November 5, 2012

WTF Movie of the Week: The Cabin in the Woods!

"There's zombies and there's Pain-Worshipping Zombie
Red Neck Torture Family. They're two very different things."

Okay, so I'm a busy man. Or maybe I've just been lazy lately. But last night I finally got to see what the rest already discovered ages ago: The Cabin in the Woods is a surprisingly good movie. And I say 'surprisingly good movie' because I think it's too early to use 'effing modern classic'.

Expecting to see some teenagers get slaughtered in a ...yes... cabin in the woods, I settled myself in front of the TV only to find the movie opened with a couple of middle-aged button-down office clerks (Richard Jenkins and Bradley Whitford) talking about their private lifes. Flashes from Severance came to mind, but that was all quickly disspelled when the teenagers actually showed up and they actually went on a weekend retreat to a ...yes... cabin in the woods.
They quickly meet the odd stranger telling them the cabin isn't safe... blablabla... but they go anyway. In the cabin they find a strange book with words in Latin that they read out loud and ...wait for it... the undead rise... Since you're here on a horror blog I guess you can fill in the rest of the movie.

BUT... snap back to the two office clerks who take bets over which of the evil monsters the teenagers are actually going to conjure up, who seem to orchestrate the whole damn mess and who pull mysterious levers when one of the teenagers die. So, there should be something more to this movie than meets the eye, right?

Right! The movie ends about half an hour early when the last of the teenagers supposedly dies and the office clerks open up a batch of brewski's and champagne. All is well. But wait, the mysterious red phone rings and one of the office clerks feels the blood drain from his face (one of Bradley Whitford's finest moments). And then all hell breaks loose. Literally!

Trying not to give away too much: the rest of the movie I watched with open mouth!

Everything about this movie is just right. The tension and suspense in the Cabin holds a candle to Halloween, the deaths of the teenagers are done in gory, 80's-style, the humour is on a par with Scream (remember that one?) and some of the most beloved characters in the horror genre make their appearance including a very ominous version of Pinhead holding not a cube, but a puzzle sphere.

The movie's most lovable character has a huge roll, which is a joy to watch (Donnie Darko's Fran Kranz) and the office clerks are well over-acted, especially Bradley Whitford who keeps complaining he would've liked to have seen the kids killed by a Merman.

For once I DID NOT get the feeling the writers dug themselves in a hole of which they couldn't dig themselves out anymore, as so often is the case with these type of movies. You can clearly see the writers had a clear vision and goal as to where they wanted this movie to go and they had a lot of fun making it. And it shows!

A solid movie. Don't be surprised to find this on the classic list one day.


October 18, 2012

Emergency Post: Cyberdyne Systems created HAL?

"I'm sorry, Dave, I can't let you do that."
Okay, so maybe I went a little overboard with my sci-fi emersion lately, but I came across this and it just freaked me out so much! Have a look...

I've went over this every which way, but I just don't understand it. Maybe the CEO is a sci-fi buff or something, but even then... to name your company after one of sci-fi's most evil icons of the last four decades is... a bit out there. And I'm sure there are stock holders who 'just don't get it'. What are gonna say when your intranet is trying to take over the world?
"We never saw it coming," is definitely not going to work!

And then the suit. The suit will actually be used to clean up Japan's contaminated areas after the meltdown of the nuclear reactor near Fukushima, so THAT'S alright. But to name it HAL? Isn't that cutting it a bit too close? Especially since your company name is already Cyberdyne.

To use one of the English language's most giggle-inducing descriptions, I was flabbergasted. And I'm sure I could spend hours trying to explain to you exactly how it made me feel, but I'll just leave with these two excerpts and be done with it.

BTW, check out the bottom of the page, where it says Domestic Rental. I guess you can rent this suit as a private person as well. You know, for heavy lifting around the house.


October 12, 2012

The Wait is over: Night Gypsy is out now!

Look, my name is in there!
I know I may be preaching to the choir, since I'm sure all of you already pre-ordered this after my previous post (of course you did!), but....

Woohoo! The Night Gypsy: Journey into Darkness anthology which features two (2!) of my stories is out as of this week! It is available on Amazon (click! click! click it now!)

Beside my own contributions it will feature some of the latest and best in horror literature from Australia, Holland and the US. The overall theme of the anthology will be the descend into homicidal madness, since long a favorite theme of horror writers everywhere (Lucy Comes to Stay... by Robert Bloch, anyone?)

But it's not just for horror buffs. The tagline mentions 'suspense, drama and horror'. Even drama and suspense afficionados will get their fill.

