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Nightmares at Sustefest X!

November 7th, 2019

The southern portion of Guanajuato, Mexico, is a magical place – lush, mountainous, and dotted with volcanic craters arranged like the stars in the Big Dipper. It’s also home to the Sustefest Film Festival, which this year hosted the release of Nightmares, the new Spanish-language anthology featuring stories by members of the Nightmare Cinema writing team.

The festival’s opening ceremonies began the night of October 25 at Cinema Valle, a former movie palace in the heart of Valle de Santiago. With its marquee proclaiming SUSTEFEST and its façade fitted with an eight-foot poster of Nightmares, the theatre was our introduction to the festival that is now in its tenth year of bringing fantastic films to the Mexican heartland. Following a Q&A session with the press, the Nightmares authors moved inside for a screening of two classic segments of Showtime’s Masters of Horror, featuring Richard Christian Matheson’s “Dance of the Dead” and Mick Garris’s “Chocolate.”

The next day took us across town to Valle de Santiago’s Municipal Auditorium and a Nightmares release event hosted by festival organizer Carlos López Cardona.

Edited and translated by Mexican best-selling author Sandra Becerril, Nightmares features four stories — three of which are appearing for the first time in Spanish.

“Transfiguration” by Richard Christian Matheson first appeared in Visitants: Stories of Fallen Angels & Heavenly Hosts (Ulysses Press 2010) and has since gone on to be featured in The Best Horror of the Year: Volume Three (Night Shade 2011) and Shivers VIII (Cemetary Dance 2019). It is a haunting tale about a long-haul truck driver on a hallucinatory drive through the Alaskan wilderness.

Mick Garris’s “Chocolate,” the previously unpublished story that serves as the basis for the Masters of Horror film of the same name, centers on a man whose dreams are linked to another person’s reality. The story is a fine example of emo-horror (a genre that also describes Garris’s Nightmare Cinema segment “Dead”).

Sandra Becerril’s story “Meintras Duermes” (“While You Sleep”) is a frightening tale that supports one reviewer’s assessment that “Sandra Becerril is one of Mexico’s most important horror writers.”

My story “Ajuste de Cuentas,” originally published as “Reckoning” (This Way to Egress 2010), takes place in a cloistered church hidden in the Pennsylvania woods. It involves kidnapping, murder, and a ritual that is at once terrible and redemptive.

Nightmares can be ordered in print (limited and trade editions) from Sustefest Ediciones and as an audiobook from Beek — the Spanish-language equivalent of Though currently available only in Spanish, English-language editions may be in the works, details TBA.

Other Sustefest highlights included director Emilio Portes presenting a screening of his film Belzebuth in a sprawling cemetery on the eastern edge of Valle de Santiago. Hailed by critics for breathing new life into the demonic-child genre, the film is currently available in the US on AMC’s Shudder.

The festival closed with Hugo Félix Mercado‘s Cygnus, a horror/sf hybrid that Anton Bitel of Sight and Sound describes as “a paranoid tale of a man looking back at cosmic data from many aeons ago and […] finding reflected in it a dark mirror of himself and his own crumbling psyche.” Sounds like my cup of meat, and I had hoped to catch it while at Sustefest. Unfortunately, I was across town attending an author’s dinner during the screening. Rest assured, I’ll be looking out for a US release of Cygnus in the months ahead.

Sustefest X concluded October 27, and the tireless Carlos López Cardona tells me he already looking ahead to next year’s installment. Given the success of this year’s festival, it’s sure to be a winner.

Next up, a report from World Fantasy in LA. Until then, you can click the player below to check out some video highlights of Sustefest X. If it looks like it fun, that’s because it was.



Nightmare Cinema: U.S. Premiere, NYC

November 24th, 2018

Taking a final lap in its tour of the world’s top genre film festivals, Nightmare Cinema is now racing toward its long-awaited US Premiere.

Earlier this month, the film finished its circuit of the UK with a screening at The Leeds International Film Festival, the film went on to play at El Festival de Cine Fantástico on the Canary Islands, where Producer-Director Mick Garris received the Festival’s del Premio Isla Calavera de Honor Award, a skull designed by special effects master Colin Arthur (The NeverEnding Story). From there, our film headed to the Land Down Under for its Australian Premiere at Monster Fest VII, where it received an enthusiastic reception at Cinema Nova.

Next up: New York City and a US Premiere at The New York City Horror Film Festival, where I’ll be joining Mick Garris at a Thursday night screening at Cinepolis Chelsea.

Other highlights of the NYC festival will include the Screenplay Competition. Among the finalists is The Blood Grinder – an over-the-top horror comedy that has already won Best Comedy Feature at the Austin Revolution Film Festival. One of the writers is Nick Schwartz, with whom I have been collaborating on an adaptation of my story “Prime Time!”

I’ll be posting reports from the scene next week. Until then, I’ll leave you with links to some more Nightmare Cinema’s reviews.

