Thursday, 31 March 2016

Bedtime: A Novel | Update




Hello intrepid readers.

As some of you know I've been working on a novel version of my short story series, 'Bedtime'. Working on it for over three years! Yes, the amount of time I've poured into it has been a bit ridiculous, and one of the main reasons I would strongly recommend to my fellow writers NOT to go down the crowdfunding route unless you have your plot locked in. In any case, for those following the development of the book, let's have a little recap, and outline where we are now.

Monday, 28 March 2016

Three Men in a Dark Room | GT Live Stream, March 2016

The latest Ghastly Tales live stream where Mik, Calum and I played a very strange horror survival game. Great fun, and thanks to everyone who joined in!

Nearby | A Horror Story by Michael Whitehouse



The street I lived on at the time was like any other. Not an affluent place, nor one mired in poverty; a mix of kind, selfish, nosey, and apathetic neighbours, some taking interest in those around them, others not. It was a relatively quiet area, but I had a fondness for it, as the large birch trees which occasionally drooped over hedges and fences from both cared for and neglected lawns, reminded me of my childhood. Only the occasional car came plodding through to disturb the peace, joined at times by sporadic domestic arguments which resonated from home to house, unhindered by the quiet; and so children played outside in the summer sun, some more pleasantly than others. Anyone would have described the street from top to bottom as quite, quite, ordinary. I’m sure you can imagine then how shocked I was to find something so utterly terrifying, surrounded by the mundane.

I should correct myself here; it was not what I found, but rather what my neighbour initially discovered which chilled me to the bone. His name was Bill, and he had moved into the house next door only a few months previous. In that short time we had grown to be firm friends; neighbourhood barbecues, Friday nights at the local pub, a shared fondness for classic films - we got on well. One Saturday night I invited him over for a game of cards with a few of my colleagues. I’ve never been particularly brilliant at poker, but I’ve always enjoyed the well-intended banter when placing bets against a good crowd. That night, neither luck nor skill was on my side and I found myself out of the game fairly quickly, so I sat back, had a few drinks, and just enjoyed the good natured name-calling.

The night flew in, and before long the first suggestion of daylight whispered across the sky outside. Everyone else had stumbled home drunkenly by then, with the exception of Bill, so both of us sat in my living room and drank a few more beers - something I was sure to regret in the morning. We talked about many things, his job as a nurse in a local old folks home, and our favourite Alfred Hitchcock films, particularly what we thought he would be making at the time if he were still alive.

Saturday, 26 March 2016

A Way Through | Unproduced Horror Script by Michael Whitehouse

                                                                       
* Background: This script was a commission. I was approached by Vadim Falk who wanted to make a short film about a soldier coming back to his home town to catch up with a friend. After an evening of drinking, they get lost and come face to face with a demonic force. I had to significantly flesh out the idea and the resulting script is below. I always liked some of the imagery and think it would have made an effectively creepy horror film. Unfortunately, the film has never been made. But why let a script rot in the darkness? At least now it can be read.*
                                                                       
                                                                       
                                                                       
                                                                       
                                 A Way Through                        
                                                                       
                                      By                              
                                                                       
                              Michael Whitehouse                      
                                                                       
                                                                       
                                                                       
                                                                       
                                                                       
                                     Based on                                  
                    An Idea by Vadim Falk and Chris Rogers            
                                                                       
                                                                       

The Last Laugh | A Horror Poem by Michael Whitehouse




In a nearby town, there lives a clown
whose laughter fills the air,
and  in crowded places, with his painted faces
he shocks with skill and flair.

Through a comic fall, and tales grown tall,
those watching delight with glee,
to forget their worries, of bills and moneys,
as the clown performs for free.

Friday, 25 March 2016

When the Circus Comes to Town | A Short Film by Michael Whitehouse


"When the circus comes to town" was a little short I made with my friend Alan Graham many moons, and many trouser sizes, ago. It was the last of 5 episodes of a web series I made back in the day, and while most of them aren't up to much (and hence don't appear here) I always enjoyed this particular episode.


Production Notes (Coming Soon)
Commentary (Coming Soon)
Mike Falls Over... Again: A Retrospective (Coming Soon)

Wednesday, 23 March 2016

And Last on Today's Agenda... | A Science Fiction Short Story by Michael Whitehouse




The Universe was about to end. This was, as they say, 'it'. The boardroom fell quiet.

'You can't just tell us the Universe is going to end, Stan, and then just sit down!' chairman Parkes barked. Parkes, though abrasive, overweight and often ruthless had a kind and fair air about him.

'Well sir...you see...I really don't want to cause any trouble', Stan replied slumped in his chair wishing he had said nothing. Looking around the room at the other board members, Stan could see everyone biting their lips while hiding their faces like children in a classroom trying not to laugh. Stan was a timid man, not used to attention, never wanting it in fact. Most did not notice him, sometimes he did not even notice himself, and when anyone did, ridicule swiftly followed.

