Enter the world of the Black Labyrinth Book ll

•November 3, 2013 • 1 Comment
Dark-Regions-Press

Dark-Regions-Press

Dark Regions Press are poised to launch their second outing into their series of psychological horror novellas, entitled Black Labyrinth. In order to do so, they have turned their attention to Kickstarter and have turned over the reigns to the general public to help unleash the next phase, which will be penned by Joe R Lansdale. Some readers may recognise Joe R Lansdale as the author of Bubba Ho Tep, which was made into a movie starring the sublime Bruce Campbell. He also wrote the short story, Incident On and Off a Mountain Road, which was used as an episode in Showcase’s Master’s of Horror series. Along with numerous comics and novels to his name, Mr. Lansdale has now turned his attention to a new challenge with Dark Regions.

To create the Black Labyrinth world, visionary artist, Santiago Caruso will also be lending his unique craft by providing some artwork, which is literally like staring into the visceral mind of the psyche.

Intrigued by this fascinating project which seemed to tap into the veins of Hammer’s venture into the psychological thrillers, dubbed the “Mini-Hitchcock’s, Hammer Horror Podcast caught up with owner and publisher of Dark Regions Press and creator of the Black Labyrinth imprint, Chris Morey to tell us more.

Chris Morey

Have any Hammer films influenced your work at all? If so, in what way?

I remember seeing some Hammer films on television when I was younger, but can’t say that I’ve watched any of the films as an adult. Still, they were there in my youth, and I’m sure had an effect on my perspectives and ideas in horror. Maybe one of these nights I can watch one or two films and refresh myself.

Tell us about The Black Labyrinth ll Project – What was the initiative behind releasing 10 psychological horror novels?

I had been noticing some trends in horror fiction: lots of dystopian stories and monster stories. Both very enjoyable, but it seemed like there was a lot of uncharted territory.. at least areas of horror that hadn’t been given the attention they deserve.

Psychological horror is one of those areas. It’s a genre that focuses on the psyche of a character, the torment of the mind. It can make for some very scary stories, but it has been hugely underutilized in my opinion.

So we created Black Labyrinth, limited to ten books in the imprint because we don’t want to exhaust the concept, but because the imprint is limited we are selecting who are considered by readers and critics alike as the masters of horror and dark fiction. First we had Tom Piccirilli, now we have Joe Lansdale. A damn good start.

What attracted you to Joe R Lansdale and Santiago Caruso to this project?

Well, Santiago Caruso is the illustrator of the Black Labyrinth imprint. Something I wanted was artistic consistency throughout the books, and I had been wanting to work with Santiago for a while. His artwork is dark, Gothic, graceful and poetic. Truly compliments and enhances these psychological stories.

Joe Lansdale was an obvious choice for me. I had the pleasure of meeting Joe in Austin, Texas for World Horror Convention 2011. We chatted a bit, he signed some books for me and was so damn patient with everyone wanting his attention. But that’s the way Joe is; a truly kind yet amazingly talented guy.

He’s done a lot, but many would recognize his works such as Edge of Dark Water, The Thicket, Bubba Ho-Tep, Hap & Leonard series, Jonah Hex comics and the Drive-In series. Joe was a natural choice for Black Labyrinth and I’m very thankful to have this opportunity to work with him on this project.

Being an artist yourself, does this allow you to tap into the minds of fellow artists to a degree? Does this help to deliver projects like Black Labyrinth ll?

I suppose it does. I judge myself and my own creative work very critically. It keeps my standards higher for myself, and I think it also helps me recognize true talent when I see it. That’s why I wanted to work with Santiago, and why I’m so excited about the creative vision that we have for Joe’s novella. This is going to be one special book.

Tell us about your own work, The Boy & The Abyss – What is it about psychological horror attracts you?

I explained in terms of the industry earlier, but I also want to say: I grew up around mental illness and have always been fascinated by the human mind. It is such an untapped scientific goldmine, but truly an untapped goldmine for storytelling as well.

To me, watching someone lose the very essence of who they are, for their perceptions to become warped… the people they love turning into strangers or hideous villains… that’s scary stuff.

