Now that we've sent more paramedics and aimed for the head of round four, it's time for the penultimate Re-Vamp! round and perhaps the scariest monster of all: serial killers.

It's debatable whether serial killers can really be called 'a classic monster' and certainly their mythology is a lot more modern than some of the other ghoulies we've so far investigated, but it cannot be denied that ever since Jack first Ripped, the serial killer has been a mainstay of the horror genre.

From psychological terrors and urban myths to the slasher movies of the 70s and 80s and now into the modern cliche of 'torture porn', it seems the case that gore is now king, audiences are becoming increasingly desensitised and violence is replacing suspense. But what do you find the most terrifying incarnation of the serial killer?

In further announcements: the votes are in on our Readers Choice final round monster and the winner by a majority is FAIRIES! Not the glitter and gossamer wings kind, mind you, but something altogether more sinister...

Also, you now have just under a month to enter our Monster Makeover Short Story Competition for a chance to have your story published in our Re-Vamp! Anthology, due for release this Halloween in print and e-book. Entries have now started to trickle in and must reach us by August 15th 2011, so get your writing hat on and start scaring us silly!
It's hard to believe that we're already over half way through Re-Vamp!

The Mad Doctors would like to thank everyone who has supported the project so far - we hope you're enjoying it, and without your contributions and readership, there would be no Re-Vamp!

Special thanks go out to Susan Price for plugging us on her Facebook pages: it's amazing to know that we have the support of such a wonderful and accomplished writer. If you have never read any of Susan's work then I can't recommend it enough: she has over 50 books published, several of them award winning and many based around just the kind of mythology and folklore that we at Re-Vamp are so fond of. Her work often falls into the 'young adult' category, but her engaging storytelling, imaginative twists and beautiful description makes it captivating reading for all ages. Do be warned though: although it may not be 'horror' in the generalised, gore-drenched sense, Susan Price's fairy creatures will stow away in your subconscious and then creep back out to visit you on dark and lonely nights!

Being, of course, extreme zombie enthusiasts, you've all seen the CDC's post on Preparedness 101: Zombie Apocalypse, right? :D

I love that they've even got badges you can grab to declare your hardcore zombie-apocalypse preparedness...
mad_docs_of_lit: (Default)
( May. 19th, 2011 01:54 pm)
Bidding a fond so-long for now(ooowwwwwwww!) to our third round, it's time for us to shuffle into the clumsy clutches of Round Four. Zombies are one of the Mad Doctors' very favourite monsters, so we can promise you some real reanimated treats in the stories, artwork and photography we have lined up for this round.

Zombies have maybe suffered less from the modern romance angle, but they have certainly undergone quite a cultural transformation, from the mute slaves of Voodoo tradition to the slavering, flesh-eating speed-killers of recent film and television. But what's your favourite zombie? And what's the most imaginative zombie costume you have ever encountered, either yours or someone else's?
So we have finally slipped through the chilly fingers of our second round and emerged in the dark, moonlight woods of Round Three. By overwhelmingly popular demand our monster is werewolves, and we've already got a toothsome beginning selection of poetry and art ready to satisfy your slavering maws. We've also got a spine-chilling surprise lined up as well...

To help us change our skins, what's your favorite werewolf story, movie, comic or song? Do you adore the classic wolfman, the old traditional shape-changer, or the angsty accursed heart throb?

I admit it's cheesy, but whenever I write werewolf fiction, I always end up with "Of Wolf and Man" by Metallica stuck in my head. I can't help it! A friend of mine also sent me this amazing werewolf song in German--but then I lost my copy when my MP3 player died. Maybe someday I'll remember the title and find it again.

Bright is the moon high in starlight
Chill in the air cold as steel tonight
We shift
Call of the wild
Fear in your eyes
It's later than you realized

(shape shift) Nose to the wind
(shape shift) Feeling I've been
(move swift) All senses clean
(earth's gift) Back to the meaning, Back to the meaning of...Life
(guitar solo)
I feel a change
Back to a better day
(shape shift)
Hair stands on the back of my neck
(shape shift)
In wildness is the preservation of the world

So seek the wolf in thyself

-Of Wolf and Man, Metallica
A bit of an unexpected post here, but something I think that is quite relevant to ReVamp!

I am lucky enough to live in the city of Chester, UK, a city brimming with history dating back to Roman times and before. Refusing to surrender in the Civil War, suffering through the plague and managing to survive the two World Wars unscathed, Chester has more than its fair share of ghost stories and is reputed to be (along with Derby) the most haunted city in England.

One of the most popular Chester ghost stories that is recounted with enthusiasm by every tour guide is the story attached to a little white building that now houses Thornton's Chocolate Shop. The story goes that, somewhere back in the mists of time, a girl called Sarah lived in the house. Very much in love with her sweetheart, she awaited her wedding day with anticipation, only to be left abandoned at the altar. She was so distraught that she returned home and hung herself in the top room of the house.
Ever since that day, poltergeist activities have been reported in the building. Some more notorious happenings include a disbelieving American tourist being pushed down the stairs by an unseen hand, and displays of Valentines chocolates being thrown around and broken in a locked store room whilst everything around them remained undisturbed.
Tour guides on the ghost walks I've frequently been on in Chester always recount these stories, with a varying degree of gravitas. The guide of the last tour I went on assured us that Sarah often put on shows for tours, swinging hanging display signs and knocking over parts of window displays, but whilst I always believed in Sarah's presence I never saw anything untoward in the shop, nor did I ever expect to.