I would highly suggest you check it out! You don't want to miss some of the up and coming authors of this moment. And while you do, hit the Like-button on the Facebook-page.

Indie Gypsy, the publisher of the aforementioned anthology, is a small publishing company with a wide variety of movie, music and literature projects in production, but that's just the way they like it! The tastes of the editors are plenty and wide, ranging from literature to cooking, so there will always be something interesting going on. Have a look at what they're all about at

So, ahem, so far for the shameless self-promotion, but I'm very excited about this!


Ps. Seriously, check it out...

October 7, 2012

What We Found in the News: Honey Bee Brains in Robot?

Plans are already in motion!
Somewhere last year I bought Asimov's The Complete Robot; a collection of his short robot stories. I took it with me on vacation this year and was completely hooked. I've never been much of a sci-fi fan, but lately the genre has been calling me more and more.

I had just finished reading '...that Thou art Mindful of Him' in which George 10, a sentient robot, tries to wrap his positronic brain around the conundrum of how to make humans like robots. For those of you not familiar with the works of Asimov: in most of his stories robots are not allowed on Earth, but just work on industrial sites on the Moon or other planets. Something Asimov calls the Frankenstein-effect. This story is about negating that effect (i.e. making people accept robots as a valuable assett in their daily lives (for the sake of big bucks, I might add)).

Now, here a spoiler!

The answer George 10 comes up with is to make the robots less human-looking so people will not feel so threatened. Of course, people would also will be threatened by a talking robot dog, George 10 goes on to dumb the intelligence of the robots down. The idea being that once people have accepted dumb, animalistic robots, they will later on also accept human-shaped, smart robots. Well, as it turns out the animal robots will so dumb they cannot comprehend the Three Laws of Robotics anymore (where it states that a robot cannot harm a human being) with obvious disastrous results.
 Now, I come to my point. The first dumb robots they're going to make are small birds and insects like bees.

Please keep in mind, this story was written in 1974.

Last week, I read this article:

I'll give you a moment to read it....

Freaky? I think so.

Since long I've been fascinated with the concept of art imitating life imitating art, etcetera. There are numerous examples, from philosophical tractates inspiring revolutionaries to early 1950's sci-fi stories inspiring later generations of scientists. But this was a little too literal for me. Although in this case there is no direct link to the research and the Asimov story, Asimov has been credited as being the inspiration for numerous scientific discoveries. Not in the least the story that the US company Unimation Inc. who supply assembly robots to automobile factories around the globe. The founder of the company admitted that he was so inspired during his time as a student at Columbia University by Asimov's stories that he founded the robot company.

And why not? Asimov was a great writer with also a great insight into the human psyche. I read the book back to back in one week and I totally get why this guy is credited as one of the best sci-fi writers ever. Young scientists will definitely be inspired by this.

But this confirms that, to some extend, the future will be shaped by the visions of speculative writers and well-shaped stories. This inspires me no end to keep writing, but it also has a dark side.

Numerous stories tell us of a dark and dystopian future. And some of those are just far-fetched, but some of them could serve as warnings. Maybe in 300 years we will regard one story or another as being especially visionary. Or maybe we will shape the world wittingly or unwittingly towards one of these stories.

The only problem is we will not know if this is true until years (centuries) later. So it's all pretty much a non-issue.

All I want to say to all young writers is, KEEP WRITING! Your visions could be more than gold!

Oh, and read some Asimov...

Wanna know more about this issue: iO9!

September 21, 2012

Why it Kicks Ass: Attic Clowns by Jeremy C. Shipp!

Clowns never really were
funny, weren't they?
Keeping in touch with my horror roots, I decided some time ago to rekindle my fondness of evil clowns. The original obsession with this type of monster had nothing to do with Stephen King's iconic translation of the theme; I just don't like clowns. I don't get them. Honestly, why would anyone think that children would like to see some guy in oversized dungarees with a parody of a human face... for a face! How can this be anything BUT horrifying to any kid? Therefore, in my view all clowns are evil, even the ones that cry.

So, coming back to my original point. Lately I've been seeing a lot about this writer who apparently ran off four (4!) volumes of clown horror stories. Not wanting to run the chance of encountering a 'too much of a good thing' sort of situation, I just ordered the first volume from RedRumHorror (again with the Stephen King, see?)

The book contains 13 stories (of course) of varying lengths, but all of them deal with clowns and/or attics, although the whole gamma of horror creatures makes an appearance (living soap men, for example). Now, here's the kicker: none of them actually deal with clowns in the traditional sense! AND THAT'S JUST WHAT'S SO GREAT ABOUT THEM!

