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Art Should Always Inspire: Exclusive Interview with Painter Vaughn Belak

Posted by Ed Grabianowski on September 8, 2017

Blood in the Air Crows

Vaughn Belak‘s artistic creations draw you in with a luminous, large-eyed gaze, spatters of shadow and light creating an alluring blend of fae mischief and gothic gloom. His upcoming collection, Dodging Knives and Throwing Bullets, will give art fans a close look at not just Belak’s art, but also the mind of the artist.

Ed Grabianowski: Your artistic style has really crystallized into a very iconic, recognizable form. As your work evolved over the years, was there a particular moment when you realized, “This is it, this is my style”?

Vaughn Belak: Not that I can pinpoint but I am keenly aware of an artist’s need for their own voice. What I think a lot of people comment on first in regards to my work is the speckled effect I use. That truly has become a part of my personal fingerprint. In my mind what I’m doing with the spatter is attempting to frame a moment. If you’ve ever watched an old black and white film where there’s a musician or a singer in a darkened, smokey room on a stage where you can see the dust particles in the spotlight….that is my spatter.

EG: Can you tell me about the techniques that you use to create your art? What role does digital technique play in your work?

VB: I very recently switched over from conventional brush work to airbrush as my primary tool. I use acrylics, inks and charcoal as my mediums. As far as any digital stuff I’d say primarily just in my sketching. Recently I have been doing all of my primary sketch work on a tablet in Procreate. This helps me to be more fluid and to make more choices before I get into the paint. I guess it helps me remove all the bad choices before things get permanent.

EG: The dark fae characters you portray have so much personality to them. Do you have your own mythology or backstory about them? Have you ever considered expanding on that aspect, whether through a graphic novel or short stories?

VB: Thank you. Those pieces were part of a solo show I did called “Changeling” a few years back. In that show I wanted to explore some mythologies I’d never really read about before. Primarily the Huldra. Huldra are similar to satyrs in appearance but female. Very aggressive and insidious creatures. The dark fae in the series I wanted to be strong and have more menace to them than an average fairy type image. They are not very nice beings in my world. I have been approached by people to illustrate books about darker myths but have yet to find a good fit stylistically. Totally open to the idea though. Darker the better.

EG: What can fans expect to find in Dodging Knives & Throwing Bullets?

VB: My hope is that they find some inspiration. Art should always inspire. There is some personal stuff in the book that speaks to how I came to where I am in life at this moment that I hope can inspire as well. This book is a dream come to life for me and a few years ago I was unable to see any future from the bottom of the bottle I was in. Art saved my life in a very literal way. It truly is a form of magick that when used in certain ways can bring about miraculous things.

EG: Are there any movies that you like to watch to set the mood or put you in the right frame of mind for your work?

VB: There is an animated film called Rock and Rule that inspired most of my recent work. Particularly the song My Name is Mok sung by Lou Reed. This film has been a part of my world since I was a kid and there is so much I love about it. Post apocalyptic Ziggy Stardust rat world meets Mad Max. Check it out.

EG: Do you ever attend horror conventions or other shows where people can buy originals or prints of your work?

VB: I will be at Spooky Empire in October here in Orlando. I’ve been getting more involved with the convention world and you will certainly see me there more. I feel most comfortable somewhere in between the horror and comic book worlds. My primary outlet is selling my work online. Most of my audience has found me on Facebook and I use that as a storefront as well as a way to connect with friends/fans. The thing I am most excited about right now is the Kickstarter for my book Dodging Knives and Throwing Bullets. This is a total dream come true moment for me here. Thank you so much, Gothic.net and everyone for all the years of support leading up to this book!

Two of a Kind Poe Arsmem Vampira Impling Edgar Lily Munster Nossy Nosferatu Faun Look and Listen Dark Princess Red Fae

Art Should Always Inspire: Exclusive Interview with Painter Vaughn Belak

Posted by Ed Grabianowski on September 8, 2017

Blood in the Air Crows

Vaughn Belak‘s artistic creations draw you in with a luminous, large-eyed gaze, spatters of shadow and light creating an alluring blend of fae mischief and gothic gloom. His upcoming collection, Dodging Knives and Throwing Bullets, will give art fans a close look at not just Belak’s art, but also the mind of the artist.