The first is one that I missed when it came out at the end of summer. The others are from the Leeds and Melbourne screenings. As in my previous posts, the quotes are followed by links to the entire review.

Here they are:

Alejandro Brugués’s segment is up first, and is easily the most entertaining of the bunch. It’s a send-up of classic teens-in-the-woods slashers, and it’s hilarious […]. From there, we’re taken to a debatably gifted plastic surgeon (from Joe Dante), then a giallo-inspired Catholic school gone horribly wrong (from Ryûhei Kitamura), an atmospheric black-and-white child’s horror (from David Slade), and finally a haunting hospital rumination on death and loss (from Mick Garris, who also directed the wraparound). All of the pieces are quite different, but they somehow fit together nicely. The flow, from funny to ultimately quite heartbreaking, shows the range of these directors as well as the scope that horror can span within a single genre. — High-Def Digest

“This Way to Egress”[is] a gorgeous monochrome descent into madness starring the ever-brilliant Elizabeth Reaser. — Flickering Myth

Hollywood’s most under-valued horror director, David Slade (Hard Candy, 2005; 30 Days of Night, 2007) provides the psychologically troubling vision, ‘This Way to Egress’. Shot in richly textured black-&-white, it stars Elizabeth Reaser (pictured, above; currently seen in the hit Netflix show, The Haunting of Hill House) as a mother of two brattish boys slowly losing her mind in the waiting room of her ‘specialist’, Dr Salvador (Adam Goodley). As time passes, the pristine office surrounds become overwhelmed by a dark filth; the faces of those that she passes in the halls grow increasingly deformed. Slades’ film is a masterful take on mental health, depression, social disconnection; while it foregoes the visceral horror of the film to this point, it is a warped walk in a convincingly disturbing, Cronenberg-esque realm. — Screen Space

There have been a lot of fantastic anthology horror films over the last decade with notable favourites of mine being The Theatre Bizarre, Trick R Treat and Tales Of Halloween. Other noteworthy titles include Holidays, XX and the ever popular VHS and ABCs of Death franchises. NIGHTMARE CINEMA is a worthy addition to this list and makes a point of difference by having a consistent quality of stories throughout. — FakeShemp.Net


  • New Your City Horror Film Festival logo.
  • Mick Garris receives del Premio Isla Calavera de Honor at El Festival de Cine Fantástico‘s official opening gala, Multicines Tenerife, Canary Islands.
  • Cover page of The Blood Grinder by Dave Conte, Nick Schwartz, & Matt Braunsdorf.
  • Sarah Withers in “The Thing in the Woods.” 
  • Nightmare Cinema poster from Monster Fest VII.
  • Elizabeth Reaser in “This Way to Egress.” 


HWA Announces 2011 Bram Stoker Award™ Preliminary Ballot

January 21st, 2012

◦Lamberson, Greg — Cosmic Forces
◦Longfellow, Ki — Houdini Heart
◦Malfi, Ronald — Floating Staircase
◦O’Neill, Gene — Not Fade Away
◦Warner, Matthew — Blood Born

◦Conlon, Christopher — A Matrix Of Angels
◦Dunbar, Robert — Willy
◦McKinney, Joe — Flesh Eaters
◦Oliver, Reggie — Dracula Papers, Book 1: The Scholar’s Tale
◦Thomas, Lee — The German 

◦Bird, Allyson — Isis Unbound
◦Lee, Frazer — The Lamplighters
◦Reynolds, Graeme — High Moor
◦Talley, Brett J. — That Which Should Not Be
◦Wagner, Jeremy — The Armageddon Chord

No ballot required, the following works will proceed directly to the Final Ballot. Please note these works may not be described as Nominees until the Final Ballot is formally announced.
◦Jacobs, John, Horner — Southern Gods
◦Roche, Thomas — The Panama Laugh 

◦Faherty, J. G. — Ghosts of Coronado Bay, A Maya Blair Mystery
◦Holder, Nancy — The Screaming Season
◦Maberry, Jonathan — Dust & Decay
◦Matthews, Araminta Star — Blind Hunger

◦Blake, Kendare — Anna Dressed in Blood
◦Kraus, Daniel — Rotters
◦Ness, Patrick — A Monster Calls
◦Oppel, Kenneth — This Dark Endeavor: The Apprenticeship of Victor Frankenstein
◦Roth, Veronica — Divergent

◦Hill, Joe — Locke & Key, Volume 4
◦Maberry, Jonathan — Marvel Universe vs. The Punisher
◦Maberry, Jonathan — Marvel Universe vs. Wolverine
◦Mignola, Mike and Golden, Christopher — The Plague Ships
◦O’Reilly, Sean; Nassise, Joe; Weick, Halston — Candice Crow

◦Brosgol, Vera — Anya’s Ghost
◦Fialkov, Joshua Hale — Echoes
◦Jensen, Jeff — Green River Killer
◦Moore, Alan — Neonomicon
◦Smith, John — Cradlegrave 

