Archive for the Staff Writers Category

Cinema Knife Fighter Wins Stoker for First Novel!

Posted in 2013, Awards, LL Soares Reviews, Special News, Staff Writers with tags , , , , on June 23, 2013 by knifefighter

By Fred Peggi (Special Correspondent)

Cinema Knife Fight's fearless leader takes the stage in New Orleans for his acceptance speech.

Cinema Knife Fight’s fearless leader takes the stage in New Orleans for his acceptance speech.

Cinema Knife Fighter L.L. Soares was one of the winners last weekend in New Orleans at the Horror Writers Association (HWA)’s Bram Stoker Awards banquet. Soares was a finalist in the “Superior Achievement in a First Novel” category for his book, LIFE RAGE. He was a Stoker Finalist once before, for the 2009 Award in Non-Fiction for the Cinema Knife Fight column he writes with Michael Arruda. He did not win at that time.

In a dramatic turn of events, CKF staff writer Peter N. Dudar (Me and Lil’ Stevie) was also a finalist in the same category for his debut novel A REQUIEM FOR DEAD FLIES. Both novels were put out by Nightscape Press, and were the first two novels that the new press released in 2012.

In movie-related news, THE CABIN IN THE WOODS, written by Joss Whedon and Drew Goddard, won the Stoker for Best Screenplay.

A good time was had by all. Congratulations to all of the Stoker Award winners this year (shown below)!

The 2012 Bram Stoker Award winners: Top row (left to right): Mort Castle, L.L. Soares, Jerad Walters, Rocky Wood, Jonathan Maberry. Lower row/middle: Sam Weller, James Chambers, Lucy Snyder, Marge Simon, Robert McCammon, Caitlin R. Kiernan (seated), Charles Day, Lisa Morton (Photo by Stacy Scranton) (Not pictured: Gene O’Neill, Joss Whedon and Drew Goddard, Joyce Carol Oates, and Clive Barker)

The 2012 Bram Stoker Award winners: Top row (left to right): Mort Castle, L.L. Soares, Jerad Walters, Rocky Wood, Jonathan Maberry. Lower row/middle: Sam Weller, James Chambers, Lucy Snyder, Marge Simon, Robert McCammon, Caitlin R. Kiernan (seated), Charles Day, Amber Benson (accepting for Joss Whedon) Lisa Morton (Photo by Stacy Scranton) (Not pictured: Gene O’Neill, Joss Whedon and Drew Goddard, Joyce Carol Oates, and Clive Barker)


Meet Our New Staff Writer: DANIEL I. RUSSELL

Posted in 2013, Daniel I. Russell Columns, DON'T FEED THE..., News, Staff Writers with tags , , on February 20, 2013 by knifefighter

Daniel I. Russell, author of today’s shark-infested column, will be writing his DON’T FEED THE….column quarterly for

Dan Russell Author Pic

Daniel I. Russell has been featured publications such as The Zombie Feed from Apex, Pseudopod and Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine. He was nominated for two Tin Duck Awards in 2011 for best novel (Samhane) and best short story. Author of Come Into Darkness, Critique, Mother’s Boys and The Collector, Daniel is also the current vice-president of the Australian Horror Writers’ Association and was special guest editor of Midnight Echo 7.


Posted in 2012, Gregory G. Kurczynski Columns, Screams Cut Short, Staff Writers with tags , , on October 24, 2012 by knifefighter

Gregory G. Kurczynski is writing the column SCREAMS CUT SHORT for us here at Cinema Knife Fight, reviewing short horror films that would otherwise fall between the cracks. Below is more about Greg:

Gregory G. Kurczynski is a filmmaker and writer currently residing in New Orleans, Louisiana. When he’s not overloading his brain trying to get his next movie project into production, he enjoys long walks on the beach, trying to put a dent in his constantly growing pile of “to be read” books, watching old kaiju movies, and attempting to summon the Old Ones from their slumber in R’leyh.

New CKF Staff Member: Sheri White

Posted in Staff Writers, Uncategorized on October 2, 2012 by knifefighter

Please welcome our newest staff member, Sheri White. She’ll be writing the column “Horror-Mom’s Guide to Scary Movies” and reviewing new horror movies aimed at kids for this site. Here’s more about her:

Sheri White has loved horror since she was two and watched THE WIZARD OF OZ. Instead of being afflicted with a fear of witches, she is scared of high winds instead. After watching commercials for scary movies from behind the couch (“Mommy, my bed is shaking…”), and then watching entire scary movies on the couch, she became addicted. Now she has addicted children herself (three girls, ages 23, 17, and 14), and is hoping to lure other parents into introducing their own kids to this wonderful genre.