Ed Grabianowski: Your artistic style has really crystallized into a very iconic, recognizable form. As your work evolved over the years, was there a particular moment when you realized, “This is it, this is my style”?

Vaughn Belak: Not that I can pinpoint but I am keenly aware of an artist’s need for their own voice. What I think a lot of people comment on first in regards to my work is the speckled effect I use. That truly has become a part of my personal fingerprint. In my mind what I’m doing with the spatter is attempting to frame a moment. If you’ve ever watched an old black and white film where there’s a musician or a singer in a darkened, smokey room on a stage where you can see the dust particles in the spotlight….that is my spatter.

EG: Can you tell me about the techniques that you use to create your art? What role does digital technique play in your work?

VB: I very recently switched over from conventional brush work to airbrush as my primary tool. I use acrylics, inks and charcoal as my mediums. As far as any digital stuff I’d say primarily just in my sketching. Recently I have been doing all of my primary sketch work on a tablet in Procreate. This helps me to be more fluid and to make more choices before I get into the paint. I guess it helps me remove all the bad choices before things get permanent.

EG: The dark fae characters you portray have so much personality to them. Do you have your own mythology or backstory about them? Have you ever considered expanding on that aspect, whether through a graphic novel or short stories?

VB: Thank you. Those pieces were part of a solo show I did called “Changeling” a few years back. In that show I wanted to explore some mythologies I’d never really read about before. Primarily the Huldra. Huldra are similar to satyrs in appearance but female. Very aggressive and insidious creatures. The dark fae in the series I wanted to be strong and have more menace to them than an average fairy type image. They are not very nice beings in my world. I have been approached by people to illustrate books about darker myths but have yet to find a good fit stylistically. Totally open to the idea though. Darker the better.

EG: What can fans expect to find in Dodging Knives & Throwing Bullets?

VB: My hope is that they find some inspiration. Art should always inspire. There is some personal stuff in the book that speaks to how I came to where I am in life at this moment that I hope can inspire as well. This book is a dream come to life for me and a few years ago I was unable to see any future from the bottom of the bottle I was in. Art saved my life in a very literal way. It truly is a form of magick that when used in certain ways can bring about miraculous things.

EG: Are there any movies that you like to watch to set the mood or put you in the right frame of mind for your work?

VB: There is an animated film called Rock and Rule that inspired most of my recent work. Particularly the song My Name is Mok sung by Lou Reed. This film has been a part of my world since I was a kid and there is so much I love about it. Post apocalyptic Ziggy Stardust rat world meets Mad Max. Check it out.

EG: Do you ever attend horror conventions or other shows where people can buy originals or prints of your work?

VB: I will be at Spooky Empire in October here in Orlando. I’ve been getting more involved with the convention world and you will certainly see me there more. I feel most comfortable somewhere in between the horror and comic book worlds. My primary outlet is selling my work online. Most of my audience has found me on Facebook and I use that as a storefront as well as a way to connect with friends/fans. The thing I am most excited about right now is the Kickstarter for my book Dodging Knives and Throwing Bullets. This is a total dream come true moment for me here. Thank you so much, Gothic.net and everyone for all the years of support leading up to this book!

Two of a Kind Poe Arsmem Vampira Impling Edgar Lily Munster Nossy Nosferatu Faun Look and Listen Dark Princess Red Fae

RazorCandi Gothic Punk Deathrock Tattoo Pinup Icon Interview

Posted by Ed Grabianowski on August 15, 2017

Goth fashion shapeshifter and erotic model Razor Candi‘s return to the U.S. has sparked a surge of creative photoshoots and spicy videos, and her fans can enjoy her elaborately crafted personas in a new photobook, published by Blue Blood. It’s over 200 pages of nothing but pure Razor Candi. But to truly appreciate art, you have to understand the artist, so we talked with her about the book and her latest endeavors.

Ed Grabianowski: Since we last talked you’ve moved from Romania back to the U.S. What has that transition been like?
RazorCandi: It’s been a much easier transition than it was adjusting over there, but I expected it to be a little easier since I grew up in the U.S. My views have changed a lot on things over the past eight years and seeing it from the other side puts things in perspective so it’s still very different for me being back here. The fact that I didn’t settle back in my home state of Florida changes everything because it doesn’t feel the same. The most positive transition has been that my opportunities are greater here in the U.S. for my art and my modeling but most of all being free to be myself which is the most important change for me.

