-to-Samhain pumpkin seeds! Just looking at the photos of the kits fills me with October glee.

*Full disclosure: I wrote an introductory letter that's included with the membership kits.
Order of the Thinned Veil
Strange Fruit
The weirdest thing I've recently uncovered in my research
Accidental research. Sometimes you find stumble on something you didn't even realize you were looking for.

Case in point: I've always loved the work of the photographer Diane Arbus, and I recently came across a scarce Arbus book called Diane Arbus: Hubert's Museum Work 1958-1963. Hubert's Dime Museum was located at 228-232 West 42nd Street in New York, just off Times Square. At Hubert's, the curious could view magicians, strippers, contortionists, Heckler's Flea Circus, and freaks. At some point the displays and performances moved down to the basement so the more lucrative shooting galleries and pinball arcades could have the street level floor. Hubert's closed in 1965.

Arbus apparently spent five years photographing Hubert's, especially the freaks. "There's a quality of legend about freaks," she said, and her photographs capture that. This book was an auction catalogue published in 2008; it includes 27 photographs of Hubert's performers.

These photographs are haunting, not just for the performers but for the late '50s environs as well. The lighting seems misty in some of them, leading the viewer back to Arbus's notion of "legend".

Will I be writing about these photographs? Well, yes, although I'd argue that I'll be writing about my own experience of viewing these extraordinary photos.
Read more about Arbus and the Hubert photos
My current works-in-progress
What are the chances? I just found out I have two new Halloween works due from major publishers on the same day, October 3.

Halloween Carnival Volume One (from Random House/Hydra) will include my (very long) short story "La Hacienda de los Muertos".

And the Halloween-themed anthology I co-edited with Ellen Datlow, Haunted Nights (formerly Hallows' Eve) will be released that day from (Anchor/Blumhouse). 

CD Select: Lisa Morton

Cemetery Dance is now offering my mini-collection in a signed and limited edition . The four stories included are "Joe and Abel in the Field of Rest", "Pound Rots in Fragrant Harbour", "Black Mill Cove", and the Bram Stoker Award-winning "Tested".
Reserve Your Copy NOW!
New cover for Dark Screams Vol. 4, which includes my story "The New War".
Scream x 4

Nightmare Magazine

The March 2017 issue includes my interview with Norman Prentiss, author of Odd Adventures With Your Other Father. There's also some amazing fiction in every issue _ you get Nate Southard, Nadia Bulkin, Kathleen Kayembe, and Robert Shearman in this issue.
Grab a Nightmare!
Dark Screams Vol. 6 includes my story "The Rich are Different". Coming in April.
Scream x 6!
At the end of this month is April 30th...also known as May Eve, the beginning of Beltane, or Walpurgisnacht, a night when witches were once thought to hold unholy revels.

In honor of that singular night, I'm going to give away one copy of my Bram Stoker Award-winning graphic novel Witch Hunts: A Graphic History of the Burning Times. But this isn't just any copy: this one includes a custom book plate hand-signed by all three contributors, including the late Rocky Wood.  

To enter, just click the button below, and be sure to include your snailmail address in your e-mail. At the beginning of May, I'll randomly choose one lucky winner (I can also personally inscribe the book to you). 
Sorry - this giveaway has ended
  • Thursday, April 27th through Sunday, April 30th - StokerCon at the Queen Mary
Copyright © 2017 Lisa Morton All rights reserved.

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