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Exclusive: Kim Newman Discusses Horror Novel Jago

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Exclusive: Kim Newman Discusses Horror Novel JagoFans can now pick up a brand-new edition of the critically acclaimed novel Jago from Titan Books and other major retailers. We recently chatted with author Kim Newman about his horror novel and what awaits readers around that next dark corner.

AMANDA DYAR: For those who haven’t checked out the book yet–can you tell us briefly about the story and what horror fans have to look forward to?

KIM NEWMAN: It’s about weird things happening in an English village, focused on a cult led by a charismatic, would-be messiah character with enormous psychic powers.

AMANDA DYAR: What were your inspirations for your new novel Jago?

KIM: It’s not actually new, but a reissue – it was my third published novel under my own name, appearing in 1991. It was the first novel I began writing, though it changed from its beginnings, and a sub-plot spun off to become my first novel The Night Mayor, and I made several starts on it from 1980 onwards. I’d read a few American small-town-affected-by-large-scale-supernatural-menace novels – Stephen King’s Salem’s Lot and Peter Straub’s Ghost Story were the big beasts in the form, though I think the first I came across was Ray Russell’s Incubus; I also really like Charles L. Grant’s The Nestling, and can see the roots of the form in Ray Bradbury’s Something Wicked This Way Comes and Grace Metalious’s Peyton Place. I wanted to try something like that with a British village setting – if Salem’s Lot is Dracula comes to Peyton Place, my first thought for Jago was the Apocalypse comes to The Archers. At that time, I’d not read John Cowper Powys’ A Glastonbury Romance, which might also be floating around in Jago’s DNA, not least because it’s the major Somerset novel. While I was writing the book, Twin Peaks was on the air – another key text in community horror; I changed the name of my monstrous biker ghost character from Badmouth Bob to Badmouth Ben at the last minute to avoid comparison with the show’s monster Killer Bob.

The cult in the book is based on a 19th century Somerset religious community, the Agapemone – when I was in the Bridgwater Youth Theatre, a local writer called Charles Mander published a non-fiction book about it and wrote a play based on the case, which was banned by the Principal of Bridgwater College; later, when I was with the Sheep Worrying Arts Collective in 1980, we staged the play. Much of the detail about the cult comes from Charles’ work, though I looked at the Manson Family, the beginnings of Scientology, the Moonies and other fringe religious groups too. Besides being a community transformed by monstrousness novel, it’s also a psychic spy book – there were a bunch of things like John Farris’ The Fury (also a Brian De Palma film), King’s Firestarter and David Cronenberg’s Scanners about in the late ‘70s/early ‘80s that contributed to this, though I read a paperback about Soviet ESP espionage experiments that fed into this sub-plot.

AMANDA: Do you enjoy writing horror themed novels like Jago over other genres?

KIM: It’s a while since I’ve written anything as all-out horror as Jago; certainly, there’s a gloves-off feel to it that comes from me being younger and more annoyed – though it came out in 1991, it feels like an ‘80s novel to me. That large canvas is appealing, as well as the opportunity for mass carnage and big-scale psychedelic rock n roll weirdness. I enjoy the characters of the book; I keep meaning to go back to some of them. I did put in a few elements that now link it to my Diogenes Club series.

AMANDA: What makes Jago stand out above other horror novels today?

KIM: Not for me to say. It’s the sort of big genre book that has become thin on the ground lately – only King seems to be still writing in this mode; maybe the reissue will remind people that the mode still works.

AMANDA: What other projects do you have lined up for the future?

KIM: Next out from Titan is Johnny Alucard, the fourth book in the Anno Dracula series – I’ve been working on that on and off for fifteen years, and now it’s finally done. After that, the next new novel will be An English Ghost Story, which returns to the Somerset of Jago but in a different mood; it’s about a few characters in a haunted house rather than a large cast, and it’s a psychological Gothic rather than a splatter apocalypse.

To learn more, visit the official Titan Books website.

Synopsis
Paul, a young academic composing a thesis about the end of the world, and his girlfriend Hazel, a potter, have come to the tiny English village of Alder for the summer. Their idea of a rural retreat gradually sours as the laws of nature begin to break down around them. The village, swollen by an annual rock festival of cataclysmic proportions, prepares to reap a harvest of horror. A brand-new edition of the critically acclaimed novel.

