The Top 10 British Comedy Horror Films

By C.M. Saunders

That time of year again, eh? I was going to write about the history of Halloween and how it’s mired in ancient Celtic folklore. But all that stuff is freely available online and not very exciting. I wanted to do something special for you instead. So how about a Top 10 Horror Movie List? Not special enough? OK, how about a Top 10 BRITISH Horror Movie List? Still not good enough? Well, taking it to the next level, you know how us Brits are renowned for our unique, irreverent, occasionally wacky yet sophisticated sense of humour? No? Well, we are. Sometimes it can be as subtle as an autumn breeze. Other times it can be fast, bloody, and brutal. Like a good bout of period sex. So… how about a Top 10 British COMEDY Horror Movie List? Yeah, let’s do that.

 

10: I Bought a Vampire Motorcycle (1990)

vamp motorcycle

Once upon a time, in a faraway land called 1980s Britain, there was a very popular comedy drama TV series. Boon was its name, and it was about a courier service-cum-private detective agency. It was so popular that at its peak that a shrewd production company hired its two main stars, Michael Elphick and Neil Morrissey, to appear in a riotous low-budget horror romp in an attempt to capitalize on its burgeoning success. They only partially failed. In the beginning there are satanic rituals and rival biker gangs, climaxing in a motorcycle getting possessed and then purchased by an unsuspecting Noddy (Morrissey) who, coincidentally, is a courier by trade. And then, people start having terrible ‘accidents’ and it appears the motorcycle is to blame. This is like Boon with the gloves off and the volume turned up, with blood, gore, dismemberments, swearing, lewd behaviour and even a talking turd. I shit you not.

9: Inbred (2011)

inbred

This late-night Horror Channel stalwart sees a group of thuggish inner-city young offenders taken to an isolated Yorkshire town to do some community service. During a run-in with a group of local louts, one of their carers, Jim, falls and cuts open an artery in his leg. In a panic, the young offenders take him to a nearby pub to get help. Unfortunately, the locals (aka, ‘inbreds’) don’t like strangers in them parts. Not at all. They quickly decapitate poor Jim with a meat cleaver and lock the young offenders in the cellar, until they are taken out one by one to provide the village entertainment. Daft, disturbing and deeply offensive, the most puzzling thing about Inbred is just how far the makers managed to stretch a measly £109,000 budget, which is about half the cost of the average house in the UK.

8: Doghouse (2009)

doghouse

It’s got Danny Dyer in it, and it’s about a boy’s night out gone terribly wrong. Therefore, you just know it’s going to be crude, filthy and unashamedly misogynistic. What did you expect? At its core, it’s a parody of lad culture riffing on men’s supposed inherent fear of women. Luckily, it’s funny enough to compensate for all the Cosmopolitan schtick. Dyer, helped out by Noel Clarke, Stephen Graham and a few other less famous faces, head to a fabled town where women allegedly outnumber men 4-1. When they get there, they realize this is by no means a good thing as every female in sight has fallen victim to a biological toxin that turns them all into frenzied, blood-thirsty zombie types. It’s a battle of the sexes for sure.

7: Carry on Screaming (1966)

carry on screaming

Apparently, very few people outside Britain have heard of the legendary Carry On films. Quite frankly, this appals me. The films (all 30-plus of them, including such gems as Carry On Teacher, Carry On Behind and Carry On Doctor) are a British institution. Where else are you going to get fart jokes and edgy one-liners about hard-on’s and knockers on terrestrial telly at Sunday tea times? This particular outing is a parody of the Hammer Horror films, which were peaking in popularity at the time, and tells the story of a series of mysterious disappearances in the English countryside, which ultimately leads police to a mad doctor in a castle and a monster called Oddbod. Admittedly, the plot is a bit thin in this one, but the gags are timeless.

6: Lesbian Vampire Killers (2009)

lesbian vampire

Before James Corden became a late-night TV host (or got his driving license) he starred in films like this. The critics hated it, with some bloke from the Times calling it an, “Instantly forgettable lad mag farce.” But that isn’t really saying too much. This was an era when it was fashionable to lamblast lad mags at every opportunity and besides, the Times don’t like any films. Even today it’s rare to see a film get more than two stars out of five, unless it’s an artsy fartsy French drama you need multiple degrees to understand. Personally, as far as low-brow humour goes, I thought this unofficial companion to Doghouse was a riot. When Jimmy (Mathew Horne) is dumped and Fletch (Corden), is sacked from his job as a clown for punching a kid, the duo decide to escape for the weekend to an idyllic village in Norfolk. A village which, unbeknownst to them, has been cursed, leading to a sizeable percentage of lesbian vampires. And you thought Eastern European immigrants were the problem.

5: Grabbers (2012)

grabbers

This is one of the more slick, big-budget entries on this list. Most of the time you just wouldn’t think it, which I guess is the point, as self-defeating as that is. Grabbers is essentially an alien invasion creature feature, the comedy aspect fueled primarily by the fact that alcohol is found to be toxic to the invaders, which encourages the inhabitants of a small Irish village to lock themselves in the pub and get rat-arsed as a defense mechanism. Think of this one as Father Ted crossed with the Blob and garnished with a liberal sprinkling of Cloverfield. It’s not a feckin’ lobster!

