Friday, August 30, 2013

Quite A Conundrum is just that...and it will shock!

Surprise, shock, revelation, alarming, staggering and disturbing are but a few of the many words to describe the independent film Quite A Conundrum. Directed by Thomas L. Phillips and produced by Golden Lion Films and T-Street Productions, this dark thriller is in no way, shape, or form predictable. For what begins as a comedy quickly proceeds into a misnomer, begging and daring amateur Sherlock Holmes’ to test their wits. However, not everything is elementary my dear Watson.
Mimi (Sasha Ramos)
Mimi (Sasha Ramos) is a promiscuous college student forced to live at home by her wealthy attorney father if she wants her schooling costs covered. While this may sound like overtones of something horrendous, it couldn’t be farther from the truth, for the home is a twenty something’s dream complete with pool and parents often gone.
Tabatha (Erin Cline)
Tabitha (Erin Cline) is her vivacious best friend who is just as licentious, maybe even more so, and flaunts it flawlessly. While she has a softer side, it will take an unimaginable horror for it to emerge.
Kylene (Emily Rogers)
Kylene (Emily Rogers) is Mimi’s little sister who, although still in high school, seems to harbor a more mature mentality, yet still runs rampant with typical teenage gossip. She’s one of the few that knows exactly what she wants…and it’s her deepest secret.
Harris (Anthony Rutowicz)
Harris (Anthony Rutowicz) is Kylene’s conflicted nerd-type loser boyfriend, caught somewhere between obeying his overly zealous religious mother Thelma (Catherine Trail) and desperately wanting to experience a typical eighties teen movie having scants of nudity and drunkenness.
Thelma (Catherine Trail)

Sean (Chris Greene)
Sean (Chris Greene) is Tabitha’s latest squeeze and holds the very same uninhibited views as she. There is only one thing on his mind and while the girls down at KFC may offer, a guy does have standards.
Dutch (Joe Coffey)
Dutch (Joe Coffey) is a calm and cool, somewhat slick friend of Sean’s…or is he?
Marc (John Lucas)
Marc (John Lucas) is a fifty something, sensitive, passionate man who is extremely overweight, wears an eye patch and is soon to be made partner at Mimi’s father’s firm. He also happens to be carrying on an adulterous tryst with Mimi.
Lola (Julianna Pitt)
Lola (Julianna Pitt) is Marc’s seductive wife who knows of the affair, but appears to not care and would easily file for divorce at a moment’s notice.

The tale begins with Marc, passion hot and tossing out laughable sex talk attempting to turn on a bored and sexually frustrated Mimi. When they’re finished, or rather when he’s finished, she isn’t shy about conveying disappointment, cold heartedly casting him away with a deluge of cruel words that would make even Cruella cringe. It’s over and thus begins an evening like no other; a thrilling ride that would make even Agatha Christie proud; where just when you think you have it all figured out, an abrupt ninety degree turn thrusts you in a completely different direction.
With 21 official selections, 15 nominations and 7 awards, Quite A Conundrum is a perfectly paced 82 minute, tightly edited film that is both engrossing and refreshing at the same time. A welcome rarity that offers both chills and thrills; a film so enthralling and enticing that it can easily rank with and possibly surpass many of Hollywood’s recent big budget endeavors.

It's worth mentioning that my old pal Fester Bones has a new playmate. He said he followed him home. Of course I let him keep him.

Until next time ghouls, when we delve into HorrorscapeS, a Halloween mood setting video that is a must have for any Boo Bash.

And remember, there are creepy things just waiting for you to go to sleep...

Stay Scared,

Friday, August 23, 2013

When bigger rats join the race, you eat them. Right?

Hello ghouls and things that go bump in the night It's been a rather hectic week filled with all sorts of gristle and bloody flesh and yours truly wouldn't have it any other way.  Here's a recap...
First off, beginning last Friday night, my interview with Jackie Chin for her Zombie Palooza show on Ztalk radio went well.

On Saturday, besides Willie reviewing Byzantium for Horror News Net, I was informed that my review of the Glenn Beck and Harriet Parke novel Agenda 21 will be included in an upcoming issue of Suspense Magazine

Coincidentally, this month's issue includes my Interview with a Monster - The Salem Witch File and my annual Halloween tale Trick or Treat may very well grace it’s pages too. I'll keep you abreast.

Sunday I submitted the 25th weekly piece for my Land of Shadow and Substance column at Horror News Net (look for or read other reviews here) and was interviewed by the wonderful gals at Webb Weaver Books for their Blogtalk radio show. By the way, they too are writers and their psychological thrillers Cruelty To Innocents & Collecting Innocents are available. For the third of the series, Avenging Innocents, they are having a competition where the winning character gets killed first. For more information visit here.

Monday I was scanning through my Facebook messages and wouldn’t you know, there was a message from Joops Fragale (The director of the critically acclaimed short film The Guy Knows Everything from cordially inviting me to the 2013 Orlando Film Festival. Of course I’m going...

And that led to Tuesday
which saw me chatting with John Coffey, one of the stars of TGKE. After confirming with director Thomas L. Phillips, it appears that I’ll be reviewing yet another award winning indie flick he is in. This one is from Tstreetfilms and called Quite A Conundrum.

