GUEST POST: Christine Morgan

Your Move, Martha

After my appearance on an episode of his Bizzong! podcast, the esteemed Mr. Frank described me as “the Martha Stewart of extreme horror.” Now, there’s a moniker I never would have expected, but, nonetheless, gleefully embraced.

(The invariable immediate follow-up question is usually “so then who’s your Snoop?”, the answer to which is equally invariable and immediate: Jeff Burk, forever one of my favorite people in the world!)

Anyway, this came about because of my propensity to bake creepy cookies and cupcakes, and make creepy crafts, many of which I like to bring to events or present to my fellow creepy creatives. They’re great for book launches, readings, conventions, surprise gifts.

Many of these demented experiments spring from my own imagination, or are inspired by the works of others; I’ve done doll-mods, crafts, and baked goods inspired by book covers, characters, concepts, etc. I made death’s head moths for the fine folks at Death’s Head Press, sent the publisher at Bloodshot Books a giant painted ceramic bloodshot eyeball, and gave Brian Keene a batch of handmade “clickers.”

But, for the purposes of this post, I’m going to focus solely on weird shit I’ve made based on some famous horror films. Doll-mods, mostly, with a few other odds and ends (mainly odds) thrown in.

The earliest of these, chronologically speaking, was this nut-people version of Carrie at the prom, which I made for my daughter:

Also from the nut-people line, a nice little nightmare I like to call the Pecan Centipede:

Which, by the way, had a much larger cousin one year for Halloween:

Now, at some point along the line, I’d ordered a bunch of craft supply ‘book boxes,’ which aren’t boxes to store books but boxes shaped like books. A DIY Necronomicon was, of course, a must!

The doll-mods, though, always provide the biggest challenge, and tend to be the most fun. I’ve included pics from the movies I used as my reference in most cases, to see how close I was able to get with little more than a hot glue gun and paint.

Whenever I’m asked my favorite horror monster, the answer has got to be the classic Gill-Man. He was my daughter’s fave, too; while other kids were checking out cartoon movies from the library, she would beeline right for Creature From The Black Lagoon every time. So, naturally, I had to make a doll of him for her!

And who doesn’t love that lunkhead, Jordy Verrill? Portrayed in Creepshow by none other than Stephen King himself?

Now, sometimes there are moments in movies maybe meant to be horrific, but turn out more hilarious instead. For me, one such moment is in the original Fright Night; hello, Amy!

If some of your friends are so obsessed with a franchise they even have a Friday the 13th themed wedding, well …

Speaking of things providing challenges, by the way, the hardest part of this build was having to make the damn tricycle!

One challenge, however, I did not undertake was my roommate-at-the-time’s suggestion to make this one spew green goop:

Occasionally, I will make something that creeps even me out, so I am very glad the awesome Mary SanGiovanni agreed to give this one a good home:

As terrific and fun as was Cabin in the Woods, I think we all agree the by-far best bits came when we got to see all the other options, and dream of the alternate versions of the movie that could have been. Like, say, either of these two:

Hail to the king, baby. ‘nuff said.

And, to finish with a drastic departure from crafts into cooking, who’s hungry for some SHARKTATO MEATNADO?

Yes, that is a bacon-wrapped meatloaf tornado with potatoes carved into sharks. Life is too short to make plain old boring loaf-shaped meatloaf. I could do a whole other post about those culinary experiments too.

Do I deserve the title Mr. Frank so graciously bestowed upon me? I am far from an expert, far from having my own entire multi-million-dollar brand name and empire. But, for now, I can just say — and after seeing her as a judge on Chopped, I know she’s one of the scariest people alive — your move, Martha!

Christine’s Crazy Cat-Lady Stuff

Christine Morgan recently quit her night-shift job and moved from rainy Portland to sunny Southern California to help out her mom and hopefully make a plunge as a full-time writer. Several months later, she’s still reeling from the culture shock of adjusting to daytime life, but finally has a real office/library full of bookshelves and critter skeletons, as well as a dinosaur-themed bedroom. Because she is a) a grown up and b) a professional.