Monday, 21 March 2016

Revenge of the Pumpkin | Script

This is the script for the short film Revenge of the Pumpkin. Click here to watch it before reading on



Revenge of the Halloween Pumpkin
by 
Michael Whitehouse

Michael Whitehouse, 2015                                      michaelwhitehouse@ghastlytalespublishing.com



MONTAGE - HALLOWEEN NIGHT

Fallen leaves stir on an evening breeze. Pumpkins are carved, treats laid out, televisions display black and white flickers of old horror films.

CLOSE: A HAND PLACES A LIT PUMPKIN ON A PAVEMENT BY A FENCE, WE LINGER ON IT FOR A MOMENT.

CUT TO BLACK

Sunday, 20 March 2016

Bits & Pieces | A Horror Story by Michael Whitehouse



If you are interested in the weird and wonderful, then you might already be familiar with the strange case of the Uist mummies. Discovered in 2001, the mummified remains of two ancient residents of the Scottish island of South Uist have perplexed and puzzled archaeologists ever since they were unearthed.

Buried deep in the ground of that remote corner of the developed world, the most recent scientific data estimates that both corpses were placed there over 3000 years ago. Their skeletons were found to have been contorted into an unnatural foetal position, and the photos, which appeared in the national newspapers at the time, were enough to make anyone uneasy. It was said that such a deliberately manipulated pose was common in ancient burials, but it was clear during those first few weeks of the excavation that one of the bodies was anything but common.

The archaeologists exhuming the corpses placed great importance on the burials being the first concrete indication that the ancient peoples of the British Isles did indeed mummify their dead. This has created quite a stir in the academic community ever since. As we speak, the hunt to find the estimated hundreds, if not thousands, of similarly preserved dead ancients dotting the land beneath our feet continues.

Friday, 18 March 2016

Revenge of the Pumpkin | Short Horror Film





A pumpkin isn't just for Halloween you know...


Directed by Martin Yates, Calum MacPhail, and Michael Whitehouse
Written & Music by Michael Whitehouse
Starring Michael Whitehouse, Martin Yates & Donald Trumpkin

Production Notes (Coming Soon)
Script
Commentary (Coming Soon)
Outtakes (Coming Soon)

The Sealed Building | A Ghost Story by Michael Whitehouse



When I was a child, the school I went to was a peculiar and fascinating place. Whether it was the overgrown bushes which flanked it, the strangely crooked wood which lay opposite, or the funny, eccentric, and sometimes fearsome, teachers and kids who populated the hallways and classrooms, which ignited my imagination, I do not know. I’m not sure when it was built, but it certainly stood out from the houses and quiet streets which lay nearby, covered as it was in a bright fiery red paint which drew the eyes of passersby. I attended Kings Park Primary School from the age of five up until I was eleven or twelve, and, like most adults looking back at their playground days, I have both fond and hurtful recollections of it. One memory, however, has haunted me all these years, through dreams and fears I cannot fully comprehend.
Each day with a rucksack on my back, I would wander past the crooked wood and wave to the ‘lollipop lady’ Mrs Collins - a kind old woman who’s job it was to stop traffic with her bright yellow sign, letting us cross in safety. After meeting my friends, we would walk through the rusted brown gates into one of two playgrounds before the school-day began.

Thursday, 17 March 2016

The Figure | A Short Horror Film by Michael Whitehouse



On the night Jack splits up with his girlfriend a meteor crash lands in his back garden, bringing with it something unearthly. Will he escape its clutches and right his mistake, or will he be consumed by the darkness forever?



Production Notes (Coming Soon)
Commentary (Coming Soon)
Extra Footage (Coming Soon)

Written & Directed by Michael Whitehouse
Director of Photography Alan Graham
Score by Michael Whitehouse
Starring Stewart McDonald, Craig Astley, and Kirsty Russell

The Laird of Dungorth | A Horror Poem by Michael Whitehouse



Your cities will crumble;
Diseased covered glens
The strong falter, stumble
At the end times of men

Monday, 14 March 2016

Pass It On | A Horror Story by Michael Whitehouse



Henry worked in an office. It was an ordinary office in an ordinary city where he was paid an ordinary wage to do ordinary things. For many this would have been tedious and frustrating, but not for Henry, because he too was ordinary, and he enjoyed being so. Life was predictable; get up at 7:00 A.M., shower for 15 minutes, toast two pieces of wholemeal bread, poach an egg, eat with a minimum of fuss, watch ten minutes of morning television, listen to an audio-book on the train, get to work, sandwich for lunch, back to work, home, watch a little TV, read something light, go to sleep, and repeat day-after-day.

He liked his weekends to be just as routine. On a Friday night after work he would treat himself to an Indian takeaway and a good film. Saturdays would be spent exploring some local car boot sales for items to add to his collection of old video games, while Sundays would be specifically put aside to play them. Life was simple for Henry, and he preferred it that way. Being mildly tainted with an obsessive compulsive streak, he avoided anything which would take him out of his comfort bubble and away from his routine. He always avoided the extraordinary, but on this day, the peculiarly extraordinary found him.

Sunday, 13 March 2016

In the Dead of Night | A Short Horror Film

Something stirs in the night...


