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Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Top Ten Horror Movies of 2016

When The Forest rolled into theaters back in January, I wasn't confident that 2016 was going to bring us much in the way of decent horror but boy, did I underestimate both the industry and the temperature of our country. Suffice it to say, between the real-life horror show of the election and this year's crop of fright flicks, I was left shaken...and stirred.

Let's get started with the honorable mentions!


I debated even mentioning THE LOVE WITCH in a "Best of Horror" list as it is a pure campy (and quite feminist) homage to the schlock and melodrama of great 60s and 70s horror-sploitation films. But I couldn't recommend it more. Between Anna Biller's (VIVA) eye for kitsch and Samantha Robison's luridly nuanced performance, I can't help but LOVE this WITCH. ::cough::

Speaking of performances, NINA FOREVER's titular headliner, Fiona O'Shaughnessy, steals this show with a gory, sleazy and utterly hilarious turn as a lovelorn zombie. I challenge you to watch NINA and not fall in love with O'Shaughnessy! (HULU)

THE SHALLOWS really took me by surprise. I'm not really a fan of Blake Lively and hadn't followed her career at all so wasn't expecting her to be as captivating in this role as turned out to be. No small achievement as her character IS the movie. Well. There is a shark, too. It's a nail-biter.

There were other horror films that I liked this year, OUIJA: ORIGIN OF EVIL and THE CONJURING 2 were both competent and offered some scares but not quite in the way that the next movies rose to the challenge.

And now! Numbers 10 to 2...


Number Ten, THE EYES OF MY MOTHER, is a potent indie horror film with the cinematic scope of an epic. Shot in black and white with the occasional subtitle (the characters dip into Portuguese on occasion), the effect is unnerving, or rather foreign, despite being a clear homage to an American Gothic. The horror here is intense and unrelenting, but not in the sense of creating fear or jump scares. EYES tortures the audience with dread and situational horror. A truly unique vision.

If there were any question as to John Goodman's star power, my Number Nine, 10 CLOVERFIELD LANE, quashes it. Goodman is downright frightening as a potentially insane survivalist who "saves" Mary Elizabeth Winstead from a global pandemic of some sort. Man is this bunker packed with secrets...and, perhaps, aliens? Only loosely associated to CLOVERFIELD, I can't wait to see what GOD PARTICLE, the next in this franchise, has in store.

There's a seeming subtlety to Iranian horror films if 2015's A GIRL WALKS HOME ALONE AT NIGHT and this year's Number Eight pick, UNDER THE SHADOW are any indication. A sparseness that speaks to isolation, even in a city setting. It sets the viewer on edge. But whereas GIRL takes its time to creep under your skin. UNDER THE SHADOW gets right to it, building tension from the bombastic appearance of an unexploded missile to its frightening climax. (Netflix)

I wasn't sure what to do with my Number Seven pick, THE NEON DEMON, nor were most audience members. The film is undeniably gorgeous on an artistic level, the color tones remind one of classic Italian giallo, and the soundtrack is one of the year's best, in any genre. It took me a second viewing to truly embrace Nicholas Winding Refn's vision and detect the subtle insistence that a cabal is at work from the outset. The third act of NEON DEMON had the entire theater groaning with discomfort. And I love an uncomfortable crowd. (Amazon Prime)

My Number Six pick is the first of two Korean horror movies on the list, the oddly epic THE WAILING. While tonally, this one bounces around a bit, hanging out in comedy for a bit too long, once it gets rolling into the possession elements it's a fast descent into madness. The cultural elements of the film, shamans, demons and ghosts unlike any presented in American movies, work in THE WAILING's favor creating an atmosphere that unsettles right along with the plot to its horrific end. (Netflix)

If you'd told me that there'd be a film that would knock THE WITCH out of my top spot, let alone all the way down to Number Five back in February, I wouldn't have believed you. Although not an easily accessible film, the dialogue is so Olde English that it practically needed subtitles, THE WITCH starts off with a gruesome bang and then trades that horrific visual for a slow burn that really creeps up on you until the third act which is fucknuts crazy. Also, Black Phillip is a genuine STAR! (Amazon Prime)

At Number Four, DON'T BREATHE, director Fede Alvarez's follow up to his great and gory reboot of EVIL DEAD. DON'T BREATHE takes another simple premise and flays it open with a unique twist and terrific performances (and yeah, the year's most shocking moment...next to that whole November 8th thing). 