At this point I'd like to remind you that the 'Why it Kicks Ass' section of Floating Robes is NOT a review section. I'd just like to explain why I think this book kicks the proverbial ass.

Having said that, none of the stories are actually horror, none will give you nightmares unless you're like me and have an inborn fear of going crazy. The clowns in the stories are often representations of fears, personas, complexes or other psychological phenomana in the mind of the protagonist. Jeremy C. Shipp created with this a map, if you will, of the dark side of the human mind! With evil clowns!

For example, take the story of the man stuck in the attic with a dead clown (called A Quivering Gray Fog). There's a hole in the floor which leads to Hell. And there are a bunch of photographs on the desk which depict the same photograph. Every night, our protagonist takes a photo of the photo. On the original we'll probably see why he's here and what is going on, but by now the photo of the photo of the photo is so far removed from the original that it's hard to figure out. Well, without giving away the plot, the solution involves an underling demon who feasts on human feet.

Without getting to pretentious (or maybe it's too late) the man obviously feels guilty about something and the dead body probably has something to do with it. He feels he's halfway down to Hell and furiously tries to find out what he did wrong and why he's there. The story eminates an array of loneliness, guilt and confusion with not only redemption at the end, but also an overwhelming sense of human foolishness.

As you can tell, the stories are mostly bizarre and weird and certainly not for people who like to hang on to horror in the traditional sense. There'll be a lot of people who 'just don't get it'. But to anyone with an interest in psychology (like all horror writers should have, I'm sure), the stories are just great!

Mr. Shipp's style is terse and almost without any adjectives which makes the stories even more tense and gloomy than they would be otherwise. An ironic sense of humour surrounds most of the stories although I never found myself laughing out loud. Reading the book puts the reader in a strange mood, though, and I found it hard to shake the type of thinking that this kind of writing instills in the reader. Even now, long after I've read the book, I still think about it, much like I do with some of the classics I used to read when I was younger. I guess that means that Mr. Shipp has created some sort of post-modern clown punk horror classic or something!

Okay, so now he's got me rambling about it. If you haven't read the book and are into some weird stuff, go buy it. If you like your vampires sparkling, please forego this one. If you've read the book and 'just didn't get it', re-read it and remember 'It's all in your head!'


Mr. Shipp's Blog
To the Book!

September 18, 2012

WTF Movie of the Week: Attack the Block!

Intergalactic tooth-paste had some unforeseen drawbacks...
So, well, here we are... I'm going to come straight out and say it: I LIKED IT. I know it's not the most popular opinion (I'll explain why later), but I did. Usually I would now go on and give you an insightful overview of the development of the characters, the intellectual merits or the wonderful photography, BUT this movie has none of that. It doesn't seem to bother with all that jazz, or at the very least, it plays it down to the point it's easily ignored. And maybe that's for the best.

The story opens with a couple of hoodlums mugging a young nurse on her way home. These are not nice guys, the writers are telling us, and they're right. Now, if you think these hoodlums will, in the course of the movie, will experience some Joycean epiphany which will redeem them for the rest of their lives, it ain't going to happen.

Soon after the mugging they find a strange, hound-like creature, kill it, and take it with them to the block where they live. We soon learn that the group is into low-level dealing of marihuana and especially the leader, Moses (John Boyega), wants to work his way up in this sleazy world.
But pretty soon the block is under siege from strange, dark aliens with glowing teeth. All sounds pretty corny, eh?

What follows is an 80-minute slugfest in which the hoodlums try to defend their block of appartment buildings from the besieging aliens with mostly humourous results. We get to know a lot of the other tenants of this building and the associations they keep. Nick Frost and the rick kid hooked on pot, the screaming girls and the nurse they mugged earlier who somehow ended up in the same block. And although there is the obvious tension between them, they all have to work together to beat the aliens.

So, here goes. What most people would expect is that the hoodlums, faced with this horrible new enemy, will mend their wicked ways and lead productive lives from now on. But instead, they attack the aliens with the same arrogance and ferocity they do everything else. There is no message here and maybe that's just as well. It's just enjoyable fun with a slight throw-back to the 80's monster movies. The fact that the aliens are not visible except for horrific, glowing teeth, is a great move by the director. It is an hommage to movies from a time when monsters could not be made so realistic (Cat People, anyone?).

