The Horror Zine

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Includes works from Bentley Little, Simon Clark, Elizabeth Massie, Tim Waggoner and Sumiko Saulson.

With an Introduction by Shirley Jackson Award-winner Gemma Files


The News Page


From Esquire Magazine:

The Best Horror Books of 2023 Will Scare You Sh*tless

Our favorite hell-raising reads of the year (so far) are pushing the genre in outrageous new directions.

Article by Neil McRobert


There has been a recent glut of horror novels centered on motherhood, but Katrina Monroe has written the best of them. As the title suggests, Graveyard of Lost Children offers plenty of authentic Gothic scares. There are black-haired specters and corpse-haunted wells, but the most fraught details are reserved for the toil of new motherhood. Following the birth of her daughter, Olivia must reckon with a family legacy of postpartum delusion (or is it?) about changelings and deals with the dead. As Olivia submits to paranoias both valid and imaginary, Graveyard of Lost Children takes the baton extended by Rosemary’s Baby. However, in our less-prudish world, Monroe is able to better examine a mother’s physical suffering. She finds brutal body horror in episiotomies, chafed skin, and Olivia’s reduction to “a liquid bag with holes poked in it, full of blood and piss and milk.” It’s unflinching, necessary, and it will make you more aware of your nipples than ever before.


The Others of Edenwell is a subtle book. Though it’s set in the shadow of the First World War, there is little bombast and few moments of overt nastiness. Instead, the story takes place on the fringes of the cataclysm, in the grounds of the titular Edenwell, a hydropathic resort where soldiers come to recover from their injuries and where the naive Freddie and the troubled Eustace grow close. The war is ever-present but somehow distant, while closer to home, a more personal evil wanders the woods. Holloway has managed a feat of literary mimicry, capturing the strange balance of innocence and cruel experience inherent to fiction of the period. Into this idyll, she then introduces a demonic figure, able to do hideous things with its own spine. Imagine if E.M. Forster wrote a cryptid horror novel and you’re somewhere on the way to understanding the delightful oddness of this book.


Maeve Fly is great fun, if you like that sort of thing. And by “that sort of thing,” I mean gruesome violence, void-black humor, and inappropriate behavior at Disney World. In this ode to excess, young, disaffected Maeve weaves her way through LA, peering out from behind the mask that hides her psychopathy. As the few struts that bind her to society begin to buckle, the meanness of the modern city comes face to face with a woman who has run out of fucks to give. For a long time, Leede holds the arterial spray in reserve, but when the dam does finally break, Maeve Fly crosses into absolute carnage. Bodies are flayed and power tools are put to uses that would definitely void the warranty. Leede is clearly inspired by Bret Easton Ellis’ American Psycho, but where that novel’s maniac is an abyss in human form, Maeve retains just enough humanity to make her the year’s most compelling anti-anti-ANTI hero.


Stephen King and Barack Obama have both gone out to bat for S.A. Cosby, and with good reason. He writes about the dividing line between rich and poor, Black and white, and the powerful and the weak with a scholar’s scrutiny and the insight of someone who knows this small-town southern stage intimately. When a school shooting leads to the unearthing of child murder in southeast Virginia, the town’s first Black sheriff must navigate local politics, racial prejudice, and entrenched secrecy in order to seek justice. Thus described, All the Sinners Bleed sounds like a typical police procedural, albeit with Gothic overtones. In truth, it’s so much more. Cosby has wrenched the formula into a new shape, fit to accommodate American problems that are hot-button issues, yet still as old as the nation. The book’s evils are grounded in all-too-human devilry, but an apocalyptic frequency thrums through Cosby’s writing.


I can think of few more appropriate settings for a horror novel than a gay conversion facility. The one at the center of Camp Damascus has a 100% success rate, largely due to its very unorthodox techniques, which owe more to Clive Barker’s sadistic theology than any evangelical hand-wringing. When Rose starts vomiting flies and seeing monstrous figures around town, she is forced from her god-fearing home and onto a collision course with her own demons, both literal and figurative. There is imagery in this book you will not soon forget––Chuck Tingle has a real gift for the ornately horrific––but Camp Damascus is as joyous as it is upsetting. It’s a Queer horror novel that neither shies away from the pain of prejudice nor downplays the victory of self-acceptance. The author’s motto is “love is real.” Though the book suggests that hate is real, too, in the end, Camp Damascus suggests that our better angels can win.


