scop (noun):

Old English – bard, minstrel, storyteller

Full Circle: Nightmare Cinema in Mexico

August 7th, 2018

Three years ago at the Morbido Film Festival in Mexico, Mick Garris announced his plans for a project entitled Nightmare Cinema. This year – following the film’s strong premiere at Fantasia Fest in Montreal —  Mick returns to Mexico to present a special screening at Macabro XVII in Mexico City. He will be joined by Mexico’s own Sandra Becerril, the writer and director who wrote the Nightmare Cinema episode “Mashit,” directed by Ryûhei Kitamura.

Identifying a starting point for a project with as many moving parts as Nightmare Cinema is a matter of judgment. We could say it all began at the start of principal photography in April 2017, or when Mick first proposed the project to the film’s directors in the summer of 2015, or when Mick first envisioned the project as an international version of the television series Master of Horror in 2007.

Any good story can have a variety of starting points, but for the moment it’s interesting to consider the past three years of Nightmare Cinema‘s journey as it returns to Mexico as a finished film.

The links below cover some of the key developments over the past three years. Some of the post focus directly on the production. Others are more free-ranging. Taken together, they present a personal account of a story that is still ongoing. After the August screening, we will be looking forward to the film’s US premiere and its official commercial release – all of which should come about by the end of the year.

So … the story continues. Please stand by!

Links to the story so far:


  • Mick Garris (center) at Morbido Film Festival in 2015 with Joe Dante (left) and Pablo Guisa Koestinger (right).
  • Promotional art for Macabro XVII.
  • The Nightmare Cinema team on the red carpet at Fantasia Fest. From left to right: Ryûhei Kitamura (director), Jamie Concepcion (actor), Lawrence C. Connolly (writer), Mick Garris (producer/director/writer), Sandra Becerril (writer), R. C. Matheson (writer), Joe Russo (producer), Stephanie Caleb (producer).

This Weekend:
Science Fiction, Fantasy & Rock-n-Roll!

July 26th, 2018

I’ve been spending the week behind the keyboard, working on some new projects that I hope to be blogging about in the days ahead. But this weekend, I get to leave the realm of fiction and once again mix it up with the real world — starting with some panels and readings at Confluence (the Pittsburgh area’s long-running science-fiction convention) and concluding with a festival performance in Harmony, Pennsylvania.

Confluence will be held at the Sheraton Pittsburgh Airport, where my involvement just happens to begin with a panel discussion on rock-n-roll and science fiction. Coincidence? You decide.

Here’s an overview of what I’ll be up to:

Fri 6:00 PM – It’s a Monster Mash: Rock’n’Roll & SF. How has rock influenced SF? Has SF influenced rock (beyond some very science fictional album covers back in the vinyl days)? What about the influence of music within fandom on fiction and conventions? On this panel, I’ll be joining Marilyn Mattie Brahen, Larry Ivkovich, and Catherynne M. Valente.  S. J. Sooj Tucker will serve as moderator.

Sat 10:30 AM – Fiction Reading/Performance: If you missed my gig at New York’s KGB in June, you’ll be able to catch the same presentation here. As always, in the manner befitting a 21st-century scop, I’ll be reading from memory.

Sat 12:00 PM – Pittsburgh as Setting: Books like Tomorrow and Tomorrow make great use of Pittsburgh as a location. What makes Pittsburgh useful as a setting? Different? What could a “future Pittsburgh” look like? Panelists will include Barbara Doran, Barton Paul Levenson, and Tom Sweterlitsch. I will be serving as moderator.

Sat 2:00 PM – Private Enterprise in Space: Robert Heinlein’s “The Man Who Sold the Moon” speculated about business in space generations ago. Elon Musk is trying to make it happen now. Should we expect Starbucks on Mars? On this panel, I’ll be joining  Kenneth B. Chiacchia, Herb Kauderer, and Mark Painter. Ian Randal Strock will moderate.

It should be a fun time, and although Confluence is famous for its Saturday evening programming, I will be cutting out early to head north to Harmony, PA, where I’ll be joining brother John Connolly and my long-time band mate Duane Davis (both pictured at left) for a show celebrating the eight-year anniversary of Burgh-er’s Brewing. Also performing will be The Harmony Drifters, The 20 Somethings, Alexa and Elijah Davis (formerly of the Pop Rocks, one of my favorite kid bands), and some surprises. Like last week’s big show at Riley’s in Carnegie, this one looks to be another spectacular night of music under the stars.