The big question that dawns on me as I read the bad reviews is why people would expect an epiphany or a message from a movie that is clearly made for entertainment purposes and not for it's Oscar potential. Because the heroes are not obvious heroes like we see nowadays? Because it deals with problem kids in a problem area of London? I found it more refreshing than disturbing, but that's just me.

The same goes for the comparison between this and Shaun of the Dead. Why would you compare the two? Because they're both English? Because both have Nick Frost in it? If you want more of the charismatic duo of Frost and Pegg please watch Hot Fuzz and Paul and be done with it. Both are excellent!

Leave Attack the Block for what it is, a wonderfully written action-sci/fi-horror movie with good performances and some funny bits.


July 23, 2012

WTF Movie of the Week: Prometheus

To continue my journey into sci-fi/horror I decided to go and watch Prometheus with my darling wife and some friends. It was directed by Ridley Scott and supposed to be the 'spiritual prequel to Alien'. What could go wrong, one wonders. Well, Charlize Theron should've alerted me sooner, but I decided to give it the benefit of the doubt.

The movie opens mysteriously enough with some strange humanoid standing on the edge of a lake ingesting a pill. This was a bad idea, since the man promptly disintegrates. What is this pill, one wonders. Well, rest assured, you'll not find out in the coming toe-curling, teeth-grinding, hair-pulling hour-and-a-half.

The movie revolves around this group of astronauts going over to a planet where theoretically, supposedly, possibly, maybe there could be sentient life and the explanation of where humans came from. This is indicated by some prehistoric scribbles on the walls of caves found all over the world. Reason enough for an excentric businessman to spend $ (and change) on a space mission. So we open on a scene where an android is preparing the crew for their awakening from hyperspace sleep. All goes well and the crew quickly gets the low-down on why they're there. Scepticism and macho behaviour abound, of course, but the crew goes on their merry way. But instead of finding the origins of human life, they find odd orbs which quickly turn out to harbor all kinds of very distasteful looking creatures. Suffice it to say, these creatures are not very welcoming of their new guests. For the team, all goes awry from that point on. Unfortunately, this is also where the story goes down the proverbial drain.

I cannot express enough the irritation this movie brought to me. A long time fan of Alien and Aliens (not the rest), this was as bad as a root canal by a myoptic dentist. The characters are totally taken from any horror-movie textbook (pregnant with a monster baby?), the plots twists itself in so many strange ways that the writers probably confused the hell out of themselves (Alien came from human DNA?) and the overall message the film seems to want to convey is: "Give it up! All is bad and horrible in the universe and we should all just curl up and die!"

Charlize Theron's character wakes first from the hyperspace sleep and is shaping up to be the next Ripley. Okay, fair enough. But then she has about three lines in the whole movie, has sex, freaks out when things go wrong and dies stupidly by being squashed under a spaceship. The real heroin (Noomi Rapace) of the movie is such a whiny, unstabile and miserable whench that I really could not believe that she was going to take on Alien. Speaking of which, he only shows up in the last 30 seconds when he's born in the typical stomach-churning style (pardon the pun). Guess they had to squeeze that one in...

Is there nothing right about the movie? Well, I got to say something for the effort made by Michael Fassbender who does a good job of delivering a believeable eerie android with a double agenda. He's a good actor in my book, but with what he has to work with in this mastodontic dud of a movie is beyond the powers of any actor.

The only thing that could possibly redeem this movie is a 3-hour director's cut that shows what Mr. Scott really wanted to achieve.

For now I'll dust off my old Aliens-collection and wash the bad taste from my mouth.
Go Ripley!


July 16, 2012

WTF Movie of the Week: Pandorum

At the Elysium, shower privileges were hard to come by...
Okay, okay, so lately I've been emerging myself more into science fiction (I realized I hardly know anything about the genre) than horror, but don't hold that against me. It's how I came around to this wonderful pic by German director Christian Alvart. Never heard of him? Neither had I, but man...!

Starring Dennis Quaid and Ben Foster, this sci-fi is actually more of a horror in the spirit of Alien or Event Horizon and certainly no Star Trek. Two crew members wake up from their hyperspace sleep which has gone on way too long, leaving them with no recollection of their mission or who they are. Matters soon become worse when they can't access any of the other rooms on the ship except through a hatch in the wall. Ben Foster's character Bower decides to crawl down the narrow space to find out what's wrong with the ship. Pretty soon they find out they're not alone, and even worse, the others are not human. But they love the taste of humans.

The suspense of this, especially in the beginning is on a par with Alien. Tight, claustrofobic spaces, dark close-ups, panting and far-off screams are plentiful and even a body or two springing out of nowhere sets the tone for the rest of the movie.