Book RazorCandi Ed Grabianowski: You’ve put out a massive coffee table book that’s page after page of amazing photos of you. I know that’s been a long-term dream of yours, how did the pieces finally come together to make it happen?
RazorCandi: It was actually not even really planned. I was thinking about a book, but it was a slow going process. In passing it came up between Blue Blood and I and they offered to help out with the project which was a massive step in making it a reality!

Ed Grabianowski: The range of looks you achieve in the photos in the book is astonishing. You’re truly a chameleon. In the foreword you mention that you don’t feel like your “natural” state, without makeup or styled hair, is the real you. Is there a particular version of your look that is the “true” you? Or is it all about the constant transformation?
RazorCandi: “True” for me would be my deathrock and darker alternative looks because I live an alternative lifestyle outside of modeling. My goth/deathrock image not only represents the alternative lifestyle to me but it also makes me stand apart as an individual within a mainstream world because I don’t relate to it and I have minimal things in common with it. I’m not saying that everyone who is into the alternative lifestyle should look like me or that people who do look like me live an alternative lifestyle, that’s all for the person to judge on an individual basis, but in order to judge someone it’s wise to talk to them and get to know them first which is why I think the “real you” term is all subjective.

Ed Grabianowski: Speaking of a more natural look, there are a few photos in the book where you do appear very natural and vulnerable, and they contrast sharply with the rest of the book. Was it hard for you to do those photos and show that aspect of yourself?
RazorCandi: It’s always hard for me to do more natural looks, and it’s not because I’m insecure or feel vulnerable with less make up but because I don’t think I’m convincing in those looks. I actually feel more like I’m in a costume when I dress up that way. I feel natural looks are not strong or bold enough especially because they play right into expectations of the female standard which I feel are ridiculous and unrealistic most of the time. I’m not saying that women shouldn’t strive to feel beautiful but again beauty is subjective.

Ed Grabianowski: In the last year or so we’ve lost some incredible, iconic musicians. Is there anyone whose passing really affected you, or someone you have (or plan to) do a tribute or homage photo shoot for?
RazorCandi: I haven’t really thought of any tribute shoots, though it would be nice to pay homage to some of my biggest inspirations. I guess I just feel it’s better off left to them, I wouldn’t want to feel like I’m riding any coat tails or anything like that when the focus should be on them and their work. I guess waiting until someone dies to show your appreciation seems little too late in a way.

Ed Grabianowski: In the last few years, cosplay has become this huge phenomenon. Some of your work feels like it shares some of the spirit of cosplay, although you generally create original characters (I see you snuck a Batgirl into the book, and your Bride of Frankenstein was amazing). Do you feel a connection to cosplay? Is there a pop culture fandom that you could see yourself portraying a character from at a convention or for a photo shoot?
RazorCandi: Cosplay does grab my attention a bit because I do think there is an art to it. I’m certainly not one to judge people who wanna get all done up in theatrics! Though my interest lay more with horror and darker themes (Batgirl and my naughty nun were custom requests) but I have thought of trying a few sub cultural or otherwise dark horror themes. The biggest barrier for me when it comes to cosplay is perfecting the outfits and only then after you make it through the planning stage you have to find the right location which is a lot harder than it seems, especially if there is nudity involved.

Ed Grabianowski: Among the many, many personas you take on in the book, is there one that’s a favorite of yours, or one that you’re proudest of because of the craft that went into making it happen?
RazorCandi: I’d say my Liberate Tutemet Ex Inferis (devil girl) set is one of my favorites. I just really like this one because it’s very dark but also alluring and empowering. I put a lot into all my looks and I don’t really feel that I put more into the craft when doing this one but I really feel the theme and look in Liberate is straight from the depths of hell. 😉

Ed Grabianowski: My personal favorite is the Medusa. Can you tell me how that look came together, from concept to final photo? How did you accomplish the hair?
RazorCandi: The Medusa shoot was a pretty crazy one! It was very exhausting and took about five hours to complete the look for that one. Though I also love the final concept and I was the one that came up with the whole look I still worked with a hair artist, make-up artist, nail artist and also a different photographer than I normally work with. It was mainly a collaboration for Soso, the hair stylist who owns the Exentric hair salon in Sibiu, Romania. I guess because none of it was really me besides just the posing it doesn’t really feel like my achievement to be proud of.

