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Penguin Bookshop, Nightmare Cinema,
& “This Way to Egress”

April 21st, 2016

Nightmare Cinema presents This Way to Egress (2)Don’t go to sleep! Nightmares are coming.

On Wednesday, April 27, I’ll be visiting the Penguin Bookshop in Sewickley to talk about writing stories and adapting them for film. Along the way, I’ll be sharing some of the latest news about Nightmare Cinema, the forthcoming feature film that will include an adaptation of my story “Traumatic Descent.”

Created by Mick Garris, Nightmare Cinema is an anthology film (think Steven Spielberg’s Twilight Zone: The Movie, George Romero’s Creepshow, or the classic Dead of Night) composed of five short films by five different directors. Here’s how a new promotional release describes the project:

Fdirectors NCive acclaimed directors of the most macabre horror films from around the world, tell new blood-curdling stories, all carefully curated into the multi-platform feature film, Nightmare Cinema. It’s a selection of one-of-a-kind tales of terror that turns the genre conventions on their heads, but without every giving up the primary desire to scare the hell out of the audience.

The directors are Alejandro Brugués (Juan of the Dead), Joe Dante (Gremlins, Matinee), Mick Garris (Stephen King’s The Stand, Sleepwalkers), Ryuhei Kitamura (The Midnight Meat Train) and David Slade (Hard Candy, 30 Days of Night, and the acclaimed NBC television series Hannibal).

Alejandro Brugués and Mick Garris will each direct their own screenplays, “The Thing in the Woods” and “Dead.”

Matheson and BecerrilRyuhei Kitamura will direct “Mashit,” written by Sandra Becerril. Making her home in Mexico City, she is the author of numerous novels, short stories, and film scripts. Her work is well known to horror fans in Mexico, Argentina, and Spain, and her forthcoming film Desde tu Infierno (checkout the trailer here) and Nightmare Cinema are sure to win her plenty of new fans from around the world.

No stranger to American audiences is Richard Christian Matheson, whose script “Mirari” is being directed by Joe Dante. Following in the footsteps of his father, the great Richard Matheson, R. C. Matheson is the author of  the short story collections Scars and Other Distinguishing Marks and Dystopia; the novel Created By; and the magic-realism novella “The Ritual of Illusion.” He has also written extensively for television, including two scripts for Mick Garris’s Masters of Horror.

Rounding out the Nightmare Cinema roster will be “This Way to Egress,” directed by David Slade, from our collaborative adaptation of my story “Traumatic Descent.”

Nightmare Cinema TW2ELinking the five episodes in Nightmare Cinema will be a wraparound story written and directed by Mick Garris. Here’s the synopsis:

Sitting at the edge of a deserted town, under the guise of a decrepit theatre, is the gateway between heaven and hell. It can only be found by tortured souls, lost in a place of unknown time and origin.

In this twisted anthology, at least one character from each of the five shorts arrives at the cinematic purgatory, unaware of their fate. Upon entering the theatre, they are forced to watch their deepest and darkest fears play out before them. Lurking in the shadows is the Projectionist, who preys upon their souls with his collection of disturbing film reels. As each reel spins its sinister tale, the characters find frightening parallels to their own lives. 

But by the time they realize the truth, escape is no longer an option. For once the ticket is torn, their fate is sealed at NIGHTMARE CINEMA.

This Way to Egress by Lawrence C. ConnollyWant to hear more? If so, I’ll be glad to share a few more highlights at this month’s installment of the Penguin Bookshop Writers Series (PBWS), which gets under way at 6:30 pm on April 27. If you live in the Pittsburgh area, I hope you’ll consider dropping by for a conversation about books and writing in one of the region’s great independent bookstores.

The Penguin has been a fixture in Sewickley, Pennsylvania, since 1929.  With six different owners and three different locations over the last 85-plus years,  the Penguin has remained a vital community institution thanks to the continued loyalty of its customers and the passion of its booksellers. It remains one of the local and regional community’s greatest treasures.

PBWS-small-e1439910444421PBWS presents authors and publishing professionals each month who discuss aspects of both the art and the business of writing. The format ranges from hands-on workshops to lectures and panel discussions. The goal of PBWS is to unite published writers with aspiring writers, aspiring writers with publishing professionals, and curious readers interested in the author’s craft with professional writers.

In short, you won’t want to miss this one. Bring your friends . . . and let the nightmares begin.

Credits:

  • Nightmare Cinema promotional copy & images, copyright © 2016 Good Deed Entertainment.
  • Sandra Becerril, twitter.com.
  • Richard Christian Matheson, thorneandcross.wordpress.com.
  • Cover of This Way to Egress, copyright © 2010 Jason Zerrillo.
  • Writers Series logo & the history of Penguin Bookshop and PBWS are from penguinbookshop.com. 

