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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Mick Garris’s “Chocolate,” the previously unpublished story that serves as the basis for the Masters of Horror film of the same name, centers on a man whose dreams are linked to another person’s reality.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 Audable.com. 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 in Japan

July 16th, 2019

Nightmare Cinema’s release schedule continues this month with its Japanese debut on July 19, complete with promotional art that incorporates elements of the US poster with striking details of its own.

In place of the demon from Ryuhei Kitamura’s “Mashit” segment, the Japanese poster features the face of a sleeping woman, head cleaved above the eyes to serve as a bowl of cinematic nightmares. Spiraling up and out of her skull is a length of film displaying many of the images included in the US poster. Look closely, and you’ll see Fred the welder from “The Thing in the Woods,” Ron the janitor from “This Way to Egress,” and Mr. Stitches from “Dead.” Look to the right of the movie marquee, and you’ll see the demon from “Mashit” that dominates the poster for the American release.

The design also includes a movie theater, though not the one from the film. Here, the Rialto’s facade is replaced by a composite that includes the marque from the Comanche Drive-In (Buena Vista, Colorado) and the haunted façade of the abandoned Filmtheater Cinema (Dresden, Germany) — an intriguing combination of images that reinforces the international aspect of Nightmare Cinema.

But perhaps the most interesting aspect of the poster is the film’s Japanese title マスターズ・オブ・ホラー. That translates as “Masters of Horror,” which just happens to be the title of the Mick Garris’s anthology series that ran on Showtime from 2005-2007, the very series that paved the way for film Nightmare Cinema.

Nightmare Cinema makes its Japanese debut this weekend on July 19.

The film is currently available in the US via video on demand from iTunes, Amazon, and FandangoNow. It releases on DVD and Blu-Ray editions on September 3.

 

Images:

Poster for Nightmare Cinema‘s Japanese releaseEigia.
Comanche Drive-In MarqeeCinema Treasures.
Filmtheater FacadeDissertation Reviews: Cinema in Theatre, 1915-1927.
Screencap from the Japanese trailer for Nightmare CinemaYouTube.

 

Voices: Tales of Horror
New Edition Preview @ Fantastic Fiction

June 17th, 2018

The good people at Fantasist Enterprises are preparing a couple special editions of Voices: Tales of Horror for release this summer, starting with the book’s first-ever digital edition and following it with a second print edition.

Both will feature a new foreword by Mick Garris (Showtime’s Masters of Horror and the upcoming Nightmare Cinema) and a bonus section featuring an additional story that originally appeared as “Human Caverns” in Fear the Abyss (Post-Mortem Press 2013).

Rewritten for its appearance in the second edition of Voices, the story about a strange discovery in the West Virginia woods will appear under its new title, “Siren,” and will be accompanied by an introduction and a new illustration by World Fantasy Award nominee Jason Zerrillo.

Jason did all the illustrations for the original release of Voices, and it’s great having him on board again.

The new digital edition will be available across all platforms (Epub, Nook, Kindle, iBook) in July, but folks attending my reading at KGB (June 20) will be able to pick up vouchers for advance copies of the epub edition (included with the purchase of the book’s first edition).

Hosted by Ellen Datlow and Matthew Kressel, Fantastic Fiction is held at the KGB Bar in the East Village. Readings begin at 7:00 PM. This time I’ll be joined by Mary Robinette Kowal – winner of multiple Hugo Awards and the author of the historical fantasy novel: Ghost Talkers and the forthcoming Lady Astronaut duology. The event is open to the public, and admission is free.

If you can’t make it to NYC but still want to score a voucher for the advance epub of Voices, I’ll be joining Fantasist Enterprises for a special signing at Seton Hill University in Greensburg on June 23. The event will be part of the In Your Write Mind Workshop, a four-day event that runs concurrently with the University’s summer residency for writers of popular fiction.

Looking further ahead, we hope to have both the new print and digital editions available to coincide with my return to Confluence, the long-running Pittsburgh sf convention, on July 28.

And of course, I’ll also be attending the premiere of Nightmare Cinema at the Fantasia Film Festival in Montreal on July 12.

More updates coming soon. It’s going to be an exciting summer.

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.