Ed Grabianowski: What role does eroticism play in your creative work? Is there a separate process: ok, this will be a fashion look, this one will be more erotic? Or is that part of your personality inseparable from your creativity?
RazorCandi: I kind of like that eroticism and adult concepts are controversial, I’d say it’s pretty inseparable from the creative process for me. I think it’s interesting to mix sex appeal with creativity especially when it involves alternative looks. I find it amusing when it makes people uncomfortable and I find it kinky when it makes people feel aroused. 😉

Ed Grabianowski: What should your fans be listening to when they’re looking through the Razor Candi photo book? What’s on the Razor Candi playlist these days?
RazorCandi: I think people should listen to whatever makes them feel good and whatever they can relate to. When it comes to my playlist it’s a mix of all kinds of things ranging from 80’s new wave, deathrock to punk and grunge all the way to doom metal and country goth. I have an always growing playlist of favorites which currently includes Current 93, Cinema Strange, Bauhaus, Die Form, Black Tape for a Blue Girl, Gene Loves Jezebel, Love and Rockets, Nine Inch Nails, Andi Sex Gang, Ghost, and more.

RazorCandi Devil Girl Razor Candi Medusa RazorCandi Scythe Death RazorCandi Zombie Melancholy Goth RazorCandi Skull Headdress Razor Candi Razor Candi Cemetary Girl Razor Candi Without Makeup RazorCandi Bloody Zombie Graveyard Deathhawk RazorCandi Train Tracks Deathrock RazorCandi Torn Fishnets Gothic RazorCandi Ballet Shoes Skull RazorCandi deathrock lace tutu Deathrocker RazorCandi RazorCandi Orange Hair Goth Spikes RazorCandi Punk

Seraph

Posted by Edwina Caustic on July 7, 2017

Goth girls sans pants photographed by Allan Amato who has shot a lot of Gothic.net’s favorite authors. The book includes Amanda Palmer (longtime readers will recall we used to host her Dresden Dolls site.) Also spooky name comic book artist flourishes of design. Also interviews with models. Check the Seraph book out.

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BLT Black Leather Times Zine Book and Tshirts

Posted by Edwina Caustic on July 23, 2015

Old skool goths probably remember the little BLT humor zines from conventions. Each issue had hilarious, witty, and sarcastic writing and really cool artwork. Content ranged from goth-industrial club reviews to quizzes on how to tell if you are dating a vampire (spoiler: you are not dating a vampire.) My favorite parts were probably the bad advice columns and the band interview outtakes with funny things that happened while interviewing bands such as Nine Inch Nails, Die Warzau, Frontline Assembly, GBH, Dread Zeppelin, and more. BLT is currently running a Kickstarter drive to publish a 400 page volume of all the Black Leather Times issues. The BLT project is a Kickstarter Staff Pick and they only pick the top quality projects they like. Plus they are working on some nice black T-shirts. I think I need the shirt with the girl from the Suicide issue of the BLT humor zine.

kickstarter staff pick
BLT Suicide
BLT DC Punk

California Deathrock Art Book

Posted by Gothic.net on June 16, 2015

Blue Blood has published California Deathrock, a gorgeous hardcover book of portraiture by Amelia G and Forrest Black. Both have served on our Gothic.net Panel of Experts (which we really should post more of) and both are famous for their individualistic portraits of counterculture people. Where a lot of photographers just see black lipstick, Forrest Black and Amelia G really showcase the personalities of their gothic subjects, as well as their incredible style. Kind of the advantage of having people actually in the scene doing the shooting. The selection of photographic subjects is something of a who’s who of West Coast darksiders. The book includes photographs of members of numerous notorious dark bands, including Flytrap, Kommunity FK, Element, Fearcult, STG, Super Heroines, Christian Death, Deadfly Assembly, Tragic Black, Shadow Project, Cinema Strange, Seraphim Shock, and more.

This coffee table art book is beautifully produced in a sturdy hardcover format with thick pages and intense colors in the printing. It is available from the California Deathrock web site and Amazon.

