Halloween Reading

As I write this, tis predawn of Halloween 2019.  Ghouls and goblins may be out, but what are they doing?

Due to numerous spooky choices, reading or watching films are good alternatives.

Being a writer of fantasy and horror yarns, this time each year there are certain books I hope to read.  I have read Dracula and found it most interesting with the article or diary form with which it presents its narrative.  I also enjoyed the dark vision of Stephen King’s end of the world epic, The Stand.  He has also authored many chilling short stories I like.  I’ve only enjoyably read the short fiction of his fright master peer, Clive Barker.

Just this year I again started a book of Edgar Allan Poe short stories which included The Fall of the House of Usher.  Alas, the third attempt was not the charm.  I think it is mainly just his elaborately descriptive writing style that distances me from Poe.  I am more fascinated by the story of his life then his written works.

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In regards to my meager writings, I did once raise Poe to participate in a ghostly short story of mine found in the collection called Summoned Secrets.  That book is among my offerings at lulu, which I hope you’ll consider ordering for a spooky read.  http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/wrigler?fbclid=IwAR1xScodEO1tdQ6VikTvtvxfcI9uFZNPPs792UWO5d_XUpgDvJpn9B2k_2I

Stranger Thoughts cover

Another book of my writings is titled Stranger Thoughts.  Its story offerings include the tale of a distraught widower who finds something suspicious Within The Water and there are also meditations on the horror of dating.  What could be scarier?  This book is from Rowanvale Books.  It can be bought via Amazon or direct from publisher. https://www.rowanvalebooks.com/book/stranger-thoughts

I also have a longer yarn from Rowanvale which is suitable for this season as it mixes horror, fantasy, and adventure. Titled Certain Shadows I Have Known, it tells the story of an unbelieving hit man who tackles paranormal contracts for a ruthless mobster.  The hit man figures taking such assignments is just a good way to make an extra buck.  Then strange things start to happen.  This book currently can be purchased at amazon. https://www.rowanvalebooks.com/book/certain-shadows-i-have-known

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Favorite films for Halloween is a long list.  Highlights include 2007’s Rob Zombie directed remake of Halloween starring Malcolm McDowell.  This reveals the horrors tht befell a young Michael Myers to lead him on a seemingly supernatural spree of violence.  This remake is far more graphic and brutally violent then its original.  McDowell reinvents the doctor character of Loomis originally brought to life by British character actor extraordinaire Donald Pleasence.  When the doctor’ treatment of the incarcerated Myers proves unsuccessful, Loomis takes a more physical part in the pursuit.

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Myself and Malcolm McDowell years ago at Horrorfind Weekend.

Another favorite for the season is 1951’s black and white Man With A Cloak which appropriately transpires on Halloween.  The atmospheric picture has a noir quality as Joseph Cotton attempts to aid innocent Leslie Caron achieve an inheritance that dastardly Barbara Stanwyck has her eyes on.  The identity of Cotton’s character remains a mystery till the end.

To return to the master of the macabre’s ideas, 1964’s The Tomb of Ligeia stars Vincent Price and Elizabeth Shepherd.  Price plays a grieving widower whose wife haunts him as he enters into his next relationship.  And thus with this tale we find ourselves again at Edgar Allan Poe.

Whether you indulge yourself with the printed page or a spooky film, have a ghoulishly good Halloween.

Shades of Horror

There are a multitude of horrors fitting every taste.

The spooky haunted house, the psychotic killer terrorizing diverse strangers, the monster with or without a cause.

Last night I watched and liked the fun if graphically twisting stories of the film Tales of Halloween which featured numerous stories occurring in a small town on Halloween.  Of course the king of Halloween films takes its title directly from the holiday – Halloween.

There are two versions of Halloween, The original by John Carpenter and the recent remake from Rob Zombie.  The later is much more graphic and gory, featuring Malcolm McDowell.  That Englishman is  favorite actor of mine and no stranger to horror films.  Other such films include Isle of the Dead.  And then there’s A Clockwork Orange.  The Kubrick film takes place in the chaotic near future it follows the violent activities of a youthful gang.  It is science fiction, certainly scary, but is it horror?

