The Official Pre-Christmas Writer’s Promotion Part 4


Looking for a good book this holiday season? Check out The Last Porno Theater by Nick Cato.

New York City, 1989. The Metro is the last theater to feature adult films projected on actual film, something manager Herschell Schwartzbaum takes much pride in. But the city is attempting to buy the theater to continue sanitizing Times Square. Despite barely making ends meet and having to deal with a small staff not as devoted as himself, Herschell refuses to budge. When one of his employees goes missing, Herschell is forced to hire a newbie. And just as he’s learning the ropes from Herschell and ace projectionist Cleon, The Metro begins to display some truly odd interior damage they won’t be able to hide from city officials forever.

Now Herschell and his staff must prepare for a battle against corrupt bureaucrats and their arsenal of unusual devices … and they’re about to get some help from The Metro itself … Find out more in The Last Porno Theater.

Pictures of the Necon Movie Panel

Pictures of the Necon Movie Panel

by Stacey Longo

Filmgoers Jason Harris, Nick Cato, and Matt Schwartz during the Necon movie panel.

NEHW members Michael Arruda, L.L. Soares, Nick Cato, and Jason Harris preparing for the movie panel started.

Cinema Knife Fight writers Mike Arruda and L.L. Soares.

Cinema Knife Fight writers Michael Arruda and L.L. Soares.

DVD Snapshot writer Jason Harris and CKF writer Nick Cato.

DVD Snapshot writer Jason Harris and CKF writer Nick Cato.

Writers Craig Shaw Gardner, Jason Harris, Nick Cato, and Matt Schwartz.


Pictures of Necon’s Authors’ Night

Pictures of Necon’s Authors’ Night

by Jason Harris

NEHW Co-chair Stacey Longo and member L.L. Soares.

The NEHW table during Necon’s Authors’ Night.

Author L.L. Soares.

Authors and NEHW members Nick Cato and K. Allen Wood at Authors’ Night.

The view in front of the NEHW table at Authors’ Night.

Authors K. Allen Wood and Stacey Longo at the NEHW table at Necon 32.

NEHW Director of Events Scott Goudsward.

Author and NEHW member Peter N. Dudar signing a copy of his book, A Requiem for Dead Flies.

Mark Angevine and F. Paul Wilson conversing during Necon’s Authors’ Night.

David Bernstein talking with author Jeff Strand during Authors’ Night.

Author and NEHW member Laura Cooney.

Author and NEHW member John McIlveen.

Artist and Illustrator Cortney Skinner listens to fellow Necon camper Mattie Brahen.

Author Lisa Mannetti tries to squeeze in-between authors Elizabeth Massie and Heather Graham.


‘The Apocalypse’ Happened June 1

Author Nick Cato’s novella, The Apocalypse of Peter, was released June 1 by Damnation Books. It was edited by Tim  Marquitz and the cover art was done by Dawné  Dominique.

The book’s synopsis: “It’s the end of the world as you newer knew it. Seminary student Peter Barnes and his senior friend, Harvey Connor didn’t expect the last days to include neon meteor showers, unexplainable mutated creatures, or that they’d be housing an all-girl rock band.  Thinking they must be the last people on Earth, Peter’s understanding of all he had been taught becomes rapidly overthrown…especially when a young, ghost-like figure calls him and an offbeat army on a mission to go up against a most unusual foe.  Peter’s faith is thrown through the ringer as he gets closer to discovering just what it is that has turned the planet into a festering eye-sore of theological chaos.

Cato’s novella is available on e-book for $4.50 and in paperback for $12.89 on Amazon.

