31 Days of Horror 2020 Presents The Week in Horror: The Haunting of Bly Manor, Stay Home + More

Good morning, fiends! I hope you’re maintaining your sanity and finding opportunities to escape reality and enjoy some kick ass Halloween doings.

Last night I checked out an early 80s deep cut, called Mortuary, featuring a very young Bill Paxton, from 1983. Its a bit of an oddball slasher, but probably owes more to the Italian Giallo. There’s a very deliberate pace, but a strong pay off and its just nice to see a Bill Paxton performance I’ve never seen before. You can watch it on Amazon Prime.

With the entire world stuck in quarantine, some familiar horror faces gathered together distantly to create the short film Stay Home. You’ll recognize Barbara Crampton, Danielle Harris, Kane Hodder, Dee Wallace and Scout Taylor-Compton starring as themselves, up against a serial killer who is targeting these genre legends. Stay Home is written and directed by Chris Heck and Gabrielle Stone. Check it out below:

This has already been mentioned on Biff Bam Pop!, but it’s worth noting again that we got a sweet two minute spot on the upcoming TV mini-series of Stephen King’s The Stand, and I’m pretty excited. I read the unabridged version of the novel during my freshman year of high school and found the book overall more difficult to lose myself in, as opposed to books like, IT, Pet Semetery, or Cycle of the Werewolf, but other than some casting choices that really irked me, I thought Mick Garris’ 90s TV adaptation was overall pretty good. Now, the timing couldn’t be more fucked up for a mini-series about a population eradicating contagion from the mind of King. Even though the series was well into production long before we even heard about Covid-19, this will likely still hit close to home for some. But damn, if it doesn’t look cool and I’m into the casting of the Man in Black. I don’t think there could be a better choice, this side of Mathew McConaughey.

Have you started The Haunting of Bly Manor yet? Mike Flanagan’s follow up to his Netflix adaptation of The Haunting of Hill House dropped on the streaming service a few days ago and I got started on it this weekend. For a first episode, I’m very hooked. I really like this cast, especially compared to this year’s film The Turning. In case you didn’t know, both The Haunting of Bly Manor and The Turning are based on the Henry James novel, Turn of the Screw, which was adapted as The Innocents in the 1960s (as was The Haunting of Hill House; both of those original adaptations are held up as high water marks of the horror genre). The Turning was almost good, despite a fairly unlikable cast, but then the ending pretty much tanked the film for me. I really didn’t like the way it was handled.

Overall, The Haunting of Bly Manor has a stronger cast and, though we don’t get many scares in the first episode, when Flanagan takes us there, he nails it. This story is feeling a little ‘done’ though, but that’s probably because I recently watched the similarly themed The Boy and The Lodge, in addition to The Turning, and all feature a similar dynamic and mind fuck plotline. I do love all of Flanagan’s work and I look forward to Bly Manor leaving me emotionally devastated.

I usually try to avoid any personal plugs here, but I’m pretty excited about Tuesday, October the 13th, because on that day, my publishing imprint, St Rooster Books, is releasing a literary tribute to the Blind Dead films of Spanish horror director Amando de Ossorio. The Blind Dead Ride Out of Hell features new tales of the dreaded, vampiric, undead templar Knights from Weirdpunk Books’ Sam Richard (Sabbath of the Fox Demons), Diabolique’s Heather Drain (The Bizarro Encyclopedia of Film Volume 1), Mark Zirbel (Cyberpunk Zombie Jihad), Paul Lubaczewski (Cult of the Gator God), Daily Grindhouse’s Jeremy Lowe (Kids of the Black Hole), and myself (The Gray Man), with an introduction by Diabolique’s managing editor Jerome Reuter. I co-edited the book with author William Tea and as always, my wife Stephanie created the killer original cover art. If you’ve never seen Tombs of the Blind Dead, Return of the Blind Dead, The Ghost Galleon, or Night of the Seagulls, they would make excellent additions to your Halloween viewing-steeped in atmosphere and dread, with some of the greatest horror villains to ever rip a heart out on screen. Our book will be available for order online or through your favourite local book store, in paperback and Kindle.

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