Author Archives: Phil Hickes

Book Review: Summer Of Night – Author Dan Simmons

Summer of Night

I appreciate that many Horror News aficionados will already have this book assigned to their ‘favourites’ list, but for anyone who hasn’t enjoyed this yet, I reckon this book pretty much has it all. Set in 1960s small-town America, it tells of a group of young friends who experience a summer of terror. The author deftly sets the scene, layering rich character and location detail so that it quickly becomes a credible and three-dimensional (albeit … Continue reading

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Book Review: Gaslight Grotesque – Editers J.R. Campbell, Charles Prepolec

Gaslight Grotesqu

 Hands up who likes Sherlock Holmes? If your hand is raised then you’re in for a real treat with this fantastic tribute anthology. It’s a series of tales featuring our favourite cocaine addict and his faithful sidekick, but with an added layer of grotesque Gothicy goodness. In these stories we meet Wendigos and zombies, werewolves and ghouls. Aleister Crowley skulks in the shadows, along with those sinister stalwarts of Victoriana: spiritualists, freemasons, mediums, occultists, street … Continue reading

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Book Review: Attic Clowns – Author Jeremy C.Shipp


ATTIC CLOWNS When Peter Straub and Jack Ketchum recommend an author you sit up and take notice. Such is the case with Jeremy Shipp. I’ve been thinking how to communicate his unique brand of fiction, commonly labelled ‘bizarro’. And so I’ve decided to use a drug metaphor. Let’s pretend you’re on your way to the fun-fair and to spice things up, your and your buddies decide to drop a tab of acid. It doesn’t work, … Continue reading

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Book Review: Swan Song – Author Robert R.McCammon

Grunge paper

A blast from the past this week, with this classic Bram Stoker winning horror tome from the late 80s. I read this on the trusty Kindle. I dread to think how thick the print version is. You could probably hollow it out and live in it. Still, if you’re going to write about the end of the world then you need to do it justice. The author certainly does that. It’s an epic tale of … Continue reading

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Book Review: City of Hell Chronicles Vol.1 – Editor Colin F.Barnes

City of Hell1

City of Hell Chronicles Vol.1 The Ant-Headed Old One ‘The Great Maurr’ has risen and brought hell to earth. The land is scorched and the human race decimated, eaten or tortured. Only three cities remain, a crumbled, dying version of their former selves: London, Moscow and Hong Kong. The Great Maurr’s own City of Hell dominates most of North America. Its diabolical influence has turned ordinary citizens into torturers, debased slaves, lunatics and zealots. This … Continue reading

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Book Review: Aberrations – Editor Jeremy C.Shipp


ABERRATIONS If you take an interest in horror books (which it’s probably safe to assume you do, as you’re reading a horror book review), then chances are you’ll have read, or have heard of, Jeremy Shipp. If you haven’t, then seek him out. Maybe start here. This is an anthology of creepy shorts that he’s edited and contributed to, all themed loosely with a monstrous subject matter. Here’s your non-spoiler guide to the tales on … Continue reading

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Interview: Paul Campion – Director (The Devil’s Rock)

Paul Campion

Paul Campion is the New Zealand based director of new Kiwi horror film, Devil’s Rock. You can read a review of the film “The Devils Rock.  So…you’re a horror film director – best job in the world? PC: Absolutely! Horror films have always been a huge part of cinema, and its great to be working in the film industry now trying to make horror films to entertain and scare people. There are lot of US … Continue reading

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Book Review: Long Lankin – Author Lindsey Barraclough


Said my lord to my lady, as he mounted his horse: ‘Beware of Long Lankin that lives in the moss.’ Said my lord to my lady, as he rode away” ‘Beware of Long Lankin that lives in the hay.’ ‘Let all the doors be bolted and the windows all pinned, And leave not a hole for a mouse to creep in.’ If this sounds like something Fairport Convention might sing, that’s because it’s the start … Continue reading

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Book Review: One Buck Horror Volume 3 – Editors Chris and Kris Hawkins

One Buck Vol3

Another batch of pulp horror from the One Buck team. Another excellent collection of short stories to get your teeth into. If you’re wondering what to expect, it’s like an old horror comic without the pictures. It won’t take you long to get through, but as you’ve only paid a buck, you don’t begrudge its brevity. Non-spoiling taster to follow. Helpers by David Steffen – Love this dark fairytale of a child-snatcher with a large … Continue reading

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Book Review: One Buck Horror (Volume 2) – Editors Chris and Kris Hawkins


The best horror often lurks unseen. Shying away from the bright lights, and the big budgets, and the household names, it sits quietly in the shadows, waiting to spring out and wrap its greasy tentacles around your windpipe. You may not have heard of One Buck Horror. And it’s not hard to guess how much this short anthology will set you back. But what a bargain it represents. Five lovingly crafted tales that all fans … Continue reading

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Film Review: The Innkeepers (2011)