Chiller Theatre: Then and Now

Chiller Theatre: Then and Now

By Nick Cato

Although I’ve been going to horror film conventions since 1985, it wasn’t until 1991 when I attended my first Chiller Theatre expo, which at the time was called Son of Horrorthon.  I’m guessing Horrorthon had been the name of an earlier version?  Either way, back then the convention was held in Cherry Hill, NJ, at a small but accommodating campus.  Then they began to grow, and eventually moved to a couple of hotels in Secaucus, right across the highway from Giants Stadium, where they held court until about five years ago, when they wound up in the Hilton Parsippany in Parsippany, NJ, where I’ve just returned from their “2012 Spring Spooktacular.”  Chiller runs two conventions a year, in April and again the weekend closest to Halloween.  While the conventions run one evening and two days, I usually attend on Saturday, meet the couple of guests I’d like to meet, cruise the huge dealer’s room, and then leave.

And here’s why Chiller Theatre—at one time my favorite convention—has come to me doing an in-and-out appearance:

At the aforementioned Son of Horrorthon, while crowded, it was still under control.  I was able to meet a couple of my horror heroes (a particular fan-geek moment goes to my discussion with director Herschell Gordon Lewis and his lovely wife) and get some photos and items autographed FREE of charge.  In the early days of Chiller, guests gladly signed anything for free and happily took pictures.  The talk of the day at the 1991 convention was guest star Butch Patrick, the actor who had played Eddie Munster on the 60s sitcom, The Munsters.  People were openly complaining that he was charging $30.00 for an autograph.  I remember countless people bad-mouthing him for his audacity … and yet 21 years later, this practice has become the norm at both Chiller and Fangoria conventions.

A few years later (mid 90s) you saw guests starting to charge $5.00, then $10.00 for an autographed picture, or to sign your own item.  Most of them usually still had no problem taking pictures with their fans for free.  I didn’t have a problem shelling out the five or ten bucks to meet some of my favorite actors, directors, and FX people, but by the late 1990s, EVERYONE seemed to be charging $20.00 for an autograph … and today the norm is between $20.00 and $30.00.

Suffice it to say, what was once a great, fun time has become a way over-priced event that STILL somehow manages to draw some of the largest crowds this side of Comic Con.

But what’s more questionable than the prices are the majority of the guests: Chiller Theatre is named after an old TV show, where classic horror and sci-fi movies were played late on Saturday nights.  Chiller has since become an anything goes convention: over the past ten years there’s been more former wrestlers and non-genre TV stars than there’s been horror and sci-fi people.  There was even an F-Troop reunion a few years ago!

I’ve been saying for years that Chiller seriously needs to change their name.  While the dealer’s room is still mainly horror oriented (and as far as I’m concerned, the main reason to attend this convention), Chiller’s guest list reads like a who’s who of has-been’s and have never been’s.  “Actors” and “directors” sit at booths selling their cheap, shot-on-video productions, attempting to lure people in with scantily-clad women dressed like Vampirella ; Former wrestlers justify Mickey Rourke’s depressing convention sequence in his film The Wrestler; Former TV stars attempt to show interest in their fans (thankfully most seem interested, but there are many gems, including a certain cast member from Star Trek—charging $30.00 an autograph—who once sat there reading a book as he signed some poor schmuck’s photo); and possibly the saddest of all, self-published writers who have NO CLUE how the business is run, hocking their horribly-edited novels and wondering why no one is stopping by their table.  In fact, aside from Doug Winter and Jack Ketchum (who stopped attending Chiller a few years back), Chiller is simply NOT for horror writers.  It’s a film expo full of people looking to find horror film T-shirts, rare DVDs and theater posters.

I’m often asked, “Why do you still attend?”  There are two reasons: the dealer’s room and the one or two guests they usually have on hand who I find interesting.  As mentioned, Chiller’s dealer room is one of the largest and best of any film convention I know of.  There’s an endless array of horror-related merchandise that anyone can spend an entire weekend browsing through.

Nick Cato with actress Luciana Paluzzi from the 007 classic Thunderball and the the scifi classic The Green Slime.

