Twilight & Other Stuff

So I thought I was going to get a reprieve on seeing Twilight…but, alas, my good fortune was all a cruel charade.

Okay, I’m well aware that I’m not a teenage girl and am unqualified to judge the hotness of the male lead, but seriously, Edward the Vampire looks absolutely ridiculous in this movie. One of his initial scenes, when we first see him sitting in science class, is probably the worst moment of acting in 2008. I don’t get the swooning. What’s the deal?

At least he’s not as whiny as I expected. Bella is much whinier. She’s also kinda crappy to her friends.

Twilight is a movie made for people who aren’t really paying attention, most notably a hilariously unnecessary series of flashbacks where even the lowest percentile ranking of the lowest common denominator of the dumbest audience really shouldn’t need a flashback to say “Ahhhh…THAT’S when he demonstrated superhuman strength! All the pieces of the puzzle fit!”

There’s also an amusing bit where the camera flies through the woods like the unseen spirit in The Evil Dead, for no reason at all.

But, hey, this movie wasn’t made for me. You know what movie was? Let the Right One In. That vampire movie frickin’ rocks! I drove about an hour and a half to see it, but in December it’ll be playing at the Tampa Theatre in my hometown, and I’m gonna see it again.

I also drove about an hour and a half to see Repo! The Genetic Opera, which also frickin’ rocks (literally, in many cases) and is also playing at the Tampa Theatre, December 5th through the 9th. I went in knowing that there was a lot of hype, but the audience was more excited than for any film I’ve seen since Serenity.

I’ll babble about both of these way-superior-to-Twilight films later, but if you live in Florida, get thee to the Tampa Theatre to see them. Support the good stuff, kiddies!

CRAAAAAAZY Sale At Earthling Publications!

From now until Wednesday (11:59 PM Eastern Standard Time, November 26th) you can get absolutely whacko prices on books from Earthling Publications! The trade hardcover edition of Pressure is going for a mere $15, and the limited edition of The Haunted Forest Tour is…also a mere $15! Holy jeez, that’s a low, low price! The book has awesome illustrations by Glenn Chadbourne (including a full-color back-cover illustration), is signed by me and co-author Jim Moore,  and is truly one of the nicest packages you’ll find in the limited edition market.

“James A. Moore and Jeff Strand are a literary dream team. Devout readers of the genre are in for a real treat as these two horror heavyweights combine forces and battle their characters to the bloody death…Remember how it felt to inventory and consume your candy on Halloween night? That’s the atmosphere in the forest. You feel like a glutton, like you couldn’t possibly stomach one more gooey demise, but you turn the page and unwrap another nightmare anyway.” — Horror-Web

“Moore and Strand heap scares upon plot twists in one of the freshest and most entertaining novels in recent years…Moore and Strand seem to play into each other’s strengths. Moore’s rich characterization is present throughout. There’s not a throwawaystereotype in this novel’s large cast. Each character is treated as a living breathing person, with a fully realized back story and distinctive personality. Jeff Strand’s brand of black comedy is abundant, along with Strand’s sure hand on the rudder of the story. The authors offer a frightening and high-octane tale, presented as an apocalyptic disaster movie.” — Horror World

“An absolute gem of a read…What comes next is over two hundred pages of non stop, in your face, gore drenched action…You will be exhausted by the time you reach the satisfying last page…Think Jurassic Park with bloodthirsty demons on an adrenaline rush and you have The Haunted Forest Tour.” — GoreZone

Of course, Pressure rocks, too.

Other books available at whack-job prices are:

Strangewood $35 (normally $85)
The Snowman’s Children $35 (normally $85)
American Morons $15 (normally $24)
World of Hurt $15 (normally $40)
King of Souls $5 (normally $15)
Home Before Dark, non-matching number $15 (normally $45)
Riverside Blues $5 (normally $15)
King Rat $35 (normally $85)
Apocalypse Now, Voyager $5 (normally $15)
Game $5 (normally $15)
Exorcising Angels $10 (normally $35)
Graveyard People, non-matching number $10 (normally $40)
El Dia De Los Muertos $10 (normally $35)

To order, e-mail Paul Miller at, let him know if you’re in the US or outside the US, and he’ll send you a quote including postage. (Don’t worry if you don’t hear back from him immediately…as long as you get your order in before the deadline you’ll get the sale price.)

For information on all of the books above, check out the Earthling site at

Eden Lake

So in my Spooky Empire Weekend report, I mentioned that RESURRECTION COUNTY was my favorite horror film in a good long while. Well, it’s been replaced by EDEN LAKE. I don’t know what kind of release this got in its home country of England, but here in the U.S., it’s yet another example of a great horror film barely getting a theatrical release, while the crap plays on 3000 screens.

