Saturday, 11 May 2013

May Monster Madness #1 - Monsters & Me

Being a big fan of monsters and ghosts and ghouls, The May Monster Madness Blog Hop has it all for me ;) This is their second year, but my first.

I thought, since this is my first post in the blog hop, I'd tell you a little bit about myself and why I find monsters are great to watch, read and write. I'm a writer, and I firmly believe my taste in genres is down to my 80's upbringing watching and reading some great horror, sci-fi and fantasy.

I grew up watching the likes of Dr Who, with Daleks and Cybermen and weird creatures made from bubble wrap and green paint that could kill with one swipe of their slime. I hid behind the proverbial cushion and screamed at the right times. I remember distinctly as a small child being terrified by Davros, the creator of the daleks. He is humanoid, but so twisted and devoid of any humanity that the memory of his blind, crinkled face still gives me the shivers!

I was watching Dr Who as a young child, the evils the Doctor battled were my first monsters, safely PG, although they did some of the most dastardly things. I watched and read other sci-fi and fantasy as well as a child: fairy tales; V; Jason and the Argonauts; Invasion of the Body Snatchers had me looking under my bed every night for years! ;P

However, I was in my teens before I graduated to what I define as 'real horror'.  Movies such as Evil Dead, Salem's Lot, Nightmare On Elmstreet and the darkness of books by Stephen King and James Herbert. I've always preferred a good scare, as in ghosts and things going bump in the night to blood and guts and gore, but some of those movies from the 80's impressed me. Evil Dead, especially, which they have just remade, but I have yet to see the remake. The first in the Evil Dead series was produced on a shoestring budget by young men straight out of college and it has its naff acting in places, but it also has a creepiness that gets me every time I watch it. Sam Raimi proves he has the instinct for horror right from the get go, but the scariest bit in the movie for me is where Ash's girlfriend is sitting in the corner, possessed, looking like a demonic doll and she is just giggling, nothing else, just this high-pitched insidious sound. It is a moment straight out of nightmare and is spine-chilling in it's madness.

There was something about those 80's movies that I think has become lost in the over-blown CGI of many lower budget horrors of today. There was an effort to the cinematography that in a lot of movies has been replaced with computer effects. They lost the scare-factor by making the horror too big. However, there are still some good story tellers out there, in my opinion, where the story and talent of the director outclasses the budget. Boo! is one of those movies for me. It's an old fashioned situation horror, featuring, yes, that old favourite, the haunted mental hospital, but it takes the story of a mismatched bunch of people trying to get out of the nightmare to some interesting new levels with some good old fashioned camera work that scares the hell out of me. The camera sweeping past a shadowy figure at the back of the lift still gives me goosebumps :).

So, y'see, I like a good scare along with the best of 'em, but my monsters have to come with a good dose of suspense. I don't like pure slasher movies, there has to be something about monsters to me that is otherworldly: darkness has to be surreal. What do you think about monsters, are there some that you remember from childhood that still scare you?

On another note: I'm an author, and I have dabbled in a few horror stories if you're interested. :)

When Darkness Beckons
This is a two story horror anthology created for All Hallows Read 2012.

Catcher of Souls by Natasha Duncan-Drake (that's me :))
When Miles sets foot inside The King James pub he knows instantly there is a disembodied soul in residence. The question is, is the soul responsible for the deaths that have happened on the site or were they just accidents. It's Miles' job to catch troublesome lost souls, but when danger strikes he might just be too late.

Some Things Are Stranger... by Sophie Duncan
Life is weird enough for Jake being a werewolf on the run from The Pagan Dawn, ruthless hunters determined to wipe out all 'paranormal scum'. His luck runs out when he is ambushed after a Halloween party and, badly injured, he dives into the shadows of an abandoned warehouse with his pursuers on his heels. Yet, Jake discovers that he is not alone and his encounter with a goofy hobo, who talks about the place being haunted, teaches him that all strangeness is relative.

Book of Darkness
An anthology of six short horror stories.

Sleep Of The Damned by Natasha Duncan-Drake
How would you cope if you discovered your bed was haunted?
BFF by Sophie Duncan
New school, new best friend, but Karen discovers that Debbie has dark secrets.
Just One Day by Sophie Duncan
The house was a bargain and Georgie loves it, so she's not going to listen to the strange warning from the estate agent that for one day every year it is haunted.
The Crosses We Bear by Natasha Duncan-Drake
Shitty hotel, shitty team bonding weekend, but Lyle gets more than he bargained for when he removes the cross from above his bed.
Queen Of My World by Sophie Duncan
Alfred doesn't like people very much, but he knows how to use them to get what he wants and he wants Lissy.
Dead Not Dying by Natasha Duncan-Drake
Jo loves her cat, Tigger, but when he comes back from near death, Jo eventually realises that it might actually have been death itself.