In addition to watching horror movies, she reads, writes and reviews horror stories for several small presses. Her other addiction is Facebook, and you can find her there almost anytime. She is not sure whether or not to be embarrassed by that.



Posted in 2012, Quick Cuts, Sequels, Staff Writers with tags , , , , , on August 31, 2012 by knifefighter

With Michael Arruda, L.L. Soares, Paul McMahon, and Mark Onspaugh


MICHAEL ARRUDA:  It’s August, the month where Hollywood studios seem to release their bottom- of- the- barrel material – unwanted horror movies, action flicks, and comedies, movies they wouldn’t dare release any other time.

In short, it’s Turkey Day in August, time for the movie turkeys to be released.

It’s also time for us to have some fun at CINEMA KNIFE FIGHT.


On today’s QUICK CUTS, we ask our panel, if you could come up with your own August Movie Turkey, what would it be?

Would it be PIRANHA MEETS SUPER CROC?  A reboot of MAGNUM P.I. starring Steve Martin?  Will Ferrell in a musical?  G.I. JOE MEETS THE EXPENDABLES?

What’ll it be?


PAUL MCMAHON:  I came up with three.

Mark Hunter (Christian Slater) is released from political prison, an older man with little education and no money. He finds shelter in a halfway house and is encouraged by his probation officer Paige MacPhereson to finish his GED and apply to communications school.

The management of the halfway house changes hands and Mark again finds himself under the sadistic hand of Ms. Loretta Creswood (Annie Ross). His locks himself in the office only to discover the only music at hand is elevator musak renditions of the best songs from his favorite punk bands.

Is it time for a sequel to PUMP UP THE VOLUME (1990)?

Dr. Challis (Tom Atkins) is an old man now, hiding where he can in a country overrun with insects and androids. Every TV and radio station broadcasts a looping call from Conal Cochran (a computer-generated holographic and CGI reproduction of the late Dan O’Herlihy) to Dr. Challis to surrender.

The story takes place in a very “I Am Legend” fashion, with Dr. Challis breaking into laboratories in schools and government facilities, trying to invent a machine that will release a sonic pulse and neutralize any android within a hundred feet of him. Even if he succeeds, he’ll have to deal with the swarms of insects and snakes and scorpions that continue to chase him and are growing in size with every generation.

Jeff Bridges and John Goodman return in this laugh-a-minute sequel to THE BIG LEBOWSKI. Dude is forced to team with Jesus Quintana when Walter is suspended from league play. In the middle of a competition, a young boy (Justin Bieber) barges into the bowling alley and calls Dude “Daddy.” Dude has more than he can deal with as Jesus offers “Little Dude” the chance to touch his hair net.

The next day, Jeffery Lebowski (a returning David Huddleston) contacts Dude to say his grandson has been kidnapped by “Pornographers.” He insists Brandt (this time played by Seth Rogan) travel with Dude and Walter as they investigate the case. The first thing they learn is that Jackie Treehorn has died and willed his empire to his son JayJay (Will Ferrell). JayJay still wants the money owed to his Dad by Bunny Lebowski in the first movie, and he doesn’t believe for a minute Dude is not the one who owes him.

Follow the Dude as he dodges police, gets high, collects clues, bowls, argues with Walter and drinks more than his share of Caucasians… all the while trying to keep Jesus Quintana from molesting his son and trying to determine why no one will discuss the whereabouts of the boy’s Mother, Maude Lebowski.

(Note: Sam Elliot wouldn’t reprise his role, so this time The Stranger will be played by Ted Danson. “Some days you eat the bar….)



Tim Burton mashes together two of his worst films to give us perhaps the worst movie of all time. Johnny Depp, as an extremely prissy Barnabas Collins, takes a rocketship to the future, where he teams up with astronaut Mark Walhberg to take on a planet of humanoid apes! This time the ending is an even bigger shocker – the Lincoln Memorial reveals that ABRAHAM LINCOLN WAS A VAMPIRE HUNTER and we later learn that George Washington was an Ape!!

With a special appearance by Helena Bonham Carter as an ape Helen Keller!

Antonio Banderas and Lucy Liu are assassins. Freddy and Jason are monster serial killers. Everyone is so confused they don’t know what to do or who to kill, so the movie ends with a big Bollywood-inspired dance number. Directed by Uwe Boll.

Ecks and Sever are back!

Finally, a Batman movie to make you smile!

George Clooney returns as the Batman with nipples on his costume, but this time he takes on the Candyman, played by Corey Feldman in a costume made of black liquorice! At first they fight, but then they fall in love, dancing through forests full of lollipop trees and chocolate rivers.

