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Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Lisanne Harrington - Remembered

Last week, I lost one of my favorite people on the planet.  Lisanne Harrington was a fellow author, horror enthusiast and my favorite person to collaborate with.  She had a sharp wit and a direct approach that was refreshing while never feeling antagonistic.  If you wanted to know what she was thinking, you just needed to ask.  She'd tell you.  She'd probably make you laugh in the process.

We initially met when she became a member of O.C. Fictionaires.  She was the only other horror writer in the bunch and soon we bonded over a shared love of monsters.  Lisanne's blog was one of my favorite things to read every week.  It featured a different creature in each post and explored the legends, facts and overall history of each.  

You can find it here.

Not long after we met, I asked if she'd let me interview her for this blog.  We chatted for the better part of two hours and you can read most of that conversation here.

We mentioned doing a followup a few times but never got around to it.

Lisanne wrote three volumes in her Wolf Creek Mysteries series.  They are considered YA, but when I asked her about that, she said, "My publisher did that.  I just wrote a horror novel."

When I pressed her on how she came up with the idea, she told me what she told everyone.  

"The characters told me the story.  I just listened to them."

Her most recent book shifted gears to murder mystery.  Murder in the Family is the kind of book that is grounded in reality but has those little, subtle nods that make you wonder if something otherworldly could be going on.  It's the kind of novel I love and am simultaneously envious of.  You can order it and any of her others at her Amazon Author's page.  

Over the course of the last year and a half, the two of us collaborated on a number of articles on horror writing.  Those were posted on the OC Writer's Blog under the Creaky Hinge title.  We had gotten so used to working together, that we were often finishing each other's sentences, improving each other's arguments, etc.  This led us to think about collaborating on something bigger, so sometime around February of this year, we came up with the idea of writing a book together.  It was going to be nonfiction and would act as a beginners guide to horror.  

The last thing we corresponded on was the outline to that book.  I'd drafted it up and sent it her way.  She'd e-mailed back that it looked good but she wanted to take another glance at it after she got back from the hospital. She was going to have some treatments done that were hopefully going to kick the nasty cough she hadn't been able to shake for months.

I never got a chance to speak to her again.  

She'd likely be annoyed that I'm even writing this post.  

Too bad, Lisanne.  This is what you get for not being here to stop me.

My heart goes out to your family and friends.  I'm going to miss writing with you and talking about horror books and movies.  May there be a marathon of all your favorites wherever you are now.


Thursday, May 2, 2019

Forgotten Horror Gems Vol. 13 - The 27th Day

One thing about going back and looking at old horror movies is that every now and then, you get bad information.  For instance, this was recommended via a website article on obscure horror movies.  It was a listicle of 10 or 15 films they recommended you see.  This is not a horror film. This is a sci-fi film.  That said, we still watched it and were pleasantly surprised at some of it. 

The premise is interesting.  Aliens abduct people from different countries and give them each a special device that has three radioactive weapons in capsule form.  Only the abductees can open the case, but once the case is open, anyone could set off the weapons.  To use the weapon, you simply speak the latitude and longitude and press the button.  Then all human life (only human life) within 1,000 miles of that location will disappear. 

Why would aliens do this?  Well their planet is dying but they are a peaceful bunch.  They won't invade but if humans can't overcome their warlike nature and happen to blow each other up, then the aliens can move right in. Great plan, right?  Here's the next catch.  If everyone can hold out for 27 days then the weapons become unusable.

All the abductees are sent back and then the aliens do something completely unexpected.  They make an announcement to everyone on Earth about what they've done and name the people who have the weapons.  This sends all the governments of the world scrambling to find the people and gain access to the devices.  

Now, that does sound like a decent (if overly complicated) plot.  It's not actually that bad either.  It's just slow at times.  The ending is quite a surprise and ends up being a great example of Hollywood playing up the Cold War in these films.  Here's what the girls thought.  

The 27th Day Scoresheet

Was it ever night time?  -1
Did it focus on any other day? - 1
Was there Tuna Rarebit?   0 
Were there aliens? +1
Bonus - did the aliens speak English? +1
Was there atomic stuff? + 2
Was there an educational short? 0
Were there fancy hats? 0
Did anyone slide over from the passenger seat to the driver seat of the car? 0
Was there a housewife? 0
Was there a threat of the world ending?  +1
Were there more than three people who smoked? +1
Was it set in the arctic, a desert or swamp?
Was there a decent plot that progressed? +1

Total - 5

The 27th Day can be found on YouTube.  Here's the link!