Posts Tagged ‘Cosmic Horror’

7 of my Top Cosmic Horror Movies

Just in time for Halloween! My top cosmic horror films!

What does make a movie Cosmic Horror (aka Lovecraftian Horror)?  Wikipedia writes that “the hallmark of Lovecraft’s work was the sense that ordinary life was a thin shell over a reality which was so alien and abstract in comparison that merely contemplating it would damage the sanity of the ordinary person.” and also“The philosophy of cosmicism states that there is no recognizable divine presence, such as a god, in the universe, and that humans are particularly insignificant in the larger scheme of intergalactic existence, and perhaps are just a small species projecting their own mental idolatries onto the vast cosmos. This also suggests that the majority of undiscerning humanity are creatures with the relative significance of insects and plants, when compared to the universe.”

I put together this movie list with those things in mind. I also tried to think about films I have seen more than once and/or I wouldn’t mind watching again. My list is in alphabetical order, because if it is on this list, I loved the film.


61jpx9swq6l-_ac_ul320_sr260320_Absentia
Tricia’s (played by Courtney Bell) husband has been missing for seven years. Her younger sister Callie (played by Catherine Parkercomes to live with her as the pressure mounts to finally declare him ‘dead in absentia.’ As Tricia sifts through the wreckage and tries to move on with her life, Callie finds herself drawn to an ominous tunnel near the house. As she begins to link it to other mysterious disappearances, she comes to the realization that his presumed death might be anything but ‘natural.’ Soon it becomes clear that the ghostly force at work in the tunnel might have set its sights on Callie and Tricia too.

I love this movie because the relationship–both as solid support for each other, but at times tense–between the two sisters.  Both women have pasts. Both women have made mistakes. Tricia is pregnant with the child of the detective who followed her husband’s case.  The tension throughout this movie is so thick at times the horror aspects feel like relief. 

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A rambunctious group of five college friends Kristen ConnollyChris HemsworthAnna HutchisonFran Kranz, and Jesse Williams  steal away for a weekend of debauchery in an isolated country cabin, only to be attacked by horrific supernatural creatures in a night of endless terror and bloodshed. Sound familiar? Just wait. As the teens begin to exhibit standard horror movie behavior, a group of technicians in a control room are scrutinizing, and sometimes even controlling, every move the terrified kids make! With their efforts continually thwarted by the all powerful eye in the sky, do they have any chance of escape.

 If people haven’t seen this film, I don’t want to say to much, because part of the fun of this film is the surprises. This is probably the funniest film on this list. Following two seperate and intertwining storylines, the film makes fun of horror tropes: the girl who drops the knife for example. So five college students go to the cabin in the woods. When the cellar door swings open, they find a pile of old curios. Each one a little creepier. Then they choose… 

81bs8iq3bel-_sy445_Cthulhu:

A Seattle history professor (Jason Cottle) drawn back to his estranged family on the Oregon coast to execute his late mother’s estate, is reaquainted with his best friend from childhood, with whom he has a long-awaited tryst. Caught in an accelerating series of events, he discovers aspects of his father’s New Age cult which take on a dangerous and apocalyptic significance.

This is the most lovecraftian on my list as it follows one of the Lovecraft’s stories. This film starts off showing the mundane life of Russell Marsh who is a single gay man in Seattle and then has a slow build.  Once the world has twisted, the danger feels completely real. It is visceral and yet mysterious. 

 

91xxxhrskgl-_sx342_Event Horizon:

A pioneering research spacecraft mysteriously vanished, without a trace, on its maiden voyage. Seven years later, a weak, persistent signal from the long-missing craft prompts a rescue team, headed by Captain Miller  (Laurence Fishburne) to find and salvage the EVENT HORIZON. Accompanying him is his crew (including Kathleen QuinlanRichard T. Jones) and the designer of the ship, Dr. Weir (Sam Neill)

 Peeling back layers of science fiction, we witness to flat out horror. The film forces you to witness the horror of a woman’s sucicide because her husband loved his ship more than her. The horror of a mother being called away from her sick child. And a brilliant man descending into madness.