I also spoke with Jeremiah Baumbach at about reviewing his HorrorscapeS party DVD, a collection of shocking and fear filled horror scenes. Great for any boo bash, a screener is on the way and watch for the review right here on Staying Scared.

On Wednesday I received a photo from Kyra Schon signed “They’re coming to get you Thomas.” Kyra was the little girl who used a pointed concrete trowel to gruesomely stab her mother to death in Romero’s classic Night of the Living Dead. It’s now hanging on my wall and one of my prized possessions.

He once said he would never make another zombie flick unless it was
Well, this concept must be absolutely terrifying.
Thursday evening I sent an email to Tom Savini, the Romero protégé, FX master of the macabre and director of the 1990 version of Night of the Living Dead. He is gearing up to make another zombie flick called Tom Savini’s Death Island and is seeking fans’ help in financing in order to keep creative control. If all we dead fans contribute just a little each, you know, maybe a finger or a toe, all this green flesh is certain to add up and afford him the opportunity to give us what is certain to be a gruesome fearfest.
 Did I mention that he’s willing to give away some neat stuff too?
find out more here
He’s currently scouting locations around Florida and since I happen to live here, I boldly requested playing a zombie part. Far cry from a clown I know…but I’ll bet the flesh tastes the same.
Fingers are hacked off and crossed. Mwhahahahahahah
(Update: Received a personal email suggesting to be on the watch for the casting call)

Of course, besides all this, I wrote and submitted the next Land of Shadow & Substance piece, worked on chapter 20 of my novel, put some final touches on two more tales and Willie got his foamy red nose caught in the pages of the new issue of Dark Discoveries.
Dark Discoveries #24

Oh yeah…almost forgot…worked 6 days too. No rest for the wicked…he he…suppose I'll get plenty of sleep when I’m dead…
Wait...I am Dead...What the hell!

And so, here we are at the small hours of Friday morning’s Staying Scared posting. While it’s far too early to tell what the next week will bring, I'm hoping it will be hideously similar.
Be sure to occasionally lurk by Staying Scared for upcoming reviews, news and the occasional tale and maybe even bookmark to get your horror on.

Until next week Ghouls, Goblins and Creepy Things,
Stay Scared,

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Peeking Under the Bed

At first glance of Mike J. Larson’s cover artwork of Under the Bed Vol. 1 No. 12, it appears as nothing more than a pastel vintage nightmare born of sea monkey ads from the back of comic books. But, peer closer fellow Creeps, for deep into this fantastic artwork lies fear and is only the beginning of the trepidation that lurks beneath the surface…

Matthew Nichols’ Waiting for Ezra is a frenzied, gruesome tale of sibling rivalry told in flashbacks by an aged gentleman whose childhood memories are nothing less than horrifying. With shotgun ready, he patiently sits on the porch of his childhood home, watching the backyard lake for an inevitable return. More on this Illinois writer can be found at

Doward Stevens’ Leaves reads like a crime novel as a mob enforcer / hitman, now under the witness protection program, is burdened daily with finding and clearing leaves scattered about the yard. The perplexity of it is that there are no trees nearby.

In Jonathan Woodrow’s dark speculative tale The Wastelands, not all angels are pristine white. Some are simply dismal and joyless…and deviant.

Table for Twelve by Nathaniel Tower is a rather intriguing tale surrounding, as the title suggests, twelve men sitting around a table playing a vicious, forced game of numbers overseen and directed by a mysterious game master named Renald. While this tale will suck in the reader, the ending seemed to be a bit of a letdown. Of course, don’t let this deter you, for the tale is intense. I wanted more and found it at

Phantasmagoria by Grant Gougler takes you on a last carnival ride and it’s not going to be all that much fun. Find Grant at
(Author’s Note: My worse half, the sinful and malicious clown Wee Willie Wicked took a real liking to this piece. I suppose it was the carnival thing.)

Being a more than average fan of Night of the Living Dead, I thoroughly enjoyed the article A Tale of Two Barbra’s - Feminism and Zombie Films (first seen in Zombie Zone News in 2010). This refreshing compare and contrast take on the Barbra role using the Romero 1968 classic and the 1990 Tom Savini remake explores similarities differences in the two, touching on emotion and era differences.

The art showcase features Aaryk Noctivagus’ Cornucopia and includes an in depth interview with the artist where he allows readers to enter his creative mind.

Coincidently, cover artist Michael Larson also adds his flair at the conclusion of each tale and there is a tongue in cheek interview with this most talented, unsettling and eerie influenced artist.

Under the Bed is a monthly e-publication combining literary horror, art, opinion, commentary, interviews and independent film reviews. Often seeking contributors, submissions should be directed to and for more information visit Managing Editor Wednesday Lee Friday gladly accepts questions and/or comments and can be contacted at
Visit their Facebook page at or tweet them @Under_the_bed.