At the latest Spring Spooktacular, I found a couple or films I had been hunting down for some time now, and there were two guests I was interested in meeting.  One was Luciana Paluzzi, the beautiful actress who starred in the 007 classic Thunderball as well as the sci-fi classic The Green Slime.  She was every bit as classy as her on-screen personas suggested. And when she found out I was a fellow Italian, she graciously signed a picture of herself for me in Italian.  It’s personal little things like this that separate the thankful guests from the couldn’t-be-bothered types.  Also on hand was actor Laurence Harvey, star of the controversial The Human Centipede 2.  Not only was he a soft-spoken English gent, he had no problem signing anything you wanted, and even hammed it up by donning the bloody lab coat he had worn in the film.  You’d never believe a man this nice could star in such a depraved film!  It’s rare meetings like this that still make Chiller worth fighting your way through the over-priced crowds.

Nick Cato with actor Laurence Harvey from The Human Centipede 2.

At this particular Chiller, the largest line was to meet actor Norman Reedus, who was there as part of a Boondock Saints reunion, and of course to represent The Walking Dead.  I can’t remember the last time I saw girls walking around with autographs so taken aback by someone … you’d think the Beatles were doing a reunion show.

Being a fan of the low-budget stuff, you get to meet the smaller stars a lot quicker as they rarely have long waits to see them.  Of course there are exceptions: the first time Ken Foree from the original Dawn of the Dead appeared, I think I waited close to 40 minutes to meet him. But the wait was well worth it and I’ve since had the pleasure of meeting him several more times and have even exchanged several emails.

The glory days of Chiller Theater are long gone.  It has become an over-crowded, over-priced convention that is more of a nostalgia-fest than a horror con.  But as long as they keep their amazing dealer room, and the one or two genre guests who grab my interest, I’ll probably continue to attend, even if it’s only to pop-in for a few hours during one of the three days. That is, until every guest jumps on the current trend of “photo ops,” where you have to pre-pay $50.00 to meet with a particular guest in a private room to have your picture taken with them by a pro photographer.  Thankfully only a few of the bigger guests have been doing this, but if it becomes widespread there’s a good chance it will mean the end of Chiller.

Then again, everyone said the same thing in 1991 when Eddie Munster started asking money for his signature …

The Most Popular Stories of 2011

I want to thank the publicity committee members Stacey Longo, David Price, Doug Rinaldi, and Kristi Petersen Schoonover for their contributions to the NEHW website this year. I also want to thank Nick Cato, Bracken MacLeod, Kurt Newton, Kasey Shoemaker, Rob Watts, and Kate Laity for their contributions.

I want to thank all the readers who have come to the NEHW site. Thank you for reading. Hope to see you all in 2012.

Here are some of the most popular articles during 2011.

What Happens When a Horror Writer Goes to a Horror Convention

A Writer Discovers the Famous Dundee Cemetery

Author’s Nightmare in Worcester

Horror Icons and Fans at Rock and Shock

How Location Writing Worked for One Author

An Author’s Account of the Middletown Open Air Market

Kurt Newton’s Encounter with the Blurry People at the Hebron Harvest Fair

Have you Heard of Santas Traveling Companion, the Krampus?

The NEHW Creeps into Sci-fi Saturday Night

Discovering Shock Totem

Author Dan Keohane’s Experience at the Hebron Harvest Fair

Dane Cook Talks about His New Movie and His Inspirations

Get in on the Ground Floor at the First Annual Anthocon

The Southcoast Toy and Comic Show Write-up

What to Do after Writing your First Novel

Breaking Out of the Vacuum

Epitaphs is Back up on Amazon

Shock Totem’s First Holiday Issue

Shock Totem has a special holiday issue, which is now available for the Kindle. This issue features an eclectic mix of holiday-inspired dark fiction from K. Allen Wood, Mercedes M. Yardley, Kevin J. Anderson, and Robert J Duperre to name a few. There are also anecdotal holiday recollections from Jack Ketchum, Stacey Longo, Mark Allan Gunnells, Nick Cato, Leslianne Wilder, and a host of others.

Wood, Longo and Cato are members of the New England Horror Writers’ organization.