I admit there are some continuity issues such as Miller commenting on how the ship is a “deep freeze” and how there are ice crystals everywhere. Then a water bottle floats around with liquid sloshing inside it. But this is a tense and sinister movie that gets more twisted with every passing minute.

41dmwqtugrl-_ac_us160_In the Mouth of Madness: Insurance investigator John Trent (Sam Neill) is sent to investigate horror writer Sutter Cane’s (Jürgen Prochnowmysterious disappearance.

He and Cane’s editor Julie Carmen end up in the sleepy little East Coast town of Hobb’s End. The fact that this town exists as a figment of Cane’s twisted imagination is only the beginning of Trent’s problems.

Another film that Sam Neill stars in. This starts almost as a film Noir with its dark lighting and hardbitten investigator, but we quickly start to see things going wrong. People changing. And hey we get to watch Sam Neill go crazy in a brand new way this time! 

Mr. Jones: A young married couple trying to create a nature documentary rents a house in the woods and realizes a reclusive and strange artist is also there.

61funkskr5l-_ac_us160_During the film I felt I was sensing a memory of a short story that I heard on Pseudopod a long time ago.(Sorry, I wish I could remember the title or author!) There is very little gore, just lots of weird imagery. Only disappointment is the film’s lighting is very dark and sometimes the scenes were hard to see. Is it scary? I can’t even answer that. I will say it is tense and suspenseful. 

91zdzgy3mal-_sx342_Prince of Darkness:

A group of graduate students (including Lisa Blount,Dennis DunJameson Parker scientists (including Peter Jason and Victor Wong), and a priest (played by Donald Pleasence) uncover an ancient canister in an abandoned church, but when they open it, they inadvertently unleash a strange liquid. As the liquid turns their co-workers into zombies, the remaining members realize they have released the most unspeakable horror of them all. Terror mounts as the team must fight to save the world from a devilish fury that has been contained for over seven million years.

Though many people won’t agree with me, this is my favorite John Carpenter film. Dennis Dun has some of the best lines as the grad student who is missing his weekend plans unwillingly. His performance as Walter makes me smile. It asks questions about the nature of religion and god/anti-god. It delves into quantum physics. Fianlly, for an 80’s movie it has a diverse cast (Which unfortunately you can’t see from the bluray cover image) –and everyone is freaking scientist or grad student! No token characters. We know enough about each character to care about them as they try to stop the end of the world.  Even though I’ve seen this movie at least twenty times, I still get excited about the climax. 

51c5b9urxxl-_sy445_The Shrine:

After a young American backpacker vanishes in Europe, three journalists (Aaron Ashmore,  Cindy Sampson,  Meghan Heffern) trace his disappearance to a mysterious Polish village. They travel there hoping to get the story, but instead find a grotesque, fog-shrouded shrine and hostile locals hell-bent on serving up for their next ritualistic sacrifice.

This film has some horrific and gory imagery that made me want to clench my eyes shut. Due to the twist in the plot, some folks find this film is not as rewatchable. But I loved the beauty of the cinematography, the misty mood of  the location, and the acting was solid. 

 

 

51n74elsdel-_sy445_Yellow Brick Road:

In the fall of 1940, the entire population of Friar, NH abandoned their homes and walked up an ancient trail, never to be seen alive again. Their fates have remained a mystery for over 70 years; until a team of researchers (including Cassidy Freeman Clark Freeman Anessa Ramsey) discover the trailhead and attempt to track the path the doomed citizens of Friar took.

This is the film that I think is the scariest on my list. (Maybe its because I wander the wilds myself so often.) It is a creepy and unsettling film about the descent into madness as the team of researchers go down the Yellow Brick Road.  Each member is effected differently, but all lose themselves. 

 

So that’s my seven, do you agree or disagree? What’s your favorite cosmic horror films?

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The Grove Roadtrip

I’ve always been open about how I love to make setting so real that people wonder if it’s a real place. That it is almost a character all its own. One way I do that is through travel and experiencing the pulse of a place. So here are some of the places I visited which inspired Sitka’s Quay from north to south.

