Northwest Nightmares Film Festival Seeks Submissions

Northwest Nightmares Film Festival. A blood-spattered man grins disarmingly at the viewer. Screening October 27th at the Welden Theater in St. Albans, VT.Northwest Nightmares, the horror film festival hosted by Northwest Access TV in St. Albans, rises from the grave for a new program of terrifying selections. Registration to join the festival is open until October 13th, and final films must be submitted by October 20th. The big night is October 27th at the Welden Theater in St. Albans.

Categories of distinction include: Best Editing, Best Effects, Best Acting, Best Story, Best Sound Design, Best Cinematography, and, of course, the Sleeping With the Lights On Award. Additionally, winner of Best Picture receives a BlackMagic Pocket Cinema Camera, which is a very spiffy piece of filmmaking hardware. That alone should send anticipatory chills up and down your spine.


“Dead Cthulhu” Looks Pretty Lively

Cthulhu miniature, all painted up.Local gamer, spinner, knitter, painter of miniatures and generally crafty person Toby recently completed a huge undertaking: painting up the enormous Cthulhu model from Reaper Miniatures’ absurdly successful Bones crowdfunding campaign. The model’s scale and detailing are amazing to begin with, but Toby’s work elevates the piece to a whole new place. Check out more pictures on Toby’s Flickr account.

Daniel Mills on 5 Short Masterpieces by the Women of Horror’s Golden Age

Daniel Mills has a short piece up on SF Signal about women in horror:

Fandom is changing. Recent dust-ups within the SFWA have sparked a number of important conversations concerning systemic racism and misogyny within the world of science fiction & fantasy. The horror community, it seems, has fared little better, despite the success of events like Women in Horror Month, which has helped to bring some well-deserved publicity to the newest generation of female horror writers. It’s a terrific event, and a necessary one, but nonetheless regrettable because it is necessary. Certainly the work of female authors has been every bit as fundamental to the development of the modern weird/horror story as that of their male counterparts. To suggest otherwise is, frankly, laughable.

Read the rest of his fantastic article here.

Local Author: Kristel Smart

We recently came across a new horror author in the area, Kristel Smart, who released her first book, In Stone last fall, published by Virgo eBooks of Vergennes.

Here’s what it’s about:

The house looked innocent enough. There was nothing to distinguish it from any other quaint, older home nestled within the rural Vermont landscape. For Liz, Charlie, Donna and Willa it was a dream come true; exactly what they needed. Each of them had escaped hardship longing for the comforts of loved ones, hearth and home. The spacious house, the location and the timing all seemed so perfect. But none of them could imagine the horrors that awaited them as the house revealed its secrets.

Book trailer:

On Amazon, she describes herself as such: I am a writer with a long and diverse history of topical interests. As a logical person, my world was altered significantly by an unbelievable, personal encounter with the occult. Since then I have had a deep interest in how it all fits; the natural world that I adore, with the supernatural world that I’m trying desperately to understand. My first book, “In Stone”, was written about this personal encounter.

You can Like her on Facebook and over on Twitter.

VT Author: E. Thayles Emmons


Vermont-born author Edwin Thayles Emmons was born on this day in 1882 in Woodstock, Vermont. Growing up in the village of Taftsville, he graduated from High School in 1899 and went on to work as a journalist.

His claim to fame in the science fictional world is a single short story published in the May 1923 issue of Weird Tales Magazine. The story, “Two Hours of Death”, was published under the name E. Thayles Emmons. It seems that this would have been a hobby, with only another (non-genre) credit to his name.

Emmons died in May 1971 in Geneva, New York.


Children of the Old Leech Preorder

Local author Daniel Mills is included in Children of the Old Leech, a tribute anthology to contemporary horror master Laird Barron. The book is now available for preorder from the publisher’s website. Here’s what the preorder includes:

PREORDER NOW! The Children of Old Leech Deluxe Pack includes one hardcover, one bookplate signed by Ross E. Lockhart and Justin Steele, an exclusive chapbook, and an eBook in your selected format. Preorders ship in July 2014 once books arrive from the printer. The eBook will be emailed at a similar time.

The anthology will contain stories from the following authors:

Featuring all new stories by many of the brightest lights in dark fiction:

  • Allyson Bird
  • Michael Cisco
  • Gemma Files
  • Richard Gavin
  • J. T. Glover & Jesse Bullington
  • Cody Goodfellow
  • T.E. Grau
  • Orrin Grey
  • Michael Griffin
  • Stephen Graham Jones
  • John Langan
  • Daniel Mills
  • Scott Nicolay & Jesse James Douthit-Nicolay
  • Joseph S. Pulver, Sr.
  • Molly Tanzer
  • Jeffrey Thomas
  • Paul Tremblay

Order here.

New England Role Players Association Makes a Break for It

One Shots cover. Published at Atlas Games.

One Shots cover. Published at Atlas Games.

Jailbreak is a legendary scenario in some role-playing circles, particularly those that treasure its parent game, Unknown Armies. It has built-in friction among the player characters, as some play the inhabitants of a lonely farmhouse and others the convicts that invade it. It has high weirdness. It has ample potential for mayhem.

So of course, it’s a natural fit for the New England Role Players Association. Jailbreak is the podcast’s final post before their summer hiatus. You’ve heard of summertime reading. Well, here’s some summertime listening. Sweet dreams, everyone.