California Deathrock California Deathrock California Deathrock California Deathrock California Deathrock California Deathrock

Game of Thrones: High Sparrow

Posted by Cat Voleur on April 26, 2015

I’ve read a lot about this season of HBO’s Game of Thrones, and people who worked on the show are saying that this is the season that starts to take the show in a different direction from the books. If I didn’t see it in previous episodes, I definitely do now, and this episode more than any other has broken the expectations that the books left me with. It has only made me more excited to see what happens, since I don’t know what’s coming anymore.

The third episode of the season starts off back at the House of Black and White where Arya learns a little bit more about what it means to serve there, and just how difficult it will be to become a faceless man. A man who comes in to pray and drinks from the temple’s pond dies, and Arya comes to understand that Death is the only god that they served there, starting things off on a darker note.

In contrast to that, we jump straight to the excitement of King’s Landing residents, and we see the wedding of King Tommen and Queen Margaery. Unlike Joffrey’s wedding, this one is fast paced, we see them saying the end of their vows, their kiss, the crowd applauding and Cersei’s discomfort with the situation before it cuts to the wedding night and we see the two of them finishing up in bed together. The newly wed couple talks, though Tommen is much more eager to continue the bedding, and Margaery knows how to play Tommen just as well as she knew how to play his brother. She starts hinting that Cersei should return to Casterly Rock.

The next morning when he sees his mother, we see that Margaery’s plan worked as Tommen speaks of sending her back home and away from King’s Landing. Cersei knows straight away who is behind it and goes to talk to the new Queen. We see the tension between the two queens growing, hinting that there may be more trouble brewing between the two of them soon.

Theon is still at Winterfell, and it’s obvious that he’s not enjoying his service to the Bolton’s anymore, and we can see the fear and disgust in his eyes as they hang up another flayed man. Lord Roose Bolton has a discussion with his son Ramsay about it being about time for him to marry a suitable bride in order for them to solidify their hold on the North and to stop the open rebellions that have been happening since they took hold of the castle. He tells Ramsay that such a marriage has been arranged.

Sansa in the meantime is mortified to learn that she’s travelling back to Winterfell and that the marriage proposal spoken of in the last episode by Petyr wasn’t a marriage for himself, but rather for her. She doesn’t want to see the Boltons in what used to be her home, particularly not since they were responsible for the Red Wedding where her mother and brother were slaughtered. Lord Baelish convinces her that the best way to get revenge starts with marrying Ramsay, until she can find a way to get even for what they did. It’s only reluctantly that she agrees to go and avenge her family by seeing out the marriage.

Brienne and Pod are still following them from a distance, as she has not intention on giving up on Lady Sansa. The two of them make camp and discuss Pod’s future. Brienne tells him she can’t ever knight him, but that she can help out by teaching him how to fight. She also talks about her love for Renly, and how kind he was to her when she was a girl. She vows to avenge him by killing his brother, Stannis.

Stannis is still at the wall, and talks to Jon Snow about the offer he made him to become Jon Stark. Jon tells him that he’d love nothing more than to accept his offer, become a Stark and fight against the Boltons, but he declines anyway, saying that he swore a vow to the Night’s Watch and he definitely can’t leave now that he has been appointed Lord Commander.

Arya is in the House of Black and White being questioned by another one of the girls at the temple. She’s asked who she is, and she says no one but it struck for her response. She is told by the girl that she’s lying, and strikes her again. Jaqen H’ghar stops what the girl referred to as “the game of faces” saying that Arya isn’t ready. Arya says he is, but Jaqen tells her that she can’t become no one while she’s still surrounded by the things of Arya Stark.

To continue her training, Arya goes to throw out all of her possessions. She changes into clothes from them temple and goes to toss everything she owns into the water. The clothes, the coins, everything goes easily except for needle. I had to admit, I teared up a little bit watching as Arya struggles with the decision of whether or not she can throw away the sword that Jon had made for her. Instead of throwing it into the water, she hides it and returns to her work at the temple. She seems to be making progress, as instead of sweeping floors she works with the girl to help clean up the dead.

Sansa has made it to Winterfell, and we see that she truly is getting much better at lying. She is presented to Ramsay, who is also on his best behavior. Ramsay’s girlfriend, Miranda, stands in the crowds and we are left with the impression that she is not at all thrilled about this arrangement. Sansa is lead back into her old home, and one of the serving women welcomes her back, leaving the scene off with a Westerosi saying; “The North remembers.”

