Northern Gorehouse: Vampires and Zombies and Brexit

The ‘Brexit novel’ is a thing, but they tend to be literary works, which aren’t really my thing. I would like to make the case for Northern Gorehouse being not only a fun alternative, but also one of the first to be published

The novel was finished in April or May of 2017, but it didn’t feel right to release it so soon after the Arena bombing, given the violent ending of the story. So it came out for Halloween of that year.

The book was written as an action horror story. The ability to map the stupid politics of the last few years onto it is a bonus. Indeed, the B word is only mentioned once in the story, right at the beginning, to establish the run down state of the nation, and show how the vampires have come in to take advantage of it.

Vampires as a stand in for capitalists and the ruling elite is not a new metaphor, but as I’ve established it’s post Brexit, I’m going to call them the disaster capitalists who caused, and benefit from, all the pain. Being vampires, they, of course, take advantage of the homeless the country has abandoned. And have corrupt servants in the political system, covering up for them, and pushing policies that aid them. Again, not new tropes in vampire fiction, but ones that map perfectly well onto the Brexit theme.

Of course, the political allegory was never the main aim of the story, and it’s harder to map metaphor onto it once the action really starts. The zombies are created by the vampires but (spoiler) it’s an accident. In a true Brexit allegory, they would be a deliberate method for distracting people at street level and keeping them away from turning on the elite.

Similarly, the fact that vampires exist wouldn’t be such a shock in a more pointed Brexit take. Everyone would have at least an inkling they were there, but their bought politicians and the media would be demanding that people look the other way.

Since I wrote the book, I’ve discovered another character who wasn’t included- the Brave Warrior claiming to be from a long line of vampire hunters, who has actually betrayed the people they pretend to be protecting, for reasons that don’t make any sense. There’s no Lexit Van Helsing in Northern Gorehouse.

I think you should read my accidental Brexit novel. If nothing else, you can pretend the vampires are Farage, Gove, Johnson et al. (It won’t be any stretch at all with Rees Mogg.)

Zombies Versus Vampires, part 1 1

Now available as Northern Gorehouse!

The black tower was a stake driven into the heart of the city. Overbearing and ugly, it loomed over the pale sandstone and red brick of the lower rise buildings cowering under it.

Terry knew the story- a version of it, anyway. The development had been proposed by a pair of footballers, looking to invest in property for lucrative retirements. But post-Brexit decline meant all the floors remained unsold, and the sportsmen wanted out of the project. Mysterious partners and backers- Russians, everyone agreed- stepped in to buy out the famous faces and finish the buildings themselves.

No-one got into the tower. No-one that anyone knew, anyway. It was a mystery. A slab of darkness looking down on the city centre. There were shops at ground level, then two storeys of offices, but, above those, the dark windows swallowed sunlight during the day, and never lit up at night. So it was surprising- and thrilling and frightening- that Glenn said he could get in.

Terry wavered between being wary of Glenn, and being in awe of him. The older man- only a few years, but it seemed to count for so much- gave the impression he had decided to be Terry’s protector. It didn’t feel like the other times men had taken an interest in him, Glenn didn’t look at him the way they had. And he wouldn’t let anyone else. There were plenty of predators around Tent Town, prowling for a piece of fresh meat who looked as young as Terry did. But Glenn wouldn’t allow them the chance. So far, he hadn’t asked anything in return. Perhaps he was truly a good person.

They were in an alley behind the towers, where the goods for the ground floor shops were delivered. In front of them was a heavy door, clad in pale grey metal, and with a large shiny handle and security grade brass lock. To the right were the roller shutters protecting the windows of one of the shops. Left of the door was a galvanised fence, to keep them from falling into the bottom of the ramp that ran down to another large roller shutter. This lower shutter blocked the entrance to the tower’s exclusive underground parking.

Glenn put his hand on the door handle and turned to grin at Terry. “Wait’ll you see inside here! It’s mad.” He pressed down on the handle and pushed at the door.

The door didn’t open. Glenn’s confident smile faltered, until they heard a click, and the door opened.