This is not to say, though, that this leans on cheap scares alone. Not by a long shot. Right after the first act is over and the director is content that people are now on the edge of their seats, he makes sure that there is an actual plot we can sink our teeth in. Without giving away too much, suffice it to say that during their hyperspace sleep, the personnel on the bridge (the ones supposed to stay awake), underwent a horrible psychological disease called Pandorum which endangered the whole mission and put the crew in the mess they are in now. The whole storyline reminded me very much of old pirate movies dealing with cabin fever and exploring new and strange territory. Except this is space and not the Caribbean.

The acting is wonderful for a film like this. It could easily have slipped off into a shoot-when-it-moves action flick with Ben Foster's character emerging heroically with a smoking gun, a smoking cigar and cracking a few funny lines. But instead it focuses on team work and psychological drama to deal that final punch. Dennis Quaid delivers, of course. It's hard for him to really mess up a role. I don't think he ever did a bad role, although he starred in some pretty poor productions (Day after Tomorrow, anyone?). This one is no exception. His Lt. Payton is wonderful as he slides slowly down into insanity. There are plenty of 'better' actors who cannot pull off a deeply dark role like this one.

If you get a chance to see this hidden gem, please do so, especially if you like dark sci-fi without the shiny perfection of Star Trek. It's nitty, it's gritty, it's bloody and insane. I'm starting to develop a taste for movies like these...

I'll keep you posted.


June 23, 2012

Why it Kicks Ass: The Vertical Ladder by William Sansom

Painting done by W. Kozak,
inspired by The Vertical Ladder
(William Sansom)
Welcome, welcome, welcome everybody, to a new section of the Floating Robes Blog! It's called Why it Kicks Ass and will be running alongside the WTF Movie-section, the Story Submissions and the other general hogwash I publish on here.

The inspiration to this wonderful new section and a general inspiration to me as a short story writer, is the great, but little known short story The Vertical Ladder by William Sansom.

Let me give you the low-down (some spoilers, beware):

There's this kid, called Flegg, who is with a couple of other kids around the ages 13-14. As kids do, they hang around an old abandoned factory (glassworks, in this case) with a huge tower. The group consists of some boys and two girls. The boys, as boys do, are daring each other to climb all the way to the top of the storage tower using the vertical ladder that is suspended from the side of the tower. Flegg, not the most eloquent or most boisterous of the group, is singled out as the victim. Not wanting to seem a wuss in front of the girls (as boys do) he grudgingly accepts the challenge.

Long story short, he climbs up the ladder, feeling ever more fearful that he will fall. At one point in the story, the other kids cannot even be heard, so far up he is. His heart pounding, his throat dry, he forces himself up rung by rung. And just when he thinks he can't climb any higher, he witnesses the other boys taking away the wooden ladder, leaving him three meters or so above the ground even if he does decide to climb down.

The other kids leave, arguing with the girls who thought this was an unnecesarily cruel deed. Flegg is trapped on the ladder and decides to climb to the top where he can rest his arms and wait for help. And then the real horror begins for as he finally reaches the top a nasty surprise is waiting for him.

I first came across this in the great Pan Books of Horror Stories (read them now!). And although nothing supernatural happens at any point in the story (no, there is no crazed psychopath waiting for him at the top), it evokes such feelings of dread and fear in the reader that it really classes as a horror story.

And this, my friends, is the sign of the great horror writer. Although, a long time fan of filthy monsters stalking mist-covered swamps, I immediately recognized the truth is Douglas Winter's quote: "Horror is not a genre, it's an emotion." Horror transcends mundane limitations to a 'genre' (it has to have a monster, it has to have faeries, it has to have ...). It can be found in sci-fi settings (Alien, Event Horizon), in fantasy settings (Solomon Kane, some Lovecraft-stories) or, in this case, in the everyday world.

To invent a horrific situation barring any and all supernatural carry-on and still being able to send shivers up and down a reader's spine is, in my book, a tremendous feat! Especially since the horror comes from such a normal situation. I, having been a boy myself at one time, immediately identified with Flegg as I'm sure the bulk of adult males will. This is what they're talking about when they say there are no definite borders between genres. This story could as easily been published in an anthology of general fiction as it did in the horror anthology I found it in.

It is simply, a great story on many levels.

Although not very well known among the general public, Sansom's carreer spanned over 30 years. Starting to write notes while working as London firefighter during the Second World War, he went on to write 15 novels, 9 short story collections, 7 non-fiction works and 2 children's books.  Besides the above-mentioned short story, his best known work is a supernatural horror story called 'A woman seldom found' which keeps appearing in anthologies to this date.

