“Ex Libris: The Eyes of Madness, simple reviews from a simple reader…”
“Most kids—some of them Danny’s friends—would not have made the same decision, but a Saturday night with his parents out of town meant only one thing: horror movies.
House parties were high risk and, based on Danny’s limited experience, typically low return. So Danny Chambers had decided to spend this night alone, with a bag of phosphorescent-blue Pop Secret and his dad’s new cable box.”
You’re invited to experience ALL-NIGHT TERROR. Don’t look for help, your weaker friends will be too scared to attend, but you’re in for the nightmare of your life.
Sit down in front of the TV and prepare for a late-night odyssey of wicked shocks as a horror movie marathon becomes a bloodbath before your very eyes. It starts when a disgruntled cable host seizes control of a television station, determined to give his viewers an evening they won’t soon forget. One where monsters of all shapes and sizes rise up against mankind. One where deranged killers prowl the night for a variety of victims. And one where cinema itself haunts its creators and creations.
Join modern horror stars Adam Cesare (Tribesmen, Zero Lives Remaining) and Matt Serafini (Feral, Island Red) as they bring you ten tales of fear that will have you shivering between the pages.
ALL-NIGHT TERROR – good to the last slash.
“You invented this. Not this scene, but this entire genre. They call you a lot of different names now, all of them meant as terms of endearment. You’re either the Godfather or the Grandfather of Gore, depending on how old the writer wants to make you sound.
Hell, you not only invented a genre—if you’re being honest with yourself—you started a culture. You didn’t know it at the time, of course. All you were doing was working your way into the drive-in market with something that sold tickets and was cheap to produce. But now you go to conventions built around this stuff, listen to pimply kids tell you how much your films mean to them.
They’re all sick.”
All-Night Terror is a great spin on the “A hand full of short stories from a couple of authors playing back and fourth, with a wraparound tying everything together” sub-genre. (If that isn’t officially a sub-genre already, it is now.) It is executed with a high level of entertainment, delivered by a couple of gentlemen who obviously house a love for horror/ schlock cinema. While immersed in these tales you can almost taste the stale popcorn, almost hear your shoes sticking to the floors, and you can almost feel the spring digging into your back through the ratty seat. You are not in one of those classy X D theaters, you are trapped in the world of Cesare & Serafini.
At the heart of ANT is a glorious wraparound tale, weaving between and book-ending the original lineup of shorts (four stories were added to the back end for this re-release). Danny, a 15ish year old horror fan looking for something to watch on a Saturday night comes across a performance that can’t possibly be real, can it? Count Mort, a public access Horror Host is holding the crew at gun point while broadcasting films from his personal collection that the station wouldn’t allow him to air throughout his career. With the subsequent short stories playing out as the “films”. The real life horror is something Danny can’t look away from.
It’s a superb set up and the whole presentation plays fluidly. It brought up fond memories of staying up beyond bedtime to watch scary movies on Cinemax, more times than not falling asleep just before broadcast. And it really made me ache for a time of the Horror Host. In my area and era, I didn’t really have a show quite like this. I had USA Up All Night with the gorgeous Rhonda Shear (and previously with the less gorgeous Gilbert Gottfried), I also had Joe Bob Briggs Drive-In Theatre. But both of these were not exclusively horror broadcasts but B-movies in general. I did have Frightnight Theatre though, with local radio DJ Whitey Gleason. He didn’t dress up in character but it was horror, more times than not Night of the Creeps. Still, it was awesome.
I am familiar with Adam Cesare fiction, it found me last year with the stellar The First One You Expect and has been stalking me since as I make my way through his back catalogue. On the other hand, this is my first Matt Serafini experience. It won’t be my last. It’s expected of me to single out some highlights, which is tough when all the tales are highlights, but Serafini’s War of the Crypid and The Last Remake were a couple of my favorites. Along with Cesare’s Gore Galore and Savior Girl in Philly Hell, my top pics from his contributions. But believe me when I say that there are ZERO duds in All-Night Terror.
I wanted more of the Count Mort plot line, just a glimpse of what was transpiring while the “films” are being broadcast but with the set-up, that’s impossible. So it must be forgiven. We are watching with Danny, seeing what he sees. Maybe one day Cesare and Serafini will write an alternate take, a rumored Bootleg cut, with Saturday Nightmares and its interludes in its entirety, from a different point of view. A fanboy can hope, right?
Read All-Night Terror, as soon as you can. It ranks up there as one of the more fun I’ve had reading this year.
“He sprung from the water with dexterity, smashing a crater into the concrete upon landing.
People on the ground stared up and screamed as he inched forward and crushed a host of them beneath a heavy foot.
He craned his elongated neck from one side to the other, slashing through a skyscraper and raining broken concrete shards onto a panicking city street. Those caught in his horn’s path were raked along with it and swept, screaming, off the building’s side. They fell twenty stories to their deaths, splattering on the sidewalk like flies on a windshield.”
Overall score: 5/ 5
Zakk is a big dumb animal!
P.S. The highly entertaining Boys and Ghouls Podcast has a great episode discussing all time great Horror Hosts, fitting with the theme here. Check it out. (Links below)
Full disclosure: I purchased All-Night Terror in its original form. I’m ashamed to say I never read it. Total opportunity lost. I received a review copy of this re-release from the publisher/ publicist on the promise of an honest review. While I am These are my unbiased feelings.
Adam Cesare’s list of books include Zero Lives Remaining, The First One You Expect, Video Night, The Summer Job, Mercy House and Tribesmen. He writes a monthly column exploring horror fiction and film for Cemetery Dance Online. He lives in Philadelphia and can be found at AdamCesare.com, where he’s giving away a free e-book if you sign up for his mailing list.
Matt Serafini is the author of Island Red, Devil’s Row, Under the Blade and Feral. He’s a columnist for Dread Central, and has formerly contributed to Bloody-Disgusting, Fangoria and Shock Till You Drop. He lives in Central Massachusetts with his wife and son where he spends way too much time tracking down obscure slasher movies. Find him at mattserafini.com
Find more information on Sinister Grin Press at www.sinistergrinpress.com. We have “horror that’ll carve a smile on your face.”
Also available in paperback!
If you are a member of the media or a blogger that wishes to review All-Night Terror or to feature Matt or Adam, contact Erin Al-Mehairi, publicity and marketing, Sinister Grin Press, at hookofabook(at)hotmail(dot)com.
And while you’re here, check out The Eyes of Madness at:
As previously mentioned, the Boys & Ghouls Podcast episode featuring Horror Hosts.