Jon seems to be well liked as Lord Commander, but runs into his first issue as Janos Slynt refuses to follow orders. Since disobeying the Lord Commander is punishable by death at the Night’s Watch, Jon must perform his first execution. Janos begs for mercy, seeing that Jon is serious, but Jon knows what he must do, and in one stroke, he kills the man.

Things get strange back in King’s Landing when we see that the High Septon is visiting a brothel, living out a fantasy he has about the seven gods. He is dragged out of the brothel and marched naked through the streets by the group of vigilantes calling themselves the sparrows. The religious fanatics believe that he is an insult to their faith, and want to punish him justly. The High Septon asks that their leader, known as “The High Sparrow” is executed.

Cersei goes to meet with him herself. She goes to the alley where he’s supposed to be at, and finds that he’s there serving the poor and the less fortunate. She sees that he is in fact much more devout than the man who is currently holding the position of the High Septon, and it becomes apparent that she plans on rewarding him instead of punishing him. It’s obvious that she has some sort of scheme. She also talks to Qyburn about sending a message to Petyr, though she still thinks he’s at the Vale of Arryn. We see here that he’s making progress on his task to keep Ser Gregor alive.

Petyr and Roose discuss their new alliance in the meantime. Roose doesn’t trust Petyr, as he is still talking to Queen Cersei, and he fears a trap of some sort. They discuss how one word gets out of Ramsay marrying Sansa stark, it will mean war with the crown, since Sansa is supposed to be married to Tyrion though it was never consummated, and Cersei still blames Sansa for Joffrey’s death.

Back in Essos we see that Tyrion is not having a good time in the wheelhouse. Despite Varys’ many warning, Tyrion insists on getting out and walking around. He finds a brothel and is amused to see that one of the whores there is dressed like Queen Daenerys Targaryen. He’s impressed that people are so inspired by her. He starts trying to get into bed with one of the other women, but decides that he can’t. He’s still troubled obviously by Shae’s death. He leaves to get some fresh air where he is abducted by Jorah Mormont, who says he’s going to take Tyrion to the queen, which is where the episode leaves off.

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Alice en Bataille

Posted by Edwina Caustic on October 19, 2014

We like gothic and we like literary, so Heavy Red’s Alice en Bataille couture Halloween costume really hits the spot. The concept is a sort of goth battle-ready Alice in Wonderland. Each year, Heavy Red does a different take on Alice in Wonderland cosplay.

Maybe I am over-thinking it, but I do believe the progression of Alice costumes progresses through the themes of the books, first riffing on Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, and now moving on to Through the Looking-Glass. If you would like to over-think this analysis with me, I’d love for you to download a free Kindle book of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and of Through the Looking-Glass.

I believe that this increasingly dangerous and capable Alice is themed more for the beginning of Through the Looking Glass. As always, Heavy Red has stunning photography of their designs (lots more on their site) and I do believe that is a vorpal sword Alice is holding in front of that beautiful spooky tree. Perhaps to do battle with the Jabberwock. Some day Alice shall be Queen. Perhaps soon you shall be Alice.

Heavy Red offers overnight and/or expedited shipping throughout the world, so perhaps that day shall be very soon when you shall be Alice. Heavy Red offers different Alices for different moods, but, this Hallows Eve, Alice en Bataille is the newest and most fear-inspiring Alice on the block.

Gothic Noir Alice in Wonderland Gothic Noir Alice in Wonderland Gothic Noir Alice in Wonderland Gothic Noir Alice in Wonderland Gothic Noir Alice in Wonderland Gothic Noir Alice in Wonderland Gothic Noir Alice in Wonderland Gothic Noir Alice in Wonderland Gothic Noir Alice in Wonderland Gothic Noir Alice in Wonderland

JABBERWOCKY

‘Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe;
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.

‘Beware the Jabberwock, my son!
The jaws that bite, the claws that catch!
Beware the Jubjub bird, and shun
The frumious Bandersnatch!’

He took his vorpal sword in hand:
Long time the manxome foe he sought—
So rested he by the Tumtum tree,
And stood awhile in thought.

And as in uffish thought he stood,
The Jabberwock, with eyes of flame,
Came whiffling through the tulgey wood,
And burbled as it came!