4: Severance (2006)

severance

Severance mixes humour, bravado, and some of the most brutal body horror this side of the Saw franchise to great effect, making it one of the stand-out Brit Horror films of the past two decades. The plot revolves around a group of office staff who are sent to Hungary on a team building exercise. As you would find in any office, the cast is made up of an eclectic and varied group of characters, all living up to certain long-held stereotypes. Danny Dyer pops up again, playing every-man caner Steve, who sees the getaway as the perfect opportunity to get off his tits. He’s munching magic mushrooms and puffing on a spliff in the toilet before the coach even stops (“Have I pissed meself?”). All in all, Severance comes off like a mash-up between Hostel and The Office. Brill.

3: Dog Soldiers (2002)

dog soldiers

There haven’t been many British horror films over the past decade or two more worthy of praise than Dog Soldiers. From the opening scenes, when a couple camping in the Scottish Highlands are ripped apart by a ferocious beast, you’re left in little doubt that this is a werewolf flick. If you like your horror bloody, funny, and gore-tastic, you can do a lot worse than this. You’re probably never going to see another northern bloke holding a flare aloft and singing, “Come and ‘ave a go if you think you’re ‘ard enough!” to a group of rampaging lycanthropes ever again. That man, incidentally, was played by an actor called Chris Robson, and he’s a French teacher in the north of England now. One of the few genuine, undisputed cult classics. Miss it at your peril.

2: An American werewolf in London (1981)

american werewolf

Some films you see during your impressionable formative years make an impression on you. Others scar you for life. For me, An American werewolf in London belongs firmly in the latter category. The subway chase scene gave me nightmares and years later when I first moved to London I remember going out of my way to incorporate Tottenham Court Road station (where the scene was filmed) in my daily commute. It never failed to give me chills, largely because the only thing about the station that has changed in the past 35 years are the fucking posters on the walls. The story goes that when director John Landis first started touting it, he had trouble securing finances with most would-be investors claiming the script was too frightening to be a comedy and too funny to be frightening. Eventually, PolyGram Pictures put up the $10 million, and were glad they did when it went on to become a box office smash and win an Academy Award for its special effects (Rick Baker went on to win six more from eleven nominations. A record). The story? It’s about an American werewolf in London, innit?

1: Shaun of the Dead (2004)

shaun dead

Could any other film really take top spot in this list? Not on your nelly. This, the first instalment of Edgar Wright and Simon Pegg’s so-called Three Flavours Cornetto trilogy (the others films being Hot Fuzz and The World’s End) is a bona-fide modern classic. Whilst dealing with feuding housemates, a demanding girlfriend and a shitty job, Shaun (Pegg) wakes up one morning with a hangover to find he’s in the midst of a zombie apocalypse. We’ve all been there. Naturally, the only place to go to wait for the world to restore order is the local pub. Brilliant performances by the cream of noughties British comedic talent and commendable special effects, topped off by a hilariously witty script. The perfect introduction to a positively booming sub-genre.

Honourable Mentions:

Cockneys Vs Zombies (2012), the Cottage (2008), Sightseers (2012), Stitches (2012), Boy Eats Girl (2005), Horror Hospital (1973), Nina Forever (2015) Stag Night of the Dead (2010), The World’s End (2013), Ibiza Undead (2016)

Human Waste: A Short Splatterpunk Story by C.M. Saunders is out now.

human waste

 

 

And don’t forget to pick up a copy of our new anthology, ECHOES & BONES, which is dark, like Halloween, and sometime funny. You can also to enter to win a copy on Amazon. ‘Muricans only, because them’s the rules. Folks from other countries can go to our Facebook page for chances to win book goodies.

 

echoes and bones final kindle

 

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The Swearing Corner: USA vs UK

 by Steve Wetherell

Like much of the world, I grew up on American television, and so was comfortably exposed to a lot of American swear words. (‘Shit’ was the big deal when I was a kid. People always seems to be shouting “Ooooh, shiiiiiit!”)

However, I’ve also always been proud of the wonderful rainbow of swearwords in my own country. I don’t think you’ve really heard ‘wanker’ until you’ve heard it said by an angry cockney, and the sheer dismissive silliness of a northern Englishman calling you a ‘bell-end’ is a whimsical thing indeed.

So, I’ve always considered it a fine thing that I have two pots of foul language to draw from. But, let’s be real here, not all swear words transfer across the Atlantic particularly well. There are some words that just sound better in Americanese, and likewise some that sound better in Original Recipe English. 

Ass versus Arse is a great example. There are some British who seem to think these are interchangeable, and in fairness they both technically mean the same thing. There’s a whole different universe of inflection there, though. Arse is just…well… a bit grimy, and so is suited when a bit of dirtiness is called for. Ass is generally more positive, more action orientated. You’d kick an ass, you’d move an ass, you’d get some ass. Arse, has an insidious drawl to it. If you kick an arse, you might need to disinfect your foot afterwards, and god help the sinister pervert who openly says he wants to get some arse. People will, quite rightly, move away from him on the bus. 

On the other hand, if you call someone an ass, it’s very PG13. Call someone an arse, and it packs more of a punch. This stands up even to the addition of ‘hole’. 