Until next time Ghouls and Goblins and Creepy Things,
Stay Scared

Saturday, August 10, 2013

The Horror of Stress

Most every driver has experienced it and when it occurs, it can send a jolt of terror right down one’s spine. Absolute true horror…

Last Friday started off as usual; get up, write for an hour, take a shower, dress and head off to work. Stopping at the most convenient spot along the way, a large gas station, again nothing appeared unusual as I picked up my mandatory two cans of green tea, a bottle of juice, a banana and a medium coffee. Why so many drinks? My job is rather hot and besides keeping a steady supply of water flowing, the flavors break the monotony. Of course, there are many times when simply wet is a wonderful thing and taste has nothing to do with it, but that’s another story. Regardless, my stock for the day obtained, back to the car I went.

Interstate 95 runs right alongside this station and so I easily turned on the entrance ramp, headed north and set the cruise control for the eight-mile journey ahead of me.

 Flipping over the plastic cover lid on the disposable coffee cup, I took a sip. The robust Columbian flavor meshing with the hazelnut creamer tasted especially well and I took another. No sooner had I done so when the car’s electronic door locks mysteriously clicked up and then back down. Perplexed, I set the cup in the console holder. To say it was odd would be an understatement and a collision of fear and bewilderment filled my head, pondering why something that should never occur while traveling at seventy miles an hour…did.

Not long after, within a mile or so, this occurred again, but this time my cruise control kicked off, the speedometer flat lined and the car appeared to have lost all power. I lifted my foot off the gas pedal and started to pull over when, all of a sudden as if it was some demented practical joke, everything went back to normal. Thoughts of possession entered my mind and the humor of it made me nervously chuckle. And, with everything operating normal, I pushed on.

Lo and behold, wouldn’t you know that a mile before the first of two exits I pass daily, this all happened again, far worse this time; lugging, back to normal, lugging, back to normal and so I pulled over, called my boss to give him the veritable bad news and sat on the side of the road pondering probably needing a tow.

For whatever reason, I turned the key over and the car started right up and ran unfazed. Now, I was really starting to wonder. This wasn’t like, say, a water pump or an alternator, which coincidently being the part-time backyard mechanic, I am able to easily diagnose and fix. These symptoms were completely off the chart…definitely electronic…and most assuredly something that required much more than my standard automotive expertise.

I turned on the hazard lights, did a U-turn at the exit, remained off the edge of the beaten path and gradually worked my way back the way I had come at the tremendous speed of twenty-five miles an hour. All the while the car kept going back and forth, from normal to extreme problem and back. It wasn’t overheating or anything that excessive and so I kept inching along.
Along the way, I pondered where I was going. After all, there was no way I was going to rectify this in my driveway, even if I did have a rather large set of tools.

There are a number of shops around the area and any one of them could have probably fixed this problem, but this one single place kept invading my mind, not because I had experienced with them, but because I had simply chatted with the proprietor a couple of times in passing and he seemed like a rather good fellow; and honest person who just so happened to have recently opened a garage not far from my home.

Now, as most will probably attest, a good mechanic is an absolute in this day and age, and an honest one is even more important. So, when you happen to stumble on one that incorporates both qualities, one has a tendency to become faithful.

Regardless, I was able to drive the car to the shop and for the next fifteen or so minutes, we brainstormed the problem. I don’t mind saying that all the while I was feeling more and more at ease. His knowledge was impressive and although I suspected, regardless of where the work was done, that any bill would be in the neighborhood of an arm and half a leg, I decided to give him a chance, keep the business where it needed to belong…in a small, hometown shop; something that is desperately needed in today’s economy.

The mechanic’s name is Mike Lanahan, but I refer to him as, call it a horror thing if you will, Dr. Mikenstein, and his shop is called Accurate Automotive.

Well, to make a long story short, it was one of my wiser decisions. Dr. Mikenstein was nothing less than meticulous, taking great care of my vehicle. The needed part was something out of the ordinary and while it did take a few days to orchestrate the overall job, he did his best in getting me back on the road in a timely fashion.

Having telephoned a few times prior to work completion, there was only once was Mike was unable to come to the phone and his joyful wife Teri took over the duties, being most helpful. Coincidently, I might add that at the time, according to Teri, Mike was elbow deep in grease, dirt and who knows what else. From experience, I pictured a wrench slipping and sliding around in a hand covered in blackened sludge.

Then came the day when it was all finished. My horror was almost over, all except for the yellow sheet of paper…the bill.

As I glanced over it, reading dollar numbers for parts and labor, I couldn’t help but to smile. It wasn’t what I was expecting; under what he initially quoted and initially I thought it was wrong. Of course, I wasn’t going to argue either and as I reached for my wallet, the dread fluttered away.

So, the moral of the story is this; when, and there will always be a when if you’re an automobile owner, when I need a mechanic, I won’t hesitate nor think twice. It’ll be off to Dr. Mikenstein I’ll be a going.

Friday, August 9, 2013

It's the Zombiepalooza Show

Hiya Ghouls, tonight’s the night I’ll be on Jackie Chin’s ZombiePalooza Show at I have the 9 to 10 pm slot and will be live to answer questions or just talk horror. The call in number is 330-974-1679 and there is a chat board there too. So, creep on by flesh eaters and fear lovers. This should be gruesomely fun…