Hope to see you there … or at Confluence … or both.

Until then, rock on!


  • Rock On! Prime Book. Cover art by Scott Grimando.
  • Tomorrow and Tomorrow. G.P. Putnam’s Sons.
  • Duane Davis and John Connolly rocking at Riley’s Pavilion. Photo by Robert Connolly.


More Reviews:
Nightmare Cinema & This Way to Egress

July 20th, 2018

The Connolly Brothers played last night, performing for a full house at Riley’s garden pavilion. So much fun … and exhausting in a way that always seems to leave one strangely energized. As a result, I’m up early today, catching up on writing and perusing the reviews for Nightmare Cinema that are continuing to appear a week after the film’s premiere at the Fantasia International Film Festival.

Since I’ve received good feedback on last week’s list of reviews, today’s post is a compilation of additional notices that have appeared over the past few days.

Here we go:

  • “This Way to Egress” […] is well-written, very unnerving, and left me creeped the Hell out. [Read more at 366 Weird Movies.]
  • It straddles the line of truth and fiction while tackling some serious subjects […]. [Read more at Tranquil Dreams.]
  • After years of working in the (admittedly lucrative) world of genre television (Hannibal, American Gods, Black Mirror), David Slade finally returns to film with this black-and-white existential horror piece that chases a sense of unease rather than shocks […]. This is a smart change both visually and tonally from the other segments that gives Nightmare Cinema the breadth that Garris likely envisioned when wrangling the project together. It’s also a welcome return of the brilliant filmmaker behind Hard Candy and 30 Days of Night. [Read more at Coming Soon.]
  • “This Way To Egress,” a black-and-white mindmeld that very much enjoys torturing one’s psyche over ghosts-and-goblin haunts [,,,], won’t be everyone’s speed (slow and psychotic), but artistic definition marries sci-fi sensationalism […] with forceful agency. All the right buttons are pushed, making this fanciful Hail Mary the anthology’s most endearing and heartfelt surprise. [Read more at Slash Film.]


One of the monster faces for “This Way to Egress,” created by Vincent Van Dyke Effects, employing prosthetics and slight digital augmentation. More at Jolygram.

Nightmare Cinema’s Tomatometer score as of 20 July 2018.

The Boys are Back in Town:
Connolly Brothers Band @ Riley’s on July 19

July 18th, 2018

The Fantasia International Film Festival was a blast, and it’s still going. I might have been tempted to stay longer if not for an opportunity to join brothers Mark and John for a recording session in advance of our July 19 show at Riley’s outdoor pavilion.

Usually separated by thousands of miles (with one brother having settled in Colorado, the other in Hawaii) we rarely get the opportunity to record or perform together anymore. Indeed, the Riley’s gig will be the first time all three of us have shared the stage in years. And for this show, to make things even better, we’ll be joined by Connolly-Davis regular Lauren Connolly-Moore on mandolin and nephew Brendan Kuntz on fiddle.

Filling out the ensemble will be brothers-of-other-mothers Duane Davis (bass) and Pace Petrella (drums). Duane, Pace, and I have been performing at Riley’s as Connolly-Davis, but for this show, we’ll unite to form The Connolly Brothers Band.

Music starts at 8:00 PM, and although Riley’s website lists the official stop time as 10:00, we plan to keep going until at least 11:00 — or until we run out of music or Riley’s runs out of Guinness. (Never happen!)

Today’s post is a little late, at least according to the promise I made in my previous installment. I had intended to put together a review of Rusty Cardieff and Darin Scott’s timely and entertaining Tales from the Hood 2the film that played Fantasia the night before I left Montreal.  I still hope to get to that review soon (at least before the film’s official October 2 release).

In the meantime, I’ll hope to see you at Riley’s for a reunion show that has been a long time coming. Can’t wait!


Connolly Brothers Band: Pace Petrella, Duane Davis with Mark, John, and Lawrence Connolly.

Lawrence, Mark, and John Connolly at SoundColor Studio, Carnegie, PA.

Pace Petrella, Lawrence Connolly, and Duane Davis.

Poster for Tales from the Hood 2, Universal Pictures.