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Myself and Malcolm McDowell years ago at Horrorfind Weekend.

I like the dark psychological horror as exemplified by the films of Val Lewton and Robert Wise.  Generally filmed in beautiful black and white, it exemplifies the idea of tell (or imagine) don’t show.  Many modern directors tend to throw every severed body part imaginable at the viewer.

While I’m not a big Poe fan mostly due to his writing style, I am fascinated by his stories and certainly his tragic life.  I’m more a fan of the eccentric horror tales of H. P. Lovecraft.  The modern weavers of horror include Clive Barker and Stephen King.  I’ve read short stories from each plus two King novels – Lizey’s Story and The Stand.  The later book is a favorite, detailing what happens to survivors of a world in which a deadly plague is mistakenly unleashed.  Forces of good and evil square off.  The book was made into a TV mini-series.

If you want to learn more of my style of horror and/or compare it to the masters, order one of my books offered below and have a horror of a time.  Note, I didn’t say horrible time.

https://www.rowanvalebooks.com/book/certain-shadows-i-have-known

https://www.rowanvalebooks.com/book/stranger-thoughts

http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/wrigler?fbclid=IwAR0wT-pveQbn815iLuZgfMsD1tjdlmiqhUOsP-XT0oMi6TPcZjHCErmLxa8

 

 

Happy Birthday Malcolm McDowell

It may be the 13th, but it’s not a Friday.

June 13th is the birthday of Malcolm McDowell.

I have been a fan of his for ages.  I find his acting is mesmerizing, ranging from the science fiction romance of Time After Time to the dramatic intensity of an escape from fascist Germany in Voyage of the Damned.  He has collaborated with such celebrated directors as Stanley Kubrick for the horrors of a futuristic society in A Clockwork Orange and Lindsay Anderson for a dramatic critique of modern society in the Mick Travis films.  His diverse work in continuing series include the comedy Pearl as well as Mozart in the Jungle.

I’ve been lucky enough to meet him at several conventions.  At the last one when I sat down next to him, he commented, “You again?  You’re at all of these.”  I had him sign Never Apologize, a dvd of his one man show about Lindsay Anderson.  When he asked me if I had watched it, I luckily replied that I had and recalled the final scene.  I suppose I satisfied his curiosity, otherwise he warned he might have to quiz me on it.

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Myself holding Never Apologize with Malcolm McDowell.

Zombie vs. Vampire

Just because a guy gets drenched with fake blood to roam about in search of brains, he’s automatically labeled a zombie expert.

I must admit that years ago I approached appearing in Trailer Park of the Living Dead with a limited amount of zombie knowledge.  I had watched the vintage version of Night of the Living Dead but had not seen most of that film’s sequels or more modern renderings like 28 Days Later, in which I believe zombies have actually sped up quite a bit.  In fact I confess that of the usual lineup of iconic horror characters, my preference lies with those fun fanged denizens of the night – vampires!

Both vampires and zombies have their fair share of the horror market and fans’ hearts – as well as their throats or brains.  I’ve gotten to play a vampire briefly in Mortal and have stumbled around as a zombie in a few low budget pictures.  I thought I might indulge in a comparison.

1.  A Horrific Heritage – For far reaching historic and global folklore, the vampire seems far ahead.  Some point as far back as the biblical Lilith for the vampire’s bloody origins.  Plus thanks to Bram Stoker and Dracula, the vampire has a far loftier literary heritage.  WINNER – VAMPIRE.

2. The Confidence Factor – Gotta go with zombies on this one.  Ever heard of a zombie questioning its existence or trying to blend in with humanity?  Hell no!  They just want to eat your brains and make no excuses for it!   WINNER – ZOMBIE.

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My zombie guise for a previous film shoot.