It took me quite a while to fit in screenings of the next two on the list, but I'm glad I did before finalizing. At Number Three, TRAIN TO BUSAN is a return to that rare achievement, the truly great zombie movie. It's been a long time (DAWN OF THE DEAD remake?) since a zombie movie really got me hooked in. The premise is simple, a zombie outbreak coincides with an undeniably crappy father's decision to escort his daughter on a train trip to see her estranged mother. I won't spoil the plot points, but suffice it to say, these undead folk are tweakin'!

Which brings us to, Number Two, the utterly unexpected and wholly unique, THE AUTOPSY OF JANE DOE. I went into JANE DOE blind and was hooked by its procedural take on the horror genre. It is a graphic dissection of both viscera and trope and I'm biting my tongue before I make comparisons to another movie on this list. Suffice it to say, JANE DOE isn't going to be a run of the mill autopsy!

And finally the Number One(s)???

Surprise! It's a tie!


I honestly couldn't bear to drop either of these into the number two spot. I absolutely adored both but they couldn't possibly be more different in tone or pacing. THE INVITATION is that rare achievement, a low budget independent film, that rises to classic status from first viewing. Karen Kusama, who directed the under-rated JENNIFER'S BODY, steps back into horror with a slow burn that ends in a California wildfire. A man and his girlfriend are invited to a dinner party by his ex-wife and her new husband only to find that they've wandered into an Amway-style pitch party for a cult. I'll leave it at that. There is so much ambling ambiguity going on along the way that you'll only think you know what's happening until BAM! Now I need to watch it again! (Netflix)

Sharing the top spot, and featuring one of the final performances of Anton Yelchin, is a knock out thriller from the director of 2013's masterful BLUE RUIN, Jeremy Saulnier (a name you're going to be hearing a lot of in the future). GREEN ROOM is a shock to the system, a wholly original twist on a premise with roots in films like THE HILLS HAVE EYES or LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT. A punk band in a financial bind begrudgingly accepts a gig at a skinhead bar in the middle of nowhere. From the minute they meet Patrick Stewart, who KILLS IT as the big bad, you know this isn't going to end well. Do yourself a favor and watch this one pronto.

HELL. WATCH ALL OF THEM. 2016 was a pretty great horror year!!!


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MARK HENRY is the author of such classic works of literature as HAPPY HOUR OF THE DAMNED (a zombie comedy with a complete disregard for propriety), the erotic bruiseslut epic, CLUMSY GIRL, and VELVETEEN, a young adult novel that's likely not for teens at all. He is a known agitator and fugitive from the occupation of psychotherapy and a southern baptist upbringing. Send cocktails in lieu of flowers.

His latest work, FATHOMS, is a kinky tale of vikings, revenge and sea monsters!

Get your copy now!
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Thursday, January 05, 2017

Happy Day Thing Rationale and Thing Number One

It's 2017 and despite wishing for sweet sweet death to take us before the next four years of horror reduces each and every one of us to dried out husks blowing in the arctic winds of a non-existent climate disaster, we're still here. Now. We could go on reliving the grand tortures of 2016 and lamenting the death of democracy and the rise of fascism and Kardashians and interpersonal connection.

OR.

We could try to embrace those little things in life that make us happy. Cheeses of the world. Pleasant fast food employees. Unexpectedly smooth bowel movements. 

This year, in an effort to block news of the self-serving actions and blatant inanity of our bright shining oligarchy, I'll be bringing you at least one magical Happy Day Thing!

Today's Happy Day Thing: A brand spanking new video from everyone's favorite club kid, Chloe!


What's your Happy Day Thing?

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MARK HENRY is the author of such classic works of literature as HAPPY HOUR OF THE DAMNED (a zombie comedy with a complete disregard for propriety), the erotic bruiseslut epic, CLUMSY GIRL, and VELVETEEN, a young adult novel that's likely not for teens at all. He is a known agitator and fugitive from the occupation of psychotherapy and a southern baptist upbringing. Send cocktails in lieu of flowers.