Sacrifice of An Angel (The Haward Mysteries #1)
"Harry Potter (with grownups) meets Midsommer Murders with a magical version of C.S.I. thrown in for good measure." - Rob Drake

The body of a beautiful girl dressed in a ceremonial robe is found on a playground roundabout. Her throat has been ripped out and the roundabout has a bad case of perpetual motion. Is it a ritualistic, magical murder or a setup to distract from the real killer?
That is the question that faces twins, Theo and Remy Haward, detectives in the Sorcerous Crimes Task Force (SeCT), when they are called to the scene in the middle of the night. That and who could commit such an act. They must find the answers to these and other questions, all the while ensuring the general public finds out nothing about the magical world that co-exists with their own.
 Armed with their experience, their natural magical abilities and their complimentary instincts, Remy and Theo must identify the victim, follow the evidence and find the killer before anyone else dies.

Death In The Family (Heritage Is Deadly #1)

When coming of age means a taste for blood.

Tom Franklin has never really understood his midnight cravings for red meat, he has merely accepted them. His Harley Street doctor had always diagnosed his symptoms as a protein deficiency, aggravated by stress, particularly the dark dreams that haunt his subconscious. Yet, when his dreams and consequently his symptoms escalate, Tom's parents are forced to reveal the truth: he isn't human. Tom discovers that the nightmarish images of dark places and even darker instincts are in fact repressed memories of his early childhood, and he must face the wild heritage from his birth-father, a ruthless vampire known only as Raxos.

Realising his memories are his only hope of controlling his awakening instincts, Tom returns to, Coombedown, the sleepy, Cornish village in which he was born, unknowing that the night-breed in his veins will lead him into danger.

"Death In The Family" is a young adult, paranormal novel.


  1. I grew up on the 80s horror too, and my Dad used to read us sci-fi classics as bedtime stories. What a great start in life!

    1. That is the best kind of start in life :)

  2. Great question! 80's movies have really scarred me! I think I may have been a little young at the time. I still get a little freaked out when I catch myself humming "One, two, Freddy's after you...". happy hopping! Here's my MMM at Design du Jour.

    1. Nightmare on Elmstreet definitely had something really creepy about it - I must admit, I have never hummed that, though :) Although, I do have a permanent association of Glen Miller with Stephen King's Rose Red.

  3. I'm afraid I don't know Davros and haven't seen "Boo!" but they and your stories and books all sound really creepy!
    New follower, great post! :-)

    1. Thanks :). I liked your post about old horror TV as well.

  4. I remember all the 80's horror classics. Loved them so much they left a legacy of fear-joy in me. :) Great post and hey, you have written so many stories! I've done a few too, one I give away for subscription sign up is a political satire called The Dead Party. I really need to edit several others at some point.

    Shah X

    1. Glad you liked the post. I liked your post on fear and I signed up to your newsletter. :)

  5. I agree with the overuse of (bad) cgi in horror movies nowadays. What ever happened to The Great Scare?
    Always delighted to get a good horror movie tip (Boo!) - but then I saw that it only received 4,3 on

    1. Boo! is probably on most people's mediocre list, it doesn't have a lot of famous actors and the acting is not fabulous, but I think the cinematography makes up for that.

  6. I could not get enough of horror movies in the 80's & 90's. They were my go to every weekend, the more obscure and ridiculous the better. The CGI did get way out of hand, I agree!

    1. In the 90's I and my sis made a collection of vampire movies and boy did we get some truly crap movies (along with some obscure real gems as well)! :)

  7. I love the title of this post, it sounds like a romance ;-)

  8. I can see from your post that I've missed so many, many great mosnters over the years!
    Thanks so much for stopping by my MMM'S Carmen Jenner Author and Book Me! I followed you back and I'm looking forward to your posts throughout the week!
    Happy Hopping! =D

    1. Glad to have found your blogs too :) I've learnt about a few monsters I should be looking up as well from other posts.

  9. A girl after my own heart! I, too, am a child of the 80's and big fan of all those movies (though I've never seen Boo!)

    1. I am coming to the conclusion that not many people have seen Boo! - it may just be me who likes it ;P

      Yay to the 80's! :D

  10. Davros and the Daleks have always been Villains that we enjoy....

    1. Terry Nation did rather well when he came up with them :)


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