◦Breaux, Kevin James — Dark Water: Beaming Smile
◦Calvillo, Michael Louis — 7Brains
◦Little, John R. — Ursa Major
◦O’Neill, Gene — Rusting Chickens
◦Schwamberger, Ty — The Fields

◦Hodge, Brian — Roots and All
◦Kiernan, Caitlin — The Colliers’ Venus (1893)
◦Lindqvist, John Ajvide — The Music of Bengt Karlsson, Murderer
◦Shearman, Robert — Alice Through A Plastic Sheet
◦Straub, Peter — The Ballad of Ballard and Sandrine

◦Bailey, Michael — “It Tears Away” (The Shadow of the Unknown)
◦Lillie-Paetz, Ken — “Hypergraphia” (The Uninvited, Issue 1)
◦O’Neill, Gene — “Graffiti Sonata” (Dark Discoveries)
◦Palisano, John — “X is for Xyx” (M is for Monster)
◦Warren, Kaaron — “All You Can Do Is Breathe” (Blood and Other Cravings)

◦Ausubel, Ramona — “Atria” (The New Yorker Magazine, April 4, 2011)
◦Ballingrud, Nathan — “Sunbleached” (Teeth: Vampire Tales)
◦Castro, Adam Troy — “Her Husband’s Hands” (Lightspeed Magazine)
◦King, Stephen — “Herman Wouk Is Still Alive” (The Atlantic Magazine, May 2011)
◦Saunders, George — “Home” (The New Yorker Magazine, June 13, 2011)

No ballot required, the following works will proceed directly to the Final Ballot. Please note these works may not be described as Nominees until the Final Ballot is formally announced.
◦Ball, Alan — True Blood: Spellbound (Episode #44)
◦Goodman, Cory — Priest
◦Nolfi, George — The Adjustment Bureau

◦Gimple, Scott M. — The Walking Dead, episode 13: “Pretty Much Dead Already”
◦Gimple, Scott M. — The Walking Dead, episode 9: “Save the Last One”
◦Noxon, Marti — Fright Night
◦Ovrehahl, Andre and Havard S. Johansen — Troll Hunter
◦Sharzer, Jessica — American Horror Story, episode 12: “Afterbirth” 

No ballot required, the following works will proceed directly to the Final Ballot. Please note these works may not be described as Nominees until the Final Ballot is formally announced.
◦Carbone, Tracy L. — NEHW Presents: Epitaphs
◦Hutton, Frank J. — Tattered Souls 2
◦Skipp, John — Demons: Encounters with the Devil and His Minions, Fallen Angels, and the Possessed
◦Dann, Jack and Nick Gevers — Ghosts By Gaslight
◦Datlow, Ellen — Blood And Other Cravings
◦Datlow, Ellen — Supernatural Noir
◦Datlow, Ellen and Terri Windling — Teeth
◦VanderMeer, Jeff and Ann — The Thackery T. Lambshead Cabinet of Curiosities 

◦Burke, Chesya — Let’s Play White
◦Connolly, Lawrence C. — Voices: Tales of Horror
◦Gresh, Lois — Eldritch Evolutions
◦Haines, Paul — The Last Days of Kali Yuga
◦Morton, Lisa — Monsters of L.A.
◦Ochse, Weston — Multiplex Fandango

◦Fowler, Christopher — Red Gloves: The London Horrors
◦Kiernan, Caitlin R. — Two Worlds and In-Between
◦Llewellyn, Livia — Engines of Desire
◦Oliver, Reggie — Mrs. Midnight and Other Stories

No ballot required, the following works will proceed directly to the Final Ballot. Please note these works may not be described as Nominees until the Final Ballot is formally announced.
◦Bannatyne, Lesley Pratt — Halloween Nation: Behind the Scenes of America’s Fright Night
◦Mamatas, Nick — Starve Better
◦Mogk, Matt — Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Zombies

◦Crawford, Gary William, Jim Rockhill, and Brian J. Showers, Eds. — Reflections in a Glass Darkly
◦Rupe, Shade — Dark Stars Rising
◦Shultz, David E. and S.T. Joshi, Ed. — Letters to James F. Morton
◦Tibbetts, John C. — The Gothic Imagination
◦Wood, Rocky — Stephen King: A Literary Companion

◦Alexander, Maria — At Louche Ends: Poetry for the Decadent,the Damned & the Absinthe-Minded
◦Clarke, G.O — Shroud of Night
◦Borski, Robert — Blood Wallah and Other Poems
◦Simon, Marge — The Mad Hattery
◦Ward, Kyla Lee — The Land of Bad Dreams

◦Addison, Linda — How to Recognize a Demon Has Become Your Friend
◦Boston, Bruce — Surrealities
◦Marshall, Helen — Skeleton Leaves
◦Schwader, Ann K. — Twisted in Dream
◦Simon, Marge — Unearthly Delights