One, two! One, two! And through and through
The vorpal blade went snicker-snack!
He left it dead, and with its head
He went galumphing back.

‘And hast thou slain the Jabberwock?
Come to my arms, my beamish boy!
O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!’
He chortled in his joy.

‘Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe;
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.

Cabal

Posted by Luke Applebee on October 16, 2014

Next month Shout Factory will release Nightbreed: The Director’s Cut, a very different version of the film that 20th Century Fox let out of the cage in 1990. While you wait for that shiny Blu-ray; you could read the 1989 Clive Barker story Cabal published by Harper Collins (you know, the novel that the film is based on).

Cabal1

This is dark fantasy where sexual politics and the ‘mob mentality’ wrestle underneath the surface of the twisted and self-destructive life of Aaron Boone—a man who cannot recall being the aggressor in a series of nasty murders.

Convinced of his guilt and unable to deal with the grief, Boone says goodbye to his psychiatrist and hurls himself in front of a truck. Boone wakes in a hospital and learns of Midian, a place that may ease his suffering …

The narrative shifts between multiple points-of-view, which expertly crafts the small town USA Barker has envisioned while keeping secrets from the reader.

The mysteries make Midian and its Nightbreed inhabitants more intriguing. The mystery entices.

You cannot truly pigeonhole Cabal as just dark fantasy though. The name implies a sinister tone with harsh hues. The prose tends to celebrate the Nightbreed as an eccentric community rather than evil monsters, which subverts our expectations in a horror story.

Boone’s love interest, Lori, visits Midian. She explores the necropolis, discovers an animal terrified, dying in the sunlight, and returns it to a cloaked lady standing by the threshold of a mausoleum. As Lori conducts the exchange:

‘The animal was changing before her eyes. In the luxury of slough and spasm it was losing its bestiality, not by re-ordering its anatomy but by liquefying its whole self—through to the bone—until what had been solid was a tumble of matter … It was sobbing that made her open her eyes. Not the woman this time but a child, a girl of four or five, lying naked where the muck of transformation been.’

Tension builds, friends unite and events escalate to the point where a lynch mob of fear-mongering rednecks rally under the banner of a corrupt sheriff to destroy Midian. Cabal is a page-turner, perfect for commuting, and asks one of many important questions: who are the real bad guys?

Cabal

Posted by Luke Applebee on October 16, 2014

Next month Shout Factory will release Nightbreed: The Director’s Cut, a very different version of the film that 20th Century Fox let out of the cage in 1990. While you wait for that shiny Blu-ray; you could read the 1989 Clive Barker story Cabal published by Harper Collins (you know, the novel that the film is based on).

Cabal1

This is dark fantasy where sexual politics and the ‘mob mentality’ wrestle underneath the surface of the twisted and self-destructive life of Aaron Boone—a man who cannot recall being the aggressor in a series of nasty murders.

Convinced of his guilt and unable to deal with the grief, Boone says goodbye to his psychiatrist and hurls himself in front of a truck. Boone wakes in a hospital and learns of Midian, a place that may ease his suffering …

The narrative shifts between multiple points-of-view, which expertly crafts the small town USA Barker has envisioned while keeping secrets from the reader.

The mysteries make Midian and its Nightbreed inhabitants more intriguing. The mystery entices.

You cannot truly pigeonhole Cabal as just dark fantasy though. The name implies a sinister tone with harsh hues. The prose tends to celebrate the Nightbreed as an eccentric community rather than evil monsters, which subverts our expectations in a horror story.

Boone’s love interest, Lori, visits Midian. She explores the necropolis, discovers an animal terrified, dying in the sunlight, and returns it to a cloaked lady standing by the threshold of a mausoleum. As Lori conducts the exchange:

‘The animal was changing before her eyes. In the luxury of slough and spasm it was losing its bestiality, not by re-ordering its anatomy but by liquefying its whole self—through to the bone—until what had been solid was a tumble of matter … It was sobbing that made her open her eyes. Not the woman this time but a child, a girl of four or five, lying naked where the muck of transformation been.’

Tension builds, friends unite and events escalate to the point where a lynch mob of fear-mongering rednecks rally under the banner of a corrupt sheriff to destroy Midian. Cabal is a page-turner, perfect for commuting, and asks one of many important questions: who are the real bad guys?