LA Horror Review: “Broken Bones”

A couple of months ago, LA Horror sat down with writer Paul Hart-Wilden and talked horror.  Hart-Wilden has written multiple horror films (most recently “Wolf Town”) as well as a collection of short stories that he has assembled in his self-published horror anthology, “Broken Bones.”  Hart-Wilden was kind enough to give me a copy of his “Broken Bones,” which I had the pleasure of reading last week.  Just do yourself a favor and pick up your copy right now because this book is legit.

Horror anthologies are tricky, and while I have read several, there are usually only one or two stories that really stand out and are memorable.  That’s not the case with “Broken Bones,” not by a long shot.  In fact, this past week I honestly haven’t been able to get some of these out of my head, not only because they were well written and interesting, but because they were disgusting and gory in the best ways imaginable.  Necrophilia, rape, brutal murder, hatred, demons, child murder, disease, self mutilation, love lost and even a couple of vampires—this book has just enough of everything to satisfy the sickest of horror fans.

The first story of the book, “The Way of All Flesh,” has some of the most graphic descriptions of human decomposition that I’ve ever had the joy of reading.  You can almost smell the rotting corpse through the pages, and hear the eerie sound of a thousand tiny insects devouring a human body.  Not only that, the story has one of the creepiest and most haunting endings that really opens up the floodgate for the rest of the book.  It is the perfect hook for “Broken Bones” and instantly grabbed my attention, smashed me in the face and gave me a nervous anticipation for the other stories.

“Dark Heart” was another one that really stuck with me.  It is a tale about two morticians who have an unspoken understanding about sexual desires, and how to use their surroundings to satisfy them.  However, things get hairy when one of their relatives, a beautiful young girl, ends up in a coffin.  It is incredibly creepy, has two very developed and interesting characters and a disgustingly ironic ending that really made me shake my head laughing.  Paul Hart-Wilden…you bastard…

“Black and White” was probably my personal favorite for a couple of reasons.  The story follows a young white supremacist named Jimmy and his gang of hooligans as they terrorize and ultimately murder a young black man on a night out.  After committing this crime however, Jimmy starts to notice something changing about him that he can’t control – his skin slowly starts to darken – and now the tables have turned and his gang is after him.  It is an excellent blend of social commentary, horror and heart that has a certain weight as you read it.  Not only that, the ending left a giant boulder in my guts that I can still feel now as I type.

I could go on and on about each story. There really wasn’t a bad one in the bunch.  The thing that made this book as a whole so enjoyable was that each story was horrific in completely different ways and often put my imagination in some very dark places.  Hart-Wilden has no problems creating interesting and developed characters in the span of just a couple short pages, only to thrust them into the worst and most gruesome situations imaginable – spoiler alert – a lot of people die in this book!  And not only was this a horrifying read, it was also interesting.  Many of the stories pointed out the true horrors in our own society in an intelligent way.

And lastly (and most importantly), I just need to emphasize once again, this book is sick.  Seriously sick in all the best ways.  And if you’re sick like me, then I highly recommend getting some “Broken Bones.”

LA Horror Presents: Paul Hart-Wilden

Paul Hart-Wilden always admired the film industry of the United States from afar.  As a horror movie fan growing up in the United Kingdom, Hart-Wilden often dreamed of coming to Los Angeles to pursue filmmaking.  “I was doing film and writing back in the UK anyways, but Hollywood’s where it’s at,” Hart-Wilden said.  And for the past 11 years, Hollywood is exactly where Hart-Wilden has been.

“There seems to be something in horror, that, in the fandom of it, encourages you to actually become part of the business that creates it,” Hart-Wilden told LAHorror.com.  He started creating his own horror while working as a production assistant in the UK. Hart-Wilden was tasked with delivering film to developers, which involved a daily 10 hour train ride.  It was there that he wrote his first script.

“I found myself stuck on a train or a series of trains for 10 hours a day… [so I thought,] how about I use that time productively?  So, I just went into a store at the Broadway station, picked up a note pad and a pen, sat down, had an idea, and I started writing a script…then I went out and sold it.  Never been that easy since,” he recounted.

The script, “Living Doll,” was released in the US in 1990. “Living Doll” follows a seemingly normal guy with some not so normal urges.   But that’s the type of horror Hart-Wilden is typically drawn to.

“I found myself much more drawn to characters like Ed Gein because I kind of figured that it doesn’t matter what you create or imagine. Somebody out there has either done it or done it worse or is doing it now and you’ll be finding out in six months or six years or a lifetime later,” he explained.

Hart-Wilden’s next film, “Skinner,” is also about a young man trying to fit in…to women’s skin, that is.  While “Skinner” was a little under appreciated at the time of its release, Hart-Wilden still holds a special place in his heart for the film and is currently on a quest to find the original master negative in effort to get a re-mastered and re-distributed project.

Hart-Wilden has also been a director of several horror pieces.  He has recently directed two short films, “The Pack” and “Meredith,” for a film anthology entitled “Obits,” co-directed by Joel Umbaugh.  “Obits” premiered at the 2010 Los Angeles Screamfest.

His latest film, “Wolf Town,” co-written by writing partner Asabi Lee, is a favorite amongst horror fans and showcases a different type of real-world killer .  “With Wolf Town, a producer friend of mine came to me and said, ‘I have a ghost town.  I have some wolves.  Do you want to make a movie?'” Hart-Wilden said.  Two months later to the day, the filming of “Wolf Town” was completed.

Hart-Wilden has also notably self-published a horror anthology entitled “Broken Bones,” a collection of short horror stories that he has written over his the years.  Hart-Wilden laughed as he reflected as his time as a writer.  “It’s certainly not a very social thing to do…when you’re out writing, you’re stuck in your home on your own. Your boss is yourself.  You hate your boss and you hate your work and you hate all of your work colleagues and you don’t have any work colleagues.”

Well, if horror films have taught us anything, it’s that isolation can create some wicked horror.

You can check out other work by Paul Hart-Wilden on his official website or his vimeo page.  His book “Broken Bones” is available for purchase as well as digital download.