Washington:

Deception Pass State Park, Whidbey Island: I have been here many times before. This park has one of my favorite winter hikes. And this photo of Rosario Bay was taken on a bright winter day.

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Kalaloch Beaches, Highway 101

I actually went here twice. Once with my hiking buddy, Evan, and the dogs n October 2015 and once with just the dogs in 2016. The first time it was raining, the second time it was so misty it was easy to imagine that I was the only person on Earth. Each beach is a little different, and they are broken up by wooded headlands.

Beach 4

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Beach 3 Stone Arch

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Beach 2 Tree of Life

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Beach 1 Burl Forest

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Quinault and The World’s Largest Sitka Spruce: I drove out here on the same day I went to Beach 1-3.

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Ape Caves, Mt Saint Helens (Off I-5) I visited this a number of years ago with my sister, but I recently went again with my friend Andrea.

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Cape Disappointment State Park

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The town of Illwaco. Notice how cute these painted buildings are, but most of them were empty.

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Oregon

Ecola State Park: I had an appointment in Vancouver and figured I’d use my free time to drive to the coast.  I think Rosie knew I went to the beach without her. She was not happy.

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Cannon BeachIMG_0407.jpg

Hug Point State Park

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So there’s photos of places that inspired The Grove, I hope you like them.


About The Grove:
The Grove Cover_blogsizedGenre: Contemporary Dark Fantasy
340 Pages
Paperback ISBN: 9780980145908
Ebook: ISBN:9780980145922

Sitka’s Quay appears to be like every other coastal tourist town on Highway 101, but lurking below its southern grove of ancient spruce are three sleeping primordial gods. The Keeper, Dayla Fischer, must remain in control of her magical abilities or fall into sickening madness, but lives a relatively quiet life with her husband, Oliver. That is, until the delusional, but charming Jonah Leifson comes to town with a plan to awaken the Three. Soon, children begin disappearing. With powerful suggestion spells and mind reading abilities, Jonah wins over other sorcerers, meth users, the police, and eventually even her husband. Though no one believes her and she doubts her own sanity, she must stop Jonah, before he wakes the Three and brings about the end of the world.

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Grove-Elizabeth-Guizzetti/dp/0980145902/
Barnes&Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-grove-elizabeth-guizzetti/1124461156?ean=2940156779864
IBooks: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/the-grove/id1153788999?ls=1&mt=11
Kobo: https://store.kobobooks.com/en-us/ebook/the-grove-9

Reviews for The Grove:
“Chaos, murder, sacrifice: it was a delicious read, and I devoured it all.” Dan Thompson, The Black Petal

“If you’re a fan of well-written, fast-paced, fantasy thrillers that trot into the neighborhood of horror, you’ll love it…” Fia Essen, Ariel

“Guizzetti’s delusional and magically gifted anti-hero is truly terrifying…” Janice Clark, Healer’s Apprentice Series

A List of Google Searches for The Grove

I have blogged about how I believe in directed research rather than general research so I don’t fall down a rabbit hole of information. If you are curious to see how much research I do for a novel, today I will post my  Google (and yes I do mean Google) Searches I did for The Grove and tomorrow I will post the bibliography.

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On the trail at Cape Disappointment State Park, Washington Coast.

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Sitka Spruce at Ecola State Park, Oregon Coast

    • Sitka Spruce Lifespan
    • Photo of Sitka Spruce Cone
    • Beaches of Oregon
    • Oregon Beach Plants
    • Beach Towns of Oregon
    • Map of Oregon
    • Taxidermy
    • Gaff History
    • Wicca
    • Wiccan love potions
    • Wiccan sex magic
    • Chinook Jargon / Chinuk Wawa / Chinook Jargon Lessons Seattle
    • Indigenous Faiths
    • Siletz Reservation
    • Siletz Language / Siletz Talking Dictionary / Siletz Dee Ni sentences and new words
    • Yiddish words for Old Woman (polite)
    • Squirrels of the Oregon Coast
    • Paranormal versus Horror Genres
    • Define Cosmic Horror
    • Sasquatch
    • Snallygaster
    • Cryptozoology
    • Legendary Animals
    • Aston Martin convertible
    • Sign for Rip Tides/ Ocean

As you can see some of the searches are for specific or general facts for the book, others are me trying to figure out what genre the novel actually falls under. Of course, some facts were found and then deleted such as the Yiddish words for Old Woman.