Christine Morgan’s World of Words

GUEST POST: Frank J. Edler

Demand the World’s Greatest Candy

We need to talk. About Halloween candy. You’ve got it all wrong, I guarantee it. I’m sure you’re thinking to yourself, no way Mr. Frank, Reece’s Peanut Butter Cups are the best Halloween candy, I’m certain of it. And, while you make a good case, Reece’s are an incredible Halloween candy to score in your trick-or-treat bag (and I maintain that Reece’s Pieces are superior to the peanut butter cup, but that’s another argument for another time), they are not the ultimate score.

The problem is, the ultimate Halloween candy goes criminally unnoticed year after year. It’s not right. The greatest Halloween candy to land in your trick-or-treat bag (or bucket, which you shouldn’t be using anyway because trick-or-treat buckets are limited and cumbersome) is Willy Wonka’s Bottle Caps. See? I know, you just smacked yourself in the forehead and said, Duh!

What? You didn’t smack yourself in the forehead and say, Duh? There’s no possible way in the name of all the ghosts, ghouls, witches and Whatchamacallits that Willy Wonka’s Bottle Caps are the ultimate Halloween candy? They can’t possibly be better than a Reece’s (in any form), Snickers, 3 Musketeers or Skittles. You are a fool if that is your mindset.

Listen, I get it. You’ve been bombarded with big chocolate advertising you’re whole life. It started out with the chocolate bar, graduated to chocolate covered candies that refuse to melt in your mouth. From there it was peanuts and nougat. Add in a cookie and cover it with caramel. All wonderful, to be sure. But the more the big candy companies vie for your Halloween dollar, they more complex and over-thought the offerings become. With clever marketing they sell you on overindulgence. It’s unnecessary. You need to find your roots.

Let’s get back to basics, the sugar!

The heart of any candy, chocolate or otherwise, is sugar. Nope, it isn’t the cocoa bean that makes the confectionery world go ‘round. It’s the sugar cane!

Willy Wonka’s Bottle Caps are masterpieces of the use of sugar in candy.

When you think sugar you think candy, cake, flavored juice bastardizations and, of course, soda. Soda! Liquid candy! Mr. Wonka, when not slaving away over the Ultimate Gobstopper, married the best of both sugary worlds and created a soda flavored candy! Bottle Caps!

You must’ve tried them at some point. They are hard and disc-shaped like Smarties (another fine and underrated Halloween addition to any discerning trick-or-treat bag). They are chewable Necco Wafers but with a less chalky finish. They are fruity and vibrant like Skittles or Starburst. And, most amazing of all, when you bite into them there is a sort of effervescence on the tongue. No, they aren’t carbonated candy but they taste like carbonated candy. You’re favorite soda pop in a fun little bite-sized candy!

Does your precious peanut butter cup do that? Didn’t think so.

It’s cool. I know I’ve got your attention now. Its that marketing thing. Willy Wonka doesn’t wield the advertising budget of the other guys. But, Willy Wonka doesn’t need to invest in a Wall Street marketing firm to get his goodies sold. Nope, he puts his money where his mouth is. He takes it on down to Flavortown!

Still, its hard as hell to score yourself one of these little treasures on Halloween. The best you can hope for is that you’re local trick-or-treat stop has invested in a Willy Wonka Halloween candy mix ‘n match bag. They’ll have Nerds, Sweet Tarts, Laffy Taffy, and Gobstoppers. And of course, they’ll have those precious treasures, a sleeve of Bottle Caps.

Don’t be shy. Demand the Bottle Caps. Let it be known you want Bottle Caps and nothing less! Dip your grubby little hands into that bowl full of sugar overdoses and go for the Bottle Caps. Take two, you are in the know now.

Demand Bottle Caps when all they have is m&m’s and Twix (which, by the way, we all know that the Left Twix is the superior Twix.) Say nay when you are offered a Dum-Dum lollipop and tell the sugar dispenser they are the dumb-dumb for not stocking Bottle Caps this Halloween. Turn your nose up at Hershey bars, Crunch bars and Dove medallions.

Make a stand! Demand Bottle Caps.

