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Monday, February 19, 2018

GUEST POST: Mike Thorn talks Nemesis, Spontaneous Combustion & The Winding Sheet @MikeThornWrites

Excited to have Mike Thorn as a Guest today!
He's the author of the horror short story collection, Darkest Hours.
(Stay tuned for my review - I'm eager to dig into this!)
Check out his book below and then continue to see his awesome revisits to a favorite book, film and album released in 1990, the year he came into this world .
In the bleak landscape of Darkest Hours, people make decisions that lead them into extreme scenarios – sometimes bizarre, often horrific, always unexpected. Between this book’s covers you will find academics in distress; monsters abused by people; people terrorized by demons; ghostly reminiscences; resurrected trauma; and occult filmmaking. Ranging from satirical to dreadful, these stories share a distinct voice: urgent, sardonic, brutal, but always empathetic.
The Year I Was Born:
A Favorite Book, Film and Album Released in 1990
For Where the Reader Grows, I decided to go back and revisit one favorite book, film and album released the year I was born (1990). 
BOOK: Nemesis, by Joyce Carol Oates

Joyce Carol Oates has written prolifically about violence in its many ugly permutations—physical, systemic, emotional and sexual. Her insight, empathy and inimitable prose style come together to form an unmatched force in contemporary American literature. Her 1990 novel Nemesis, published under the pseudonym Rosamond Smith, focuses on the violent exploitation of power within an academic context. Dealing explicitly with rape and brutal psychological abuse, Nemesis addresses the ways in which institutions and systems can let victims down in order to protect celebrated oppressors. The plot might sound draining, and it is, but it’s a profound social and individual examination of toxic masculine power gone unchecked. Twenty-eight years later, it sadly comes across as more relevant and pressing than ever. Oates isn’t always “easy” to read, but she matches the affective power of the best horror writers and approaches her material with sensitivity and grace. This is one of my favorite novels.
FILM: Spontaneous Combustion, directed by Tobe Hooper

Tobe Hooper is most famous for his horror films, especially The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974), ‘Salem’s Lot (1979) and Poltergeist (1982). While Spontaneous Combustion partially meets that genre’s criteria, it plays more like hyper-stylized melodrama than anything else. It’s both a love story and a character study of a man (played by the great Brad Dourif) who discovers he has developed intense and, yes, explosive aberrations because his deceased parents were once used in an experiment involving atomic bombs. Hooper visualizes the protagonist’s emotional experiences through expressive lighting and camerawork, proving once again that he is above all an image-based filmmaker who draws from genre for its excessive possibilities. Tragically, the great Tobe Hooper passed away last year, but he left behind a strange and mysterious and beautiful body of work. If you ask me, Spontaneous Combustion is one of his very best.
ALBUM: The Winding Sheet, by Mark Lanegan

Mark Lanegan was still the frontman of psychedelic grunge outfit Screaming Trees when he released his first solo album, The Winding Sheet. This record is a massive shift from the Trees’ crunchy, guitar-driven sound. Most of The Winding Sheet’s arrangements are sparse, even by Lanegan’s solo standards, pushing the singer’s growling vocal style and melancholic lyrics into the foreground. The album is also noteworthy for the appearance of some famous supporting players—Kurt Cobain provides backing vocals and guitar on two tracks, and Nirvana bassist Krist Novoselic plays bass on “Where Did You Sleep Last Night.” 

Bio: Mike Thorn is the author of the short fiction collection Darkest Hours and he co-authors the horror-themed column “Devious Dialogues” with Anya Stanley for Vague Visages. He lives in Calgary.

Darkest Hours universal Amazon link:
Author website -
Twitter - @MikeThornWrites
Goodreads -

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