Writers, what have been some of your search topics?

If these topics excite your reading buds, consider checking out The Grove on E-book or Paperback.

 

 

The novel fairy visited last night and now The Grove is here!!!

Full of anticipation I went to bed last night…and lo and behold… my next dark fantasy novel, The Grove is now live. The novel is available at Amazon for the Kindle and Paperback, Barnes&Noble for the NookKobo, and IBooks.

The Grove Cover_blogsized

“Chaos, murder, sacrifice: it was a delicious read, and I devoured it all.” Dan Thompson, The Black Petal

“If you’re a fan of well-written, fast-paced, fantasy thrillers that trot into the neighborhood of horror, you’ll love it…” Fia Essen, Ariel

“Guizzetti’s delusional and magically gifted anti-hero is truly terrifying…” Janice Clark, Healer’s Apprentice Series

“I was blown away…” Madison Keller, The Dragon Tax Saga

 

About The Grove:
Sitka’s Quay appears to be like every other coastal tourist town on Highway 101, but lurking below its southern grove of ancient spruce are three sleeping primordial gods. For an eon, their bloodthirsty dreams have radiated into the ground and restore anyone who walks within the Grove. The Keeper, Dayla Fischer, must remain in control of her magical abilities or fall into sickening madness, but lives a relatively quiet life with her husband, Oliver, their cat and garden gnome roommates.

That is, until the delusional, but charming Jonah Leifson comes to town with a plan to awaken the Three. Soon, children begin disappearing. With powerful suggestion spells and mind reading abilities, Jonah wins over other sorcerers, meth users, the police, and eventually even her husband. Though no one believes her and she doubts her own sanity, she must stop Jonah, before he wakes the Three and brings about the end of the world.

340 Pages, Published by ZB Publications (September 13, 2016)

E-Book ISBN: 978-0-9801459-2-2
Paperback ISBN: 978-0-9801459-0-8

As I said above, the book is available at Amazon for the Kindle and Paperback, Barnes&Noble for the NookKobo, and IBooks

Want to know more? Check out a preview at ZB Publications? Or watch this video of me reading the first scene!

A hiker creates a fake forest

The Grove Cover_blogsizedOn Friday, I talked about how I built a fake town called Sitka’s Quay for The Grove. Today, I’ll discuss how I created the Grove for The Grove. As I said, one of my first decisions, I make when writing a story is if I should make up the setting, or set it in a real place. But there are also a few different things to consider if one is building a place where no humans live than creating a town.

As many of my fans and friends know, I am an avid hiker so I’ve been to many trails near the Ocean, in the mountains and forests. I have lived in the Pacific Northwest my entire life and I have done some volunteer trail maintenance. Trails are designed both to work with the environment, is dependent upon who owns the land and how that landowner wants the land to be used and with the people who uses them. Since when I am writing I want it to feel real…

When I envisioned the Grove, I wanted most of the trails to be family strolls, not hard wilderness hiking. The reason? It’s logical.

The landscape was inspired by Hug’s Point State Park, CapeLookout State Park, Ecola State Park, OR and Kalaloch Beaches, WA (which I’ll go into more depth in an upcoming blog post about inspirations.)

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Kalaloch Beach 4 Trail

Sitka’s Quay is two miles north, so its not going to be wilderness hiking. Like many places on the Oregon Coast its right off of Highway 101. Part of the Grove, is covered by the brackish Lake Elsie which would expand during the winter and contract during summer. This area would be covered in boardwalk.  The main trails basically circles the forest and then leads down to a beach. It would be fairly accessible. People would walk their dogs there or go fishing in the lake.

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Tycho surrounded by ferns, salal and blackberries

Also though there is some hills and cliff faces off the beach, realistically this would only be a couple 100 feet over sea level even at the highest point

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Trees would be Sitka Spruce, Douglas Fir, and Western Cedars. Smaller plants would include Oregon grape, thickets of salal, wild lilies, and ferns.

