The members of the League of Tana Tea Drinkers dig six feet deep to uncover their favorite novels for your edification pleasure and horrific delight.
...A couple days ago I finished rereading Stephen King's The Stand for the fourth time, I think. If it's not his best book it's in the top two, and it has the added bonus of boasting the best film adaptation of any of King's works. That's not to say that the TV miniseries of The Stand is better than Stanley Kubrick's The Shining, of course, just that it's a better adaptation.
Cinema Suicide stalks zombies in World War Z!
...World War Z takes the zombie setting and presents it as though it’s a retrospective piece of nonfiction. It takes place an unspecified number of years after a zombie plague outbreak greatly reduces the world population and is then brought under control. While it’s certainly a pulpy read and presented in a series of interviews with fictional survivors, it goes at the setting from the perspective of an author who studied at the same school of the living dead that I did.
Horror's Not Dead enjoys a chilling summer night in Summer of Night!
...There is an unexpected advantage to being my age. I’ve been around, sure, but there is still so much outside my footprint. I’ve got feelers out everywhere, normally yielding at least a geographical plotting of everything in the arena even if I never take he/she/it one on one, but from time to time something I had no inkling even existed blindsides my radar and when that happens I feel like Jed Clampett. A month ago I had never heard of Dan Simmons. After having finished his early ’90s novel SUMMER OF NIGHT, I can declare full bore that I am now seeking out every syllable the man has ever put his name on.
Lost Higway finds The Drive-In, a B-movie with blood-topped popcorn, made in Texas!
...I've always had a fascination with the drive-in culture and mythos. Those times of watching a great b-movie out under the stars and making that long walk to the snack shop for that buttery snack are some of my best teenage memories. I've gathered quite a few books about their history so a few years back when I ran across a novel with the "Drive-in" in it's title, I had to give it read.
It's described as a living B-movie where the patrons of a drive-in become characters in a b-movie and are being directed by some malevolent alien forces. That sounded like fun campy storytelling to me and even it's book cover suggested a sort of "Hitchhiker's Guide" silliness. Don't be fooled. This book is dark, twisted and bleak Blood cults, cannibalism and the worse of humanity take root as societal norms break down and the horrifying popcorn king begins it's reign of terror. Lansdale's descriptive storytelling and compelling characters made it's somber outlook on society all that more visceral to me. I found myself more trying to endure it's twisted story than be entertained by it. I even had to take a break and watch a sitcom just to have a warm fuzzy feeling again. Retroman Steve says check it out, but you'll likely never look at drive-in popcorn the same way again.
Fascination With Fear tells us a Ghost Story!
...When I was quite young, I was busy voraciously reading Stephen King when I happened upon this book at the book store and thought it looked right up my alley.
Ghost Story [by Peter Straub] is the slowly unwinding tale of a group of elderly men who have grown up together in a bucolic upstate New York town, and who keep themselves busy by getting together frequently to exchange frightening stories. They call themselves 'The Chowder Society' and they have a secret from their youth that is the basis of the supernatural horror that crawls under your skin while reading this book.
When the men were young, they were enamored with a young woman names Eva Galli. They spent all their time with her, until one fateful night, she is accidentally hit on the head. Believing her dead, they panic - no one wants to ruin their bright future, so they stuff her in a car and send it into the lake. Unfortunately, their medical knowledge is not top notch, and as the car is sinking they see something so terrifying they are scarred for life, each of them. Eva, at the rear window of the car, is not dead. Her bizarre grin is in full view as the car sinks out of sight.
Many years later, Eva re-surfaces as Alma, and when one of the men dies of fright, his fellow accomplice's trepidation turns into intense fear as each man struggles to defeat the evil. To tell more would ruin the satisfaction someone could get from reading this story for the first time. I know when I did, it was something that I won't forget.