A security guard spends the night in an empty nursing home hoping to quickly pass through the mundane hours. Little does he know that he is not alone, and that the building contains something extraordinary, haunting, and chilling...


Production Notes (Coming soon)
Commentary (Coming soon)
Outtakes (Coming soon)

Written & Directed by Chris McMahon & Michael Whitehouse
Starring Chris McMahon & Michael Whitehouse
Soundtrack by Michael Whitehouse 

Saturday, 12 March 2016

The Shadows of Samuel Craven | A Horror Poem by Michael Whitehouse




In the sleepy town of Windarm,
a street where no one goes,
a child of wondrous prying
was deadened in crooked pose.

His name was Samuel Craven
a boy no older than ten,
sneaking out from the safety
of his home, a reluctant one then.

The breeze of the night engulfed him
as he ran free and clear to his doom.
To a place which never existed
but he'd found it, no less, in his room.

Thursday, 10 March 2016

The Passenger | A Horror Story by Michael Whitehouse



A friend recently alerted me to a terrifying incident which took place in an urban area of the city where I live. Being a bus driver, he had heard many of the usual tall stories exchanged around his local depot - muggings, broken windows, the occasional couple attempting drunken sex; but some of the drivers had far more sinister and puzzling tales to tell. A few spoke of ghostly passengers who would pay their fare, take a seat on the upper deck, and then vanish without a trace.
Those latter stories were of a kind which my friend enjoyed hearing but never took seriously, considering them cheap entertainment shared amongst his co-workers, alleviating the tediousness of an empty depot at night. That was until a fellow driver told him about Ruby. When the story was relayed to me I was so intrigued by the account, that I took the time to contact all involved, piecing together what occurred as best I could.

Wednesday, 9 March 2016

One For the Road | A Horror Story by Michael Whitehouse



I woke to my friend, Tom, climbing through my window. It was a summer’s night, around 2AM, and the heat had been unbearable for days. For that reason I had left my window open slightly to let what cool air there was filter into my bedroom while I slept. It was a scrambling, panicked noise which brought me to consciousness and immediately I thought someone was breaking into my home. In the darkness I couldn’t tell who it was, but as soon as I heard ‘help me’, I recognised my friend’s voice.

After turning on the light I pulled Tom into the room and sat him down on my old brown armchair, which had seen better days.

‘Close the window!’ he  seethed, half shout half whisper, completely occupied by the nighttime scene outside. ‘Switch the light off’.

Tuesday, 8 March 2016

'Perfume' | A Short Horror Story by Michael Whitehouse


The perfume haunted me. It fluttered through the air, teasing me, leading me towards an obscured end. I ran down hallways bathed in red tapestries, my night gown shuddering in the cold. Moonlight showed me the way as I searched for the perfume's source. Around blind corners, through doorways of solid oak, into rooms once filled with laughter and terrible deeds. With each step the scent grew stronger. Roses. A sting of ginger and citrus. Never quite putting my finger on the familiarity of it all.

And then I entered a chamber. An old room which differed from the rest. One solitary candle sat by a large four poster bed. The light cascaded out, revealing a room dark and brooding. The floor was cold, the wood warped slightly, my bare feet losing what little heat they once held. A huge fireplace lay opposite the bed, unlit, devoid of life. And above it, a large portrait dominated the room. In the painting a woman sat, wearing a dark green dress of many decades past. Her hair was pulled tightly in a bun, her pale skin like languid pearl, and her eyes cold and cruel with dispassion.

Monday, 7 March 2016

Tunnel 72F | A Short Horror Story by Michael Whitehouse



I once knew a man who was afraid of nothing. No monstrosity man made or fictitious could subdue his spirits, and the mere mention of the word ‘supernatural’ would elicit a most cynical example of laughter. This bravery was both his greatest strength and his most profound weakness, for ignorance and heedlessness can often be disguised as a deep and foolhardy sense of courage. He was to learn the limits of his bravery under the earth, down in those oppressive tunnels, deep below the streets of Amsterdam.

His name was Henke, due mainly to his Finnish ancestry on his father’s side, and although his parents had passed away at an early age, he believed with conviction that his courage came from them. It was a matter of pride, a connection to the family he had lost, and it was this above all else which drove him into places and situations where others would fear to tread.

Sunday, 6 March 2016

Perfume | A New Nosleep Story



Hi everyone, I've just posted a new story to Nosleep.  It's called 'Perfume' and is a good old fashioned ghost story. Please do check it out. Hope you enjoy it. Feedback welcome :)

Read it now, with the lights on!

Tuesday, 1 March 2016

On A Hill: 100 Amazon Review Retrospective





Today is special for me. My novella, On A Hill, has reached 100 reviews on Amazon in the USA. This blows my mind. For a little self published writer like myself, it's a difficult milestone to imagine. Even for writers with a publishing machine behind them, getting 100 reviews is a big deal, and that doesn't even take into consideration the 60 plus other reviews the book has received in different regions. This has been due to some luck, and a readership which has been amazing to me.