On the flip side, Americans can simply not say ‘twat’ properly. They pronounce if ‘Twodt’ which sounds like a fish course for which you need an acquired taste (I realise there’s a solid innuendo there.) But that softening of the consonant robs it of any veracity. 

The British pronounce twat in two distinct ways. There’s ‘twadt’ with a soft T. This is when you roll your eyes because someone’s being silly. Then there’s ‘twatt’ with the hard T. This is for when the knives come out. 

The final comparison is in the old staple for when you desire personal space; ‘fuck off’. Again, there’s no separate meaning, but it’s all about inflection. American’s tend to emphasise the latter half of the phrase: “Fuck OFF” or even ‘Fuk’OFF’. Shortening the Fuck and elongating the Off. That’s got a real nice aggressive ring to it. Carries a lot of weight in a small package, like a pool ball in a sock. In Britain, it tends to be the opposite; “FUCK off.” A pronunciation particularly prevalent in Scotland. While this pronunciation acts the growl of its American counterpart, it does have an airy dismissiveness to it that can be useful. In short, the American version serves as a warning. It implies consequence. The British version merely scatters your opinion to the wind and then goes off to buy another drink.

Multiculturalism is a wonderful thing…

 

Drunk Book Reviews: Cult of Kill Volume 1

by Renee Miller and Captain Morgan

So, Katrina had an idea, and we always play along. Welcome to the first edition of drunk book reviews. We plan to run a couple of these every month. They won’t be as long as this one, we hope, but you can’t make drunk people follow rules. And each review will be a podcast for now, because we sound bad enough, we don’t need you seeing the total shit show. Cool? Awesome.

In this installment, Renee drank a lot of rum really fast, and then she reviewed Cult of Kill, by Patrick Kill. Because you’ll be wondering, there are some images below that will make sense when you listen to the review. Enjoy.

 

cult_of_kill1.jpg

 

 

And, Sullivan…

 

 

 

 

 

 

Filling Your Niches

 

by Renee Miller

Many of us here at Deviant Dolls write in what are called “niche” genres. A niche genre is one that appeals to a small, specialized reader base. So, unlike something like romance, which has thousands and thousands of loyal readers, our genres attract a fraction of that number. And traditional publishers don’t go gaga over such books. Yeah, they want you to write something original and new, but not too original or new. They need to have somewhere to put it. If they can’t find the shelf your book belongs on, it’s a marketing problem. Plus, a fraction of thousands is not as good as thousands. It’s risky. Publishers are businesses, so this is understandable. Frustrating, but sensible if you’re looking at things from their point of view.

Just wish they’d stop asking for all this newness if they don’t want it. *grumbles*

I’m joking. Mostly. So, why would we choose to write in genres with such limited sales potential? Well a number of reasons.

First, a niche genre doesn’t mean you won’t sell just as much as someone writing in a popular or “commercial” genre. I mean, consider how many authors are out there writing the popular stuff in the first place. Spread those many readers out across those many authors, and the numbers aren’t so staggering for individual authors.

Second, I’ve found that these niche genres have the most loyal readers ever. This means, if they like what you’ve got, they’ll keep coming back, because it’s hard to find what they like. And they don’t mind paying. There are a lot of readers out there who’ve grown accustomed to the freebie. They expect it. Nothing wrong with that. We writers have created that expectation, so it’s our own fault. However, fans of niche genres like bizarro, erotic horror, absurdist comedy, slipstream and the like, know that it’s tough to find well written books that appeal to them, so they see value in it. When a reader sees what you’re offering as valuable, the freebie thing becomes less important.

Third, it’s fun. The most exciting part of publishing today is that we can bend and break genre lines. There are a bazillion sub-genres out there, and authors are creating new ones every day. Are they going to be bestsellers? Probably not. I mean, selling is the really tough part of publishing. However, it doesn’t mean they won’t sell. You can experiment. Have fun with your settings, themes, characters, etc. This experimenting helps us learn and evolve, and eventually, find the genre (niche or otherwise) where we excel.

I love writing weird stuff. If it’s strange or uncomfortable, I’m your girl. I also love writing sex scenes. Is that weird? Probably. I love writing about themes that are uncomfortable and using bizarre characters or situations. The more “WTF” or “OMG, no!” a story is, the more fun I have writing it. I’m not much for the butterflies and rainbows or the happy ending. What I’ve written previously that includes such things was a chore to write. I struggled to make it be what I was told it should be to “fit.” Sometimes I love writing tried and true stuff, but my “muse” is only truly satisfied when I’m going to an extreme of some kind. I like being a little uncomfortable with what I’m writing. Makes me more productive.

At Deviant Dolls, we chose to embrace genre straddling (and genre breaking) authors, because we believe in fiction that challenges the reader to think in new ways. We believe entertainment is valuable and so is allowing the reader to escape into a world that asks only that they buckle in and enjoy the ride. We love readers who beg to be scandalized, horrified, and/or tickled until they wet themselves. Niche genres make it easy to do this. Maybe, one day, these niche genres will become part of the norm. (Exciting) It’s more likely they won’t. That’s cool too.

Because we’re always looking for new ways to keep our readers happy, we’re curious: What’s your favorite niche and is it being filled? (Pun intended, because puns area great.)