Yesterday, a friend of mine visited from London and wanted to go on a ghost hunt. Me and my partner decided to take him on a tour of our own - considering we probably know more Chester ghost stories than most of the tour guides!
It was a fun evening. We took in all the usual 'haunts', taking it in turns to recount their associated tales. When we got to Thornton's, I started to tell the traditional story of Sarah and her activities, when my partner started peering quite intently into the shop window. Then he said,

"Am I seeing this?"

And the three of us stood and watched something melt a hole in a chocolate Easter egg in the middle of the window display.

It was one of the oddest experiences of my life. There was absolutely no 'maybe' about what we were witnessing; it was happening quite clearly in front of us all. We weren't scared or hysterical or imagining it. We were quite confused. The chocolate was melting quickly but without drips in a very focused way that looked like someone was holding a lighter to it: a small hole appearing and then spreading outwards like melting celluloid film. There was nobody behind us who could have been pointing a laser pointer or similar; our bodies were blocking the window. There were no lights on in the shop, we were viewing it by street lights. The window in front was cold. It was about 10.30pm at night, very cold and dark apart from the city centre street lighting. None of the other chocolates in the display were affected. None of us could explain how or why the egg was melting in this fashion.

Today myself and my partner went back to Thornton's. The egg was still in the window, the front half completely melted away, the edges re-solidified despite the fact that now sunshine was shining through the window. The egg above it in the display also had a precise hole melted into it but again, the rest around them were completely unaffected.

We went into the shop and told the assistants. They said that sometimes the sun through the window melted the chocolates. They said that sometimes the sun bounced off the windows on the opposite side of the street and could melt quite small focused patches in the display. We told them that this had happened late on a very cold night when there was no sunlight or direct light at all and that we'd watched it happen over the course of about ten minutes. They couldn't offer us any explanation but removed the eggs quickly from the display.

Any explanations as to what happened last night will be gratefully accepted!
mad_docs_of_lit: (Default)
( Nov. 18th, 2010 06:18 am)
And by the barest wisp of ectoplasm, Ghosts win the Fiend Vote and become our round 2 monster! Thanks so much to everyone who voted.

In the spirit (ha ha) of this haunted victory, what's your favorite ghost story? Have you ever had an encounter with a ghost? Tell us all about it!
I won't be dissecting (heh) every story I post here but I wanted to say a few words about my first story for the Re-Vamp! project, The Tangled Thread.

I'm not sure it's a scary tale exactly, but the reason I wrote it was to explore the changing vampire 'fashions' and cultural attitudes towards the myth. My idea was to take a modern vampire and place it in a historical setting, then take a traditional, folk-tale vampire and place it in the modern world and see what happened.

In part one (an obvious pastiche on late Victorian/early 20th century horror) our no-nonsense protagonist sees the world very much in black and white and as soon as he realises that the beautiful, sensitive, seemingly doomed creature in the house is indeed supernatural, he uses his knowledge of it to exterminate without compunction. I'm not sure what might have happened if he'd not been so businesslike - he may have spared a cursed yet essentially innocent creature's life, or he may have lived to regret his decision - much like the protagonist in part two.

In part two, I wanted to keep some kind of (tangled) thread running through the narrative, so I had the idea of the second protagonist as a descendent of the first - like history (and storybook monster) repeating itself. As soon as I started writing part two I knew that the family had moved to America - I think this suggested itself to me due to the fact that, much as 'old fashioned' horror conjures images of Transylvanian castles and misty English graveyards, modern horror puts me in mind of America - of Halloween and Psycho and shopping malls full of zombies. I set it in Astoria as a nod to The Goonies!

For me, part two was less fun to write than part one (I can never resist some old-fashioned language!) but much more interesting. Putting a traditional monster with no reason or humanity into a modern setting is terrifying - it's why the vampires of '30 Days of Night' will always captivate me more than any 'Interview with the Vampire' angst.
I drew on the earliest folk traditions of the vampire that I knew of: the blood-gorged, reanimated corpse with no human reason but the obsessive compulsion to count dropped items; traditionally grains of rice or salt, if I remember correctly. This compulsion is mistaken by the protagonist for intelligence, which stalls him from running away - a fatal mistake. This modern teenager only judges by modern standards, brought up in a society that teaches that there are no monsters under the bed and humans control everything. I left the story with him slowly becoming the monster himself, determined that he will overcome and be 'a better vampire' by sheer force of determination - will become, in fact, the creature that his ancestor gunned down in that London apartment.
I'd like to think that as soon as the vampirism took hold, he turned instead into another feral killer.



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