SYNOPSIS: A horror-thriller centered on the last two employees at a haunted hotel that’s going out of business. REVIEW: This was showing as part of the Incredibly Strange film festival (, which is an offshoot of the main New Zealand Film Festival. I noticed it was scheduled for a 10.45pm showing, in one of the smaller, quieter and artier cinemas. A perfect setting in which to get back to basics and enjoy a good old-fashioned … Continue reading


Book Review: Possessed: Spine Tingling Tales from Ten Masters of Horror – Editor Nate Kenyon


POSSESSED: SPINE TINGLING TALES The great advantage of the short story is that you can do one in a single sitting. A little shot of pure horror, down in one. None of this laboriously wading through another chapter every night only to discover that the monster was killed and good prevailed. And if you don’t like one author, then like a good bus service, another one will be along in a minute. This collection has … Continue reading

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Book Review: Wondrous Strange – Author Robin Spriggs


WONDROUS STRANGE I’m ashamed to admit that I wasn’t aware of this author until perusing this year’s Bram Stoker nominations. It was an Alice in Wonderland moment. I say this because a short while later, I found myself immersed in the wondrously strange land of Robin Sprigg’s writing. And I’m kicking myself for not having discovered him sooner. As a conjuror of uncanny tales, he’s a suitably enigmatic character. Yet it’s possible to gather a … Continue reading

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Interview: Filmmaker Robert Morgan (Bobby Yeah)


“One of the most visionary filmmakers working today. Imagine a fusion between the sensibilities of Salvador Dali, David Cronenberg, Ingmar Bergman, Tim Burton and the Quay Brothers, and you’ll have a partial idea of the sheer brilliance of this man’s work.” Mitch Davis, Rue Morgue Magazine. As the above quote suggests, Robert Morgan is one of those rare filmmakers that you know are destined for greatness. Though his groaning awards cabinet would suggest that he’s … Continue reading

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Book Review: Asylum Lake – Author R A Evans


ASYLUM LAKE I could be wrong (it’s usually the case), but I believe this is the author’s debut novel. It certainly bodes well for the future. Asylum Lake is a good old-fashioned horror novel – accessible, creepy and eminently readable. It tells of a writer, Brady Tanner, returning to his home-town of Bedlam Falls. (Bedlam, in case you don’t know, was a notorious Victorian asylum in England, wherein the mentally ill were abused and put … Continue reading


Book Review: Little Hands Clapping – Author Dan Rhodes


Dan Rhodes writes like Roald Dahl on some bad acid. I say that as a compliment. The story begins by introducing us to a sinister old man who survives on a diet of chocolate cake and spiders. He’s the curator at a German museum dedicated to suicide. The museum is supposed to be a deterrent. However such is the bleakness of the exhibits that, instead, it finds itself acting as a catalyst to the poor … Continue reading

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Book Review: The Red Church – Author Scott Nicholson


THE RED CHURCH This big, fat slice of American Gothic has been haunting my Kindle for the past few nights. It’s one of those ‘can’t wait to get into bed and read’ books. Remember when you were young, and you’d be walking home, but when you got to that house, you know, the haunted one, you’d run hell for leather until you were safely clear? Well the eponymous Red Church takes its place alongside old … Continue reading

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Book Review: We Have Always Lived in the Castle – Author Shirley Jackson


WE HAVE ALWAYS LIVED IN THE CASTLE The best works of fiction are those that absorb you to such an extent that they become a work of non-fiction, in that the world you’re drawn into is real and utterly absorbing. This is one of those memorable literary experiences. It’s a particular treat if you like your fiction dark and bewitching. Imagine a black cat, illuminated by a candle atop a skull, sitting in an old … Continue reading

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Book Review: The Mammoth Book of Best New Horror – Edited by Stephen Jones

The Mammoth Book of Best New Horror 21

This tome features horror luminaries such as Stephen King (and son), Ramsey Campbell and Brian Lumley. A fairly safe bet then, for some classic tales to darken the corners of the room. The introduction is worth a mention, as it appears to catalogue every single horror story penned in 2009. How anyone goes about compiling such encyclopaedic reference material is a mystery worthy of Dupin. But it’s an excellent way to discover new authors, so … Continue reading

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Book Review: Shrine – Author James Herbert


James Herbert O.B.E (see, even Her Majesty likes horror) is the UK’s Stephen King. He’s a man who almost single-handedly dragged the genre screaming and kicking back into the mainstream from the dark cupboard under the publishing stairs where it had been hiding – in the UK at least. His novels have sold millions across the world and have been translated into 33 languages. Small and wiry, and always attired in black, he has a … Continue reading


Book Review: Cold Hand in Mine Author: Robert Aickman

Cold Hand

Robert Aickman (1914-1981) described his stories as ‘strange.’ Probably because no other word quite does them justice. Interestingly, he came from a rich horror heritage, his grandfather Richard Marsh having been a rival in popularity to Bram Stoker with his occult novel, The Beetle. But, during his life, Aickman was known as much for his conservation work on British waterways as he was for his writing. A man ahead of his time in many ways. … Continue reading

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