The Cover of Shock Totem's Holiday issue

Here’s is the table of contents:

Heartless by Mercedes M. Yardley

Vincent Pendergast’s Holiday Recollection

Jennifer Pelland’s Holiday Recollection

Streamer of Silver, Ribbon of Red by K. Allen Wood

Mark Allan Gunnells’ Holiday Recollection

Nick Cato’s Holiday Recollection

Santa Claus Is Coming to Get You by Kevin J. Anderson

Stacey Longo’s Holiday Recollection

Tinsel by John Boden

Leslianne Wilder’s Holiday Recollection

One Good Turn by Robert J. Duperre

Jack Ketchum’s Holiday Recollection

Sheldon Higdon’s Crappy Holiday Recollection

Christmas Wish by Sarah Gomes

Simon McCaffery’s Holiday Recollection

‘Twas the Night by Nick Contor

Daniel I. Russell’s Holiday Recollection

Lee Thompson’s Holiday Recollection

A Krampus Christmas by Ryan Bridger

Howling Through the Keyhole (Story Notes)

This is the first time Wood, publisher and editor of Shock Totem, formatted an e-book. He is currently working on other formats so it can be uploaded to B&N and Drive-Thru Fiction.

How Location Writing Worked for One Author

Location, Location, Location!
By Nick Cato

Although I would later read about it in several books on writing, I discovered “location writing” on my own due to several circumstances at the time.

And the time was 1998.

After years of dabbling with short stories, I had finally plotted my first novel. I banged out the first few chapters in front of my computer, and while I still had the drive to finish the book, something wasn’t right. At first I thought maybe this wasn’t meant to be a novel. Maybe another fifteen chapters and I could shop this thing as a novella. No—that wasn’t it. Then finally, after wasting too much time snacking and staring out the window in contemplation, it simply “hit” me.

I needed to go somewhere to write this thing.

Of course, considering this was a zombie novel, the first place I went was a local cemetery. I had a day off from work so I parked on one of the narrow dirt roads between the tombstones with a mead notebook and Papermate pen. I took in my surroundings (and hoped the maintenance staff wouldn’t bother me) and spent the next six hours writing until my hand told me it was time to rest. Then I grabbed a burger and went back for another hour to re-read everything I had written and made some minor changes.

I managed to get close to eight thousand words done that day, and became a bit too giddy, thinking I had discovered the secret to getting work done. On my next visit to the cemetery a week later, I had spent almost as much time as before, only at the end of the day I had written maybe four thousand words; a good output, but not what I had hoped for.

Not discouraged, I decided to write my next section at the area where my next scene was to take place. So I made sure I had a full bottle of Poland Springs and I pulled into an isolated parking spot at my local shopping mall. And wouldn’t you know it? The words flew out of me like I was on fire. Nine thousand words, much of which I kept in the final draft.

During the writing of my novel, I wrote at about a dozen locations, each one giving me a different feel and a new inspiration. Within eight months I had an eighty-four thousand word novel in my hands, and to this day I continue to write on location as often as possible.
While I wouldn’t sell this novel until 2008 (and after close-to twenty thousand words were chopped off of it), location writing has helped me to complete two other novels and over fifty short stories and two novellas, not to mention countless non-fiction pieces.

Location writing also helped me to develop my first-draft system: to this day I still write 85% of my first drafts the old fashioned way (with pen and paper), my second draft coming into play as I transfer the handwriting to computer. While weather and time off from the day job often dictate the amount of location writing one can do, I’ve found it to be a priceless tool in the war to get words out.

If possible, give the Location Writing Method a shot. Find a location similar to the one you’re currently writing about. Don’t worry what others may think as they see you sitting there, jotting or typing away on the laptop; the busier you get the more the world around you fades out. But don’t let it fade out until you’ve FULLY taken in your new writing surroundings. Take your time looking at every nook and cranny, keep the windows open (if you’re in a car as I often am) and make notes of the smells and sounds. Make notes of as many details as you can. There have been times I’ve filled up both sides of a sheet of paper with minor things I eventually added to the background in certain scenes.

If this works for you—and you fail to reproduce the same amount and/or quality of writing upon your second visit to the same place—simply change locations. Or, with your notes handy, try finishing your current section at home while the memories of a particular location are still fresh in mind.

