Actor and horror movie aficionado Derek Milman’s debut novel Scream All Night is a love letter to classic B-horror movies, but it’s also a coming of age story about Dario Heyward, the son of an infamous director who knows that monsters are sometimes found behind the camera.
After legally emancipating himself from his legendary father, Lucien, Dario is forced to return to Moldavia Studios — the real-life castle and filming location for all of Lucien’s movies — at the behest of his older brother, and is sucked back into the life he worked so hard to escape.
On its surface, the story is a fun look at the eccentric cast and crew of a movie studio, and an exploration of the B-horror movie genre, but it’s really a deep dive into grief, trauma and mental illness.
To learn more about his first novel, we sat down with Derek (virtually of course), to talk about all things SAN.
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The Resurrectionist: The Lost Works of Dr. Spencer Black collects the various journals, letters and scientific writings of Dr. Spencer Black, who went missing under mysterious circumstances in an attempt to prove his theories about “The Perfect Human.” Allegedly.
Set in Philadelphia in the late 1870’s, the novel/illustrated guide is set-up to be the lost work of a mad scientist who believes that mutations in humanity are our body’s attempt to regrow pieces it once had. Wings, horns, a more fully functioning brain, etc.
There’s just one thing that sets this book apart, it’s written as if it were piecing together the real studies of Black by author E.B. Hudspeth despite him being a fictional person. Think The Princess Bride but with more animals being sewn together and less Rodents of Unusual Size.
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Teeth by Aracelis Girmay
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
I’m kind of lying a little bit with that rating up there. Not that I don’t give everything Aracelis Girmay 5 out of 5 stars for everything she’s ever written, because I totally do. But I’m not technically reviewing Teeth as I have never read it, not completely anyway. But I’m certainly planning to.
Aracelis Girmay came to visit Rutgers recently, and I was forced to go to her poetry reading. I had never heard of her before. And despite a love of Shel Silverstein/having quite a prolific career as a poet myself in 3rd or 4th grade or so (I could churn out limericks like it was my job), I always think that I don’t really like poetry. As an English major I had to take a class called “Principles of Literature: Poetry” my sophomore year, and I hated it, so maybe that’s why I think I don’t like poetry. I don’t know. But for my creative writing class this semester we had to attend one “literary event,” and this one was my last chance, so I dragged myself there.
(Everyone please take a moment to overcome the shock that I’m writing about a school assignment.)
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Museum of Terror, Uzumaki, and Gyo by Junji Ito
Genre: Fiction, manga, gothic, horror, apocalyptic, not going to be able to sleep for weeks
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Summary: Suburban Japanese town has strange event that eventually pits its attractive main female character in the middle of a horrifying and unhappy conclusion. This could include being so beautiful that men can’t help but chop her up into little pieces, an overabundance of a spiral shape that has disastrous consequences, and being stricken with a horrible disease that involves sea creatures overtaking land.
Contrary to popular belief (specifically what 4chan teaches you) manga is not just about tentacle rape, effeminate boys kissing each other, endless quests- not necessarily for jewel shards, and girls with penises.
One author who does not perpetuate this stereotype is Junji Ito, who writes some of the most entertaining gothic stories I have ever read (Japanese or otherwise). If Poe and HP Lovecraft had a baby, and that baby was inundated with Japanese culture and kept in a small box for a large majority of its childhood, that baby would be Junji Ito. As evidenced from my summary, all three of the manga series I will be discussing have the same basic format, but the plots are so different and strange that the basic structure is anything but tiring and repetitive. Suffice it to say, they’re all fucked up in their own unique way.
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The Dharma Bums by Jack Kerouac
Genre: Jack Kerouac
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Summary: Ray meets Japhy. I don’t really know what else to put here. Amazon says: “the novel relates the adventures of an ebullient group of Beatnik seekers in a freewheeling exploration of Buddhism and the search for Truth.” That sounds good.
What bums me out *ba dum ching* is that I am yet again resorting to something I was assigned to read. Bibliomantics is problematic because I totally want to read all of these books my co-bloggers have reviewed, but because we all need to talk about new books each week we will NEVER HAVE TIME TO READ THEM.
(Seriously, I’ve been working on Leviathan for two weeks.)
Anyway, today I’m talking Kerouac, which, yes, I had to read for school. And I do hate trying to review literary classics. However, like Babbitt, I actually really liked this book. Which is not to say I’m a *Kerouac fan*. I think this hipster kid from my class said it best: “Yeah, Kerouac’s really hit or miss, you know?”
Oh yes, hipster kid, I do know. I’ll probably get crap for this, but I kind of hated On the Road and technically did not finish it (thank you, Spark Notes). Which is why I’m going to talk about Dharma Bums instead.
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In honor of the release of City of Fallen Angels, the fourth book in the Mortal Instruments series, as well as the fact that I can’t talk about it yet because SOME PEOPLE still need to finish it, I figured I’d take the opportunity to explain why you need to be reading this series.
To summarize briefly, The Mortal Instruments is an urban fantasy series about a 15-year-old girl named Clary who discovers she’s connected to a hidden world inhabited by people called Shadowhunters. The Shadowhunters use angelic weaponry and magical tattoos to fight demons, of which there are a surprising lot in New York City. Not to mention faeries, werewolves, vampires, and probably a lot of other things (except mummies. Obviously.). Clary learns the truth about her family and navigates relationships as she and her new friends uncover a sinister plot that could destroy everything.
And from there, shit just gets crazier.
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“There is a theory which states that if ever anybody discovers exactly what the Universe is for and why it is here, it will instantly disappear and be replaced by something even more bizarre and inexplicable. There is another theory which states that this has already happened.” The Restaurant at the End of the Universe
Douglas Adams was a staunch atheist and a lover of animals. Two things of which I highly approve. He got his big break writing a sketch for “Monty Python’s Flying Circus”, and made his first small screen appearance in one of their skits (coincidentally in episode 42). However, his most famous contribution to society comes in the form of a science fiction series originally envisioned and broadcast on BBC Radio.
For those of you who don’t know the work of Douglas Adams (and if you don’t, your shame should be enough to make you immediately buy The Ultimate Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy) he is most notably known for the aforementioned novels, and today would have been his 59th birthday.
I am not a fan of things set in space, with the exception of Mel Brooks’ Spaceballs, Nickelodeon’s late 90’s television series “Space Cases”, and most importantly, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy series by Douglas Adams.
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