Shrink Wrapped: Tony Bertauski Edition

Welcome to our series of Meet the Dolls interviews we’re calling Shrink Wrapped. Before you run away, let me say these are not a meet the author and find out all the writerly things he does yawn-fest kind of thing. Instead, Katrina and myself (Renee) took questions a doctor or cop searching for a serial killer might ask and tweaked them a little. It’s been enlightening… and disturbing.

tonyLet’s begin with our first patient, Tony Bertauski. Tony is the author of amazing books like the Foreverland Series and The Socket Greeny Saga. He’s also seen a horse’s vagina. More on that later.

Tony’s most recent book, HUMBUG (The Unwinding of Ebenezer Scrooge): A Science Fiction Adventure, is just what you need to read during this festive season. (Even if you hate Christmas, you’ll like this book. If you don’t, you’re a monster.)

Let’s get to digging in Tony’s head, shall we?

Love or Money? Explain.

Love. Unless I’m super hungry.

* I totally understand that answer. *

How would you explain Facebook to an alien?

You know the arguments family have across the table at holidays? That on a global scale.

* Maybe that’s why everyone loves it so much? *

Describe yourself in three words. Now, describe the last person who stood ahead of you in line at the last store you went to in three words.

Hard to understand.

From another planet

*Is anyone else wondering where this man shops?*

The person you love and trust most in this world has called for your help. Keeping in mind you’d catch a grenade for this person, they’ve asked you to help hide a body. First, do you ask any questions and if yes, what questions. Second, do you do it?

We talking a baby, or an old man on his deathbed? Big dif. (Renee: We’re talking adult who probably would’ve lived for many years)

Depends on how much digging is involved.

Which animal do you find sexy and why? According to experts, human beings find at least one animal a little arousing, (that may or may not be true) so spill it.

I saw a close up pic of a horse vagina the other day from a friend who boards horses. Looked just like a vagina. Imagine that.

* Does that mean you find horses sexy? I’m going to go with yes. (makes a note) And now I can’t get that out of my head. *

Finally, tell us, Tony, what do you see in this inkblot:

tonys-blot

Two seahorses smoking genital pipes.

shock


I did not see that… until now. Thanks, Tony. Genital pipes… wow. Anyway, thanks for playing along. We always love when you come to our play dates. Your parting gift is this lovely genital pipe. Sorry, Forbes ate the seahorses. He’s a dick like that.

Learning Curve

By Steve Wetherell

 

My name is Jack, and since you asked, yeah, I’ve always been a bastard.

Not in the traditional sense, mind you. Well, yeah, maybe that too. Never knew my Dad. There were a couple of stand-ins that never lasted long. Billy’s Dad, he stuck around longest. He was alright. Only ever hit me when I deserved it, which is fair enough.

Nah. What I mean is I’ve always been a professional bastard. I mean, well, I suppose I must have been an amateur at some point, but you know what they say: if you’re good at something you don’t do it for free. That’s why when most kids were trading football stickers and pick n’ mix I was already selling off stolen porn magazines and cheap foreign fags. Go where the money is, sell high buy cheap. Or sell high and don’t buy at all, I suppose.

Now, I know what you’re thinking, you’re thinking; “If this fucker’s such a professional, then what’s he doing hiding out in this shithole bar at the arse end of El Nowhere?” That’s a good question. I’ve got my answers, but I suppose all the other washed out wrong ‘uns have got theirs too. Best laid plans and all that shit. Let’s just say that I was playing a game, and playing it well, and then some fucker changed the rules. Leave it at that.

Where was I?

Oh yeah, always been a professional, me. I think I was about thirteen when I moved into the big leagues proper, though. I was a sharp kid, sharp enough to know that if I ever wanted to see some serious scratch I’d need to shift something harder than stale packs of Lucky Strikes and crusty copies of Reader’s Wives. Coke was coming in big back then, and for a while it was what was known as a deregulated market. Lots of producers, lots of movers, lots of people looking to lock it all down. Chaos.  And where there’s chaos you get opportunists. That was me- an opportunist. I watched the dealers, saw how they operated. It didn’t take much hanging around to learn who the players were. Learn where the weak links were in the supply chain.

So there I was on the Caulfield estate. Now, I grew up on a street where the houses would have fallen down if they weren’t propped against each other, but I was always glad I didn’t grow up in a tower block. There’s something about them, all that concrete and rust, the gangways and thick doors. They feel like prisons. No surprise they’re usually filled with criminals. Profiling, that is, but back then we just called it observation. It was half past ten and no place for a thirteen year old kid in his shit trainers with his hood up, but I wasn’t bothered, even back then. Professional, you see?

I was making my way to Lazlo’s place, climbing up the piss smelling stairwells to the top floor. Lazlo seemed to me to be an odd choice for a dealer, but he was the name I had to go on. He was this mad Russian who liked nothing more than sitting in pubs drinking bad lager until he was drunk enough to beat the shit out of a stranger, which in his case wasn’t really that drunk at all. I’d followed him about, watching him without being watched, clocking his schedule. He was the kind of guy whose whole vibe screamed “Don’t Fuck With Me.” A massive tattooed sausage of a man, with a big, red shiny head. What little English he knew he bellowed at the top of his lungs. He wasn’t exactly inconspicuous, is what I mean. People were scared of him, though. Certainly too scared to break into his flat and steal his shit.

