“One Buck Horror Vol. 1” – Review

Review By HorrorCrone

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We here at Totally Horror were presented with a delightfully frightful collection of short stories under the cover of One Buck Horror.  I read Volume 1, and I have to say, I’m looking forward to being surprised and spooked by the next volumes in the series.  The stories are written with easy to follow prose, and they all have young protagonists, but this is where the similarities among the stories end.  The reader is taken on a fascinatingly scary journey from freaky houses to haunted cornfields, and introduced to characters who seem familiar but are oddly sinister or outright terrifying.  I was enthralled and completely creeped out by turns, sometimes too filled with dread to turn the page and yet too spellbound to stop.

“Jenny’s House,” by Ada Hoffmann, the ideal choice to start the storytelling, initially seemed to be an innocent fable told from the point of view of a young child.  But the tale immediately turned darker with a frightening end that left me rather surprised and alarmed for Jenny and her family, as the author deftly left the true end of the story up to the reader.   “A Lullaby for Caliban,” by Mark Onspaugh is a shockingly tender story which literally left me shaking in reaction, as fun and games for a group of teens leads to a terrifying new reality.  This story is highly recommended, and worth the price of the book on its own.  “The Last Nephew,” by Elizabeth Twist really took me down to the depths of psychological horror, and got under my skin.  The “oogie” factor on this one is not to be missed.  It is a truly frightening, awesome horror.  “The Cornfield,” by Mike Trier is clearly written by a master storyteller: the way in which we are slowly let into this young man’s horror is amazing.  The writing left me breathless and devastated right to the final word.  And, the final story in the book, “The Ginger Men,” by Julie Jansen was a unique take on an old horrifying story, and again, told from the point of view of a teen.

What makes One Buck Horror Volume 1 work so well is the fact that the stories are told from the vantage point of young people who take the reader with them as they make horrifying discoveries and deal with fantastic situations.  Many times throughout the book, I found myself wondering how I would deal with the issues they faced, and if I would have the same level of success.  It’s a question I’m glad I don’t have to answer.  For only 99 cents, be sure and pick up One Buck Horror Volume 1 for a creepy, scary, terrifying good time.

Thanks for reading! Be sure to follow HorrorCone on Twitter @horrorcroneth! Also, be sure subscribe to “Totally Horror” to know when we release a new post!

Big Fish Games’ “Haunted Halls: Fears From Childhood” Review

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I had the fearsome pleasure of playing the Big Fish Games “Haunted Halls: Fears From Childhood” with Horrorcrone. This game centers on evil Dr. Blackmore and his evil experiments with stealing children’s fears through a mechanical mirror of some sort. The graphics were awesome! Especially in the game’s introduction. In the beginning of the game after you press “Play” (if you don’t skip it) this very well drawn animation with amazing graphics is shown. One thing that was great from the intro was a normal teddy bear suddenly glares up at you with its sharp and threatening teeth! Horrorcrone and I were not at all expecting that!

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Your task is to save several children from their fears. For instance, one child’s fear is wolves. Once you save him from the wolf, his fear of wolves is no more! Through puzzles and hidden-object games, you succeed in your goal. But it’s not so easy! There are many obstacles you must face to reach your goal. The storyline was not over complex, fast-moving, and engaging. However, we found the ending rather abrupt! We were left wanting more. No outro, no back story of Dr. Blackmore,it just returned back to the main screen! But overall, this game was very fun and interesting. We rated it a good 6 out of 10.

Thanks for reading, you ghoulies and ghoulettes! Follow me on Twitter @rhfang! Check out Big Fish Games, and play! Also, subscribe to “Totally Horror” to know when we release a new post!

“Eyes To See” Review

by Horror Crone

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I had the fearsome pleasure of reading Eyes To See, the first installment of the Jeremiah Hunt Chronicles.  The cover art was tempting, and the first few pages snatched me into the story.  The protagonist, Jeremiah Hunt, exhausted by the vain search for his missing daughter, finds himself enmeshed in an occult underworld that exists within our own, complete with engrossing characters and truly frightening monsters.  Not since the work of Charles de Lint have I read such amazing urban fantasy, but with a far darker cast than de Lint’s and true chilling mystery at its core.  The resolution of the story was very satisfying, and I truly grieved turning the last page.  This is the first book I have read by Joseph Nassise and it has left me hungry for more.

The author has a wonderful website http://josephnassise.com/ where you can learn about his books, appearances, and upcoming events.  This is definitely an author to watch in the world of urban fantasy.  Go out and grab or download a copy of Eyes To See; you won’t be disappointed!

Follow Horror Crone on Twitter @horrorcrone!

The Shadow At the End of the Hall

by: Horror Crone

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“Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there wondering, fearing,
Doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before….”

The Raven, Edgar Allen Poe

I was started on my lifelong love of horror fiction, poetry, and the occult by my Father, who used to read Edgar Allen Poe to me when I was very tiny.  The musical cadences of the words, the fierce dynamism of the rhymes, and the rise and fall of my Father’s voice were mesmerizing to me, even though I didn’t understand the import of the words.  As I got older and faced nightly the terror of being alone in my bedroom, I understood too well what peering deeply into the darkness, wondering and fearing meant.