The premise is simple: A couple go on a camping trip, and encounter some very, very bad teenagers. (In RESURRECTION COUNTY, a pair of couples go on a camping trip, and encounter some very, very bad rednecks. My filmgoing preferences are clear.) EDEN LAKE takes the time to create likable main characters and to give the tension time to percolate–at first, the kids are more obnoxious than dangerous–but once things get out of hand, the movie just never stops, stampeding from one “They’re so screwed!” situation to the next.
I don’t want to give anything away, so I’ll just say that it’s the best example of stomach-knotting, palms sweating, wife-getting-pissed-off-because-I-may-not-have-sufficiently-described-the-movie-beforehand intensity that I’ve seen in a good long while. I did have one major problem with it, but I can’t really call it a flaw, nor can I discuss it without spoilers, so I’ll just leave it a mystery…


Now the “edited into incoherence” trend in movie action sequences has hit the James Bond series! Dammit!!!

Spooky Empire Weekend, Part III (Much Belated)


Finally, it’s time for Part III of my Spooky Empire Weekend report, which I know you’ve been waiting for with slavering jaws.
Saturday night I went to see a midnight show of Sick Girl (not the Lucky McKee episode of Masters of Horror, which is the only episode of Masters of Horror I’ve seen). This wasn’t part of the Freak Show Film Festival, and was in a room with the most obnoxious door ever. Every time it closed it would make a WHAPWHAPWHAPWHAPwhapwhapwhapwhapwhap sound…and it opened and closed with great frequency. I was tired and not really able to tap into the movie’s weirdness, and so when my wife came in about a third of the way through after bailing on one of the bands, we decided to leave. Of course, the next morning I regretted my early departure and wished I’d stuck around for the rest of the movie. Bummer.
The next day I saw Battle of the Bone, an Irish zombie film, done on an almost non-existent budget by a cast and crew with almost zero filmmaking experience. The movie pretty much consists of our heroes being chased by and fighting a) zombies, and b) thugs. So during the course of the film they’ll get chased by and/or fight some zombies, and then some thugs, and then some more zombies, and so on.
There’s really not much else to the movie, and yet it’s a surprisingly exhilarating flick. The energy level is amazing, and it’s very refreshing to see a movie with extended action sequences where you can tell exactly what’s happening, and opposed to the hideous “shaky-cam” trend where modern filmmakers continue to believe that there’s value in an incoherent action scene. (If you’re not making Saving Private Ryan and trying to demonstrate the chaos of World War II, then stop shaking the frickin’ camera!)  Plus it looks like everybody did their own stunts, and the director did a charming Q&A afterward.
After that, we watched a couple of short, fun zombie flicks, followed by Zombiemania, an interesting documentary that I assume was made for TV because of the commercial breaks, though I’m not sure where it aired. I’m a big ol’ zombie fan myself, but it’s kind of scary to think that there are people out there who take zombies as seriously as some people take Klingons…
And so ended the Spooky Empire Weekend. Lots-o-fun, and I was very happy to just go as a horror fan and not sit behind a table begging for attention. Seeya there next year.

The Apocalypse Ain’t So Bad

Horror Library, Volume 3 is now available for your purchasing ecstasy, and it includes my story “The Apocalypse Ain’t So Bad,” a tale about letting a smile be your umbrella at the end of the world.
This anthology includes tales by all kinds of cool people, including Bentley Little (or BENTLEY LITTLE!!!), Mike Arnzen, Cullen Bunn, Kealan Patrick Burke, Michael Louis Cavillo, Gary Braunbeck, Matthew Warner, Mark Justice, John Everson, Charles Colyott, Lorne Dixon, Lisa Morton, R.J Cavender, Boyd Harris and gobs of others.
“Wow!” you’re no doubt saying. “That sounds way, way cool! But is there a way to test-drive it, just in case Strand’s story is a piece-o-crap?”
There certainly is! The Cutting Block Press page has a cool feature where you can click on any of the story titles and get a free two-page excerpt. And they offer free shipping for all orders over $10, which is convenient since the book costs more than $10. Check it out, kiddies!

Also, don’t forget that Blood Lite, which includes my story “The Bell…FROM HELL!!!” is currently available at a bookstore near you. Go buy one, and make a big deal over the fact that you’re buying it for my story and not the stories of the people way more famous than me.


Remember, if you don’t vote, you can’t bitch.

However, if you vote for the winner and they end up sucking, then you have even fewer bitching privileges than the person who didn’t vote, so don’t screw it up.

Dark Comedy & The Stand

I’m quoted in a couple of articles (full paragraphs, not “Me too!”) that just appeared online. The first is an article on dark comedy by Adrienne Jones for Apex Online.

The second is about the 30th anniversary of Stephen King’s The Stand, written by Lorne Dixon for Nossa Morte.

Check ’em out. And, yes, I’ll eventually get to the third part of my Spooky Empire Weekend report, which includes the film Battle of the Bone. I’ll also babble about the Halloween Horror Picture Show, Clive Barker’s The History of the Devil, Baghead, and Zack and Miri Make a Porno.
So how was your Halloween?

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