3.  Masters of Movie Mayhem – Both Bela Lugosi and Christopher Lee made impressive Draculas.  There are few films as atmospheric with creepiness and chills as the silent Nosferatu.  This vampire was hideous to look at, a far cry from today’s pretty boy bloodsuckers.  The zombie has also undergone quite a few cinematic makeovers, starting with White Zombie…hey here’s Bela again!  But it was Night of the Living Dead that took the zombie from laboring mindlessly at home on a plantation and gave him an appetite for freshly freed organs.  Night of the Living Dead really renovated the whole zombie myth and released low budget movie makers’ most graphic dreams.  DRAW.

4.  Convention Fun –  I’m no stranger to horror cons, and it seems that the zombie isn’t either!  I’ve seen tables touting the chance to have your picture taken with a zombie, the opportunity to have your zombie portrait drawn, and even been given a zombie survival packet.  I always see a few bloody zombies wandering about.  Course maybe the vampires are just blending in…  WINNER – ZOMBIES.

5.  TV Terrors – While The Walking Dead is currently very popular on TV – Vampires seem a lot more active in this field.  TV vampires range from Dark Shadows in the 60’s to Buffy to Tru Blood.  WINNER – VAMPIRES.

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Playing zombie with a female friend in Trailer Park of the Living Dead. Hope Romero would be pleased with my ghoulish performance.

6.  The Better Role – This is my favorite category, where I get to plug the films I acted oh so briefly in.  After the application of latex to my face to give me ghoulish good looks and being soaked with red liquid to prove I meant bloody business, I was ready to join the zombie horde in Trailer Park of the Living Dead.  I’m not sure that I can say that it was a meaty role, but the character certainly was fond of meat as he wandered through woods and pursued an ice cream truck more interested in its drivers then its frosty treats.  There were plenty of victims and organs available for a zombie to indulge in on the set as you get in the zen mindset of a walking monster whose only desire is to satisfy his horrible hunger to the tune of his own growl.  Of course once you’re out of that mindset and character there’s the cleaning up to do.  A lot.  I think I had a bright pink under my fingernails for a week after the first shoot.  But I’ve learned that dial’s glycerine based soap are a wonder for removing fake blood, so I am wiser now.  There was cleaning up to do after my most recent role as lead male zombie from an idea I had conceived.  For my vampire role in Mortal, there was no such makeup concerns.  In fact the sole wardrobe instructions were to wear black.  And there was no mindless roaming through the woods, I was on a quite cool set.  The vampire has long been the most talkative of monsters and I was given the challenge of a line.  I delivered it appropriately enough through the various takes.  Okay, perhaps I flubbed it once.  So how do I pick the better role?  I had a great time playing both creatures.  Perhaps I should just wait and see which role I receive an award for.  DRAW

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Director Kat Lehmer and I on the set of Mortal.

Monsters have always held my attention, whether presented by a storyteller, upon the written page or upon a screen.  Homer’s Odyssey featured various horrific creatures, most notably the Cyclops which had a hankering for human flesh.  Other monsters like werewolves and vampires have invaded our nightmares in various forms.   Scientists such as Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein have sought to learn life’s mystery by mastering science with frightening results.  I have attempted to channel the impulses of classic creatures for my book, Certain Shadows I Have Known.  It is about a hit man forced to deal with supernatural threats from a previous assignment.  It is available via publisher https://www.rowanvalebooks.com/book/certain-shadows-i-have-known or at Amazon.

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Zombie Love and Stranger Thoughts

The early hours of Sunday morning proceeded in a customary manner, with laundry.  The principal goal was to wash out the fake blood garnered on them.

Around 10 A.M. I and others interested in performing as zombies arrived at a friend’s property in Cecil county Maryland to act out a short film I had devised entitled Zombie Love.  I had the role of lead male zombie and the featured female zombie was portrayed by Kitty McKiddy.  In the story I literally loose my heart to her.  With the aid of Rio LaCour, who was responsible for zombie makeup effects, and Joseph Russo I hope to have the editing of the footage soon complete.  The final product will be released on youtube.