So, I was breaking into his flat to steal his shit. Now, Lazlo may have been mad as a frog’s cock, but he wasn’t an idiot. He had one of those doors that were reinforced metal, more locks than the chastity belt on Satan’s missus. Getting into his flat through the front door would have needed a mortar round. Luckily, though, this was summer time, the proper British summer time you used to get back then, when you could fry and egg on a car bonnet by day and the nights clung to you like wet soot. The front door would be a no go, but I was willing to bet my life that the back door on the balcony would be open. Literally bet my life, seeing as Lazlo lived fifteen stories up.

Using the switchblade which was the only legacy my dad left, I fiddled the lock and broke into an empty flat four doors down. In through the front, out through the back, and then it was a bit of balcony hopping and trying not to look down at the concrete sea below. Not a fan of heights, but needs must. When I finally got to Lazlo’s balcony the back door wasn’t open, but the window by it was, so all it took was a quick reach through and I was in.

Now, I was cool, yeah, cooler than a snowman’s cold bits, but I wasn’t rash. I knew Lazlo wouldn’t be getting back in until well after the pubs shut, so I figured the place would be empty when I broke in. The place wasn’t empty, though. The telly was on, loud, and on the couch a chubby blonde woman in a greying nighty was sprawled out in a manner that left little to the imagination. There was a strong stink of weed and the air was thick and hazy, so I figured the woman was well out of it. But when I quietly closed the door behind me she shifted and moaned, her broad brow furrowing, drawn on eyebrows squeezing toward one another. She was out, but not out for the count, which put me in an awkward situation. I knew I was in there for the money, sure, but the world didn’t take kindly to peeping toms. If I’d been caught nicking I’d have had the shit kicked out of me at best, but if this lady woke up to see me staring at her unkempt muff, then It’d be a very different kind of kicking. There’s a principal, see?

That turns out to be just the start of my worries, though, because just then I hear a muffled commotion from the corridor outside, growing louder. Then keys in the door. I move behind the curtain just as the front door explodes open on a tidal wave of Russian swearing.

I don’t make the mistake of trying to peer out from the curtain, I just keep perfectly still, holding my breath. I gently hold the hem of the curtain to stop it moving. I hear Lazlo as he crashes around the apartment, exclaiming fuck knows what in a language I’m fairly sure he’s making up on the spot. A lower, gentler voice chimes in now and then– the couch queen– but mostly Lazlo seems content with the sound of his own voice. He was agitated about something, working himself into a temper. I remember hearing his heavy footsteps stomping toward me and me clutching at the handle of my knife in my pocket, for all the good it would’ve done me. I reckon me stabbing at Lazlo would have been like trying to eat a steak with a toothpick.

So I was making like a statue when this meaty hand bursts into my view and opens up the window wide, just inches away from me. Lazlo flaps his hands, shouting over his shoulder at his woman. If he turns his head the wrong way he will see me, and I will be dead. I remember that feeling to this day. Like a cold little ball in your stomach. A queer, dread certainty. I stand utterly, utterly still.  Lazlo moves away and comes back with a tea towel, flapping air out of the window, shouting all the while as he does so. Evidently he resented his missus smoking up the place while he was out doing an honest days drinking. Nobody likes getting in the middle of a domestic argument, especially if you’re trying to rob the domicile, so I breath very quietly through my mouth.

The couch queen says something that seems to end with a question mark, and Lazlo pauses a moment then turns around with a big, broken grin on his face. I don’t need to speak Russian to guess what’s coming out of his mouth next. It’s got that universal guttural sound of the randy old sod, like a wet engine revving enthusiastically. Lazlo moves out of my sight and I’m thankful that he’s leading his missus into the bedroom, rather than shagging her right there on the couch.

At this point an amateur would have counted his blessings and made a break for it. I wasn’t an amateur. I moved slowly and carefully into the living room. I was reasonably confident that any noise I made would have been covered by the still blaring television and a background riot that sounded like someone slapping a chihuahua with a trout. But I don’t get complacent.

It doesn’t take a lot of rummaging around to find an old Adidas backpack half filled with baggies of white powder. Jackpot. That’s the thing about security, once you get past the barricades people tend to let their guard down. Lazlo’s hidden a fair old whack of coke with less proficiency than a teenager hides his jazz mags.

I put the backpack on and I pull out of that flat at roughly the same time Lazlo’s pulling out of his missus. Too late, old son, I think. By the time you realise you’ve been done I’ll be long gone.

I remember walking back that night. Not running, walking. Just another kid with a backpack out past his bed time. I dodge the street lights, keep to the quiet sides of the roads, carefully ignore every passing car, every stumbling drunk, every pack of pricks. At all times I keep one hand on the backpack strap and the other on the knife in my pocket. I get to my house, over shoot it by a good few yards, and then turn around to see if anyone’s followed. Then I go home.

My mum is asleep in front of the telly. Billy is in the crib bed that’s already too small for him, leaning over the bars with that sloppy little toddler grin all over his face. I pick him up for bit until he gets grumpy, then I put him down, and get a blanket for my mum, tuck her in and turn the telly down a bit.  Then I lock up, smoke one of my mum’s cigarettes and spend an hour or so starting out of the landing window onto the street below. It is quite, and it is dark, and I am at peace with the world.