But psychological horror also allows us to get into the mind of the character in a much more significant way in other genres. You’ll notice in a lot of the zombie crap that’s out there these days that the characters don’t come anything close to three-dimensional. Just worn out archetypes finding their way into a conflict… character development is often shallow or absent.

In psychological horror, character development is everything.

My story The Boy & The Abyss is essentially waiting for my website to be launched to be released at this point. The website is done, and I basically just need to spend a day to flip the launch switch, but that won’t be happening until after the Kickstarter campaign is over, I’ll tell you that.

But when the website does launch the story will as well. I’m guessing it will fall upon mixed reaction. Written in a strange way, feels like a dream, mysterious.. but you know what? I love it. Hope some others enjoy it as well.

What makes this project any different to any other kickstarter campaign? What stands you out from the crowd?

Something we focus on very much with the Black Labyrinth imprint are the signed limited edition hardcovers. There are three different editions, a starting level, mid-level and premium-level. I haven’t seen that many Kickstarters that have done a creative project with this much focus on signed limited edition hardcovers, and I think it should interest book lovers and collectors alike.

You can see some images of the hardcover books yourself on the campaign page: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/chrismorey/black-labyrinth-book-ii-joe-r-lansdale

This really is a unique project. We’re trying to bring a new novella of psychological horror by one of the masters of dark fiction: Joe R. Lansdale accompanied by (at least) 5 new pieces of artwork from an amazing artist of the surreal and macabre. Even cooler, if we hit our first stretch goal Santiago Caruso will create 8 color interior illustrations (instead of 4 B&W) and do a unique illustrated signature sheet for all 3 hardcover editions.

We hope some of your readers that enjoy the physical book, Joe Lansdale’s fiction or horror in general will join us for the campaign. It’s heading into the final stretch, and every day is precious. All of us are ready and prepared to make this an unforgettable book, and I know we’re ready to pour all of our best creative efforts into the project.

Thanks to Paul and Hammer Horror for the interview, and keep up the great work!

If you’d like to learn more about Dark Regions, The Black Labyrinth Book ll and the kickstarter campaign check out the links below:

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/chrismorey/black-labyrinth-book-ii-joe-r-lansdale
http://www.darkregions.com

Good luck Chris, you’ve certainly got the backing of the Hammer Horror podcast crew.

Midnight Syndicate: Monsters of Legend Album Review

•August 26, 2013 • 1 Comment

"Monsters of Legend" CD by Midnight Syndicate (July 2013) Welcome listeners to our mid-hiatus release and our first music album review.

We were approached by symphonic gothic horror musicians, Midnight Syndicate upon the release of their 16th studuio album, Monsters of Legend, which in itself is an homage to the golden age of celluloid horror, a massive nod to both Universal and Hammer films of yester-year.thinking that this was a good opportunity to discuss the music of Hammer, we duly obliged.

So fellow podcasters, Myles Davies, new blood podcaster, Ben Skinner and myself sat down to cast our views on the album. Check out the link below to hear our thoughts.

MONSTERS OF LEGEND REVIEW:

HAMMER HORROR PODCAST RATING:

stake  stake  stake  stake

4 out of 5 stakes

Relevant Links:

Midnight Syndicate: Monstrers of Legend Album

James Bernard

Death Waltz Records

Hammer Chillers

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About Midnight Syndicate:

