Did The Unborn sell on the possibility of panty shots to make up for a run-of-the-mill horror flick? Well, the answer is obvious. Yes. Coming from a man who enjoys his fair share of perversion and provocative imagery, the panty shot cover could either be interpreted is titillating art or cheap exploitation. And as a man that also loves exploitation films, I can say without a doubt that this film fails both as a unique horror flick and as an exploitation film.
The Unborn, directed by David S. Goyer, stars Odette Annable seemingly for her willingness to pose in underwear. The petite actress is attractive and pleasant for the eyes, but it fails to distract from the cliché story. Token black friend, check. Loving boyfriend, check. Haunted mirrors, check. Nightmares, check.
However, The Unborn had a few things that I enjoyed, other than the panty shots. The Unborn is essentially an exorcist story with Jewish mysticism. I know nothing about Jewish mysticism, but I thought it was a nice change from the typical Catholicism angle. The Unborn also featured a creepy kid, but not like Children of the Corn creepy. Just homicidal creepy. The homicidal kid sets out to try to kill the token black friend and stabs her down like a little Michael Myers. The protagonist confronts the evil bastard. Instead of remaining inside the child to create an ethical conundrum, the evil spirit that possessed the child leaves for the token black friend. The same black friend that was just stabbed moments ago. Why would an evil spirit go from an uninjured child to an adult that is bleeding out on the carpet? I chalk this disappointing turn of events to the limits of PG-13. What PG-13 movie is going to show an adult stab the fuck out of an evil kid?
In summation, is the movie worth watching? Depends. If you’re perverted and want to see just how the panty shots look in action, then sure. But remember, there is Google, and you can get a lot more than just panties. If you want a laugh at the cheap and tired clichés, then sure. But, if you want a good horror that will scare you, then pass it up.
Legend has it that any beverage drank from this mug has properties to cure Writer’s block, but with a catch. Of course, there’s a catch. There is always a catch. The catch is that you’ll not only become a prolific writer, but you’ll become a slave to the craft. You’ll type so frantically that your fingers bleed. You’ll be so immersed in your story that you’ll skip meals, bathroom breaks, and, oh god, even sex.
However, your enviable death by writing will not only become an urban legend, but your work will carry on through the ages.
Looking up from our sleeping bags at the trillions of stars in the late night sky, well, it didn’t get much better than that. The four of us spread out, in our bags, hearing the crinkle of plastic when someone moved. I suggested a game of firing our BB guns directly up at the stars, see if the BBs fell back on us, you know, live dangerously. So, we did. Tat tat tat. The cartridge pistols blasting away. Screaming with delight.
Satch wanted to sleep so I shot his sleeping bag. Tat tat tat. Stop he yelled through the sleeping bag. Bob and Dale joined in. Satch screamed louder. So what if we shot his eyes out. So what if his brother’s sleeping bag was peppered with holes.
Dale’s backyard was square and grassy and kind of big by subdivision standards. A wooden fence surrounded the yard. Dale had a dog, Penny, a shepherd. The dog stayed in the house tonight. This was a camp out and we didn’t need a wolf wannabe running about, spoiling the stories we told to try to scare each other.
There were plenty of snacks. Dale’s mom always kept a good refrigerator and pantry. We had chips, popcorn, Milkduds, Mike and Ikes, Snickers, all the pop we could carry and hide in our bookbags. Dale even managed to sneak out a Hudepohl beer that belonged to his dad, oblivious on the couch in the living room. We shared it.
There was a rotten smell that drifted from the city dump several miles away, the slow nostril burning stench aided in the telling of stories that focused on young guys about our age, usually caught and skinned alive in backyards just like this one by an escaped maniac wielding a hatchet or machete, wearing the cloak of decaying skin fleeced from his many victims.
I was real good at telling stories. I launched into my favorite, a story about Riddle, a homeless man familiar to all the kids at school, a quiet man who lived somewhere in the vast woods that separated our subdivision from Oakdale Cemetery.
Dale mumbled he heard the story before but he stayed hidden beneath his sleeping bag, so I guessed it was still an effective story. Satch whimpered and I told him to shut up. He was still pissed about the BB holes in his bag. I pictured trails of fire ants lining through the holes to get at the potato chip pieces and spilled pop inside his bag. Tough shit.
