Sunday, November 1, 2015

My Top Ten Horror Movies by Stephen Zimmer, Author of Hellscapes, Volume II & #Giveaway

Welcome to Stephen Zimmer's Hellscapes, Volume II
 Virtual Tour


I'm extremely pleased to have Stephen Zimmer on the blog today.  I've know Stephen in the book world for several years and love working with him.

My Top Ten Horror Movies
by Stephen Zimmer

I have loved the horror genre since I was a kid, both in books and movies.  It just took me awhile before I had something published in the genre, though some of my biggest influences have been horror writers, such as Clive Barker.  So here on the release week of Hellscapes II, I am proud to be at Sapphyria's Book Reviews to share with you my top ten horror movie picks!  And just in time for Halloween weekend too!

Top Ten Horror Films

The Howling
This is the first movie that truly scared me.  The werewolves could change at will, during daytime, and retained a sense of their conscious awareness that they hold in human form.  Makeup effects and the look of the werewolves were fantastic. For the record, I love the full, two-legged wolf look when it comes to werewolves.

A Nightmare on Elm Street
A very intense movie that gets at our most vulnerable place, when we are fast asleep.  This one was a true horror film that is much different in tone than the sequels that came later.  Very atmospheric and doesn't pull punches.  Plus the bonus of it being one of Johnny Depp's first movie appearances!

Dog Soldiers
Just a brilliant werewolf movie with a great cast.  The look of the werewolves, like The Howling, is first-rate.  The use of ballet dancers with the leg gear on the werewolves was simply genius in giving them a flowing kind of movement.  Kevin McKidd, Sean Pertwee and others make for a very robust group of characters.  Intense and brooding, and delivers all the goods.  I think it's the best modern werewolf movie by far.

Deadly Eyes
Probably the most obscure movie on my list here. A fun and often scary movie about giant rats.  Everyone was fair game, from the old man walking through the park after his date to the toddler in the child chair left alone in the kitchen.  That really created an unsettling vibe and the rats, for a lower budget film, were well done!  Creative use of basset hounds in costumes for some of the wider shots too!  Having become a lover of cats later in my path, I have to admit a pang of sympathy for the kitty in the opening sequence running into a rat match more than it could handle.

An American Werewolf in London
Imagine that, another werewolf movie on my list!  Along with the Howling, American Werewolf in London has one of the best transformation scenes.  No CGI here, just organic, skin pulsing, bones cracking and shifting dynamics with first rate Rick Baker makeup FX.  This film is interesting with its fusion of horror with humor, as the horror is very intense horror and the humor is prevalent.  Taking that approach is risky but it worked great in this one. 
The Omen
A really disturbing film on many levels, as it takes place during the childhood of the antichrist, pitting the idea of  the innocence of childhood versus pure evil.  The fanaticism of the acolytes and the lack of awareness of the parents make for some very nice plot dynamics too.

The Exorcist
Another movie that juxtaposes the idea of childhood innocence with pure evil, this one resonates even more with me today after  doing a lot of research in this area, including speaking directly with individuals involved with negative paranormal cases. The Exorcist is one of the most iconic horror films of all time and still holds up in its impact today.

Clive Barker is one of my biggest writing influences and the movie version of Hellraiser delivered beautifully.  Based on the novella "The Hellbound Heart", the movie version  featured a fantastic Doug Bradley as Pinhead and has all of the dark, visceral, and brutal feel of the book.  Great use of audio too with the sound effects during scenes involving Pinhead and the hooked chains.

A movie that carries the feel of an old legend, with a great monster.  It has a strong element of tragedy as in the pursuit of vengeance a grief-stricken father essentially condemns himself, but the folklore vibe, shadowy/dark tone, and relentless hunting atmosphere make for a great horror film.

Fright Night
Like American Werewolf in London, Fright Night fuses horror with humor, though probably tilts a little more to the humorous side than American Werewolf in London did.  However, the vampire effects, especially for the time, are great and I love the scene where Evil Eddie becomes a wolf. A good cast too.

Book Synopsis for Hellscapes, Volume II:

Hellscapes2Cover1200X800Return to the nightmarish, shadowy realms of Hell in the latest installment of the Hellscapes series by Stephen Zimmer. Six brand new, macabre tales of the infernal await you … but be that you only visit these realms, you do not want to share the fates of the inhabitants you will encounter! Included in the pages of Hellscapes, Volume II: In “The Cavern”, a man finds his way into a nightmare, subterranean world that leads to an even greater, and more devastating, revelation. A police officer takes pleasure in violently executing his duties and it appears to be open season in “The Riot” when he is part of an operation sent to crack down on a gathering of people protesting an economic summit nearby. But this is an operation that is going to take a very different kind of turn, one that opens his eyes to a new reality. A woman finds herself stranded on a high, rocky ledge, along with many other men and women, surrounded by a frothing sea in “Above as Below”. Shadows glide beneath the surface and soon she will discover what lurks within the depths. “Spots Do Not Change” tells the story of a man who has never had any qualms lying, cheating, or deceiving the women in his life. A reckoning day looms as he comes to understand that his actions have harmed the lives of many others, actions that in the realms of Hell take on forms of their own. Having spun webs of intrigue and personal destruction at the heights of national politics throughout his life, a man finds webs of another sort to present grave danger when he finds himself lost within a strange wilderness in “Weaving Webs”. Many are drawn to “The Club” in the heart of the decaying, shadow-filled city of Malizia, hoping for some entertainment and release, or even safety from the monstrous dangers lurking in the darkness. One man struggling against amnesia finds his way to the seemingly popular establishment and its confines give him momentary hope; until he discovers the nature of this night club and those who run it.

About the Author:

StephenZimmerAuthorPhotoStephen Zimmer is an award-winning author and filmmaker based in Lexington Kentucky. His work includes the cross-genre Rising Dawn Saga, the epic fantasy Fires in Eden series, the sword and sorcery Dark Sun Sawn Trilogy, featuring Rayden Valkyrie, the Harvey and Solomon Steampunk tales and the Hellscapes and Chronicles of Ave short story collections.

Author Links: 

Twitter: @sgzimmer
Instagram: @stephenzimmer7

Tour Schedule and Activities:

10/26 Anasazi Dreams Review
10/26 Beauty in Ruins Guest Post
10/26 Shells Interviews Guest Post
10/26 Sinister Scribblings Guest Post
10/26 Kentucky Geek Girl Author Interview
10/27 Pulp Reports Review
10/28 Creatives Help Board. How may I direct your call? Guest Post
10/29 Bee's Knees Reviews Review
10/29 Sheila's Blog Guest Post
10/30 L. Andrew Cooper's Horrific Scribblings Review
10/31 SwillBlog Review/Interview 11/1 I Smell Sheep Review
11/1 Sapphyria's Book Reviews Top-Tens List
11/1 Armand Rosamilia, Horror Author Guest Post

Amazon Links for Hellscapes, Volume II:

Hellscapes, Volume II

Enter the Giveaway:

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sgzimmer said...

Thank you so much for hosting me today! I loved writing this post! :) In fact, I watched The Howling and Dog Soldiers last night as my Halloween double feature!

Sapphyria said...

You're very welcome, Stephen! I enjoyed reading your favorite horror movies. I also enjoyed our chat about Slash and Miles Kennedy while discussing the post.