And let me know if it works for you!

Nick Cato’s Suburban Grindhouse Memories Column on CKF

Nick Cato’s current column “Suburban Grindhouse Memories” column at Cinema Knife Fight (

June, 1989. I see an ad in the NY Daily News for what promises to be a real wild one. I venture out of the safety of my suburban neighborhood (alone) and hit the still-sleazy pre-Guiliani Times Square for what would be my final visit to the famed area before it was cleansed a few years later. Getting off the train around 36th Street, I see a huge billboard poster for “Lady Terminator,” and attempted to peel it off. No luck. I was offered weed and other substances at least five times during my eight-block trek uptown to the theater. One guy claimed to have switchblades. I kept walking, keeping my eyes straight ahead, hoping I made it to the theater in one piece.

Man, do I miss the old NYC.

“Lady Terminator” played solo, a rarity for a Times Square feature at that time. I attended an afternoon showing, and the place had at least a dozen people in attendance…yet I was thrilled about ten minutes into the film when screams and comments were flying as loudly as any midnight screening of “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” could hope for.

Check out the plot of this Indonesian import: An anthropology student named Tania Wilson (played by the beautiful Barbara Ann Constable in her ONLY credited role) becomes possessed by some ancient queen—while exploring her underwater lair. In a surreal/dream-like sequence, Tania finds herself swimming one second then tied to a huge bed the next. An eel-like creature wiggles up the sheets and into her vagina, causing her to become possessed. She soon emerges on shore (stark naked) and interrupts a lame drinking party where she wastes a couple of losers. After taking one of their leather jackets (yeah, this follows “The Terminator” (1984) quite closely at this point), she begins an all-out attack that’d make Hurricane Irene green with envy. While it’s never clear why this ancient sea witch is bent on revenge, the audience (and I) really didn’t care. Tania (aka the Lady Terminator) goes Tottally Balistic, creating a body count ten miles high via machine guns and a couple of brutal sex scenes (Remember the tag line: “She mates…then she Terminates!” One blurb that lives up to its promise).

Why this woman is turned into a cyborg-type revenge creature by an ancient sea witch is anyone’s guess, but that’s not even a quarter of a quarter of the flaws in this insanely ridiculous action romp. And when Tania starts her killing spree, you’ll either overlook these flaws, ride with it and have the greatest time of your trash film life, or shut the DVD off and continue to be a dullard (This film is actually playing in NYC at a rare screening in a couple of weeks—I’m freaking out that I can’t attend— hence the inspiration for this week’s column).

What put the crowd into a screaming frenzy were several repeated scenes, especially one of Tania spraying a group of military men with machine gun fire: that had to be shown at least five times. I’m guessing this saved the film crew from having to shoot from different angles? Either way, this is the type of thing that makes “so-bad-they’re-good” movies memorable.

I’m a big fan of the original “Terminator.” But, I can sit through “Lady Terminator” a thousand more times without being bored, as it contains more car chases, explosions, gore, violence, nudity and sheer insanity than a dozen low budget rip-offs combined. (It should be noted that star Barbara Ann Constable is also credited as doing the make-up for the film, too).

The most amazing aspect of “Lady Terminator” is it’s ability to entertain to the core, despite a plot that’s all over the place (or not even there, depending on who you talk to), dialogue that’s beyond inept, and question after question after question and confusion on top of confusion. Somehow this pile of Indonesian trash works. It’s a true miracle of low-budget filmmaking that I’ve been contemplating for the past twenty-two years, made worse by my second viewing via a VHS screening in the early 90s.

I think I’m finally ready to seek this out on DVD…although when I do it’ll be hard not to toss it in the DVD player for weekly viewings.

“Lady Terminator” was one of the greatest exploitation films I’ve ever had the pleasure of seeing on the big screen with my fellow Noo Yawk trash hounds at the near-end of the genuine grindhouse era.

I think I’m gonna go cry now…

© Copyright 2011 by Nick Cato