Bob was well hidden inside his bag too, but he didn’t say anything so I figured it was ok to go on. Riddle, I said, lived in the woods because he had nowhere else to go. All his family was in the Oakdale Cemetery.. He visited his mom and dad and little brother every day, usually around dusk, because there were fewer people about. People bothered him. What I mean is, he loved being around people, but people didn’t like him much. He wasn’t right in the head. They treated him poorly. Especially children. Especially kids our age.
Bob, you yourself said you threw crabapples at the poor guy when he knelt by his family’s graves. Snuck up behind him and cracked him good in the back of the head. Dale, you were there too, I think, weren’t you?
Riddle had a bad knee and couldn’t run fast enough to catch you two, but that was how it always was, people just treating him bad. Riddle disappeared not long after that. Some say the police rousted him from his den in the woods and took him out of town, some say he died somewhere in those woods, covered up in leaves and shit, the smell… I let them think about that, with the dump smell strong in the air.
I sipped my warm coke and nibbled on a stale pretzel rod. The night air was cooling. A wind picked up. Far away a train whistle, but other than that the neighborhood was ghastly quiet. It was perfect.
But here’s the thing. You know how people’s pets have been disappearing the past few months? Shit, Satch, your pipsqueak dog, Cracker, he never turned up, did he? Know what I think?
I know what you think, Dale mumbled in his sleeping bag.
I think Riddle is still around. I think he’s been getting even. I think he moves through the neighborhood in the dead of night. Going from one yard to the next. Climbing fences like this split rail fence behind us. If someone has a swimming pool, like the Jennings, he pisses in it, or takes a shit in it, leaves his mark. And if there happens to be a dog or cat he can catch, well, he likely takes them to the woods and skins ‘em alive. I raised my voice just a little at this pointfor effect. The crescent moon briefly stabbed out of a menacing cloud and darted back in again.
It was dead quiet again. A tree on the other side of the fence shuffled its leaves like a worn deck of cards. Penny interrupted the effect with renewed burst of barking. Pissed me off. I threw myself out of my bag and charged into the house. I almost slipped in the pool of blood by the back door. Penny was locked in Dale’s room. She thumped against his door. When I pounded at the door and screamed shut up she seemed to rustle beneath something, maybe Dale’s mom, and after a long few minutes all was quiet again. I passed his dad on the couch, and was sure I heard some flies buzzing around him. Even at this hour.
I went back to my friends. They hadn’t moved. After I crawled back in the sleeping back I propped my arms beneath my head to stare at the stars, which were fewer and fewer now.
I resumed my story about Riddle and his retaliations.
Believe it or not, in addition to writing I also have a full-time job. I know? Bizarre eh? My role involves a hell of a lot of travel on the road, so I have taken to listening to audiobooks and podcasts to get the daily required dose of fiction to inspire and to keep my own shitty writing relevant. Moreover, It’s pretty hard to read hardback Stephen King whilst doing 80mph.
Some of the pro and semi-pro markets have their very own podcasts these days, and honestly it is a fairly useful tool to get an idea of what type of story they have in mind before submitting to them.
There is one specific publication (which will remain nameless), that famously gets back to reject you in record time. I swear to God that I am telling the honest truth when I say that I was once rejected ten minutes after submitting a piece of fiction to them. That takes pain and degradation to a whole new level. How did they even read it in ten minutes?
Anyway, I digress- they also have their very own podcast and a couple of times a month they’ll get a top notch voice actor to read their latest wares and then whack it up on iTunes. By the time I discovered this I had probably had around ten stories rejected by them (top tip: keep a spreadsheet of your submissions.) I thought to myself, “Maybe if I listen to a handful of their stories I’ll unlock the secret behind their 0.001% acceptance ratio?”
I was taking a shower, with my smartphone sat in the dry safety of a disused soap dish, listening to the third or fourth episode of this podcast when the realisation dawned on me (or it might have just been shampoo in my eye.) These guys like pretentious bollocks! The horror that isn’t really horror; safe mainstream stuff that mummy and daddy would just love to sit and listen to by the fire whilst thumbing through an issue of the Financial Times. A metaphor within a simile within a metaphor.
I’m sorry, but that just isn’t horror to me. It is well written and in some cases quite entertaining, it might be too clever for its own good, but it isn’t horror. Not in my humble opinion.
Horror is all about empathy. Identifying with their fears and concerns at a human level that haunts you for just a little while after you’ve finished. It is really hard to empathise when you barely understand what the writer is trying to convey because they’re using the story as a vehicle to show how tremendously smart they are.