Exclusive: Kim Newman Discusses Horror Novel Jago

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Universal Acquires Riley Sager’s Final Girls for Film Adaptation

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The “final girl” has long been a staple of the horror film genre, and lately there have been several films with just about that very same title focusing on her and/or them. Well, guess what… there’s another one coming as Deadline is reporting that Universal Pictures has won a bidding battle to option rights for Final Girls, the bestselling novel from Riley Sager that hit shelves this past July.

The movie adaptation will be produced by Anonymous Content’s Nicole Clemens along with Sugar23’s Ashley Zalta and Michael Sugar as that stand-alone company continues to ramp up.

Sager’s book centers on Quincy Carpenter, who 10 years ago as a college student went on vacation to Pine Cottage with five friends and came back alone, the only survivor of a horror movie-scale massacre. In an instant, the press dubbed her a “Final Girl,” coined for the group of similar survivors.

We’ll have more for you on this as it comes.

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Trailer: Paul Solet’s Bullet Head Hits Blu-ray This January

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After checking out writer-director Paul Solet’s pregnancy gone awry flick Grace a few years back, the talented filmmaker made my list of directors to watch out for.

And it is with this in mind that we’d like to share the trailer and Blu-ray/DVD release info for his newest action-survival-crime flick Bullet Head.

The movie stars Adrien Brody, John Malkovich, and Rory Culkin (Scream 4) as a group of thieves trapped in an abandoned warehouse with a vicious man-eating dog…

And Antonio Banderas?

That’ll work!

The trailer reminds me of Fede Alvarez’s Don’t Breathe, but as we all know, that is NOT a bad thing. Throw in some crime-movie good times and this could be a sleeper hit.

You can check out the trailer for yourself below – along with a full list of special features – and then let us know what you think in the comments below or on social media!

The film has been rated R by the MPAA for “violence, bloody images, language, some drug use, and nudity.”

Bullet Head hits theaters December 8th, and Blu-ray/DVD January 9th, 2018.

PRE-ORDER NOW!

Synopsis:

Oscar winner Adrien Brody, Antonio Banderas and John Malkovich deliver the action in this riveting crime story about three career criminals trapped in a warehouse after a heist.

Special Features:

Deleted Scenes

Filmmakers’ Commentary

A Canine Point of View: Writing and Directing BULLET HEAD

Career Criminals and Fighting Dogs: The Iconic Cast of BULLET HEAD

Preparation and Performance: The Animal Actors of BULLET HEAD

Hymns and Fanfare: The Score of BULLET HEAD

BULLET HEAD: Proof of Concept –Lionsgate

 

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The Dollmaker Short Film Review – Welcome to Heebie Jeebie City!

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Starring Perri Lauren, Sean Meehan, Dan Berkey

Directed by Alan Lougher


The loss of a young child drives a mother to take a set of unusual measures to preserve his memory, and all it takes is one call to The Dollmaker.

When the short film by Alan Lougher opens up, we see a rather disturbing image of a little boy inside a casket, and the sound of a grieving mom speaking with an unidentified man in the background – he’s requesting something personal of the child to help “finish” his product, and it’s not before long that mom has her little boy back…well, kind of. What remains of the child is the representation of his former self, although it’s contained within the frame of a not-so-attractive doll, and the boy’s father isn’t a believer in this type of hocus-pocus (or the price to have this constructed, either). The doll comes with a specific set of instructions, but most importantly, you cannot spend more than one hour a day with the doll, or else you’ll go mad thinking that the soul inside of it is actually the person that you lost – sounds reasonable, doesn’t it?

Well this is just too good to be true for Mommy, and as the short film progresses, we’ll just have to wait and see what happens to her mind – it’s ultimately a depressing scenario, but Lougher gives it that creepy feel, almost like visiting a relative’s home and seeing their dearly departed pet stuffed and staring at you over the fireplace – HEEBIE-JEEBIE CITY, if you ask me. All in all, the quickie is gloomy, but ultimately chilling in nature, and is most definitely worth a watch, and if I might use a quote from one of my favorite films to apply to this subject matter: “Sometimes…dead is better.”

  • Film
3.5

Summary

Ultimately chilling in nature!

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User Rating 3.29 (7 votes)
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