His latest work, FATHOMS, is a kinky tale of vikings, revenge and sea monsters!

Get your copy now!
iBooks • Kindle • Nook • Kobo • Audible • iTunes


Friday, August 05, 2016

AVAILABLE NOW: Fathoms: an Erotic Tale by Mark Henry


Get your copy now!
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"Surprising...almost shocking!" -- Blue Ink Reviews

Insatiable Vikings.
Sea Monsters.
A Journey Fueled by Passion.

When her true love, viking warrior Jerrik, dies under mysterious circumstances, Solveig vows revenge and sets a course for the truth. But when she stows away aboard the longboat her brother captains, the answers she seeks unfurl before her in both sinister and sensual ways.

Solveig’s quest ignites unheard of passions…and promises the impossible.

• • •

Previously available in the Rise of the Northmen anthology, Fathoms is now available as a hot-as-hell  viking ebook! Part erotica, part gothic romance, with more than a little paranormal weirdness to wet the whistle, Fathoms has been called "wickedly dark and delicious" with "a primary female character who has both strength and undeniable sexuality."

Get your copy now!
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Sunday, July 03, 2016

Available Now: Clumsy Girl by Mark Henry


Pick up your copy today!

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Justine Crenshaw has a secret kink. One so unusual, she must keep it under wraps…literally. She fetishizes bruises. Pink ones, blue ones, a filagree of purple patterns covers her body. People call her accident prone, a clumsy girl. But in Justine’s world, her fumbling, her pratfalls, are no simple accidents…they’re opportunities.

Her liasons are few and far between. Shadowy, sordid encounters with questionable men. Justine tries not to think about their motives, doesn’t care if they understand hers. As long as they can deal with her kink during down-and-dirty sex, she’s good-to-go.

But when she meets Nathan, her heart starts demanding more than empty sex and her secret becomes a hindrance to a future she never even knew she wanted. Try as she might, Justine can’t keep him in the dark. But no “normal” guy could possibly understand her. Or could he?

The time has come for this “clumsy” girl to set her fears aside and shine a light on her true desires.

Originally released in 2010 as Stocking Full of Coal, Clumsy Girl is a hilariously kinky erotic romance full of hot sex, secret societies and, of course, bruises of every color.

Available in eBook from these Fine Retailers

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Tuesday, June 28, 2016

A New (Old) Book is on its Way!

CLUMSY GIRL is coming soon!

Justine Crenshaw has a secret kink. One so unusual, she must keep it under wraps…literally. She fetishizes bruises. Pink ones, blue ones, a filagree of purple patterns covers her body. People call her accident prone, a clumsy girl. But in Justine’s world, her fumbling, her pratfalls, are no simple accidents…they’re opportunities.

Her liasons are few and far between. Shadowy, sordid encounters with questionable men. Justine tries not to think about their motives, doesn’t care if they understand hers. As long as they can deal with her kink during down-and-dirty sex, she’s good-to-go.

But when she meets Nathan, her heart starts demanding more than empty sex and her secret becomes a hindrance to a future she never even knew she wanted. Try as she might, Justine can’t keep him in the dark. But no “normal” guy could possibly understand her. 

Or could he?

The time has come for this “clumsy” girl to set her fears aside and shine a light on her true desires.


Originally released in 2010 as Stocking Full of Coal, Clumsy Girl is a hilariously kinky erotic romance full of hot sex, secret societies and, of course, bruises of every color.


Coming Soon on Amazon, Nook, iBooks and Kobo!

Monday, November 16, 2015

New Release: RISE OF THE NORTHMEN

It's been a while, I realize, but I'm super excited to announce a new novella appearing in the RISE OF THE NORTHMEN anthology. Like an erotic Thanksgiving cornucopia, this book is stuffed full of vikings, romance, krakens, hot sex, valkyries, Norse mythology, star-crossed lovers, tragedy...did I mention hot sex...cuz...dayum. I'm joined in the anthology by Saranna DeWylde, Paul Goat Allen, Annice Sands and Alyssa Breck. Believe me, you don't want to miss this!