It was dark on the other side of the threshold. Much darker than under the bright security light outside. Terry waited on the threshold, unsure, until Glenn grasped his cuff and pulled him in. The tug was more violent than Terry had come to expect from his protector. He was too shocked to pull back, though, and quickly found himself inside.

The door closed with an ominous thud. Terry flinched at the sound, then again as a light in the ceiling turned on. The glow was only around them, the rest of the space wasn’t illuminated yet. The darkness was thick, and the detail revealed by lamplight fell off quickly. Terry could see the door, the wall either side of it, and a short way along the narrow corridor. There was no handle on this side of the door, just a vertical pull bar from top to bottom of it, and a brushed steel number pad on the wall.

Glenn was his smiling, reassuring self again, the flashes of impatience and anger gone. He beckoned Terry to follow him. As he strode into the dark, another light came on above him, revealing more of the corridor.

The floor was marble, Terry thought, looking down at the blood red veins marking the shiny off-white surface. A stone stuck in the tread of Glenn’s boots clicked against the floor with each step.

The space wasn’t very large, but it was lavish. The marble of the floor extended halfway up the walls, where a narrow gilt band separated it from the dark wood of the upper half and the ceiling. The lights were set in the cornice at the top of the wall on alternate sides, and activated by movement. The sections behind went dark as they left them. When the fourth set of lights turned on, they were at the far end of the hall, standing before the polished brass of an elevator’s door.

Glenn pressed a button on the wall and, with a ping, the door opened. He stepped in, beckoning Terry after him. “Come on. Come on. He’s expecting us.” Terry worried about what that meant, but stepped in anyway.

The floor and lower wall of the elevator was the same sort of marble as the hallway. There was a wide band of pleated and padded red leather at waist height, and flat brass above that. The metal gave the appearance of having been polished to a gleam, then brushed with a stiffer metal to take the shine off and distort the reflections until they were matt shadows.

Terry stroked, then pressed, the leather, and found it surprisingly soft and supple. He looked to Glenn for some explanation of what came next.

There was a polished panel of buttons set in the brass. As the door closed, Glenn pressed the top one.

The box rose up its shaft rapidly. Terry felt the acceleration in the soles of his feet and the pit of his empty stomach. Glenn had promised him food if he came along, but had said nothing about someone waiting for them. Terry knew, now, that he should have questioned Glenn more. The hunger was stronger than the worry, though, so he leant back against the soft leather and waited to reach the top floor.

Suddenly feeling light, Terry knew the lift had halted. How high up were they, he wondered, as the door opened. He couldn’t remember how many floors the tower had, but he knew they were above anywhere else in the city when he looked across the wide space that had been revealed, and took in the view through the dark tinted windows. “Penthouse suite.” Glenn told him.

Terry walked toward the windows, drawn by the view. The floor was the same marble again, but he couldn’t make out many other details. The room was dark, lit only by small lights in the ceiling. Reaching the window, Terry touched fingertips to the glass, finding it warmer than he expected, and looked down at the Town Hall. A long way down.

The lights that illuminated the Gothic façade of the Town Hall were muted, made a strange grey by whatever coated the floor to ceiling window. This must be the tint that kept the building dark, no matter what time of day it was.

“Life in the sky, mate. Innit brilliant. We can have this view as long as you keep him happy. He does like pretty boys like you, he said.”

Terry didn’t turn round to look at Glenn. He just had to look up to see the reflection in the glass. Glenn was about halfway across the floor, under one of the lights, the lower half of his face shadowed, so Terry couldn’t properly see his grin. The top half of his face, however, showed greed. Terry was going to fight his expression back to passivity before he turned. He wouldn’t show Glenn his disappointment. The older man wasn’t his friend, but his pimp.

“Lap of luxury, am I right? You’ll let him do what he wants, and we’ll be set.” Glenn wasn’t asking. He expected Terry’s compliance.

Focussing on his own reflection in the glass, Terry forced the down turned edges of his mouth flat. This was just another betrayal in a lifetime of betrayals. He was angry at himself for having thought Glenn wouldn’t let him down.

“He should be here soon. I mean, he said he’d….” Glenn’s words were cut short, and he made a sucking sound, then a strange, pained whistling.