Warning: if your’e diabetic, don’t attend this one, you might go into sugar shock.

Warning # 2: Everyone sitting in the first five rows will get splashed with cherry –flavored Kool Ade.

Directed (of course) by Joel Shumacher.



Hoping to cash in on Dark Knight fever, cut-rate producer and schlockmeister Samuel L. Bronkowitz commissioned James Ellroy to write a Batman adventure that was gritty and excessively violent and bleak. However, Bronkowitz’s wife won the script in a divorce settlement, and had her lover Gilbert Gottfried “punch up the script” with jokes. Then it was sent to her cousin, director Ewe Boll, who decided to make the whole thing a musical with songs by two extras from Glee.

The original title was BAT-MANNY the MUSICAL, and stars Tom Arnold

as Manny Abramowitz, a vigilante who works out of a deli in Gotham City’s Crime Alley. Manny meets a clubfoot, hunchbacked shoeshine boy (played by Pauly Shore), who becomes his sidekick Hobblin’ the Oy! Wonder.

The whole thing is loathsome in its bloodletting and depictions of deviance, and none of the jokes are funny, since Arnold and Shore ad-libbed much of the dialog.

Songs include “Whenever There’s a Murder or Rape, I Just Grab My Cowl and My Cape”, “Do These Tights Make Me Look Fat” and “Oy, a Cave is No Place for Love.” With the forgettable villains Ice-Maker (Dolph Lundgren), the Piddler (a Czech extra who doesn’t speak English) and Pussyfoot (Joan Rivers).

Filmed in the Czech Republic and Barstow, played for one week then closed due to court injunctions. A sequel is planned.

Is it time for the Darkest Knight…ever?


MICHAEL ARRUDA:  Here are my three:

-Sequel to M. Night Shyamalan’s THE HAPPENING called IT’S STILL HAPPENING.  Mark Wahlberg returns.

Is it still HAPPENING?

-Yet another haunted house movie, this one called THE HOUSE IN BETWEEN TWO OTHER HOUSES, about a happy young couple who move into their dream house only to find it’s haunted by a demon.  The gimmick here is that it’s taken from footage from the peeping tom neighbor who lives in the house on one side of them and films everything his neighbors do, and from footage taken by the pesky teenager who lives in the house on the other side of them, who’s filming the peeping tom neighbor in action filming everything his neighbors do.

-Tim Burton tackles GILLIGAN’S ISLAND, starring as Andrew Garfield as Gilligan, Will Ferrell as the Skipper, Woody Harrelson as Mr. Howell, Helena Bonham Carter as Mrs. Howell, Emma Stone as Ginger, Ashley Greene as Mary Anne, and Johnny Depp as the Professor.

And that’s it for this week’s QUICK CUTS.  Thankfully, September is right around the corner, with better movies ahead.

Thanks for joining us, everybody!


New Columnist: Barry Lee Dejasu and SCORING HORROR

Posted in 2012, Barry Dejasu Columns, News, Scoring Horror, Staff Writers with tags , , on August 22, 2012 by knifefighter

Writer: Barry Lee Dejasu
Column: Scoring Horror

Barry Lee Dejasu is a former staff writer for the (now defunct) magazine Modern Fix, where he’d interviewed such musicians as Opeth, Exodus, Sevendust, Devin Townsend, and numerous others.  A lover of all things film since he was in single digits, Barry’s infatuation with genre really began with repeated viewings of ABBOTT & COSTELLO MEET FRANKENSTEIN (1948), which served as a gateway to the likes of DRACULA (1931) and the TERMINATOR films.  The only thing keeping him from consistently perching before movie and TV screens, or flipping through novels, is his job as a customer service clerk at an Ivy League bookstore, where he’s keeping the availability of printed genre fiction alive and well.

Friday Night Knife Fights: NEAR DARK VS. THE LOST BOYS – PART 3

Posted in 1980s Horror, 2012, Friday Night Knife Fights, Staff Writers, Supernatural, Vampires with tags , , , , , , on July 27, 2012 by knifefighter

NEAR DARK (1987) vs. THE LOST BOYS (1987)
PART 3 of 3
With Michael Arruda, L.L. Soares, Paul McMahon, and Mark Onspaugh

MICHAEL ARRUDA: Good evening everybody, and welcome to Part 3 of FRIDAY NIGHT KNIFE FIGHTS. Tonight it’s the final segment of our NEAR DARK vs. THE LOST BOYS debate.

Up until now, it’s been all NEAR DARK.

LS: That comes as no surprise!