I haven’t submitted to that particular outlet since. It feels like I’m letting myself down trying to write in that way. Like I’m not being truthful to myself. That’s why I feel so at home amongst the awesome authors at DT- no pretentiousness just good old fashioned horror, and long may it stay that way.
“Hail Mary, full of grace…” I prayed my rosary. I had done it many times already; I had lost count. My fingertips were tender and cracked from their contact with the beads. My hands were cramped from clutching the string.
It was becoming so rote that my mind was beginning to wander. I could not allow my mind to wander. I changed my inflection as I continued my prayer to the Holy Mother, focusing on each word, on my breath as it formed the words, on the buzzing in my throat as my larynx vibrated to create the words, on anything… but… that.
“Glory be to the Father…” The prayers poured from my lips. Somewhere in the forced monotony, the walls and dressers melted away. I was no longer on my knees in my bedroom, no longer surrounded by the aroma of frankincense. Instead, I gradually became aware of the darkness and dampness that permeated my senses.
“O my Jesus, forgive us our sins…” My heart was already flagellating before I fully realized where I was: the basement, the very place I wished my mind to avoid. I stood up in the dusty light eeking in through the windows, clutching my beads like the lifeline I had to believe they were.
I tried to move to where the stairs should have been but they were not there. No matter how fast I ran I moved no closer to the walls.
“The third sorrowful mystery, our Lord is crowned with thorns,” whispered my lips to the dank room. I nearly stumbled as my feet collided with an unknown form, lost to the shadows.
I bent down to investigate. As my eyes adjusted to the even lower light, I knew what I was seeing. I wanted to back away, to run, but instead my free hand moved to the figure’s mouth. With one thumb I pulled down the chin, opening the mouth.
“Our Father, who art in heaven…” I choked. Inside the mouth was some mass of shapes, squirming and writing. Familiar shapes. I leaned in closer to see what. The head turned and spilled its contents.
The floor of the basement crawled with strings of beads. The smell of decay permeated the moist air.
“Hail Mary, full of grace…” I backed away from the squirming pile, not wanting any of the white orbs to touch my feet. As I gazed at the corpse before me, I saw more movement. The eyelids quivered as when sleeping.
Then a bulge at the bottom of the eyelids started to force its way out, a silver speck that slowly grew and extruded itself from the hole where the body’s eyes should have been, would have been if I hadn’t…
“The Lord is with thee…” A crucifix squeezed itself through the slack eyelids, dangling from a chain as the moving beads wrestled with each other, slowly dislodging themselves from the orifice as well.
Where the flayed form of my Lord should have been, instead two small worms were nailed to the cross, intersecting each other in the center.
“Blessed art thou among women…” I said, my throat tightening to resist the impending bile. More movement in the naked corpse before me.
Under the skin of its breasts, the outline of more beads. Holes chewed into the rotting skin showed white beads, burrowing themselves deeper at the threat of my heavy breath.
“And blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus…” My eyes forced themselves further down. Indeed, the full, round stomach was also crawling with small chaplets. I fell back to my knees upon seeing the shape of her belly, broken in the midst of creating life, now host to a new kind of life, these garlands of carrion grub.
“Holy Mary, mother of God…” My eyes continued to scan, down to her familiar pubis, her labia that I had touched and entered so many times. Now they were slack, fully rotten, seeping with putrescent juices and crawling with wriggling rosaries like the one I compulsively continued to finger.
“Pray for us sinners, now…” And just slightly further down, deep gashes down her thighs, caked with dried, dead blood, masses of the beads fighting each other to consume her flesh before the smaller, invisible things could. A film of more dried blood surrounded her, the liquids soaked into the concrete, or evaporated, leaving only a crackling layer of desiccated clot.
Beside that lay a knife, its hilt inlaid with the enflamed image of the Sacred Heart. The organ was pierced and blood flowed from the hole. It was encircled with a crown of thorns, and a cross was jammed into the vein on its top.
“Now, and at the hour of our death.”
I had killed her with that knife. The bastard inside of her wasn’t mine.
As I shuffled away from my crime, rosaries crawled beneath my feet, tickling the arches as I moved my weight around, not wanting to touch the holy parasites, unable to avoid it. I missed my footing and fell, the squirming, groveling chains sickening me. My true rosary flew from my hands, landing amidst the disgusting counterfeits.
