Publication date: January 12th 2018
Genres: Adult, Horror, Psychological Thriller
The debut psychological-horror novel from author Marty Thornley is a page-turning ride, a front row seat to a clinical trial gone horribly wrong.
For Greg Owens, this was supposed to be a chance to end years of back pain and escape his reliance on pain pills. If it all worked out, he could maybe even get back the life he left behind as the pills took control.
Instead, as the patients are cured of their physical pain, they encounter a different sort of pain building inside them – obsessive thoughts, depression, self-destruction. The side-effects grow worse, and the suspense ratchets tighter. The patients want answers and violent revenge, setting them on a collision course with a crazed doctor, determined to protect his life’s obsession.
What readers are saying…
“…most definitely a recommended read, though it’s probably not the best choice for those with a weak stomach.”
“Gruesome and twisted. Awesome!!!”
“OMG this book. Holy heck the gruesome descriptions of blood and gore and guts was SO RAD. I found myself cringing and fidgeting and yes, even feeling a bit nauseous in some spots – but totally in a GOOD WAY! Painless was exactly what I wanted in a super-unique, creepy, shocking horror-thriller.”
Marty started writing short stories as a teenager, inspired as much by favorite books and movies as the environment and characters that define the South Shore of Massachusetts. The pull of the movies dragged him first to film school and finally to Los Angeles, where he poked at the outskirts of the industry with screenplays and short films.
As his interest in a film career fizzled, he rebuilt himself bit-by-bit as a programmer. He spent the next decade building websites, finally realizing that something had been lost. His stories were collecting dust in the back of his brain while he sat through conference calls and code reviews.
So he returned to the woods of New England and the calming darkness under the trees. He returned to find the things that crawl in the undergrowth and turn them into words on the page. He dusted off one of his screenplays and turned it into his first novel. In the process, a dormant storyteller was awakened and is now seeking the next blank page to fill.
Top ten Lists
Top 10 Horror Films
In no particular order, 10 of my favorites:
The Exorcist has some the most realistic and terrifying scenes of possession ever put on film. The gritty 70’s filmmaking add amazing performances give it a frightening reality that does not seem to get matched in today’s films. But more than anything, I consider this one of the all-time greats because I don’t like most haunting or possession films. I don’t find them realistic or scary. The idea that chanting some Bible verses and tossing some “holy” water will scare away a demon is usually silly to me. Yet, somehow, this film makes it believable. The idea that I find myself believing something that I know I don’t believe? That is scary.
Night of the Living Dead
I’m mentioning this one second because it is another outlier. I pretty much hate the whole zombie genre. I really just don’t get it. But… George Romero always had a layer of social and political commentary in his films that makes them all very interesting. I also appreciate the low-budget filmmaking skill. If you have never shot 16mm black and white with a couple lights and not money, you don’t know how difficult it is to pull this off. It single-handedly launched decades of zombie films, books, tv shows, and comic books. So it gets a lot of points for influence too.
There is probably no better example of a film driven by the paranoia of not knowing who the person is standing next to you or whether you can trust that they are even human anymore. It has some of the best creature effects ever put on film. It has one of the best scores ever. And we are watching one of the great horror directors, John Carpenter, at the height of his craft. But it is the human tension and suspense that ratchets tighter and tighter, until the incredible ending where we are brought right into the film. We see the survivors wonder if the other one is still human or not and forced to wonder the same about them both.
This film brings together two of my biggest influences – Stephen King and Stanley Kubrick. There has always been debate about the book vs the film. I think they are both different but both great. The masterful filmmaking and score, together with jack Nicholson’s performance make it impossible to turn off. It is not so evident in the film as in the book, but this is a story about an abusive, drunk father and husband – almost like everything that happens is just a dream in this guy’s head that he makes up as an excuse to kill his family.
The original and still the greatest slasher film ever made. Michael Myers is realistic and supernatural. Able to be hurt and immortal. Mindless killer and little brother. Again it is John Carpenter with one the most iconic scores ever composed. The music alone makes you heart race. But the film does not rely on that. Some of the scariest moments are silent, as you watch Michael Myers tilt his head and look at someone he is about to kill or just killed. And, like Night of the Living Dead, spawned decades of films that tried to copy it.
Takashi Miike is one of my favorite directors and this is one of his best. The first half-hour or so is a slow burn. You might watch it and think it is not even a horror film, but a not so interesting drama. Just as you are about to wonder why people rant and rave about this film… something moves. Just as you realize you had NO IDEA what this film was, it hits you over the head and does not stop. Find the unedited version. It has some of the most gruesome torture scenes you will ever see. Ting, ting, ting.
This one had to make the list. Not only because I love it, but because it os one of the few examples of medical horror out there. It is part mad-scientist story, part zombie (sort-of – the idea is about Reanimating dead bodies after all). It’s gruesome and creepy and funny and goes over-the-top on all three counts in the most perfect way only a campy horror film from the 80’s can do.
It can be hard to tell if Videodrome is more horror, sci-fi, or dystopian satire. I like to think it is equally all three. It follows James Woods as a reality TV producer (before that was such a thing) as he ends up on the trail of snuff films, melting TV’s, and a love affair with Blondie. Somewhere in the middle are some incredible body-horror scenes as only David Cronenberg can bring to the screen.
The Sixth Sense
I hardly think of this as a horror film anymore, but wanted to include it anyway. On first viewing, it certainly has some good jumps and is essentially a haunting story. Once you know the big twist, further viewings become more interesting. It is a drama and a tragedy. The brilliant performance of Haley Joel Osment becomes even better, adding layers of compassion, empathy and sadness that you didn’t see before. And, of course, you realize why he was really scared in most of the scenes.
Like all classic 80’s horror, a great film started a not always great series of sequels. But this first film is incredible. Low budget, small setting, incredibly gruesome makeup and gore effects. It is really impossible to explain the story to the uninitiated. If you like gruesome horror, told in a suspenseful, claustrophobic setting, just go watch it.