It wasn’t quite as easy as that, obviously. I wasn’t going to shill cocaine off my own back—that’s a good way for a kid to get stabbed, that is. I took the stash to one of the movers and handed it over, no fuss no muss. That haul was my resume, see? It could’ve gone either way, I suppose; I knew the stunt would either get me an in-road to one of the more established outfits, or a kicking for being a cocky twat. Turned out to be a bit of both, but that was the day I went legitimate. Well, I say legitimate, you know what I mean. From criminal to career criminal.

I didn’t see Lazlo again until about five years later, when me and a couple of lads were tasked with putting him out of business. He was always too big, too loud, was Lazlo. When things started to tidy up a bit, you don’t want a nutter like that shouting the place down. Bad for business. So we fucked him up. It took some doing, let me tell you. I’ve still got this scar on the side of my head, see? Hell of a learning curve, was Lazlo.

Hell of learning curve.

Anyway, it’s your round, isn’t it? El roundo? I keep forgetting you don’t speak English. Well, probably just as well, I suppose, otherwise I would have had to break your head open by now. I’d rather not do that, obviously, but I’m keeping a low profile, being careful, like. I can’t stay cooped up with Billy all the time, though. It’s starting to do my head in, to be honest. It’s nice to have someone different to chat to for a change, even if this is a strictly one way conversation.

I tell you what- seeing as I’m pissed and you clearly don’t understand a word I’m saying, how’s about I tell you another story? About the time I ripped off the devil himself? It’s a bit of blinder, this one, and not one you’re likely to believe. But I’ve got the scars, see? And scars tell their own story. They don’t give a fuck if you believe them or not.

So. They say the streets of London are paved with gold. False advertising that is…

Mind Fucked: Meet the Nutters

Editor’s Note:

As many of you know, we’re planning a virtual party on Facebook on September 17th, to celebrate our new books and to thank you, the reader, for supporting us. Event details can be found here. To “gear up” for said party, each of the dolls have written a little bit about our favorite titles. And, just by reading and then sharing and/or commenting, you’ll be entered to win a free book. Don’t forget to TAG US via Facebook or Twitter when you share!

Today, it’s Renee’s turn. Up for grabs is a Kindle copy of MIND FUCKED.  And now, Renee’s going to introduce you to a few of the nutters:

When I started writing Mind Fuck, the goal was one thing: hilarity. I had a very loose outline but the character of Milo Smalls was fully formed in my brain. He was perfect. Nothing could change him. No ONE could change him. He was the star. No one else.

My problem was he was too awesome. I needed characters that challenged Milo and created the right kind of “foil” to make him shine. That meant they had to be way “out there.” All of the characters in this book are outside the realm of normal, which means the average reader is unlikely to have much in common with them. To solve this problem, I gave them quirks, habits and thoughts similar to the ones we hide every day. And then I exaggerated these traits, so they “seem” more insane than the rest of us.

The characters are what makes this book so awesome. (Not just in my opinion. Readers agree, so stop with the doubty face.) So let’s meet a few of them, shall we?

Rochelle Middleton

Also known as Doctor Death, Rochelle runs a therapy group Milo’s police captain sends him to. Problem is, Rochelle might be crazier than the people she’s treating. Her list of quirks:

  • Obsessed with cats. And I mean she LOVES cats. Collects them.
  • Control freak
  • Fears heights
  • Bumpy surfaces make her uneasy
  • Fears light bulbs
  • Believes if everything is perfect, then nothing will happen that she can’t control. The problem is, the more she tries to perfect her patients, the more out of control they become, and the stronger and more violent her desire to fix them becomes.

Andy Zunser

Andy is my daughter Kennedy’s creation. He has an uncontrollable urge to lick children. Now this isn’t based in sexual attraction. Andy simply has to lick children. The rest of his shit? Does he really need more? Fine.

Andy is also whispers all the time, and he’s extremely insecure. He desperately wants to fit in, but the licking makes that impossible. How many of us just want to fit in, but have something inappropriate or awkward about us that prevents running with the pack?

Ozzie Lemon

Ozzie is my favorite character next to Milo. I wanted him to be offensive, but funny. Someone that challenged Milo where the others only perplexed him. Ozzie is a little bit me, a little bit my father and (don’t tell her) a tiny bit Katrina Monroe. He blurts profanity as naturally as he breathes. He’s also intuitive, smart, blunt, and empathetic. The person people “see” on the outside, a rude, insulting dick-smack, is nothing like the real Oz. Few people would bother to find that out, because they let his “first impression” make up their minds.

  • Afraid of farts, because of a childhood prank gone horribly wrong
  • Dislikes the number 8
  • Compulsive gambler
  • Sorts everything by color and size

Estella Butler

Estella is infatuated with Milo. Her fear of fingers and being touched, is an exaggeration of one of my quirks. I hate feet. My feet, your feet, all the feet. When someone touched me with their foot, I feel irritated. Almost angry. A bare foot touching me? Ugh. Violent thoughts begin. Bare feet touching MY bare feet? I can’t even.

I gave Estella the same issue with fingers, but to a degree so intense, it affects how she functions in daily life. She bit off her own fingertips, for example. The rest of the group has to wear mittens just so she can focus. However, while Estella can’t stand fingers, she also has an overwhelming need to be loved. The aversion to fingers makes that extremely difficult. She lives in a constant state of anxiety. In addition to that, Estella also has a compulsive urge to rub whiskers and she believes dreams are really ghosts speaking to you. She doesn’t like ghosts.