What child doesn’t confront at some time in their young development, the irrational fear of the Thing Under the Bed or the Unknowable in the Closet?  For my sister and I, our frightening companion was the Shadow at the End of the Hall.  The apparition made itself known to us shortly after we moved into our new house when I was 8 and my sister was 10.  In the beginning, it was no more than a feeling – a certainty of a presence, the prickly tingling sensation that we were being watched.  Shortly thereafter, the amorphous feeling resolved itself into an indistinct darkness that simply was.  The Shadow at the End of the Hall never moved, never shimmered.  It was just there once the ambient light in the hall was low.

My sister and I remained in a constant state of fear.  We tried to convince ourselves we were mistaken.  We knew our proclivities and, by that time, well developed love of the occult – clearly this was merely a manifestation of our over-active imaginations.   We spoke of the Shadow in whispers, terrified and thrilled by turns, wondering what this thing was which had decided to live with us and watch us.  The Shadow’s manifestation always felt just on the verge of speech.  We dreaded what it might say.

One truth was inescapable: The Shadow at the End of the Hall ensured there were no terrors in our bedrooms.  Once my sister and I realized that the presence didn’t move and didn’t communicate, we were able to breathe in our rooms and sleep in the relative surety that we wouldn’t awake to something leaning over our beds.  In many ways, the Shadow at the End of the Hall became a familiar, albeit creepy guest in our young adolescence.  It was never ambulatory, it never shifted, and though it always felt immediate and somehow insistent.  Rather like an incapacitated older relative who is desperate to say something, but unable.  And soon, we realized that all presences have very distinct personalities, and are not all so demur.

How To Make A Good Scary Story

article by: Horror Crone

                                                                                                                          

It’s October. You know, the month where you go in a creepy pitch black room and tell horrifying stories! What are the elements of a good horror story?  When do you know you are completely submerged into a story so deeply that an unexpected sound makes you jump in surprise?  For me, I have to say that there are two parts that meld to make a really good horror: a well-woven tale and a fully committed reader.  Without both of these elements, the horror falls flat.

Of course the story has to be well-written.  It has to have a believable plot, realistic action scenes, reasonably well drawn characters, and a considerably well-imagined spooky setting or happening.  But the reader also has to agree to be sucked into the story, sympathetic to the characters, and willing to be taken on a potentially wild ride.  Without the reader’s bargain to take the horror story on its own terms, the story will seem hollow and boring.

The first truly creepy, fantastically frightening story I ever read was the likely named “Ghost Story,” by Peter Straub.  I was about 12 at the time, and the mature themes of the book notwithstanding, the story scared the bejesus out of me.  I was so frightened at some parts of the book that I found myself trembling with shock and terror, too horrified to turn the page, and yet too engrossed not to.  I dreamt for a full week about that book – dreams that I can recall to this day.  Straub remains a very eloquent writer of psychological horror, but I have never felt more delightfully totally terrified by a book since.  And I loved every minute of it.

What stories have scared you lately?

Thanks for reading! Follow me on Twitter @horrorcroneth! Also, be sure to subscribe to “Totally Horror”!

Horror… Sweet, Horror

by: Horror Crone

The reason all things supernatural are irresistible to many is because every day we live side by side with the possibility of a unique happening, a haunting, or a visitation.   Regardless of whether you entertain the notion of parallel universes, interpenetrating dimensions, life after death, reincarnation, religious principles, psychic phenomenon, heaven and hell, monsters and demons, angles and fairies, sentient life beyond the stars, or simple incomprehensible occurrences, there is always the chance that THE OTHERNESS will brush up against you and refuse to be denied.

You sit alone studying in a quiet house and suddenly, eerily, you hear the light tap of a footstep on the floor or the soft scrape of a door opening.  You sit up suddenly, feeling the creeping horror of indecision: should you go and investigate, knowing there is no one in the house with you, or should you tell yourself you must have misheard, that your imagination is running away with you.  As you sit debating, the hairs rising on the back of your neck, you hear something whispered, too softly to be understood, and terror courses through you.  You stand up sweating with dread, wondering what will terrify you more: the door to the room opening and seeing nothing in the doorway, or seeing a ghostly specter hovering, its empty gaze starring into you…

You see: irresistible.  As disturbing as the above scenario is, it is still appealing to us.  We wonder how we would handle this same situation and if we would let the terror run away with us.  We all hope that logic would prevail and we would calmly ignore the sounds or confidently stand up, investigate, and get back to our studies.  But could we really silence the small voice in our heads which whimpers in fear when the wind rattles the window panes, footfalls sound on the stairs, and shadows caper and dance just beyond our vision?  What do you think?

Thanks for reading, ghouls and ghouletts! Be sure to follow me on Twitter @HorrorCroneTH! Also subscribe to “Totally Horror” when we release a new post!