My hand flailed for purchase, but found only strings of beads and the knife handle. It closed around the knife.
“Amen.” I lifted the knife. I pressed the blade to my throat. Its tip was sharp against the tender skin.
I clenched the handle tight, the carving of the Sacred Heart piercing the skin of my palm. I placed the heel of my other hand against the butt, and forced my hands to push.
The knife slid into my skin. It slowed as it hit the stronger material of my larynx and trachea, but I pushed until the crossguard coldly touched my throat. Then I pulled it out, and let the blood flow around me.
The white and silver beads around me quivered with anticipation at the impending meal, my body and my blood, their Eucharist.
Deadman’s Tome is a growing horror zine that publishes horror short stories and horror flash fiction. The online magazine publishes dark and gritty content from professional horror writers, Bram Stoker award nominated horror authors, along with talented newcomers of the horror writing craft. Deadman’s Tome features chilling, terrifying horror shorts ranging from ghost stories, zombie invasions, bigfoot sightings, monster horror, and even horror erotica. Deadman’s Tome is one of the best online horror zines to publish horror short stories, horror flash fiction, and dark flash fiction. The darker the tale the better. If you enjoyed the story, or even if you didn’t, leave a comment below as it helps the horror authors.
Support Deadman’s Tome to increase pay rates and help the horror zine improve.
Deadman’s Tome is an online horror zine with a strong focus on delivering dark, gritty, and terrifying horror. Unlike other horror zines, Deadman’s Tome encourages community engagement and fosters an environment where readers can react and share the stories they read. In addition, Deadman’s Tome offers writers a unique way to earn revenue from their stories. Instead of offering a fixed rate or a rate based on the number of words, Deadman’s Tome pays based on the number of views, likes, and comments received.
Becoming a patron of Deadman’s Tome means helping to support the cost of the horror zine, and helping us make it as profitable as possible so that Deadman’s Tome can offer more to the authors and readers by increasing pay rate, hiring professional voice talent, hiring artists, improving on the site, and to even become a print magazine.
When you support Deadman’s Tome, you support writers. By supporting the writers, you get access to awesome content such as exclusive story readings (audiobooks) and free anthologies.
Mr. Deadman explores how a story like Unbloom could work in real life where a wife knowingly allows for her husband to pork cold dead underage flesh that he keeps in the basement. Perhaps the wife is one of those regressive Left types that would defend her husbands “condition” because it’s not hurting anyone, right?
Mr. Deadman uses Fly Blown as an example of what not to do for both men and women. Ladies, wash your vaginas! If you have flies and maggots going on down there, then just isolate yourself from society, please. Or just, give up on life. Like a video game reset, but with a handful of pills or a glock.
Carson Winter agreed to do an early morning interview with Mr. Deadman to discuss his short story The Chasm Bridged. A work very much inspired by Edgar Allen Poe and Lovecraft, and as a consequence we talk about both iconic authors. We also discuss the importance of show VS tell and how important it is for writers to learn to craft their story into an art versus just telling it.
Most importantly, horror is not a safe space, and in fact horror works by shattering one’s sense of comfort. If you are easily offended, then read some horror and toughen up. Start with The Chasm Bridged.
The interview with horror writer Bob Freville not only lived up to the hype, but the exciting exchange proved educational!
Listeners learned that Cthulhu was the mastermind behind the Holy Bible and 9/11. So, 9/11 Truthers can cool their jets. Bush and his overlord Dick Cheney are only guilty of doing the great ancient one’s bidding, and who can really blame them. No one says no to Cthulhu.
Mr. Freville drops a bombshell about The Walking Dead. Is The Walking Dead a massive work of plagiarism?
The raunchy conversation proves the point that Deadman’s Tome is not a place for fragile sensibilities or for those that need to be coddled. You’ve been warned. Mr. Freville is the author of Sex Toy and as you can imagine, the conversation is mature.
Mr. Deadman did a live reading of Turbo Slut 5K after downing a few shots. The drunk reading proved a bit difficult at first and Mr. Deadman trails of with interesting little bits about how the misogynistic filth that is Turbo Slut 5K is actually the MOST pro-feminist story ever written. Turbo Slut 5K is the imagining of the ultimate take down of the patriarchy!
Warning: Turbo Slut 5K is graphic and hyper sexualized. Don’t let you kids listen to this. It contains death by pussy, death by boob, and death by asshole.