New England Role Players Association Consider the Good of the Few Over the Good of the Many

5430798The New England Role Players Association posted the grand finale of their Ravenloft campaign, “For the Good of the Few”:

Jameer, Baleroc, Brutus and Kevlar have thwarted the great lich Azalin. Or so they thought. It turns out they’ve played along with his dastardly plans. Now they find themselves at a crossroads with a decision that could shape the fate of Ravenloft and every other realm that has ever been. Do they have the strength to plunge into darkness once more and end this evil or has Ravenloft worn them out and whittled away their will? Their choice may surprise you…it surprised me!

Ravenloft: From the Shadows Part 2

5430798New England Role Players Association posted the finale to From the Shadows, leading to the climax of their year-long Ravenloft campaign:

The conclusion of From the Shadows leading us up to the finale of the Grand Conjunction and what might be the end of Ravenloft as we know it…

Deep beneath the foundation stones of Castle Avernus, Azalin the lich hatches his plots. The grand conjunction is coming, when all the lands and lords of Ravenloft will be set free upon the realms of man. Azalin does not intend to let this oppurtunity slip by. All he needs are a few dead bodies. Fortunately, there is a party of adventurers nearby… This is the first of two adventures that feature Azalin the lich and Strahd von Zarovich in their eternal conflict.

Nightmare on Picard Circle

Driving near the Burlington International Airport is turning into a creepy activity in and of itself. Buildings surrounding the airport lie empty, providing the perfect setting as I pull into Picard Circle. The abandoned circle is a hive of activity as the Nightmare Vermont crew are preparing for the next couple of weeks of theatrical haunting that’s descended on the otherwise quiet neighborhood.

It takes me a couple of minutes to locate Jana Beagley, the production’s director, and my guide for the evening. One actor points to one building, saying that she was there five minutes ago, and coming across another group on my way over, they point in another direction. The cast is friendly and enthusiastic as they get ready, and soon, I find Jana in the midst of what appears to be a small storm. I have to work to keep up after we’re introduced. Tonight is the Nightmare Vermont dry run, with their tickets for the opening night’s first couple of runs completely sold out, and others going fast. The pressure’s on to get everything ready.

Safety briefing.

I follow Beagley over to one of the abandon house’s garages, which serves as a briefing area for the entire cast. Not everyone has received a safety briefing, and Bob has to yell over the excited gathering to get everyone’s attention. One of the troops of dancers is missing, and someone runs out to find them. All told, the group numbers around 20-30 people: goblins in makeup, technical specialists and crew. The briefing goes quickly, running through what happens when the production stops midway through, when to kick someone out, and when to evacuate. The meeting is excited and bubbling with optimism, and ends with a resounding cry: NIGHTMARE!

At the end of the meeting, I follow Beagley as she talks about the production. Nightmare Vermont is both a theatrical production and a haunted house at the same time. A storyline guides the two lead characters and visitors through the five buildings, all rigged with splattered blood, weird lighting, fog and dark corridors. This is Beagley’s eighth year doing haunted houses, and her expertise shines through as we move from building to building. The paint isn’t quite done in one room, with an actor (Red Cap), applying just a couple more splatters of red paint. Each house has its own stage manager, who manages the actions of each set of rooms, each of which is akin to a stage in and of itself. It’s a complicated, detailed production, and Jana seems to have a thousand things on her mind. In one room, she asks the technical people about a pipe in the upper level of the building, to see if it’ll work well for a fog machine that isn’t quite working in another room. Outside, she tells someone to strip lights out of one place and move them to another. In yet another room, a fire alarm blares as the fog machine sets it off. She moves between problems with the set effortlessly, and it’s clear that the production is accomplished through sheer willpower.

The crew is practical: abandoned, unused rooms turn into changing and makeup centers.

The dry run is set to start up at 7:30, and I’m brought over to the front, along with a couple of extra actors, the directors and some technical staff. I’m given a pair of light-up devil’s horns: a teaser, I’m told, with the cast smiling knowingly. I put them on, unsure of what’s going to happen next. I had a feeling that I was going to be in for some extra scares. I’m told that people pay extra for the honor.

We start off in the first building with a creepy performance that orients visitors with some basic rules: No touching actors. Ever. Follow the leader, Stay with the group, no drugs or alcohol, don’t break things, be nice to the group, and have a good time. We go to the next room, where we’re brought a bit more into the story. So far so good, until the two lead actors pound into the room, panicked and yelling. From here on out, we’re part of the action, with a performance in each room, and a sometimes frightening transition from one stage to the next.

The rules: No touching actors. No getting separated from your party – you might be eaten.

The story is clever, inventive and different. Jana explained later that they’ve done some of the usual tropes in the past: zombies, werewolves, etc, and that they didn’t want to retread old ground. This time, we follow our two leads into a dangerous fairy world, populated by monsters, dancers and mad scientists. It’s not just the scares here and there that make Nightmare Vermont so effective: it’s the story line that has real characters that have done some horrifying things. Along the way there’s quite a few small frights, more creeps, and quite a bit of horror that escalate until the end with a dramatic and unexpected finish.

The production is a well tuned machine, with a lot of moving parts: it’s an organizational nightmare (no pun intended), but it’s clear that Beagley has brought together an incredibly dedicated and well trained crew that puts their all into the production. There’s a festive, community feel to the entire evening, and I get the feeling that everyone involved isn’t just here for a paycheck: they’re here because there’s nowhere else that they’d rather be. I can see why: it’s an amazing production, and I can’t think of another place that I would want to be during the Halloween season.

The teaser: I survived the extra scares!

Nightmare Vermont begins its run tonight at 2 Picard Circle in South Burlington, VT. Tickets are $10 online, and $15 at the door. Performances will run on October 19th, 20th, 25th, 26th, 27th and 28th.

Visit their website here, become a fan on Facebook or follow them on Twitter.