This is a process. It won’t change in the course of one or two Halloweens. Play the long game. Get the word out around the neighborhood that the kids demand Bottle Caps first and foremost! Soon the adults will be stocking up on bulk purchases of Bottle Caps to be the most talked about house on the block that Halloween. Sooner or later you’ll get that one adult who has to stand out all around town. They will be giving out full sized tubes of Bottle Caps, the ultimate score! Greater than a full sized chocolate bar, more treasured than a two-cup Reece’s package. The full sized, large disced tube of Willy Wonka Bottle Caps is the greatest treasure anyone can hope for at Halloween.

We can get there. You and I. Together.

Happy Halloween!

Frank J. Edler is the author of many twisted novels and uncanny short stories often cited as ‘laugh out loud’ reads. His writing walks the fine line between horror and the bizarre. He resides in New Jersey, a land that is both horrific and bizarre. When not writing, Mr. Frank hosts the wildly popular Bizzong! The Weird & Wacky Fiction Podcast heard exclusively on Project Entertainment Network.

Death Gets a Book
Vincent and his nagging wife, Wanda wind up getting themselves killed in Tijuana. Vincent wakes to find that he is now the Grim Reaper. With minimal training he is cast into the world of Deaths to collect the souls of the dead. The only wrinkle is his dead wife has come back as a screaming Banshee. She is hellbent on getting her husband to realize that its not ’til death do they part and he is set on getting through his first day on the job.

He will not go it alone. Along the way he is helped by his co-workers: a cowboy, a midget, an action figure and a bumbling grim reaper from Salem.

Will Death get the soul to Charon’s skiff by the end of the work day or will a squadron of maniac Banshee’s stop Death and upend the balance of power in the underworld? And, will Vincent ever be rid of his nagging wife?

Death gets a book and now you do too!

Scared Silly
What do you get when you mix a penis eating zombie with a downtrodden grim reaper then add a pinch of lycanthopic mad scientist, sprinkle it with a grocery store full of living food and mash it into a frightening red eyed monster?


Let author, Frank J Edler, take you into a world of not-so-serious horror. This collection features five frighteningly funny tales from the wicked and wacky writer. Laugh yourself to death as you read the stories: Old Scrote, SPLAT!, Death Gets A Life, GROSSeries and Wolfberries.

Brats in Hell
Otto Van Der Noodle has just been crowned the Bratwurst King of Wisconsin when he is gunned down in cold blood. Otto finds himself in line at the pearly gates when he is accidentally cast through the gates of Hell.

Otto lands in the middle of a power struggle for the throne of Hell. Satan rules the underworld with an iron fist and a delicious bratwurst. Satan’s brother, Dagobert has just found his secret weapon, Otto Van Der Noodle and his prize-winning bratwurst.

Dagobert will try to tip the balance of control in Hell using Otto’s delectable bratwursts. But Satan may have found the ultimate weapon in his new favorite pet demon.

Souls will be tortured, demons will fight demons and bratwursts will be cooked. Who will come out as the top chef and leader of Hell when the cook-off to end all cook-offs is fought?

Read BRATS IN HELL to find out. Its the WURST book ever written!

It’s hard being a Killer Brain. Just ask Scatter, a Killer Brain who just wants to be a Killer Brain. But he can’t, his parents want him to get a job. Scatter would rather do what he does best, terrorize the city with his pack of Killer Brain friends. But Scatter is about to find out life isn’t fair.

Crazed neurosurgeon, Dr. Justin Case is out to avenge the death of his parents at the hands of the Killer Brains. And now he has Scatter in his sights. Along with his cohort, Coda, Dr. Case will stop at nothing to exact his revenge and seek the closure he has sought since he watched his parents get devoured by Killer Brains as a child.

The odds are stacked against Scatter. He must navigate life while trying not to fall into the clutches of his would-be nemesis. Can Scatter get by without a little help from family and friends. He just wants to live life doing what he loves but sometimes responsibility has a way of rearranging your priorities. Join Scatter as he navigates through life, the job market and a city full of crazies all keeping him from doing what he loves, being a Killer Brain.