Category Archives: horror

Schizophrenia, Stigma, and Apartment 143

Watching Apartment 143, I was initially excited because I like found footage style paranormal investigation movies. I like found footage movies in general, so I had looked forward to watching this. I was happy with it at the beginning as it was done fairly well. Sure, some of the acting was off here and there, but a lot of the acting and casting was really on point.

Until the very end, I was sold. The characters had grown on me and the situation was hitting home in that the haunting was becoming genuinely creepy and the technology was adding to the story. Then, it was completely destroyed.

Schizophrenia does not cause poltergeist activity. Period.

The big “reveal” was an insult my intelligence and an insult to people with schizophrenia. It was an insult to people who treat and research schizophrenia. It was an insult to the justice system, and all of those touched by people with schizophrenia or those who live and work alongside them. It’s an insult to paranormal research it is an insult to those who’ve experienced a supernatural episode.

I don’t know what possessed the filmmakers to even go with that sort of an angle and was really shocked when the final theory evolved. The tragedy was that I initially found it a great angle to add. Haunting, found footage, paranormal research, and mental health issues all in one film? For me that is wonderbliss. Then, they drop the ball and basically discard all of the other concepts that I enjoyed; painting haunting, possession, and poltergeist activity with a big grey brush labelled ‘schizophrenic’. Vile.

Unfortunately I enjoyed the film all the way up until the last few minutes. For once, I have found a film that truly destroys my feelings for it in the end. My counterparts at Ottawa Horror had often damned a film for it’s rip-off ending though I have never found myself too angry about a great film with a crap ending. The 80-plus minutes of a good story is usually enough for me. Not this time, sadly.

There was even at an additional minute at the very end that I triple-unenjoyed (if that’s a term) and it’s the exact final scene of the movie. It is some sort of easily hated hated pop-up scare trend infecting a lot of horror films in the last two years. Just another way to insult the intelligence of the viewer, in my opinion.

It could have been a fine movie. A fun movie. I don’t say avoid it, as I’d rather people judge for themselves but I was taken aback with the ham-fisted attitude toward mental health. Ideas like this do not help erase stigma and it doesn’t help with raising awareness or educating people about mental illness. Sure, it is a story. A horror flick. I understand that, but you can’t be insulting and completely ass backwards in fiction since it plays a part in what people form into opinions. That can be kind of scary.

The Next Big Thing: Nightface Book II

~ The following is a copy/paste from my old blog, found only now in the wayback machine ~

Laramore Black of Slit Your Wrists Magazine mentioned this blog-chain recently, saying contributors were likely not going to be the Next Big Thing. I agree. Certainly. So, let us consider the Next Cool Thing, the Next Brag Thing, the Next Indie Thing or even the Next Next Thing. If we are lucky, one of us just might have something big.

See, around 350,000 paperback titles were published last year in the United States alone – imagine how many books are started and unsold or unprinted? Likely five times that amount I bet – maybe more. Imagine the amount of books that go entirely unnoticed? Most of them. A scary statistic guesses that close to 95% of books sold in the US go unread. UNREAD. The BIG thing here, in my opinion, is that these get finished and farmed out at all. The HUGE thing is that people read them. It is an insanely competitive market. Huge literary hits are engineered by the largest publishing houses and virile publicity. The writing sometimes has little to do with it. Luckily, myself and past contributors to this blog chain have published, been read, and are excited enough about their work to give it another go and have something in progress to talk about. That is a really really big thing. Really big. So, on with the show…

What is your working title of your book?

Bloodface was the original working title, and although that is what the physical file is still called I refer to it as Nightface Book II. I think that title may actually stick, as it is such a close follow that a secondary title would be frivolous.

Where did the idea come from for the book?

Well, it’s a sequel. Further, it is truly the second half of the same story. Honestly, in a perfect world, it would have all been just one book. I had no real intention of writing a sequel, but between readers asking for one and the rest of the story unfolding for me, it just had to be written. Then, last night, I started blathering on about a third installment…

What genre does your book fall under?

Horror. For certain. There are mystery and splatterpunk elements, but I can’t see it being shelved anywhere else. I guess that since horror as a shelf is disappearing from some stores, it may fall under plain old fiction.