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Kitty McKiddy and W. P. Rigler in Zombie Love.

 

In the meantime, my new work from Rowanvale books is to be released on May 31st.  It is entitled Stranger Thoughts and contains horror stories, poetry, plus The Ultimate Guide to Dating While Avoiding Supernatural Menaces.  It is available for order direct from the publisher or at Amazon.

https://www.rowanvalebooks.com/book/stranger-thoughts

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Chiller Strikes

I recently returned to Parsippany New Jersey for the convention of every type of celebrity – Chiller.  I had missed both of last year’s Chillers due to health problems.  I was moving a bit slower this time and depending at times on my handy third leg (cane), but as a whole it was quite a fun excursion, getting away to see some familiar faces – both in the way of old acquaintances and celebrities.

I met a favorite actor, Peter Scolari, best known for his TV work such as Bosom Buddies and Newhart.  I remember him in a memorable episode from The New Twilight Zone in which he played a person who claimed fake visions/memories from a past life but whose regressive abilities proved true.  I mentioned the show to which Scolari replied, “Oh yeah, I forgot that.”  A New Twilight Zone pic for next con?  For a picture together behind his table, he told me to carefully take my time.  I sauntered next to him using my cane.

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Peter Scolari and I.

Other favorite celebrities encountered there included Jennifer O’Niell of Scanners fame and Candy Clark.  Clark appeared in two favorite films.  The Man Who Fell to Earth with David Bowie and Blue Thunder with Malcolm McDowell.

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Jennifer O’Neill and I.
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Myself and Candy Clark.

Upcoming Events

With several books out and one about to be released, what better time is there to enjoy my creative spirit and indulge in a bit of self-promotion?

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My zombie guise for a previous film shoot.

On May 11th I’ll attempt to shoot a zombie short film from a futuristic and ironic idea of mine.  Among my many creative hats for the project will be that of lead zombie.  As the only lines will includes growls and I need not worry about shuffling or limping, it’s a role I was predestined for.  Extras are needed to portray other members of the walking dead.  My friend Rio LaCour, maker of Trailer Park of the Living Dead, is helping out with makeup/special effects.  The shoot is to be at a friend’s field by his barn.  The start time is slated for 10 A.M. at 919 Bouchelle Road in Elkton Maryland.  All are welcome to engage in the event.  Just be sure to wear old, nondescript clothes as well as be prepared to get dirty and/or fake bloody.

On July 13, I’ll be among the writers at an author’s signing event.  It is to be held in picturesque Havre de Grace Md at The Spencer Silver Bed and Breakfast.  The building, like the town, is steeped in history and there are tales of paranormal activity.  What else could one ask for?  I shall be one of several authors in attendance with books for sale.

Once autumn returns I’ll return to Amazicon for the 7th incarnation of this event.  The convention features actors, artists and other celebrities.  Previous guests have included William Sanderson of the classic sci-fi film Blade Runner and the TV sitcom Newhart.  I’ll be there at a table with my books in the dealers room, which is generally filled with all a collector could dream of, from DVDs to books.  Amazicon 7 will be on November 15-17 at the Clarion Hotel 76 Industrial Highway, Essington Pa.

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Myself with William Sanderson, who wields a familiar book.

Feel free to contact me for further details via twitter where I can be found as riglerwrites or my W.P. Rigler facebook page.

My newest book, entitled Stranger Thoughts, is due out from Rowanvale Books at the end of May.  It includes horror tales and poetry as well as The Ultimate Guide to Dating While Avoiding Supernatural Menaces.  My last book released via Rowanvale Books was called Certain Shadows I Have Known.  It is the supernatural adventures of a desperate hit man.  It is available at Amazon or directly via Rowanvale Books.

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https://www.rowanvalebooks.com/book/certain-shadows-i-have-known