Nina Fleet

Nina was supposed to be a love interest for Milo, but as both characters developed, I realized her promiscuity would spark Milo’s phobia of germs, which meant they wouldn’t work well together. So, she became a character who added color to the setting and other characters. Sometimes you need one of those. (Although she ended up serving a greater purpose later on) She seems extremely confident, but is more frightened little girl than highly sexualized woman (although this is the persona she presents to the world). Nina is a nymphomaniac and a hoarder with a really bad memory. She can also be a massive bitch, when she feels threatened. She symbolizes everything we’re told (as women) not to be, as well as the things we’re told we should be.

Buggy Flint

I guess you could say that Buggy’s phobias and compulsions mimic our struggle with what we know is good for us, versus what we desire despite that knowledge. Buggy’s fear of green is so intense; he wears special glasses that filter color, because he completely loses his shit if he sees it. Like, full on nervous breakdown. He also has an irresistible compulsion to gorge on broccoli, while fearing it because he knows it’s green. We all know how it feels to want something we know is bad for us, right?

Charlie Howard

Charlie was a last minute addition to the cast. I wanted a character that symbolized the annoying stereotype of the alpha male, but exaggerated to show how silly it is. And we got Charlie, who loves to put his dick in holes and lies because he just can’t help himself. He’s basic. Selfish. Thinks with his penis. Has to put it into whatever hole he can find, regardless of the danger it presents to his physical well being. He’s absurd, but charming.

He’s also afraid of toes and doesn’t like the sound a zipper makes.

Shamus O’Connell

We don’t see a lot of Shamus, but what we do see is definitely memorable. Shamus is a sensitive and trusting man. Like an overgrown child really. He tries desperately to overcome his compulsions, but in the end, the poor soul can’t resist the overwhelming urge to bite the heads off birds. At the same time, he loves them. So, while he wants to hold them, pet them, admire them, he also destroys them in the most horrific, unsettling way possible.

Milo Smalls

Finally, Milo. He’s a little bit of everyone I know and love. He’s exceptionally smart and intuitive, and he’s observant, mistrustful, honest to a fault, curious, and stubborn.

At work, his previous captain prepared a list to help future coworkers deal with Milo without any… awkward situations.

  • Writes ONLY with pens, because he doesn’t like the impermanence of pencils
  • Doesn’t trust technology: The Internet is an absolute “nope” and he loathes the cell phone he’s forced to use for work.
  • Loathes change. Routine is his best friend
  • Likes things in groups of three. Sees this is a good omen. Hates groups of two. Believes two means bad things are going to happen, and more than one group of two means that bad thing will be worse. Having one left over isn’t as bad as two, but it’s cause for concern, “because there’s one left over.”
  • Suspicious of gingers. His suspicion increases to uneasiness and even fear depending on the level of ginger. For example: Strawberry blonds are the least harmful ginger, giving him only a mild sense of unease, while bright orange gingers are the most dangerous.
  • Fearful of cats (most furry animals make him at least a little nervous, which stems from how dirty he believes they are)
  • Believes rap music is the cause of society’s slow but steady destruction and is like poison for our brains.
  • Feels uncontrollable rage in the presence of jelly donuts
  • Avoids long-term relationships. Is a little too impulsive when it comes to anonymous sex
  • Photographic memory, yet he still keeps meticulous notes on every case. Writes everything in notebooks (which are the same color, size, type, etc. If one is damaged, he rewrites it. If he can no longer buy the same type, brand, etc., he replaces all of the books)
  • Obsessive need for cleanliness. This is so severe, he won’t or drink from anything that is not disposable and packaged. (In other words: Only used once. By him.)
  • Dislikes nail biters and ankle socks.
  • Tweezers give him the heebs.
  • Despises bow ties.

You might think that these issues would make Milo a total shut-in, or it would at least inhibit his ability to solve crimes. Think again. Milo actually uses each of these quirks to help him solve cases. Those that he can’t, he bravely tries to overcome in the name of justice, proving if you feel passionately enough about something, nothing will hold you back.

Oh, look at me motivating the masses. I’m a good person.

I’ve left out Joy, James, and of course, Captain Cunt. You’ll have to meet them on your own.

 

Choose Your Own Adventure Part 1 (Or When Renee Makes the Dolls Do Stupid Shit)

 

 

by Renee Miller

Good morning, dolls. How is the shit with you? Good? Wonderful. For me, today is pretty exciting? Why? Well, I’m glad you asked. Today marks the first day of what I’m betting will be a hilarious, frustrating and interesting adventure.

Because YOU all are going to help a few of us write a book.

Here’s how we see this thing going. Each week, we’ll let you guys know what we need from you. We’ll take all of your suggestions and use as many as we can. As the story develops, we’ll share excerpts, and keep you in the loop in terms of our progress.

Where do we start?

Well, we’re going to need a first line. We’ll go with the first one to comment here. Please make it awesome.