MA: After three rounds, it’s NEAR DARK 3, THE LOST BOYS 0. It’s time for the final rounds, where we’ll see if NEAR DARK continues its shut-out performance, as it hasn’t allowed THE LOST BOYS to score even one point yet. Or, will THE LOST BOYS finally muster some strength to get on the scoreboard and fight its way back to a comeback victory? Stay with us and find out.

Once again, I’m joined on our panel by L.L. Soares, Paul McMahon, and Mark Onspaugh. Thanks again for taking part.

MO: No problem.

LS: I say we skip the rest of the panel and grab some beers. We all know which movie is going to win.

PM: I don’t know about that, but the beer part sounds good to me.

MO: Me, too.

MA: Well, as good as it sounds, we don’t really know which film is going to win. There’s always room for a comeback. Let’s finish the panel.

LS: You’re never any fun!

MA: It’s time for Round 4. Which film’s director does a better job at the helm?

I’ll go first.

THE LOST BOYS was directed by Joel Schumacher, and the best thing I can say for it is the movie looks good. It’s a slick professional directing job by Schumacher. Too bad no one reminded him that he was directing a horror movie. I think he secretly thought he was making this for Disney, as it plays like PETER PAN: VAMPIRE.

LS: Good one!

MA: I can’t say that I liked the job that Schumacher did here. His work on THE LOST BOYS reminded me a lot of his two Batman movies—BATMAN FOREVER (1995) and BATMAN AND ROBIN (1997) —and that’s not saying much.

(The sound of someone gagging in the background)

MA: My favorite Schumacher movie is probably FALLING DOWN (1993) starring Michael Douglas, a movie I like much better than THE LOST BOYS.

LS: FALLING DOWN is a good one. I also enjoyed TIGERLAND and 8MM (both from 1999). So the dude is capable of making good movies. But the majority of his career has been garbage.

MA: So, it goes without saying, that I prefer the direction by Kathryn Bigelow on NEAR DARK. She did what Schumacher and the others who worked on THE LOST BOYS didn’t do: she took the subject seriously. NEAR DARK is a much more serious vampire film, and as a result, is a more rewarding experience, especially for the horror fan.

LS: But LOST BOYS does take some of its story seriously. It just completely drops the ball when it feels the need to add the Coreys’ lame storyline.

As for which of these two movies had better direction, I’ll put it this way. Joel Schumacher ruined vampires in LOST BOYS, and he ruined Batman. Just keep this guy away from BATS!

Schmaucher has been working for decades and never seems to get any better at directing. Kathryn Bigelow is another level. Another league! You can’t compare them.

NEAR DARK all the way.

MO: These are two very different films.

I thought Schumacher made a wise choice showing almost all the flying from the vamp POV – especially when we see the terror on the security guard’s face (and taking the car door with him was badass) or the couple necking in the car.

MA: That was terror? I thought he looked constipated.

LS: He’s right about one thing, though. Flying vampires look pretty goofy. The POV scenes made them less so.

MO: But the bar scene in NEAR DARK, with the beer mug of blood, death by spur, etc., and the bits like the “old” kid downed on his bike or Paxton picking up lovelies… and the aforementioned bleakness… I go with Bigelow. It’s funny how you can see NEAR DARK leading to THE HURT LOCKER (2008), and THE LOST BOYS leading BATMAN AND ROBIN (1997).

MA: Very true. Good point!

LS: One trajectory is leading up, and one is leading down. Guess which is which.

Jamie Gertz plays Star in THE LOST BOYS.

PM: Joel Schumacher made an interesting choice in casting the vampires of THE LOST BOYS as teenagers. Even if he only did it to heighten interest among moviegoers at the time, it was still something that hadn’t been done to death yet. He also blends the younger and older actors pretty well. A lot was done to make it all seem” cool,” in an effort to soften the horror. Scenes that should have packed an emotional wallop were glossed over for laughs. Did I mention that the film ends on a friggin’ punch line? I agree with Mark. You get a premonition of Schumacher developing into the director who would put nipples on Batman.

Kathryn Bigelow sets an evil mood in NEAR DARK, gritty and dusty with big open spaces and lots of leather and Stetsons, calling up the Western tropes she was going for.

LS: There’s even a scene with a horse and a tumbleweed, for chrissakes! (laughs)

PM: She blends the elements of the story together smoothly, and gets solid performances out of all of her cast.

At the end, she seems to lose control of the material, though. She uses some ridiculous ‘Hollywood’ explosions to wrap things up (a tanker truck doesn’t even finish jackknifing before it blows sky-high), and like I’ve said, Jesse and Diamondback seem to just give up. As much as I hated the punch line ending of THE LOST BOYS, it’s only a few seconds and doesn’t interfere with what’s come before.

