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  • steven holding


Updated: Jun 23, 2021

It has been an absolute pleasure of late to be able to slip back into a reclining seat, feel a suspiciously sticky floor beneath my feet and finally get around to viewing some celluloid nightmares as they well and truly should be seen: in a pitch-black auditorium, projected before my bloodshot eyes, straight onto a thirty-foot wide blank canvas with no distractions or interruptions (other than the inconsiderate consumption and monotonous munching of mountains of overpriced popcorn!), allowing me once again to escape this dreary world for a few precious hours, sitting alongside other eager audience members as we all share that collective dreamlike experience we call CINEMA! After seeing Christopher Nolan’s flawed but still immensely enjoyable TENET in August of last year, all my other (compulsive) movie viewing has taken place at home, so it was a real treat to head back to the flicks once again, where I managed to catch a double bill of A QUIET PLACE and A QUIET PLACE CHAPTER TWO as well as showings of THE CONJURING: THE DEVIL MADE ME DO IT and Ben Wheatley’s fantastic new film IN THE WOODS. Wheatley’s latest work most certainly deserves to be viewed on the big screen, with the director delivering another awesome sensory overload of sound and images. If you are still keen to indulge your fright fix from the comfort of your own armchair, you’d be hard pushed to find a better line-up of movies than those on offer on SHUDDER. Right now, they are streaming pretty much every interesting horror flick from the past year or so, with such great titles as POSSESSOR, CAVEAT, RELIC, SATOR, THE DARK AND THE WICKED, HOST, POSSUM, ANYTHING FOR JACKSON, FRIED BARRY, BLISS and many, many more. One final recommendation would be Anthony Scott Burns COME TRUE. This stylish picture is an extremely satisfying blend of horror and sci-fi with an outstanding retro synthwave soundtrack and particularly striking visuals. Quite often, when I am working on a piece of flash fiction, the story that I am trying to tell appears clearly in my mind like a deleted scene from a film that doesn’t even exist. A classic example of an image that I couldn't seem to get out of my brain (or even coherently explain) occurs in this little tale I found hanging around in the back of a notebook...


The graveyard shift at Gus’s Gas.

Susie reads while tending the till, one eye fixed on the forecourt. Customers are thin on the ground during the witching hour, so she clocks the stranger straight away.

No car, of course.

Petrol can in hand, he walks to pump number one: lifts the nozzle, fills it up.

A minute later, he’s heading over to pay.

Susie puts her mouth to the mic.


“Something like that” he replies, emptying the canister over his head. As fuel flows, he pulls out a smoke and a Zippo.

Susie screams.

Smiling, the guy lights up.

Some of my other hundred word horrors have been popping up during the past couple of months (just like a good reanimated corpse is supposed to!) with my stories POST TRAUMATIC STRESS, FROZEN MOMENT, NOT INEFFABLE JUST WRITTEN IN PENCIL and LAST HOUSE EVER LEFT appearing in THE DRABBLE, FRIDAY FLASH FICTION and TREMBLING WITH FEAR. Links to these pieces will be appearing shortly in the credit section of my website. Finally, I am still working on a few other projects which are all shaping up to be pretty exciting (yet remain a little hush-hush) so hopefully, when things are a little bit more concrete, I will be able to share some more specific details. Until then...

End of transmission.

Over and Out.


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