March is my second favorite month behind October. I was born in March. Spring gets sprung in March. My favorite book of all time, Boy’s Life by Robert McCammon, begins in March: “It was mid-March, and a chill wind blew through the trees beyond my window.” McCammon soothes thy soul.
What do I like in March 2018?
The Bram Stoker Awards for one. They were presented March 2. Some people like the Academy Awards (way to go, Guillermo). I was more stoked about the Stokers.
Here are 5 things that I like in March. Spoiler alert: I list all the Bram Stoker Award winners at the end.
- THE RITUAL (Netflix). A group of guys reunites to honor a deceased member of their clique by hiking into the Scandinavian wilderness in this 2017 British horror movie. Of course, the hikers get lost and realize something wicked their way comes. Yes, I know it’s been done a million times, and while The Ritual doesn’t break any new ground in the genre, director David Bruckner expertly creates an atmosphere of constant dread throughout the film. I loved it. According to movie review aggregator site Rotten Tomatoes, 71 percent of critics agree. The audience score was 58 percent positive. For a slow-burn horror film, that ain’t bad. If you’re looking for a creepy lost-in-the-woods movie to watch, The Ritual fits the bill quite nicely. Check out the trailer on YouTube here.
- ASH VS. EVIL DEAD (Netflix). This insanely demonic horror-comedy from STARZ catches up with Ash (played with roguish charm by the incomparable Bruce Campbell) about thirty years after the one-handed, chainsaw-wielding hero survived events from the gory Evil Dead films. Original writer and director Sam Raimi helms the opener and effectively sets the stage (and tone) for the series. The comedy meter is high as Ash unleashes the demons after a night of smoking too much pot while trying to impress a prostitute. The horror scenes, though, are gory and intense, especially the first one when two police officers investigate an abandoned house. But all you really need to know is Bruce Campbell’s back, baby. Check out the trailer on YouTube here.
- LET THE GOOD TIMES ROLL by JD MCPHERSON. Released in February 2015, McPherson’s album continues to rock my heart and roll my soul in March 2018. Good golly Miss Molly, what a fun, freakin’ ride this album is. McPherson’s music combines the caged-tiger energy of Little Richard with the rockabilly spirit of early Sun Records Elvis and creates a retro sound all his own. The title track is one of the greatest rock-and-roll songs I’ve ever heard. From there McPherson rarely lets his foot off the gas. Highlights include the groovy heartbreaker “It’s All Over but the Shouting” with cool horns punctuating cool lyrics like: “It’s all over but the shouting/It’s all done but the deed/It’s all healed but the hurting/It’s all gone but the need.” When McPherson finally slows down, he sounds like he’s dusting off an old Sam Cooke track with the atmospheric “Bridgebuilder” and passionately describes what happens when love hits you on the gorgeous and aptly named “Precious.” But McPherson keeps applying the pedal to the metal with “It Shook Me Up,” a rousing sing-along about bad luck, and the bluesy howler “You Must Have Met Little Caroline.” The album climaxes with the breathless barn-burner “Everybody’s Talking ‘Bout the All-American.” McPherson released another album in October 2017 titled Undivided Heart and Soul, and it’s rock solid. But Let the Good Times Roll was a near-impossible act to follow. For him or anybody. Check out the title track’s video on YouTube here.
- “LOVERS IN LOVE” by LINDI ORTEGA. The second song released from Ortega’s upcoming album Liberty, “Lovers in Love” is one of the sweetest tunes you’re likely to hear in 2018. It’s a harmonica-laced salute to the kind of love that stands the test of time. A Canadian alt-country singer-songwriter, Ortega is the rare artist who delivers each verse with a sincere vulnerability reminiscent of Dolly Parton’s angelic vocals. My favorite verse: “Some leave, some stay when the going gets tough/That’s the difference between lovers and lovers in love.” And that’s Ortega telling us the simple, beautiful truth about love. The release date for Liberty is March 30. Listen to “Lovers in Love” on YouTube here.
- The Bram Stoker Awards. The Horror Writers Association announced this year’s Bram Stoker Awards winners March 2 during a ceremony at the historic Biltmore Hotel in downtown Providence, Rhode Island.
“We are excited to announce this year’s winners from another impressive list of finalists,” said HWA President Lisa Morton in a press release March 3. “The winners represent a broad spectrum of highly talented writers devoted to horror and dark fantasy. Our members and awards juries have demonstrated considerable dedication and objectivity to the selection process for outstanding works of literature, cinema, non-fiction, and poetry.”
The winners are:
- Superior Achievement in a Novel: Ararat by Christopher Golden (St. Martin’s Press)
- Superior Achievement in a First Novel: Cold Cuts by Robert Payne Cabeen (Omnium Gatherum Media)
- Superior Achievement in a Young Adult Novel: The Last Harvest by Kim Liggett (Tor Teen)
- Superior Achievement in a Graphic Novel: Kindred: A Graphic Novel Adaptation by Damian Duffy and Octavia E. Butler (Abrams ComicArts)
- Superior Achievement in Long Fiction: Mapping the Interior by Stephen Graham Jones (Tor.com)
- Superior Achievement in Short Fiction: “Apocalypse Then” (Never Fear: The Apocalypse) by Lisa Mannetti (13Thirty Books)
- Superior Achievement in a Fiction Collection: Strange Weather by Joe Hill (William Morrow)
- Superior Achievement in a Screenplay: Get Out by Jordan Peele (Universal Pictures, Blumhouse Productions, QC Entertainment)
- Superior Achievement in an Anthology: Behold!: Oddities, Curiosities & Undefinable Wonders by Doug Murano (Crystal Lake Publishing)
- Superior Achievement in Non-Fiction: Paperbacks from Hell: The Twisted History of ‘70s and ‘80s Horror Fiction by Grady Hendrix (Quirk Books)
- Superior Achievement in a Poetry Collection: A Collection of Nightmares by Christina Sng (Raw Dog Screaming Press)
There you have it. Eleven more books and stories to add to your to-be-read pile. Congratulations to all the winners and nominees. The entire list is here.
Until next Wednesday, happy reading.
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