My story, FATHOMS, has everything you've come to expect from my twisted dirty mind. A widow on the brink of madness goes on a quest for the cause of her husband's death and finds the answer in a bizarre erotic pact that signals the beginning of a strange erotic journey...or the end of everything.

ps. It's freakin' hot as hell!

Add RISE OF THE NORTHMEN on GOODREADS today.
And purchase your very own copy from:

Tuesday, February 03, 2015

5 Horror Movies to Help Rinse the Bad Taste of OUIJA Out of Your Mouth

In my ongoing effort to save you from studio horror movies cobbled together from the compressed shit of Hollywood burnouts, I bring you alternatives to OUIJA! #insteadofouija

OUIJA has hit DVD/VOD and there's nothing we can do about that but don our gas masks, hunker down and pray for dawn. A horrifying prospect, but at least we can be entertained while waiting for the fallout to subside.

Here's a few fantastic 2014 horror movie releases to make you feel like the world is still worth living...

OCULUS seems to be a secret to this day. Despite some great buzz and a truly inventive style of storytelling, bouncing back and forth in time so fast the audience is left in a constant state of unease. The story wraps itself around a rapidly deteriorating family relationship brought to the brink of insanity by the presence of a haunted mirror. And that's where things get weird. The acting is pretty above average and the horror set pieces are jarring. OCULUS wasn't my favorite film of the year, by far, but it's one that I respected more as it went on to linger in my memory.

While not technically a horror film, THE GUEST, Adam Wingard's follow-up to the immensely entertaining YOU'RE NEXT, steps in line behind other "Oh shit, we let the wrong person in our house" flicks. Dan Stevens flushes his genteel Downton Abbey-esque manners into the shitter to reek havoc on Bumfuck, Nowhere (Think The Stepfather if he had Rambo's pedigree). What's interesting about Wingard is how he plays with genre. The film is basically a thriller thrown in a blender with some conventional horror trappings and is entirely successful.

STARRY EYES showed up late to the party. I'd already crowned my clear winner of the horror movie of the year award (coming up) and was surprised to find this little indie nugget sneak in under the wire. I love a slow creepy build (ala HOUSE OF THE DEVIL) and STARRY EYES plays out in a very similar way. Set amongst a thoroughly disenchanted group of aspiring actors and filmmakers, our bored and desperate heroine will do anything--ANYTHING--to catch a break. The results are brutal. 

We went into UNDER THE SKIN pretty much blind. I'd heard that this director was touching on some of Kubrick's technical milieu and that always has me interested but I wasn't expecting the quiet horror of this film. And quiet it is, there are long stretches without any dialogue whatsoever. Scenes of Scarlet Johansson driving around Glasgow with the deadest fisheyes, truncated by some horrific scenes in the infamous "Black Room." You'll know what I mean when you see it. Ultimately, the film is an examination of what it means to be human (UNDER THE SKIN, so to speak), to be touched by pain and suffering...but with ALIENS! 

Jesus, Mary and Joseph, I'd heard rumblings of THE BABADOOK rising off the various film festivals like that blurry heat vapor off a summer blacktop, but when it came time to watch it, totally unprepared for it! First things first, if you're a jump scare-type (the lowest common denominator, in my opinion), then THE BABADOOK isn't going to be for you. There's a lot going on in Jennifer Kent's astounding debut horror movie. It's as much a film about the devastating impact of grief and loss as it is a monster in the armoire flick. But when the monster does appear (in shadowy glimpses), its presence is jarring and meaningful. Yep. Meaning. There's lots of MEANING. THE BABADOOK may do that unheard of thing in the horror genre, it makes audiences think. Probably the reason it hasn't taken off here. BURN!

There you go! What were some of your favorite horror films of the past year? (If you say ANABELLE, you're dead to me). I'm always available to chat about the horror genre on twitter @mark_henry. 


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When not obsessively watching every horror movie...ever, MARK HENRY writes erotic horror, humorous urban fantasy, and young adult horror (as Daniel Marks). In his most recent erotic novella, BALUSTRADE, a couple headed for divorce end up somewhere far worse, a marital retreat that may actually conceal the gates of hell.