Got curious? Find the story here on Google Books. Or hop over to your local bookstore.


June 2, 2012

Zombie Spectacular: We Are What We Eat!

So... every once in a while a blogger gets an e-mail containing a new idea, a new book, new short story, new movie, new something. And even fewer times the idea actually is very cool. Such is the case with the new zombie spectacular We Are What We Eat.

We Are What We Eat is a short film centering around Nicole, a high school girl that, after a disturbing 'joke' on her way back from school, wonders if her best friend has become a zombie and, since she has a weird wound on her leg, is she will become a zombie as well.

The crew shot most of the film in 2 days (a staggering 220 shots), but except for a couple of awkward shots and could-have-been-better line delivery, the film does not show the rush. The pacing is fast, the camera work is good and the acting is decent. The awkward shots are basically caused by a desire to find new and interesting point-of-views and in most cases they succeed wonderfully, which makes for the few times they don't.

The film's first screening was on April 27th in Seattle for the NFFTY (that's National Film Festival for Talented Youth, for those of you not familiar with this acronym) and then was invited to play it on the Zombie Voodoo Festival all over the US of A! Since that first screening, Darien has secured major screenings all over the place! Check it out here. There maybe one near you.

Darien Davis and Sam Toller are two very young, but very talented men who have put together this amazing short that is gathering momentum quickly and will probably catapult the two into the movie-making industry. If you get a chance to go and see their film during one of the upcoming screenings, I would highly recommend you do so.

In the meantime, check them out at the We Are What We Eat Blog!

Yours truly, as always, Marcel

May 25, 2012

I'm BACK (Don't give up)!

You after sticking with it...
Hey everybody,

after a two-month hiatus which involved two bruised ribs and a broken collar bone (don't ask), I decided to get back to Floating Robes. In the meantime I've watched loads of movies, loafed around the house and popped my painkillers (what else can you do?)

I've revised some of my older stories and sent them off to the magazines. Alas, so far without any success. I'm not worried, though. And you know why? Because I believe in my stories. They're like my little soldiers that I send out into the world after I drilled them thoroughly into being lean, mean horror machines! And once I've taught them to be independent, self-thinking, beautiful, nasty little gems, I unleash them! Then it's all up to them to wow and beguile those editors and slushpile readers!

Sometimes they do, but most of the times they come back, head hanging and feeling miserable. I leave them for a few days, sulking on the couch, before I send them out again. And every once in awhile they do find a home and I'm oh so proud of them! My little bloody angels with their crooked teeth and scarred cheeks and forked tongues!

What I'm trying to say in my own rambling, round-about way, is that even IF we send our stories off to magazines and we get them back after a two-month wait with a form rejection saying: "Thanks but no thanks," (literally, once) DO NOT FRET. Do not bang you head against the wall, don't slam your fingers in the door, don't despair, don't threaten to jump off the highest building in your beautiful little corner of the world.

Just revise the story, recognize what's wrong with it, fix it and find another market for it. It may take five, ten, sometimes twenty times, but I'm sure that the right one is out there!

And then, when your story appears in some up-market magazine with your name printed in point-48 Helvetica on the cover and a full centerspread interview inside, and it's picked up by some Hollywood hotshot to make it into a full-length critically acclaimed blockbuster film, you can be sure all the other editors will eat their little form rejection slips in agony while the rest of their lifes a little voice in their heads go: "You passed on that, you passed on that...".

Did I mention I developed a taste for coffee while I was out? You may have noticed.

Long story short: DO NOT GIVE UP!

Hm. That's basically all I needed to say, wasn't it.

Thank you for listening.


March 7, 2012

Night Gypsy: Journey into Darkness now available to pre-order!

Pre-order now!
Night Gypsy: Journey into Darkness, the great new anthology from Indie Gypsy, is now available to pre-order from Amazon! This is your chance to get in on the ground floor! Get it today!

The Night Gypsy Anthology will feature some of the best new horror writers on the international stage. It will have around 25 stories of dark drama with a heavy emphasis on the personal journey into darkness! Make sure to check out the Facebook page and hit the Like-button!

Indie Gypsy is a small publishing company with a wide variety of movie, music and literature projects in production, but that's just the way they like it! The tastes of the editors are plenty and wide, ranging from literature to cooking, so there will always be something interesting going on. Have a look at what they're all about at


February 10, 2012

What a story may become! Macabre by Michael L. Kersting

Not so long ago, I published a free story here on Floating Robes. It was Macabre by Michael L. Kersting. If you've missed it, click here!

