Horror A.D.

Hello, My Name Is Horatio. I Am a Magician in Training
August 14, 2013, 9:29 pm
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One night I was hanging out with a group of theater friends at a local Baltimore bar.  The subject of conversation was creating a variety show.  We talked about all the acts we would love to show at the theater in this kind of an event: burlesque, boylesque, fire eating, sideshow, music, acrobats, aerial dancers and magic.  We knew someone for everything, but magic.  I ran through my rolodex and all I could think of was Spencer Horsman.  He was blowing up though, always out in Vegas after America’s Got Talent .  Besides, we had only talked a couple times at Illusions around shows.  Not only that, when I think about the acts we mentioned I thought darker magic.  Black magic.  Blood magic.  I thought Montag the Magnificent and Master Sardu.  Thus inspiration struck.  This year I took on the task of learning magic.  Nothing big.  I just want to learn a few card tricks, basic sleights of hand, a few minor illusions, some gags I can drape in a veil of blood and guts. 


…and I still can’t find her g spot! I’ll be here all week. Order the veal.


So far, I’ve drilled some basics off and on througout the year, but nothing substantial.  Then I hit this article.  The part of the article that speaks to this post is the simple concept of 10 minutes, 2 times a day for 3 months to get 1 basic trick down.  Then add another trick.  You will notice your progress.  Now this speaks to me because I am a couple weeks out to the end of the P90X program.  I’ve lost roughly 70 pounds this year because of it.  The workouts work on a similar principle to the one in the article, “you can do anything for 30 seconds,” and “stick with it, there is a payoff sooner than you think.” With that association fresh in mind, I’ve been carving out 10 minutes every morning and evening to do nothing but practice a double lift.  

Here are a few realizations I’ve had while doing double lifts for 10 minutes in the morning and 10 minutes at night.

 I Am Awkward

I have the manual dexterity of a cat.  It’s pretty bad when something without opposable thumbs can work a seat belt better than me.  I find myself flinging cards around the room, fumbling, and giving myself paper cuts all the time.  But a little less each practice session.  Like Tony Horton (he’s the P90X guy)  always says right before something shitty, “You can do anything for 30 seconds”.  And it’s true.  Just 10 minutes out of my morning and I’m seeing results already.  Give me a few months, and David Blane will think I changed the color of the card on him.


Tony Horton likes eating bananas with Superman.

I Want To Do Magic

My attitude toward this going in was, “I don’t really want to be a magician.  I just want to spray blood on people”.  I have no desire to push the bounds of magic or to be remembered as someone that fooled the crowd.  I just want to have fun, make people laugh, gasp and maybe throw up a little.


I was looking for a .gif of a vomit train, but I stopped caring. Here’s some kittens.

 I’m in it for the performance, not the magic.  Then I realized that IS magic.  Suspend their disbelief long enough to get people immersed into what you’re doing.  I already do stage magic with the grand guignol.  Every gaffe is a slight.  I’m okay with this.

Magic Is a True Test of Creativity

There is an amazing amount of creativity to setting up gaffes for stage and film.  Creatively hiding sight lines or creating props that look real is tough.  The up side? Usually people will accept whatever you give them if you pump out a blood hose.  Why?  Fuck you, blood hose!  That’s why.  With magic, people are leery right off the bat.  They sit and pick apart the performances like an old lady at the end of a underwear assembly line with a stamp that says “Inspected by No. 48”.  To be a magician, one has to go above and beyond to draw the crowd in and get them on board.  I hope adding the blood hose will help me out a little with this.  Who knows, we’ll see where this takes me.


I wrote the whole post without a Gob reference. High five!


Book Review: Horns by Joe Hill
May 21, 2013, 2:37 am
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I found the book in question in The Guardian’s best young novelists from the SF universe under 40 article.  The article lumps speculative/ science fiction, fantasy and horror at the kids table  and takes a stab at the genres good young authors.  They have a yearly under 40 novelists thing for the sophisticated authors.  Joe Hill stood out in the article as the author stated he is the most significant writer in horror today.  His actual words were “Joe Hill is arguably the most significant horror author of the last decade, with 20th Century Ghosts, Heart Shaped Box and the upcoming NOS4A2 setting the bar for the entire genre.”  I shrugged and accepted the challenge.

I hopped on the Kindle store and looked Joe Hill up and found Horns, his first novel, on sale for $1.99.  Score!  The reviews are favorable and at 500 pages all it would cost me is a couple weeks of reading time.  The story is simple, a guy wakes up one morning, months after being accused of brutally killing his first and only love and raping her corpse.  Pretty horrific, I know, but it has to be brutal to really hate the criminal.  In his sleep, he’s grown a set of horns that give him powers.  People in his presence tell him their deepest darkest desires.  They ask him what to do about them and follow his suggestion on a course of action.  If he touches someone, he sees their past. And he can make people think his voice is someone else’s.  They are nothing ground breaking, but historically interesting to explore.  He finds out everyone he meets hates him and wishes him a violent death.  Everyone but his brother.  There’s also a guy who’s a pretty standard Big Bad Friend.  I didn’t call spoiler alert on that, because it is laid out out early on.  Hill tries to make it a little ambiguous, and he gets an A for effort.  Imagine this type of story and you have the rest of the book.  Man, obvious stories make writing a synopsis easy.  If you want to read more go here.

Because the book is a horror story about good, evil and the devil, I expected some interesting religious analysis.  It would be disingenuous to say it has none at all.  I can say  what it has is not the type I had expected.  Everyone in the book is active in the same small New England town protestant based church and has homogenous atitudes.  All but the Big Bad.  He is the aid for a right wing politician.  This is where the only thematic depth is shown.  He represents the God Guns and Country machine that uses religion only for influence.  There is nothing groundbreaking, scathing or even interesting here.

The high point of the book is Hill’s attention to detail in building the scene and characters.  I had a clear picture and feeling of every locale in the book.  I felt the desperation and loneliness of his room mate/ fuck buddy’s apartment.  I felt completely unwelcome in the locals only diner.  The foundry felt magical, destitute and later like sanctuary.  I was everywhere in this book.  The characters were just as rich.  I felt I knew each one of the characters, from the diner waitress to the Big Bad, extremely well.  Unfortunately the lackluster plot doesn’t allow any real connection to these well written characters.  It’s a shame, really.

Overall I can sum up my feelings for Joe Hill’s Horns with a resounding “meh” and a shrug.  You’d be better off watching some urban fantasy jive on the CW.

This brings me back to the beginning of this article.  The one that said Joe Hill sets the bar for the horror genre.  This statement makes me question the author’s thought process when formulating his list.  I have read one other writer from this article at length, Carlton Mellick III, and am currently reading Robert Jackson Bennit’s  The Troupe.  Mellick is one of my heroes.  He is a genre blazing, prolific, imaginative mad man.  So far, Bennit has me hooked.  He has a fresh voice and a great way with a story.  That being said, neither one of these guys are horror genre writers.

I’m going to keep this rant short to accomodate my 15% battery.

Where are the Deadite Press, Damnation Books or any of the other indie published authors?  These are the people that are pushing horror to it’s boundaries   They are the ones that take on new ground in new horrific ways.  This is the way it always is with genre fiction.  The boundaries are pushed on the fringe.  The next wave of best young authors will be inspired be the people that are not on this list.  Yes, Mellick is a true hero of indie genre fiction, but he does have his counterparts in the horror genre.

Welcome to Lover’s Lane
June 8, 2011, 10:00 pm
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