I’m going with Joel Schumacher and THE LOST BOYS.

MA: Wow. I agree that the ending to NEAR DARK isn’t all that great, but you think Grandpa coming to the rescue is better? I think you just might have been distracted when you watched this one!

LS: I’ll say!

MA: Okay, Round 4 goes to NEAR DARK, even though Paul tried yet again to get THE LOST BOYS in there.

Which means that after 4 Rounds, it’s NEAR DARK – 4, THE LOST BOYS – 0.

LS: Can we leave and grab those beers now?

Jenny Wright as Mae in NEAR DARK.

MA: Not yet! Because now it’s the moment everyone’s been waiting for. The fifth and final round. And let me just remind everyone how the scoring works. With this final round, should we all choose THE LOST BOYS, then that’s considered a “knock out” and THE LOST BOYS would win this bout, even though it has yet to score a point.

MO (points to LS): That means he would have to choose THE LOST BOYS over NEAR DARK?

MA: Yep.

(They all start laughing.)

LS: I’m telling you, let’s go grab those beers!

MA: Not yet! Hey, stranger things have happened, but don’t quote me on that. I’m not making any predictions!

The final question is: If you had to pick, which film do you think is better?

Mark, take it away.

MO: For jokey, family fun (with some good makeup effects), I’d go with THE LOST BOYS. It’s also a good time capsule for 80’s fashion.

But, if it’s straight-up horror with style (my preference), I’d go with NEAR DARK. So, it’s NEAR DARK for me.

One final note: I don’t mind vampire films setting up different rules than the ones we are used to, if they adhere to them—on the TV series BEING HUMAN I am fine with vamps being out in the sunlight, but prefer vamps like those in TRUE BLOOD or NEAR DARK, where the sun is death.

THE LOST BOYS also sets that up, but seems to break several of its own rules when Edward Hermann casts a reflection and is not affected by holy water—I thought this was a cheap device to throw us off his scent as lead vamp—that lame “Don’t ever invite a vampire into your house, you silly boy. It renders you powerless.” quote by Edward Hermann doesn’t excuse this sloppy writing.

MA: I completely agree. It’s one of the lamest moments in the movie. It’s one of the lamest moments in the history of vampire movies, period!

MO: Finally, I will say the Eddie Munster reference in THE LOST BOYS made me

laugh. It’s probably the only line that did make me laugh.

LS: That’s funny. That’s the only line that made me laugh, too.

MA: Lucky you. I didn’t laugh. Paul?

PM: THE LOST BOYS tried too hard to be a comedy, and as such never really punched the fear or danger buttons for me. There’s nothing there to earn the R rating. If the film were released today it would be PG-13 without changing a frame.

NEAR DARK was more of what I want from a vampire flick—more evil, more danger, more blood, more creepiness. NEAR DARK doesn’t try to be “cool” and doesn’t shellac the scariness with jokes and wacky characters. Plus, if it came out today, it would definitely keep its R.

My pick for the best movie is clearly NEAR DARK.

MA: Truth be told, I’m not a fan of either movie.

I saw THE LOST BOYS when it first came out, opening to strong reviews, but I hated it. I thought it was silly, the humor a misfire, and I couldn’t get into it.

I saw NEAR DARK later, after word of mouth had proclaimed it an excellent vampire movie. I saw it, but wasn’t wowed. In terms of 80s vampire movies, I like FRIGHT NIGHT (1985) much better.

But to choose between the two, there’s no comparison. I’d go with NEAR DARK, hands down. I like its story better, and the overall feel of the movie is much more to my liking. It’s scary, gritty, and realistic. THE LOST BOYS is ruined by its goofiness, and simply put, it’s a joke that I didn’t find funny.

LS: Yeah, we don’t need to belabor this, do we? NEAR DARK is head and shoulders (and everything else) above THE LOST BOYS. And I think it’s better than your beloved FRIGHT NIGHT, too (even though it did have Roddy McDowell in it). But that’s another argument for another time.

MA: Yeah, maybe we should have done that one! Because FRIGHT NIGHT is way better than NEAR DARK! But like you said, that’s for another time.

Well, that’s it, folks. The final tally is—NEAR DARK – 5 and THE LOST BOYS – 0. NEAR DARK pretty much smoked THE LOST BOYS the whole way. It was never that close.

LS: I’m exhausted. Can we those beers now?

MA: Yes, now we can relax and have a drink. Okay, everybody, thanks again for joining us! And thank you Mark and Paul, for taking part. Until next time—.

Good night everybody!


© Copyright 2012 by Michael Arruda, L.L. Soares, Mark Onspaugh and Paul McMahon