Midnight Syndicate releases MONSTERS OF LEGEND album

July 19, 2013 (Cleveland, OH) – Symphonic gothic horror musicians MIDNIGHT SYNDICATE have just released their sixteenth studio album, MONSTERS OF LEGEND.   This “tribute to the golden age of horror” is inspired by horror films from the silent era, Universal Studios’ horror classics, Hammer Films, and other European horror films of the 60s and 70s.  It features sweeping symphonic horror instrumental music and sound effects in the signature style the band helped pioneer. “We want to make you feel like you are a character in one of those classic horror films – that you’ve entered a world where any one of those iconic Universal monsters could be right around the corner,” said composer EDWARD DOUGLAS.   The CD artwork features original images from classic Universal Studios horror movies including BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN, WEREWOLF OF LONDON, and DRACULA.
“Those classic horror films are at the core of what we do in Midnight Syndicate, so to do an entire disc based on them was a lot fun,” added Douglas.  “Musically it required us to use more traditional orchestral instruments, and use them in more ways than we have in the past.  The result is a fuller orchestral sound with a heavy classical music influence.   There are plenty of nods to James Bernard, Bernard Herrmann, and other early film composers.” Although the band promises the new disc will deliver the dark atmosphere haunted house designers, roleplaying gamers, and Halloween music enthusiasts expect from them, they feel they’ve crafted a disc that transcends their favorite time of the year.  “Like CARNIVAL ARCANE, we feel we’ve taken things up a notch both musically and with the sound design on this release,” said GAVIN GOSZKA.  “There’s a lot there to listen to and lose yourself in.”
In addition to over 50 minutes of new music, the band went back into its archives and recreated several tracks from its early releases Born of the Night and Realm of Shadows, bringing the total runtime of the disc to over 65 minutes.  “Both the new album and those older ones are set in and around the mysterious hamlet of Arcacia.  We felt it would be a great opportunity to breathe new life into a few of our lesser known tracks from those discs to help tell this story.  For additional atmosphere the band called on voiceover artist Dick Terhune.   “Dick’s known throughout the haunted house industry as the “Voice from Hell,” needless to say he was the perfect match for this disc,” added Goskza.
The CD is available now through the band’s website, as well as iTunes and Amazon.com.  It will also be available in select Halloween retailers beginning in August.   A collector’s edition 12” vinyl version is also available on the band’s site.
Official Midnight Syndicate website: www.MidnightSyndicate.com
Midnight Syndicate on Facebook: www.Facebook.com/MidnightSyndicate
Midnight Syndicate on Twitter: www.Twitter.com/MidSyndicate
Dick Terhune – Voice From Hell website: www.VoiceFromHell.com
MIDNIGHT SYNDICATE
For almost two decades, composers Edward Douglas and Gavin Goszka have been known as Midnight Syndicate, creating symphonic soundtracks to imaginary films that facilitate a transcendental and adventurous escape into the secret dimensions of the mind’s eye. To many of their fans, they are Gothic music pioneers brewing a signature blend of orchestral horror music and movie-style sound effects. To others, they remain the first “haunted house band” that forever changed the Halloween music genre and became a staple of the October holiday season. And some know them as the duo that teamed up with Hasbro and Wizards of the Coast to produce the first official soundtrack to the legendary Dungeons & Dragons roleplaying game. Their critically-acclaimed works are reminiscent of sweeping, complex masterpieces by artists such as James Horner, Danny Elfman, Black Sabbath and King Diamond and have been featured as a part of films, television shows, video games and at haunted attractions, amusement parks, and live performances worldwide.
Midnight Syndicate’s music has become integral to setting a powerful mood at top-rated haunted attractions and amusement parks as well as at costume shops, gaming and Halloween parties and Halloween-themed cruises from Siberia and Hong Kong, to Europe and the United States. The duo has released 15 studio albums since 1997, and Douglas and Goszka’s original, work also been used at Hugh Hefner’s Halloween parties, on episodes of The Barbara Walters Special and in the drive-in film The Rage, Universal Studio’s Horror Nights XVIII as well as by Monday Night Football and by artists Insane Clown Posse, Three Six Mafia, Twiztid and The Misfits. In 2010, Midnight Syndicate released a full-length horror film called The Dead Matter, directed, scored and co-produced by Douglas alongside Robert Kurtzman (From Dusk Till Dawn, co-founder, KNB FX) and Gary Jones (Xena, Boogeyman 3).   
Midnight Syndicate continues to pursue its quest to use instrumental music to tell explicit stories full of tension, twists and turns. Most recently, the band completed the score to the grindhouse thriller Axe Giant: The Wrath of Paul Bunyan. In summer, 2013, Midnight Syndicate will release the soundtrack to that film along with Monsters of Legend, a tribute to the classic Universal, Hammer and Euro horror films that gave birth to horror cinema, which will include officially-licensed images from the Universal Studios vaults.
 
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