I describe it thus in Chapter 1, Scene 3:

blogteaserforest.jpg

That being said, not everything remained the same, I originally named the Grove, Sutter’s Grove for Sutter Kane the writer whose work opened doors to another dimension from In the Mouth of Madness. However in the dialogue everyone called it “the Grove” and I ended up removing the three times it was referred to Sutter’s Grove in narration by draft 3.

So that’s how I created the Grove within The Grove. Let’s talk worldbuilding! What are some of your favorite things to create? How often do you change things?
The Grove is available for Kindle at Amazon and it will be coming on September 13th in Paperback and everywhere else.

Limited Release for The Grove Ebook

I can’t believe it. How in the world is it already July 12th? It’s already time for my new cosmic horror novel, The Grove‘s ebook limited release.

Basically, people can buy the ebook on Amazon for 2.99 (and I still have review copies available to bloggers!) Otherwise, it won’t be available anywhere else until September 13, 2016.

The Grove Cover_blogsized.jpgSitka’s Quay appears to be like every other coastal tourist town on Highway 101, but lurking below its southern grove of ancient spruce are three sleeping primordial gods. For an eon, their bloodthirsty dreams have radiated into the ground and restore anyone who walks within the Grove. The Keeper, Dayla Fischer, must remain in control of her magical abilities or fall into sickening madness, but lives a relatively quiet life with her husband, Oliver, their cat and garden gnome roommates. 
That is, until the delusional, but charming Jonah Leifson comes to town with a plan to awaken the Three. Soon, children begin disappearing. With powerful suggestion spells and mind reading abilities, Jonah wins over other sorcerers, meth users, the police, and eventually even her husband. Though no one believes her and she doubts her own sanity, she must stop Jonah, before he wakes the Three and brings about the end of the world. 

 

Inspiration for The Grove

In all of my career, I’ve written a heavy story and then a light story. First Faminelands, then I took a break with Out For Souls and Cookies.

Confused which The Grove is? It might be about a sorcerer trying to stop a guy who wants to wake up some bloody-thirsty Gods in order to change the world, but it is a light story. The dystopian The Light Side of the Moon was heavy. (And of course, many of you may remember, I had to write it twice ;)) Once The Light Side of the Moon was accepted at 48Fourteen, I started The Grove.

First of all, I wanted to write a cosmic horror story or at least an end of the world, bloodthirsty Gods kind of story. Cosmic Horror is defined as a subgenre of horror fiction that emphasizes the cosmic horror of the unknown (and in some cases, unknowable) more than gore or other elements of shock, though these may still be present. I was interested in cosmic indifference. While questioning my own feelings of alienation as an artist and author, I decided I would explore the alienation of sorcerers. They would have to hide their gifts or face being diagnosed with mental issues. Then I decided the cost of magic was the ability to function within general society.

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A dark forest on the East Side of Cougar Mountain

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A starfish chilling on Vashon Island

My love of nature and hiking slid into the work. Then I added the gnomes and a few science fiction issues with the multiple universe theory. Then the Oddities Museum and the fake town Sitka’s Quay was inspired by visiting small towns during my library appearances during the summers. I had been to the coast a few times as an adult and remembered a visit to Ocean City, WA.  Originally, I figured I’d place Sitka’s Quay in my home state of Washington, but the Oregon Coast has more sandy beaches than WA and Highway 101 follows the coast closer. While I visit Seattle and Puget Sounds beaches quite regularly,  I visited the coast, both in Washington and Oregon. The smell of the Pacific Northwest Beaches inspired me. I felt constant noise of the pounding ocean, the wind on my cheeks and salt on my lips.  I knew I wanted to set the book and Sitka’s Quay would be a fake town.

At first it went slow, because I was working on it between edits, but once The Light Side of the Moon was published, I slammed out this book. It took me three months to get it to my beta readers.

Another three months for rewrites. Five months total for editing. Now its getting closer to be market- ready

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Discovery Park, Seattle. And Yes that’s a bald eagle on the lighthouse.

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