We have original fiction from John Skipp (“Bringing Out the Demons”) and Sandra McDonald (“The Modern Ladies’ Letter-Writer”), along with reprints by Nancy Holder (“Lady Madonna”) and Charles L. Grant (“When All the Children Call My Name”). We also have Orrin Grey writing the latest installment of our column on horror, “The H Word,” plus author spotlights with our authors, a showcase on our cover artist, and a feature interview with director Josh Boone.
In This Issue: Mar. 2016 (Issue 42)
Be sure to check out the Editorial for all our news, updates, and a run-down of this month’s nightmarish content.
I pull up in front of Stanley’s four-story Los Feliz apartment building at 2:57 ayem Angie and Jack are already out front: Angie pacing, a furious smoke in her hand. Jack smiles thinly, salutes as I block the grade school playground driveway next door (the only available parking left), leaving enough room for the back doors of Jack’s van to load in if need be. “Motherfucker,” I mutter, hitting my blinkers and climbing out.
It’s starting. It’s starting, and it doesn’t even hurt that much. It hurts much less than I thought it would. Not that I mind. I don’t care how much pain I endure for the sake of my baby. I can’t cry out. I can’t make a noise. If they hear, they’ll come. And they’ll destroy us. I haven’t forgotten what happened the first time. I will never forget. Here it comes. The contraction. Oh, oh, shit, it does hurt. How could I have forgotten what it’s like? What did Margaret say? It’s like crapping a watermelon.
That seems to be the litmus test to which horror is most often held. When you get back from the latest movie about ghosts or serial killers, put down your favorite horror novel, or mention a spooky story on social media, it’s the first question that you’re likely to be asked. In our eternal struggle to find the boundaries of this vast and often contradictory territory called horror, I’ve seen more than one writer resort to “it aims to scare you” as a working definition.
Dear Susie: There are customary ways to begin a letter and end it, to address the envelope and set it to post. We have delivered to you (while you slept so prettily, your pale face a serene oval in the moonlight) this polite and improving manual of letters for the Fair Sex. We know you will be grateful. Do be aware that some correspondences may involve vows of fealty, freshly spilled blood, supernatural appeals to divine beings, and sacrifices of unusual scope. A modern lady avoids squeamishness about such matters.
Chris Seaman, born 1993, is a freelance illustrator and artist based in the UK. Heavily influenced by the horror films of the 1950s and ’60s, his work focuses on creating fear and intrigue through storytelling. Using Adobe Photoshop as his program of choice, Seaman creates pieces that are bizarre, macabre, and unsettling in equal measure. “When I work, I like to think about things that would scare me in particular.”
Poe asked the question: Is all that we see or seem but a dream within a dream? No. But I wish it was. And in the meantime, in the waiting . . . another drink, another cigarette—one follows the other like sip and swallow as I look out over the porch to the fence, and the gate. In darkness. In memories. It used to be, this time of year, a season of excitement for me, when my skin tingled and my blood sped its youth—when you knew how much better it felt to go from cold to warm than hot to cool.
One of the biggest surprise hits of 2014 was the cinematic adaptation of John Green’s young adult novel The Fault in Our Stars. With a budget of just twelve million dollars, the film went on to earn over three-hundred million worldwide, and gave its director Josh Boone carte blanche in Hollywood. But what Hollywood didn’t know was that Boone was a lifelong horror fan who was more interested in adapting Stephen King than additional teen romances.