There is no way to convey the brilliance or intricacy of Catriona Ward’s latest novel in this short thumbnail sketch. This is the kind of book that doctoral theses will tussle with and still not fully pin down. On one hand, it’s a metafictional experiment, in which the account of a haunting summer in coastal Maine is written and rewritten until the safety of truth is lost. On the other hand, it’s an entertaining piece of American Gothic, featuring a small-town adolescence and the serial killings that stain it. Ward has captured the frigidity of Donna Tartt’s The Secret History, combining it with a Stephen King locale and Shirley Jackson’s psychological nuance. If there is any justice in this world, Looking Glass Sound will enter the canon of the classic American macabre. It should be read and studied for decades.


A boy lives with his family by the sea. It’s an idyllic life, filled with natural wonder and humble adventure. Then grandfather arrives and something within the boy begins to stir, to change. It makes his parents worried. It makes his dog, Teach, bark and howl. But it makes grandfather smile. Those are the bare bones of S.L. Coney’s little Lovecraftian gem. The writing is as slippery as the inevitable tentacles, and the truth of the story is something to be circled rather than nailed down. However, if you read my recent article about dogs in fiction, you’ll know that I’m a sucker for a good boy, and Teach is a very good boy indeed. He’s one of the great canine companions in recent horror and the reason that such a slim story is able to bruise your heart so deeply.


Spin a Black Yarn contains five tales that showcase Josh Malerman’s uniquely canted imagination. In “Argyle,” a family man’s deathbed confession alerts his loved ones to the darkness behind a father’s smile. In “Doug and Judy Buy the Housewasher™,” an obnoxious couple are confronted by the horrid truth of their affluence, at the hands of a state-of-the-art household appliance. “Egorov” is a tale of faux-haunting and weird revenge that Poe would be proud of. Each story has its horrors, but the majority are leavened with a wry humor. This can’t be said for “Half the House is Haunted,” though. This eerie twist on the uncanny home is like nothing Malerman has written before. It’s closer to the indeterminate terrors of Shirley Jackson or Paul Tremblay, and when compared with the breeziness elsewhere in the collection, it shows just how versatile a writer Malerman can be. Full of fun and sudden turns, Spin a Black Yarn is a perfect entry point to one of the defining imaginations of twenty-first century horror.


Clay McLeod Chapman made our best horror list in 2022 with Ghost Eaters, and now he’s back again with an even more insane premise than that book’s haunted mushrooms. In What Kind of Mother, Chapman revisits the Chesapeake inlets of his youth for a story that marries esoteric haunting with down-home Southern Gothic. The world of crab fisherman and parking lot palm readers may be ever-so Americana, but when a grieving father returns to town in a desperate search for his vanished son, the Bruce Springsteen song dissolves into screaming psychedelia. I’m making a point of not spoiling anything to do with the plot here, because that would be a crime, but I will say two things: What Kind of Mother contains the single most upsetting paragraph I’ve read this year, and I will never look at a crab the same way again. Am I being opaque? Sure. You’ll thank me.


Grady Hendrix made his name as the horror trickster par excellence. His novels melt down pop culture references, movie tropes, and horror motifs, then mold them into new shapes as darkly camp as they are creepy. Hendrix follows the same recipe in How to Sell a Haunted House, but whips up the emotional stakes and adds in some genuinely unsettling scenes of supernatural weirdness and familial psychodrama. When Louise returns to her childhood home following the sudden death of her parents, she’s forced to contend with both her brother’s resentment and the malign presence that won’t relinquish the house. Do you think puppets are scary? You will.


Tell Me I’m Worthless is a state-of-the-nation howl hidden inside a horror story. Rumfitt’s short, scathing novel represents modern Britain as a haunted and hateful house. Following a hideous night in said Albion House, Alice and Ila’s friendship is in ruins. Alice, a trans woman, finds some meager refuge online, while Ila falls into the clutches of militant gender-critical feminists. As in all good haunted house stories, they must eventually return to the scene of trauma in pursuit of closure, but there are plenty of demons to fight along the way. Rumfitt’s very personal approach to haunting intentionally evokes Shirley Jackson’s American classic The Haunting of Hill House, but this is a book baked in the bleak hostility of British life. The phrase “novel for our time” is overused, but in this case, it’s entirely valid.


Sometimes you want a short, sharp hit of horror and magic. Lotería uses the conceit of the Mexican card game to deliver over fifty miniature tales, each drawn from the deep well of Latin American folklore and beliefs. Not all are horrific, but the collection tends in that direction, with plenty of ghosts and monsters, vengeful murders and sinister rituals. Pelayo is an award-winning poet, and it shows in her ability to present a startling image without wasting a word. At times, her prose is pared back enough to make Hemingway applaud, but the stories themselves do not lack for atmosphere or unsettling detail. Indeed, as a Puerto Rican born writer, Pelayo creates tiny pocket worlds that are both culturally specific and imaginatively universal. A pink quinceañera dress, a crow’s feather, the scratching from the walls of a little boy’s bedroom:

Lotería’s tiny nightmares hinge on these details, barely glimpsed before they’re gone, but coming together to form a dark celebration of otherworldly Otherness.