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

Since I certainly covered this with Julianne Snow, here is the copypasta…

“My main character, Gunnar, is impossible to wrap around a living person. Other people would have to do that for me.  This is something I thought about while editing and it is just impossible for me to assign an existing face to this person I have known so long in my own head. He does look a lot like Dana Ashbrook who could certainly pull it off… he certainly has the right style. For Solomon, his counterpart, I have one clear option. Werner Daehn. Certainly, in the big black book of casting there are loads of actors who have the right look, sound and attitude, but this is who is in my mind. Sinthia is a tough one. She is a little Helena Bonham-Carter and a little Anna Paquin. It is tough to put her in a mold.”

In the sequel, there is one new main character who I can see being played by Skeet Ulrich perhaps. Someone edgy, that can pull off that chiseled 50s bad-boy look with no need for the rockabilly uniform.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

With the vampire evolution realized in Gunnar and Solomon and old blood eradicated, it is time for the next step.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

That depends on reception of the finished piece. Self-publishing for me is an experimental realm for my short fiction, and not the right home for this book as the prequel has already been put out by Post Mortem Press. My main goal right now is wrapping up the draft so I can get into the second draft and edits. Plans for publishing will be made once I get to that point and have the manuscript in the bag.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

I’m still writing it! The notes are in place though, so it’s unfolding very easily, in a linear fashion, one chapter at a time.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

Yikes. I have no idea. The first installation of The Strain trilogy, perhaps, in that we are dealing with a vampire evolution.

Who or what inspired you to write this book?

The first book inspired this one, so let us talk about what inspired the first. Dissatisfaction with the vampire genre and wanting to create my own breed was the largest driving force. I wanted to play with scenes of violence as badly as I wanted to incorporate legends and psychiatry into an occult world. The best venue for all of this playing I wanted to do was in a vampire myth, so Gunnar was born. Once he was in mind, his past and future began to snake out and wind around all these things I love. The paranormal world and reality have been blurred together for me since I was very young so that is a huge influence too.

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

That it is set in Ontario, and for the most part the Ottawa Valley. Canadiana in horror is easier to come by now, but we tend to set our stories in ambiguous towns or other countries. A decade ago it was nearly absent, so readers who like to have actual cities, streets and landmarks in stories will enjoy that the settings mostly exist in real life. There are hints of local history and European esoterica in both books, so I am sure devout horror fans would love that Nightface offers more than ad-libbed pulp.

Include the link of who tagged you and an explanation for the people you have tagged.

Tobin Elliott tagged me in his Next Big Thing blog post. I was introduced to him viaVanishing Hope, his debut novella which I lend out often and thoroughly enjoyed. I had won a signed copy through Dreadful Tales. Today, he is my go-to editor who worked on the bulk of my published short stories with me, and the revamp of the original Nightface. I am forever in his debt, and very flattered that he tagged me in his post.

Chris Carroll has several projects on the go, and will be announcing releases soon. He is ‘Ottawa’s nicest crime and kink author’ and that is a true fact. I met Chris when I organized the first Nightface book signing at Collected Works Bookstore. Since then, we have spent more time planning some fetish-oriented photography sessions, rant-oriented drinking nights, and many latte-oriented writing talks. I am hoping to wrangle a story out of him for a horror-kink collective project entitled ‘Single Tale’.

Chris Curry has just announced a collaborative work – it’s a mystery at the time of this writing. He had published his amazing memoir  Completely in Blue: Dispatches from the Edge of Insanity last year and had no immediate plans to write again. He is a regular blogger at Healthy Place writing on mental-health stigma so it would seem the writing bug has bitten him hard. Find out more at

Kelly Taylor can be found at Revised Circuitry. She can also be found as co-organizer ofOttawa Goth, which is how I made her acquaintance. A poet and fiction author, she participated in the 3 Day International Novel Writing Contest and and will hopefully look to expand her romantic cyber-historical slip-stream universe of tribes in conflict.

Note that none of these emerging authors are horror, and Curry is in the realm of non-fiction. Also note, there are not five authors tagged as per the directions, but three. So many writers have been tagged in and contributed to this chain that quite a few have already participated. I keep to myself as a writer, and don’t belong to a sprawling school of word wizards. The three people tagged are here because I have read their work and want to see more – simple as that!