Recently, Michael sent me this e-mail:

"Hi Marcel, thanks for publishing my short story "Macabre" on your site "Floating Robes"! The synopsis was well written. I appreciate it. I forgot to mention it was also recorded by "Skive Magazine" publisher Matt Ward on PRX. See below and perhaps you will want to hear it. Well thanks again, and have a Happy and Prosperous new year 2012.! Michael Lance Kersting"

I love the fact that things get a follow-up and this was a very nice surprise. Of course, we wish Michael all the best for the future.

Michael's Audio Story

If you have a story, you'd like to see published, please do not hesitate to sent it in. I can't offer you anything except a few extra pageviews, but it may be a nice way to find a home for those shelfed stories.



February 6, 2012

The Best of Floating Robes!

Don't worry, we'll start at ten!
After two years of blogging and receiving lots of e-mails, comments, pageviews, hits, click-throughs, backlinks and what not, I've found there are a couple of posts that still garner interest, even after it has disappeared of the blog roll long ago.

So, back by dope demand:

10) Bag of Bones for Sale - I found this on the Internet one day when I was looking for a skull which was to be the cover of my book Beneath Dark Waters. It just seemed funny and a testament that you can find anything on the internet.

9) WTF Movie of the Week: Event Horizon! - Not so old, yet, but well on it's way to become one of the classics. Since it's introduction in 2011, the WTF Movie of the Week has proven a big hit. It allows me put hidden horror gems (or good movies lacking an enormous marketing budget) in the limelight where they belong. I'm happy you feel the same.

8) The Making of 'Beneath Dark Waters' - I'm happy this is included here. My little behind-the-scenes treatise of my first self-published book was a joy for me to write since it deals with the place I grew up in. It gave me a chance to explain some of the characters and landscape I know so well. If you haven't read it yet, do it. It'll give the book an extra dimension.

7) Just plain cool wedding cakes! - A fun post done when my wife and I were checking for cool designs for our wedding cake. Most of these are around on the internet and if you get your girlfriend to order one of these, please let me know where I went wrong!

6) Real life ghosts - Written in a time I wasn't exactly sure what Floating Robes was going to be, this is one of the classics. It just keeps popping up every now and again. They're freaky pics, though. Goose bumps guaranteed.

5) Ten most inspirational horror songs - Inspired by my playlist while running two years ago, this is my personal list of beloved horror songs. I'm happy a lot of you agree! I was surprised by the amount of feedback I got on this one. I always thought I was the only one with Murder in the Red Barn on nr. 1.

4) Welcome to the circus. Juggling a home life, day job, writing career and hobbies all at one! - A bit of a personal post, it deals with my life in 2010. It hasn't changed much. But now I know that I'm not the only one.

3) Top Ten Short Stories of Horror Literature! - My first blog hit! An enormous amount of replies and feedback. Apparently I hit a nerve. I love short literature (both writing and reading) and I'm happy I'm not the only one!

2) Doing what you want: not always easy! - Again a personal post that hit it big. It deals with the running-up to my first publication and the real importance in writing: just having fun! Once again, find your own voice and don't bother with what other people say! Only then will you find that one different voice that everybody's looking for.

1) 10 Tips for the Succesful Integration of Zombies in Human Society - Written after watching an episode of the Walking Dead, it was a joke that went horribly right! The next day I had a big number of backlinks and a couple of good comments, among which 'Hahahaha' and 'LOL'. And that makes it all worthwhile, doesn't it?

And that's it for now. I hope there will be many more in the future and I hope in two years time, the list will look somewhat different. You can make that happen!

Take Care,


January 25, 2012

Indie Book Project: Night Gypsy: Journey into Darkness!

New Anthology coming
this September!
A great new anthology is coming up this September! After the fun of summer, when the temperatures get lower and the nights get longer, it's time to cuddle up next to the fireplace with a collection of the greatest horror stories! The Night Gypsy Anthology will feature some of the best new horror writers on the international stage. Be sure to check out the Facebook page and hit the Like-button!

Night Gypsy is a Indie Gypsy anthology, scheduled to publish in September 2012. It will have around 25 stories from US and international writers. In the editors words, it's going to a mesh of the Hitchcock anthologies, Tales of the Unexpected and The Twilight Zone. All the stories have some dark drama going on with a heavy emphasis on the personal journey into darkness.