After a sequence of novels that push crime fiction to the very cusp of horror, C.J. Tudor has finally tipped over into the guts and gore. The Drift takes place in the aftermath of a global pandemic, focusing on three sets of characters in different apocalyptic varieties of the locked-room mystery. One group is trapped aboard the wreckage of a bus; another wakes up dangling in a broken-down ski lift. The last is situated in the titular research complex, where Very Bad Things Indeed are taking place. Each of the nested stories features a murder, among other pulpy nastiness, but it’s the intricate way the narratives lock together that provides the most satisfying surprise. Tudor may be the queen of British crime fiction, but she’s gunning for the horror throne now.


Back to Proofrock, Idaho, the epicenter of self-aware carnage in Stephen Graham Jones’ award-winning My Heart is a Chainsaw. In this volume, the second of a proposed trilogy, we reconnect with the indomitable and slasher-savvy Jade Daniels for another night of extreme violence and niche movie trivia as the mythic native American killer, Dark Mill South, comes to town. Whereas the first installment demanded the reader slowly peel back layers of trivia to get at the heart of its protagonist, Don’t Fear the Reaper benefits from us already knowing Jade. She’s still fierce, but now she’s unafraid to be vulnerable, and this time she has friends to fight alongside her. It makes for a warmer story that wields both emotion and intellect like a knife. When we look back on this trilogy, we may well see Don’t Fear the Reaper as the horror version of The Empire Strikes Back. Though I’m pretty sure the final part, when it comes, won’t feature anything as cuddly as an Ewok.


For an author known for tightly written tales of the contemporary uncanny, Mariana Enriquez has certainly embraced maximalism. Our Share of Night is her first novel to be translated into English, and at over 700 pages, it’s epic in every sense of the word. The story spans several decades of Argentina’s military dictatorship, putting the political corruption and human rights abuses to excellent use as both backdrop and allegory for a wholly other kind of devilry. Each of the book’s lengthy segments pivots around different members of the Reyes family, one of a trio of wealthy dynasties in pursuit of occult knowledge. Their decades-long project leaves a trail of bodies—many of them children—and be warned, there are numerous scenes of shocking cruelty that leap, unexpected, from the dark corners of this story. At times, Our Share of Night is mean as hell. It’s also meandering. But the journey, like the lives of its hideously privileged characters, is so very richly textured.

Read the original article HERE



Best Horror Novels of 2023 According to Goodreads' Listopia
This is a horror list of six horror novels released in 2023 that includes adult and YA books.

See the list HERE








jeani rector

Jeani Rector’s Advice on Writing is a folksy, easy to comprehend step-by-step process that covers in detail such techniques as character development; substance, structure and style; pacing suspense; suggestions about promoting your work and other valuable information.

What makes an editor choose one story over another for publication? What are the secrets to make your work stand out from the pack? How can you bring out the best in your potential? This book shares insider information to help you succeed in the competitive world of writing.

It is on sale for a low price of $8.99 paperback and $2.99 kindle HERE

Men's Health Magazine rates all five of Mike Flanagan's Netflix series as to where they rank


With all due respect to just about everyone else, there’s not a single creator who's had more consistent success making television shows with Netflix than Mike Flanagan. By the time his first series with the streamer, The Haunting of Hill House, debuted in 2018, the modern horror master had already directed six of his own feature films (including Gerald’s Game in 2017 for Netflix). This meant that by the time he was getting ready to make his mark on the world of streaming television, he’d already established a distinct style, already had a regular group of actors he liked to work with, and already knew how to scare the pants off of audiences in a way that felt really earned and, for viewers, quite rewarding.

Flanagan has shown through the years that he’s not afraid to go to oft-treaded horror waters: his Netflix projects don’t shy away from jump scares, they don’t worry about anything being too violent, or too shocking, and they aren’t afraid of playing into tropes that people have seen before. But what Flanagan does to make all this worth every horror fan’s time is put a signature stamp of passion and care into every shot. If there’s a jump scare, it’s there with purpose. If someone gets brutally killed, well, they probably deserved it (or, at least, it’s serving something that will surely pay off later). When there’s a shock, it comes with meaning.