Still, Terry couldn’t bring himself to turn. He shifted his gaze to Glenn’s reflection, and fought down a cry. Glenn’s head was tilted to the left, an expression of wide eyed surprise on his face. The skin down the right side of his neck was torn open in a jagged U, from which blood flowed profusely.

The more powerful spurts leapt out into the air, then disappeared. They were going into a red rimmed hole, which might have been in the shape of a mouth, ringed with sharp, even serrations that could be teeth. Two of the teeth, at the top of the circle, were longer than the others.

Glenn managed to move, finally. His right hand reached into a pocket, and drew out a knife. The blade flipped open with an instinctive move of his thumb, then came up and back. Most of the determination drained away, however, before the knife reached the top of its arc. It struck something, slid to the side, then dropped from Glenn’s hand. There may have been the hint of a line of blood, raised by the blade, hanging in the air.

The bloody mouth closed, then opened in a grimace to let out a little sound of disgust. Glenn collapsed, a soft bag of flesh and loosely connected bones.

“Do let me see you, little one. Are you as pretty as he promised?” the floating lips of blood said.

There was something about the voice that could not be ignored. Terry turned slowly. What he saw made him take a frightened step back, until he was pressed against the glass.

Standing over Glenn’s body was a woman. She was tall and slim, with long, jet black hair, wearing a tight sheath dress, split on the left to reveal a shapely thigh, and with wide sleeves that hung down from her arms like limp wings. She reached down, and tore a strip from Glenn’s shirt, using it to wipe the blood from around her mouth. Running it across her forehead, she dabbed up the blood from the wound that Glenn had inflicted. The skin under the thin red line had already closed. Done with the rag, she dropped it so that it draped itself over Glenn’s face.

“You are lovely. Yes, you are. He was a horrible little man, and he tasted foul, but at least he was honest about that.” The woman took a step toward Terry. She was beautiful, even in the unforgiving light directly above her. Terry felt himself relaxing, when he was sure he should be running. His limbs weren’t under his control, it seemed.

Just as Terry felt happy to succumb to this stunning woman, her expression changed. She was hungry, looking at him like a delicious meal. Somehow, without lines appearing on the perfect, pale skin of her face, she appeared ancient. Centuries showed themselves for the briefest of moments.

Terry could do nothing as the woman drew right up to him. His head tilted to the left, exposing his neck to her. “You will taste so much better than your friend. And I will not tear at this perfect skin, no. No. And you can take a taste in return. You shall be so much more than just one meal.”

The teeth entered Terry’s neck so gently he didn’t know his skin had been penetrated. An ecstasy he had never before felt flowed out from the wounds and filled his body.

Then it all went black.

Get Northern Gorehouse from Amazon.

Dracula AD 1972/ Lust for a Vampire

I’ve had a mini Hammer fest this week.

Dracula AD 1972 opens in 1872, with the final battle, atop a speeding carriage, between Lawrence Van Helsing and Dracula, which ends with Van Helsing dead and Dracula spiked and dusty. Enter a creepy smirking man who bottles some vampire dust and buries it in an unconsecrated corner of the graveyard where VH rests in Final Peace.

Cut forward a hundred years and creepy, smirking Johnny Alucard is hanging out with a bored group of pseudo hippies who include Van Helsing’s great great granddaughter. You just Know no good is going to come of it when he persuades them to hold a black mass in the recently deconsecrated church where her forebear is buried. Cue bright red, gloopy blood, Christopher Lee and heaving bosoms. With her gang being mutilated or turned miss Helsing has to rely upon the wiles of her grandfather to save the day.

Although it’s always interesting to watch a period piece like DAD 1972 I did feel there were a few things missing from it. Those things were naked breasts, bisexual vampire babes and a nineteenth century finishing school in the mountains of made up Styria. Luckily, Lust for a Vampire had all of these things.

It’s 1830 and vampire dynasty the Karnsteins are due to walk the Earth again. The locals are wise to this, but it doesn’t matter because a dotty old English woman has set up a finishing school just across the field from the castle ruins and enrolled lots of luscious young ladies who like to flounce around in light gowns and brush one anothers hair whilst topless. Enter from one direction Richard Le Strange- noble author of works that are unsuitable for young ladies- and, from the other, Mircalla- an alluring blonde capable of making men and women fall hopelessly in love with her.