Indie Gypsy is a small publishing company with a wide variety of movie, music and literature projects in production, but that's just the way they like it! The tastes of the editors are plenty and wide, ranging from literature to cooking, so there will always be something interesting going on. Have a look at what they're all about at

Though the anthology will only be released in September (for digital and paperback) a pre-order option from Amazon will available soon. This is a chance to ride in from the ground floor! Keep an eye on this blog for more updates!


January 20, 2012

WTF Movie of the Week: Session 9!

Session 9: could've sucked,
but didn't.
'Tis not often we come across a gem which perfectly suits our current horror needs. I'm always on the look-out for good psychological horror, but often find myself making due with something much more mundane or more fantastic. But every once in a while we walk into another The Others or another Sixth Sense or, as now I can now boldly claim, another Session 9.

For this movie is truly such a gem.

First of all, praise for the writers for making the protagonists a couple of rough 'n tough asbestos removers instead of the easily impressed woman-after-a-miscarriage or something. It lends such a relieving feel of reality to this haunted-house movie. And they make for interesting characters.

So the movie is about a small group of asbestos removers who take a job in an mental hospital. After some juicy stories the guys tell each other during breaks, they slowly start to find out that there acually is more to the place than meets the eye. What follows is a slow descend into madness and for some into death. 

The great thing about Session 9 is that it becomes more and more introspective rather than trying to scare us with cheap effects. The newbie that's scared of his own shadow gets trapped in a dark hallway, the greedy, antisocial SOB finds a hidden loot in a furnace that's just too big for comfort and the ambitious right hand man (David Caruso) keeps some dodgy company when no-one is looking. Then there's the introverted medical school drop-out who finds the session tapes of a doctor interviewing a schizophrenic girl.

The movie is a lot of talk and not much action, so the gore-buffs will not reach their quota, but the suspense is so thick, you could cut it with a knife. David Caruso is wonderful as the dodgy dealer trying to instigate a falling-out between the boss and his collegue who he thinks is unreliable and actually shows he's a good actor (even without the sunglasses). The build-up towards the final scenes and the unfolding of all that has transpired is a joy to watch. All the random scenes and flashbacks we've seen come together like the beads on a string. Suddenly, it all makes horrific sense.

I seriously recommend giving it a try.

January 16, 2012

Indie Book Review: Dark Child by Kristy Leigh Conn!

A good merge of psychological horror
and gore!

So, after a few weeks of Christmas, a Happy New Year, recovering from two bruised ribs (don't ask) and writing a few short stories, I'm back on the blog.

Besides all the aforementioned, I also had the welcome opportunity of reading a new self-published book by writer Kristy Leigh Conn called Dark Child which kept me entertained during the long winter nights. It is set in the Appalachian area of West Virginia, USA and has a wonderful small-town feel to it. One of the protagonists is a veterinarian which quickly became one of my favorites.

The book centers around Billy Baker, a little boy who carries with him the horrible legacy of a demonic cult called the DemonSpawn. His mother Mandy was once a victim of the cult who, with the help of a detective called Frank, escaped and took on a new identity. Although the cult has been disbanded ever since, their presence still looms over Billy as he grows up, becoming ever darker, ever more real, ever more bloodier. And not just in the outside world, but inside Billy as well.

As the book goes on, the atmosphere gets grimier and darker as Billy is sucked into the cult's bloody ways. Especially the last part of the book is not for the faint-hearted and will leave many aghast with terror and sleepless nights. The reason why it works is that the book is primarily told from the viewpoint of other adults who each have their own reasoning about what the boy could or should be. As a reader you'll find yourself agreeing with each one of them as the boy grows up. Especially in the middle part of the book when the boy develops his own character, the line between good and evil becomes horribly blurred. This is all resolved again in the last part when the book spirals towards its inevitable conclusion.

For those of you who like psychological horror will be very intrigued by the first half of the book while the gore-ghouls will get all they can handle in the second half when Conn pulls out all the stops.

Kristy Leigh Conn herself works as a veterinarian and the medical jargon displayed in this book shows, although it never becomes 'showy'. On the contrary, it goes a tremendous way towards explaining the tendencies of good and evil in the human mind (from transferred genes to failing brain waves). Thus, it gives the book a feeling of being grounded in reality, rather than some supernatural explanation which requires a leap of faith on the part of the reader. 

Her writing career started with telling ghost stories around the camp fires, but took a backseat as she developed her career as a veterinarian. After writing prescriptions and hypotheses for twenty years, she once again took a stab at writing horror stories and since then has written dozens of short stories and finished her debut novel Dark Child. She is currently working on her novel about the downfall of man.

Dark Child is available as an e-book through Amazon.
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