And that’s not to mention Flanagan’s skill at creating characters who simply pop off the screen. We’re watching shows that are meant to scare us, but part of the reason that they work so well is that the characters at their core feel like real people. Whether they’re as flawed and human as the family at the center of The Haunting of Hill House or as morally bankrupt as the one in The Fall of the House of Usher, it’s abundantly clear that no shortcuts were taken. These are characters who, for better or for worse, represent the best, or the worst, of humanity. That’s vital for a good horror story.

To celebrate what feels like the end of one horror era (and likely the early beginning of another), we decided to rank the best of Flanagan’s grisly, humane, Netflix horror shows.

Number 5

Midnight Club (2022)


Despite its promising premise oriented to teens looking for a thrilling scare, Midnight Club didn't deliver the same scares as the earlier Flanagan series. The show lacked the talent of Flanagan's usual ensemble cast, and the overarching plot failed to compel in comparison to the individual scary stories each character told. Despite this low ranking, however, it's possible Midnight Club could have built upon itself in a second season, which it unfortunately never received. That being said, it was still a fun, spooky time, and we as horror fans will always be happy to see Heather Langenkamp back in the genre—where any Nightmare on Elm Street fan knows she belongs. ~ MP

Number 4

The Haunting of Bly Manor (2020)


For the second installment of his The Haunting franchise, Flanagan looked to the work of Henry James and The Turn of the Screw. Bringing back many of his old cast friends (and marking his first collab with future mainstay Rahul Kohli), Bly Manor largely traded in the jump scares and family trauma of Hill House for a story that, essentially, was a gothic romance about self-destruction. It was a thrilling haunted house story, and, like anything else on this list, could rank higher depending on which way the wind blows. This is a fantastic horror series. —ER

Number 3

The Fall of the House of Usher (2023)


The perfect Netflix send-off for Flanagan, The Fall of the House of Usher dials in on what makes his horror miniseries so great: his skill in reimagining classic literature for a contemporary audience. Featuring almost all of his usual cast collaborators, House of Usher grips you with its Succession-like family and frightens you with Edgar Allan Poe-inspired scares for a thrilling 8 episodes. And with and endig that, essentially, ties everything together... there's not much horror TV better. ~ MP

Number 2

The Haunting of Hill House (2018)


His first show for Netflix, Flanagan's Hill House still takes the cake as arguably the most arresting series he's released. Featuring a strong ensemble cast and shocking jump scares, the show delivers on all its promises of spooky family trauma and terrifying death, while showing viewers (for the long haul) that this is also a writer who can infuse some seriously deep stuff within his grisly horror. Seriously, once you see the Bent-Neck lady, you'll want to sleep with the lights on—and think about the meaning of life right after. ~ MP

Number 1

Midnight Mass (2021)


While Flanagan has shown an utter talent for adapting classic horror literature and updating it (look no further than above the list, where he makes great writing into great TV in every other entry), it's his Netflix series with an original screenplay that tops our list. Midnight Mass is Flanagan at his very, very best; stunningly shot and brilliantly written—with dread that builds with every episode and a central mystery that you can't look away from—this is the best show he ever made. And along with that brilliant writing comes some truly arresting performances; it's a crime that Hamish Linklater wasn't nominated for an Emmy for his role as Father Paul. Flanagan wrote this story from scratch, but think of it as if he was making his version of Stephen King's Salem's Lot—and infusing it with the catholic guilt and reckoning of Martin Scorsese's Mean Streets. It rules. —ER

See the original article HERE




Here is the Table of Contents for the upcoming book titled THE HORROR ZINE'S BOOK OF MONSTER STORIES!

by Gemma Files


by Terry Grimwood
by Christopher Beck
by Bentley Little
by Brian J. Smith
by Eddie Spohn
by Tyler John Kasishke
by Simon Bleaken
by Tim Waggoner
by Sumiko Saulson
by Ken Foxe
by Shawn Phelps
by Jason Frederick Myers
by Elizabeth Massie
by Chris Allen
by J.A. Heath
by Jared Spears
by Shawn P. Madison
by Simon Clark
by Theresa Jacobs
by Gabriel White
by Eliza Hyde
by Christopher Sweet
by Chris McAuley
by Lee Andrew Forman and Elaine Pascale
by Donna J. W. Munro
by Keiran Meeks
by Dan Allen
by Trish Wilson
by Bruce Memblatt
by Dean H. Wild
by Jeani Rector



The Horror Zine welcomes book review requests.

To learn how to submit your book for review, go HERE.



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Women in Horror Convention in San Francisco
Larkin Edge of Dark Water All the Earth, Thrown to the Sky Joe R. Lansdale