Now, we’ll also need characters. Only one per comment. Give us as much detail as you can. For example: Felix Giantnuts, Doctor, male, age, pulls the wings of flies in his spare time and is allergic to cotton. We’ll decide who gets to be a main character, but we’ll use as many of your ideas as possible for the entire cast. (Remember, I have a thing for writing shit with WAY too many characters, so it’ll be easy)

Next is genre. We’re going with bizarre in general, because obviously that’s what we’ll end up with, but we’re open to suggestions for subgenres. (For example, horror, sci-fi, erotica, etc.)

We also need setting. Anything goes. Again, we’ll use as much reader input as we can for this. So if one of you suggests a particular time period, while another suggests a city (real or imagined), we’ll use both.

And finally, for the first week we’re taking random suggestions for anything else pertaining to the plot. Yes, ANYTHING. Only this first week though, as we’ll be in plotting mode and all ideas can be incorporated at this point.

Every one of you that participates in this little nightmare is eligible to win freebies and other swag as well throughout the project. EVERYONE who participates will receive a free e-book when this bad boy is done. This means if you comment as “anonymous” with no way for us to find out how to reach you, well you won’t get fuck all. So, keep that in mind shy folks.

 

Let’s begin…

 

 

Bob Ross Presents: The Joy of Whiskey

by Katrina Monroe

 

A couple of weeks ago, the internet went fucking bananas because Netflix, in their infinite wisdom (may we worship them until the television becomes sentient and kills us all), added Bob Ross’s “Beauty is Everywhere” to their list. Relaxing, nostalgic (though none of us can really remember why), and just fucking delightful, people dropped their lives to binge-watch the Man Himself paint happy little trees.

Like any self-respecting booze-hound writer, I got hammered and watched until I passed out.

This is my journey.

 

Hour 1:

Phthalo blue is not a real color, Bob. Phthalo is the name of a hobbit, cousin of Bilbo, who still doesn’t know how to spell his name at the age of 549, or however long those little fuckers live.

I don’t like the way you smile when you say, “Beat the devil out of it,” Bob. Do you know something we don’t? You’ve made deals, haven’t you? That’s why it takes you twenty-three minutes to paint an entire landscape with zero self-loathing and trips to the bathroom to “get a little inspiration.”

Phthalo still isn’t a color, no matter how many times you say it, or how much crimson you add to it. And while we’re at it, that color is purple, not blueandcrimson.

Ohmagawd this is so relaxing and this whiskey is delicious.

“Just make some decisions,” he says. Like he knows me. Pfft. I have until the first of the month, just like everyone else.

Where the shit did all those trees come from?

I don’t think indication means what you think it means, Bob. That isn’t the indication of a big fucking tree; that’s an actual big fucking tree.

I could totally paint this. *sluuuuurp*

 

Hour B:

Okay, okay. LISTEN. Shhhh. I’ve got an idea.

BOB. Bob.

Drinking game. Ready? Cool.

Beating the devil out of a brush: take a shot.

“Little doers” make an appearance: take a shot.

SOME RANDOM FUCKING ANIMAL SHOWS UP OUT OF NOWHERE: Pet your cat because she’s adorable, then take a shot.

“Oooh that’s nice.” Take a shot. Hell, take two, because it reminds you of how little you’re getting laid.

Drunk yet? *sluuuurp* Me, too.

“The canvas will pull out what it wants, and give you back what’s left.” Since when are we getting deep, Bob? What are you hiding from me? Are you seeing another pitiful drunk woman?

I’d murder a mildly innocent person to get you to say fuck, Bob. Say fuck. Just once. You could even whisper it. Listen. Fuuuuuuuuck. Isn’t it lovely?

… No I don’t want to see your little creature, Bob. Especially not your “pocket squirrel.” Just paint, god dammit. Perv.

 

Hour 3.5:

I have a theory. It’s not a good theory. And probably not even a theory. I’m not drunk. Just speaking cursive. His shirt matches the first color he uses on the canvas. There’s probably some deep, meaningful reason for that, but it eludes me at the moment, much like my sobriety.

Yellow ochre. Phathalo blue. Van Dyke Brown. Bright-motha-fuckin’-red. Could you not think of ANYTHING to compare red to, Bob?

*snort* Bushes. I ought to ladyscape soon.

Using odorless paint-thinner is like drinking non-alcoholic beer, Bob. How dare you condone such behavior? THINK OF THE CHILDREN. Or if not the children, think of me.

What is this insanity? You just STOP PAINTING? The painting isn’t finished when you DECIDE. It’s finished when you can’t stand to look at the fucking thing anymore. EVERYONE KNOWS THAT.

 

Hour… uh… something:

I was in the kitchen for five goddamned minutes, Bob. You couldn’t wait five minutes to finish the lake? How do I paint those little doers by the shore? Which obscenely complicated combination of colors did you use to paint that rock? WHERE DID THAT MOUNTAIN COME FROM?

I’m useless. I will never be able to create landscapes as beautiful and efficient as this winter wonderland.

That chip was burnt. Ew. Oooh! Pizza. Praise the baby cheezus.

Why does that evergreen tree have more friends than I do? Am I too person-like? Do I have too few branches with which to shade them?

Life is pointless, Bob. You know that? I think you’re lying about the paint thinner fumes.

But that seascape is fucking beautiful.

No, YOU’RE crying.

I wonder if there are any new episodes of Kimmy Schmidt.

Fuck you, Netflix.