Micheline Helsing is a tetrachromat—a girl who sees the auras of the undead in a prismatic spectrum. As one of the last descendants of the Van Helsing lineage, she has trained since childhood to destroy monsters both corporeal and spiritual: the corporeal undead go down by the bullet, the spiritual undead by the lens. With an analog SLR camera as her best weapon, Micheline exorcises ghosts by capturing their spiritual energy on film. She’s aided by her crew: Oliver, a techno-whiz and the boy who developed her camera’s technology; Jude, who can predict death; and Ryder, the boy Micheline has known and loved forever.
When a routine ghost hunt goes awry, Micheline and the boys are infected with a curse known as a soulchain. As the ghostly chains spread through their bodies, Micheline learns that if she doesn’t exorcise her entity in seven days or less, she and her friends will die. Now pursued as a renegade agent by her monster-hunting father, Leonard Helsing, she must track and destroy an entity more powerful than anything she’s faced before . . . or die trying.
Lock, stock, and lens, she’s in for one hell of a week.
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Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens . . . are things I don’t much care for (okay, okay, maybe the whiskers on kittens. I’m not heartless!) Most of my favorite things skew along the creepy spectrum, and my favorite books, movies, and video games are no exception. For today’s Top Ten Tuesday installment on Pandora’s Books, I’m counting down my favorite horror (or horror-esque) projects of all time. It was difficult to cull only ten creative works from the myriad of things I have experienced and loved, but the following projects are things that have really affected me over the years.
Here now, I present to you my top ten favorite horror projects of all time (or of thus far):
My favorite YA horror novel is Rick Yancey’s peerless The Monstrumologist, in which twelve-year-old Will Henry and his mentor, Dr. Pellinore, must face a pod of ravenous anthropophagi. Gracefully written and truly terrifying, it took home a Printz Honor Award in 2011.
There are few manga/anime series more violent than Kohta Hirano’s Hellsing, in which a revived Dracula (Alucard) teams up with a descendant of Abraham Van Helsing to battle modern-day Nazi vampires. Bloody good fun.
I waited a long time to see Joss Whedon’s Cabin in the Woods, mostly because I took one look at the movie poster and wrote the film off. But one night in October 2013 my curiosity got the better of me, and within the first five minutes, Cabin in the Woods rocketed to the top of my favorite horror films list. Somehow the film manages to the humorous, frightening, and oh-so-meta . . . often all at the same time. Favorite scene? The elevator bank.
I’ll admit The Walking Dead has petered out for me in season five, but the first and third seasons were action-packed and gutsy (literally and figuratively). The Governor is one of my favorite antagonists in television, and I feel he met his end a little too soon.
Stephen King’s The Mist (a novella included in Skeleton Crew) was the first horror novel I ever read. Upon finishing, I stopped, considered the novella for a few moments, and then turned back to page one. As an adolescent, I found solace in the scary, so it’s probably no surprise that I now write thriller/horror for young people.
The X-Files was my absolute favorite television show as a kid—I refused to miss an episode, no matter how late it kept me up on a school night (or how badly it frightened me). To this day, I have Mulder’s I Want to Believe poster hanging in my home, and Eugene Tooms still scares me witless.
I talk about Ridley Scott’s Alien quite often, and even wrote an entire blog post on what I learned about writing horror from the film.
My favorite video game franchise of all time is Capcom’s Resident Evil series, with Resident Evil 4 being the most frightening and engrossing installment, in my opinion. There’s nothing quite like being pursued by an army of angry villagers armed with pitchforks, all of whom are infected with a parasite that resembles H.R. Giger’s facehugger from Alien. Add black-clad priests chanting “Morir es vivir” to that picturesque scene, along with bag-faced men wielding chainsaws and a lake-dwelling creature known only as El Lago, and you have one helluva of a ride.
Finally, my list of favorite horror projects couldn’t be complete without mentioning Bram Stoker’s Dracula, which remains one of the most unsettling novels I have ever read. Aside from Sherlock Holmes, no other character from classic literature has been re-imagined or portrayed in other creative works as often as Dracula has—and with his mesmerizing presence on the page, is it any wonder?
And now, thanks to the amazing people at Macmillan, we have a giveaway! One lucky winner will receive a hardcover copy of Shutter! US/CAN only! To enter, fill out the Rafflecopter below!
About the Author:
Courtney Alameda’s spent her entire career trying to con and cajole people into reading great books. A veteran of the big-box bookstore trenches, Courtney now works as a librarian for the prettiest library you’ve ever seen, where she spends her time ordering large stacks of YA books, doing readers’ advisory, and dressing up as various mythical creatures for a variety of library events.
Courtney has an affinity for brightly colored lipstick, urban exploration, cosplay, video games, and Twitter. If she’s listening to music, it’s usually Florence + the Machine, Marina and the Diamonds, Rodrigo y Gabriela, or Jason Graves. Her addiction to Dr. Pepper is legendary.
Courtney holds a B.A. in English Literature with an emphasis in Creative Writing from Brigham Young University. She is represented by the amazing and talented John M. Cusick of Greenhouse Literary. A Northern California native, she now resides in Utah with a legion of books and a tiny, five pound cat who possesses a giant personality.
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