Spring Events:
April is the Coolest Month

April 13th, 2016

nightmare cinemaApologies to T. S. Eliot, but I couldn’t resist the headline. And there will indeed be some cool things happening now that the winter that “kept us warm” has come to an end.

First up, I’ll be giving a talk at the Penguin Bookshop in Sewickley on April 27, sharing details surrounding the adaptation of my story “Traumatic Descent” for the upcoming anthology film Nightmare Cinema.

Although I cover the process of adapting “TD” in Voices and This Way to Egress, the Penguin event will give me a chance to relate some recent surprises and developments.

End of Watch51U+KNbSiaL._AC_UL320_SR210,320_I also plan to cover practical advice about storytelling and scriptwriting. The talk is titled “From Page to Screen,” and it gets underway at 6:30 p.m. If you’re in the area, I’ll hope to see you there. Professional secrets will be revealed.

It’s worth noting that the aforementioned Nightmare Cinema is being produced by Mick Garris, the same filmmaker who brought us Stephen King’s Sleepwalkers and the television versions of both The Shining and The Stand. I mention these titles because Stephen King will also be giving a talk at the Penguin later this spring, promoting the release of his forthcoming thriller End of Watch.

Tickets for the Stephen King event go on sale April 17. Here’s a link for more information.

Mark's Emmy award 10-27-2007And there’s more. On April 29, my brother and former band mate Mark Connolly will be joining me for a special musical performance at Riley’s Pour House. (That’s Mark on the left with the Emmy he won a few years back. Yeah, my bro’s got talent.)

Mark and I performed together on the college circuit back in the 70s. We called ourselves The Other Brothers, playing gigs, writing songs, and recording demos with our other brother John, who had a basement equipped with what was then state-of-the-art technology. I’m talking reel-to-reel four track tape. Real handmade music!

Mark and I will be playing some Other Brothers tunes at Riley’s, but you don’t have to wait until then to hear them. By clicking the player below (which features another photo of Mark, this time with a 20th-century version of the 21st-Century Scop), you can hear our demo cut of “Midnight Lover.” Mark wrote it, and it should have gone platinum.

Enjoy the song, and I’ll hope to see you at the Penguin Bookshop or Riley’s Pour House – or both. Until then . . . scop on!

Mick Garris on NIGHTMARE CINEMA:
“Horror Films are Good for You”

December 11th, 2015

Masters-of-Horror-Wallpaper-3 (3)Ever since the anthology series Masters of Horror premiered on Showtime back in 2005, the show’s creator Mick Garris has wanted to do something more international in scope. Now, ten years later, that dream is becoming a reality with Nightmare Cinema, a feature film currently in pre-production in Los Angeles.

Featuring five short films directed and written by talent from Japan, Cuba, Mexico, the UK, and USA, Nightmare Cinema promises to be an eclectic celebration of international horror and a clear sign that the anthology film remains a viable cinematic genre.

And yes, one of those five films will be a David Slade adaptation of one of my own stories.

Since the official press releases came out earlier this fall, Mick Garris has been keeping horror fans informed with a series of appearances and interviews, the first of which (in keeping with the project’s international focus) came at The Morbido Film Festival in Mexico.

7ed87e_c18c4577b0424a38b2a3f86d91ab48f2 (3)Accompanied at Morbido by Joe Dante and Pablo Guisa Koestinger (at right), Garris spoke about the genesis of Nightmare Cinema and plans for a worldwide release sometime in 2016. When asked if there was a central quality or topic that linked the five films, Garris responded, “What’s exciting about this is that they are five unrelated films. They are five stories that have nothing to do with each other except we hope they will scare the shit out of you.” You can watch a video of the Morbido announcement here.

dread_centralFollowing the Morbido appearance, Dread Central ran a lengthy interview in which Garris spoke about anthology TV shows that, like Nightmare Cinema, have featured short, standalone stories. You can read that interview here.

60MinutesWithBigLogoEven more expansive is an interview posted at the UK podcast site 60 Minutes With. This one features a conversation that covers everything from Garris’s work on Masters of Horror, Trailers from Hell, and Nightmare Cinema. In spite of the podcast’s title, this one clocks in at just under 90 minutes, and (as is the case with all of the 60 Minutes With podcasts) it’s well worth a listen. You can catch the whole thing here.

For some additional reflections on the horror genre (and an explanation of why “horror films are good for you”), be sure to check out the video below. It’s narrated in Spanish, but most of the video is in English with Spanish subs.

Check it out, then stop back here for more Nightmare Cinema updates. So far, every indication is that this show is going to rock! Until next time . . . scop on!


Image Credits
Artwork from Masters of Horror © 2005 IDT Entertainment Inc.
Joe Dante, Mick Garris and  Pablo Guisa Koestinger at Morbido Film Fest.