A Whole Hock of Halloween Horror…

Hail hail! Happy Halloween! I hope you’re enjoying your All Hallow’s Eve however you’re choosing to mark it and that this finds you in good spirits (possibly with good spirits. Or maybe by now you are a good spirit. Or the spirits could be bad and, if that’s the case, I can come of over tomorrow morning to perform the necessary exorcisms. I can do that for you. Yes, I can…)

Anyhow, here are a few timely tricks and treats to commemorate the occasion. I’ve now finished my month-long sketch kick which was Schlocktober Horror and the whole rogue’s gallery of grim entities and monstrous beings can be found on my sketch blog or on my Instagram feed. They may raise a few chuckles or chills down your spine. Feel free to steal my ideas and turn them into successful trash horror film franchises (I’m really looking forward to seeing ‘The Mixtape That Should Have Been Left Behind: The Movie’.)

Elsewhere, I figured that my Friday Den of Geek column this week would be a Halloween special and I thought about the pop cultural things that unnerve me the most. Ultimately I worked out that that was H.P. Lovecraft so I spent the best part of the past fortnight re-reading a whole load of Lovecraft ’cause I love, love, love Lovecraft and I’m a guy who loves to freak himself out. As a result I have been extra-disturbed lately (damn you Howard Philips!) but the outcome is an article on one of my favourite authors for Den of Geek with ideas about how some of his best stories could be adapted as feature-length movies…

And that’s not all fiends, erm, friends. Tonight I’m going to dress up (read: attack myself with hairwax and eyeliner) and head out into the night to Blackburn (’tis a very scary place) for rock ‘n’ roll radio action. Instead of doing what I normally do on Halloween (confusing kids who’ve never encountered anyone in drag or anyone who wants to talk to them about H.P. Lovecraft instead of giving them sweets) I’m going to be making one of my occasional ‘guest‘ appearances on BBC Radio Lancashire‘s FNAT show. Tune in from 10pm until 1am (or later on on the iPlayer) if you want to listen to an eclectic rock music mix and irreverent rambling. I intend to force a lot of seasonally-suitable metal on proceedings…

*waves hands, secret signs* As you were. Enjoy and have a very Happy Halloween… *sound of membranous flapping wings*

Schlocktober Horror no. 31: Halloweenzilla… #Schlocktober

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Pictonaut Short Story Challenge: ‘Definitely Not a Royal Gala: a King Charles III Tragedy’…

Eeeeh, b’gum, owd’s ye like ’em apples, eh? What apples? These apples? Let’s roll, ’cause this is how I roll (or used to roll)…

Once upon a time not so long ago I was a regular responder to Sir John Steele‘s monthly Pictonaut challenge. Th’gist were this: John picked a picture and challenged the world to write a story of around a thousand words inspired by the image before the month was through. I like this idea. I like the challenge of writing something with set parameters and then I like messing with the inspiral source and doing something completely different with it. Anyway, I did it every single month for a time until earlier this summer when I went travelling. I fell off the wagon, but now I’m trying to hitch myself back onto the wagon and play catch-up. At least that’s the plan and I aim to slowly but surely get back to the present and pump out some fast-and-very-loose short blasts of fiction (very loosely) based on the images that Sir Steele selected for June, July, August, September, October and November. I haven’t seen the images or read the other stories, so I’m throwing myself into absolute mystery.

Without much further ado, here’s the first of the catch-up quickies which I knocked up today at high speed while listening to groovy Witchfinder music. Here’s the image interested writers were asked to adapt into prose for June’s Pictonaut Challenge

An old lady with apples. We don’t know who the lady is, who took the photo or what is going to become of the apples…

Old lady with apples it is. I got an offbeat idea and, ignoring the anachronisms in the background behind her, blasted it out and uploaded it for you to read right here. I apologise to His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales and apologise if you don’t enjoy it. If you do though, thanks! More Pictonaut stories (or quasi-stories) will be coming soon. For now, I’ll leave you with Definitely Not a Royal Gala: a King Charles III Tragedy

Sketching up Schlocktober Horror….

Horror! Oh, horror! Witchcraft! Witchcraft! It’s October and that means it’s Halloween month. Horror is in the air, horror is in my lair, horror is slithering up the chair and horror is in my hair. (“AHHHH! GET THE HELL OUT OF MY HAIR!“)

In total, I’m feeling horrific and want to channel that energy into a timely month-long creative project for kicks. That short-term project is Sclocktober Horrors and for the next 31 days I’m going to be doodling up a fresh original nightmare on a daily basis. Then I’ll be uploading them onto the sketch blog and Instagram so you can see them and fear them (or maybe enjoy them). Here’s Day One’s creation – the Were-Boar – as a sample…

Schlocktober Horror no. 1: Were-Boar… #Schlocktober

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More will follow, and some of them will be terrible and some of them will be more-than-terrible but the point is to work at a specific daily creative challenge and have fun getting in the horror mood ahead of Halloween. The spirit is ‘quick, craptastic, schlocky as hell with a stoopid, gleeful, grueful grin‘. I hope you like them and, hey, Happy October! Here’s to fantastic nightmares…