Everyone who goes to the lake or castle for an assignation with Mircalla disappears, usually ending up at the bottom of a dried up well. Except Le Strange, who appears to be the only mortal capable of seducing her. But their love is not to be, because the villagers are breaking out the pitchforks and flaming torches and the father of one of Mircalla’s conquests has arrived from Vienna seeking answers. All quite predictable, but that’s not the point, and definitely not a problem when the film managed to reduce me to a thirteen year old, shouting at the screen, “Boobies! Show me the vampire boobies!”

Now to go away and add more Hammer films to my dvd rental list.

Who can buy Castle Dracula?

Bran CAstle, linked tenuously to Vlad Tepes and the Dracula story, was returned to the von Habsburg family after the fall of communism in Romania. Now Dominic von Habsburg wants to sell up, but there’s an argument between local and national authorities over who has the right to make offers on the property.

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A little too late for Hallowe'en

Rabid vampire bats in Brazil have killed 23 people.

Some experts have blamed the attacks on destruction of the rainforest, denying the bats of their natural habitat.

But others have suggested the vampire bat population may have grown rapidly, with the spread of cattle farming in the region providing an ample food supply.

So either way it’s nature getting its own back.

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originally uploaded by spinneyhead.

The new wing of the arndale opened yesterday, so i went and had a look. The acres of glass offer lots of opportunities for photos but the shops, as you’d expect, weren’t so inspiring. I may use next for work shirts and ties but i’m not about to establish my look based upon its goods. I did look at a cafetiere set for a while before deciding i could get it cheaper elsewhere.

There’s also a nike store but i found myself with a vampire like inability to cross the threshold. It might have been the impending presence of rio ferdinand- the other united player who looks like the missing link- or the swoosh could be the mark of the devil. Either way, i’m off to buy some etnies because they’re far more attractive.
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Weekend matinee

DVDs watched over the weekend-

Texas Chainsaw Massacre A movie can get no higher recommendation than the Daily Mail calling for it to be banned. Dark humour and psychological horror are the thing here rather than gore. I’m going to watch the documentary backup to find out whether this was another Ed Gein inspired movie or the “True Events” it’s based upon are something else.

Ginger Snaps. A more contemporary, and supernatural, horror. The connection between menstruation and the werewolf myth is made quite clear here, and the old silver bullet solution is given a coherent explanation. (There’s a sequel Ginger Snaps Unleashed and a prequel Ginger Snaps Back.)

Memento. Very clever and very well done, the twist ending has elements that you saw coming and ones you didn’t but which fit perfectly. There’s a hidden feature allowing you to watch the film in chronological order, but that seems a bit redundant to me.

Queen of the Damned. I haven’t watched Interview with the Vampire yet, but I imagine it’s far better than this. Not quite Catwoman bad, but not very good either.

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Cow Punching

The bovine terrorists have started attacking two year olds. Fearing for my safety, I headed off to get the Wythenshawe and Airport Moos. The shiney new Forum is very impressive, but if it needs to have the lights on on a day as bright as this then there’s something wrong.

I’ve never actually flown out of Manchester Airport, only gone to drop people off and pick them up. And I’ve only ever gone there via the M56, so I got lost trying to cycle from Wythenshawe to Ringway. But it was a nice kind of lost, particularly on a day this sunny. I managed to get six of the seven cows, Alphadite is airside and I really didn’t want to piss off Police with guns. If anyone’s flying out of Manchester before September can they try to get me a picture please.

And then I went to pay homage to Concorde, seeing as I was in the area. I also found the cutest little Vampire. I think I want one.

Willow … (Again)….

Ok, so Willow is in FHM’s 100 sexiest women, or at least the actress is. Is that the sound of Ian running out for a copy? Anyway, find your dream date from the buffy the vampire series Here. Ian’s match is unsurprisingly, WIllow.

The evil webmaster would like to point out: You’ll have to make it known that Willow is mine. All mine, y’hear!