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Matt Manochio’s The Dark Servant: I want a Krampus for Christmas

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The Dark Servant is everything a thriller should be—eerie, original and utterly engrossing!”
Wendy Corsi Staub, New York Times bestselling author

“Beautifully crafted and expertly plotted, Matt Manochio’s The Dark Servant has taken an esoteric fairy tale from before Christ and sets it in the modern world of media-saturated teenagers—creating a clockwork mechanism of terror that blends Freddy Krueger with the Brothers Grimm! Highly recommended!”
Jay Bonansinga, New York Times bestselling author of The Walking Dead: The Fall of the Governor

“A fast-paced thrill-ride into an obscure but frightful Christmas legend. Could there be a dark side to Santa? And if so, what would he do to those kids who were naughty? Matt Manochio provides the nail-biting answer with The Dark Servant.”
John Everson, Bram Stoker Award-winning author of Violet Eyes

“Just in time for the season of Good Will Toward Men, Matt Manochio’s debut delivers a fresh dose of Holiday Horror, breathing literary life into an overlooked figure of legend ready to step out of Santa’s shadow. Prepared to be thrilled in a new, old-fashioned way.”
Hank Schwaeble, Bram Stoker Award-winning author of Damnable, Diabolical and The Angel of the Abyss

 

 

The Dark Servant

Santa’s not the only one coming to town …

It’s older than Christ and has tormented European children for centuries. Now America faces its wrath. Unsuspecting kids vanish as a blizzard crushes New Jersey. All that remains are signs of destruction—and bloody hoof prints stomped in snow. Seventeen-year-old Billy Schweitzer awakes December 5 feeling depressed. Already feuding with his police chief father and golden boy older brother, Billy’s devastated when his dream girl rejects him. When an unrelenting creature infiltrates his town, imperiling his family and friends, Billy must overcome his own demons to understand why his supposedly innocent high school peers have been snatched, and how to rescue them from a famous saint’s ruthless companion—that cannot be stopped.

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Matt Manochio is one of the new kids on the block. Not Joey, Jordon, Jonathan, Danny, or even Donnie…no, he’s the AC/DC lovin’ new guy at Samhain Horror. Not familiar? Well, you should rectify that ASAP. After crafting two unpublished crime novels (one of which he sold to the sinking Dorchester ship, but never saw released), Matt heard the story of Krampus.

Krampus?

Let Wikipedia help us there:

Krampus is a beast-like creature from the folklore of Alpine countries thought to punish children during the Christmas season who had misbehaved, in contrast with Saint Nicholas, who rewards well-behaved ones with gifts. Krampus is said to capture particularly naughty children in his sack and carry them away to his lair.

What does Krampus do with these naughty children after he takes them to his lair? The Dark Servant, Matt’s debut for one of the most trusted names in horror, delivers the ugly details.

Matt does an awesome job of getting the reader’s attention right off the bat. Krampus makes his presence felt early and often.  There’s a storm coming into New Jersey, kids are on their way to school. During the course of the novel, the police chief and his two boys, along with a handful of other students, are introduced and pulled in, one after the other, to Krampus’s deliverance of retribution and penance.  Who will repent? And will it be too late?

While The Dark Servant contains its fair share of blood and horror, it also carries an important and pertinent message. The theme flowing below the suspenseful surface of the novel is Matt’s take on bullying. Bullying is something tons of kids (and some adults) go through on a daily basis. It’s a big problem in our society, especially in the time of cyber-bullies. According to a report from ABC News, 30% of students are either bullies, or victims of bullies. Tens of thousands of kids stay home from school each day to avoid their bullies.  Matt uses a number of examples throughout the story to highlight some of the nastier sides of the human condition evident in our children (things that bring Krampus to town). Matt handles the subject matter with great care, and to great effect.

The dialogue is strong, the characters are well-crafted and believable, which helps make you have to know what’s going on and what each of these kids has done to deserve the punishment they receive. There’s even an awesome snowmobile chase (or getaway…but do they get away?), and the ending is played out wonderfully.

Matt Manochio’s debut novel is well-worth your time and money. And there’s really nothing better to read at Christmas than a good Krampus story.

A fantastic 4 out of 5 stars. Go grab your copy today!

 

For more on Matt Manochio, check out his website:  https://www.mattmanochio.com

 

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Aubrey Plaza Wants to be the Next Tim Burton With ‘Hocus Pocus’ Like Film

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Aubrey Plaza has long been a self-affirmed “sea hag”. Her dark personality and sense of humor has long been a favorite of ours. Now, with her production company, Evil Hag Productions, she intends to make a family-friendly film that is something like Tim Burton meets Hocus Pocus.

While talking to GQ, Plaza said that she would like to “…fill the Tim Burton slot” by putting together her first directorial effort. The family-friendly affair is said to be a mix of Beetlejuice and Hocus Pocus.

Plaza can currently be seen in Evil Hag Production’s Emily the Criminal and on HBO’s White Lotus season 2.

We can’t wait to see what Plaza has to offer in her directorial efforts. It would be great to see her built a brand and aesthetic as awesome as Burton’s.

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M. Night Shyamalan’s ‘Knock at the Cabin’ Finds Danger Right Outside

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M. Night Shyamalan’s next film is already on its way. The ominous Knock at the Cabin is incredibly intriguing, especially since the first trailer gave away so little. The first poster for Knock at the Cabin is just as ominous as the teaser.

Shyamalan’s last film Old, played up the Twilight Zone like mystery and took it to Sci-Fi levels. Knock at the Cabin looks to trump that and move far into the horror/thriller genre.

The synopsis for Knock at the Cabin goes like this:

“While vacationing at a remote cabin, a young girl and her parents are taken hostage by four armed strangers who demand that the family make an unthinkable choice to avert the apocalypse. With limited access to the outside world, the family must decide what they believe before all is lost.”

Knock at the Cabin arrives in theaters beginning February 3.

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‘Cocaine Bear’ Gives Us One of the Wildest Posters of the Year

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Elizabeth Banks has decided to grace our eyeballs with one of the wildest titles, posters and film synopsis’ of the past decade. I’m of course talking about Cocaine Bear. This true story is one of those that you have to see to believe. But, the title is exactly what you think it is.

Kentucky 1985 was the time and place. A really unlucky bear ingested a lot of cocaine that was dropped in the woods by a smuggler. Unfortunately, the bear died from an overdose but not before going on a real rager beforehand.

Deadline’s synopsis for Cocaine Bear is as follows:

“The movie finds an oddball group of cops, criminals, tourists and teens converging in a Georgia forest where a 500- pound apex predator has ingested a staggering amount of cocaine and gone on a coke-fueled rampage for more blow … and blood.”

The film stars Keri Russell, Ray Liotta, Alden Ehrenreich, O’Shea Jackson and Jesse Tyler Ferguson.

Cocaine Bear comes raging into theaters February 24.

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