Saturday, October 15, 2016

RICHARD PARKER: Everybody's Stalking at Me

Richard Parker
Copyright © 2016 by Richard Parker

For this special stalking countdown I considered compiling a top ten list of the most popular movie stalkers of all time which would, of course, include Jason Voorhees pursuing promiscuous teens around Camp Crystal Lake and Freddy Krueger hunting kids in their dreams.  But I’m sure that’s been done extensively and with more stats than I can muster.  So, instead, I thought I’d largely focus on those celluloid psychos who have enjoyed less time in the limelight.  After all, isn’t that sort of quiet anonymity the hallmark of a great stalker?  And if I can point you in the direction of a movie you have yet to discover my work here is done.
PEEPING TOM – This 1960 British movie may seem tame by today’s standards but it was one of the first stalker movies to use the killer’s POV shot and deemed so lurid at the time that it destroyed the career of its respected director, Michael Powell.  A loner photographer, Mark Lewis, is obsessed by capturing expressions of death and how better to do that than by murdering women in front of his lens.  As well as it being a groundbreaker I also have affection for this movie because the opening prostitute murder scene is shot in a pub I used to drink in regularly – The Newman Arms just off Oxford Street – which used to be George Orwell’s local and is mentioned in his novel 1984.
THE BURNING – It was the eighties and a simpler time when there was a glut of slice and dice flicks to watch in the cinema and, crucially, on home video.  Among them was this 1981 movie from the Weinsteins, which was an early outing for Holly Hunter.  Crospy is the main man – a caretaker burnt horribly in a cruel prank by teens who exacts extreme Tom Savini revenge with a pair of garden shears.  We don’t glimpse his face until the final showdown.  It’s mean-spirited fun and an interesting cross section of the sort of horror there was such a rapacious appetite for in this decade.  HALLOWEEN and FRIDAY THE 13TH have a hell of a lot to answer for.         
INSIDE/ A L’INTERIEUR – A female stalker played by Beatrice Dalle redresses the balance in this 2007 French gorefest but I don’t want to feature any spoilers here.  Suffice it to say when she turns up at the house of recently widowed Sarah just before Christmas she doesn’t plan to sing her any carols.  It really isn’t for the faint of heart so I assume no responsibility for anyone who watches this and is traumatised.  It’s uncompromising, claustrophobic and horrific so you have been warned.  Its two directors, Alexandre Bustillo and Julien Maury then made LIVID and AMONG THE LIVING.     
MANIAC – Remade recently with Elijah Wood, I still have a perverse fondness for William Lustig’s 1980 original.  Before New York got sanitized this really captures a grimy, sleazy side of the city and uses it as a backdrop for the exploits of its main character Frank Zito, played by the late Joe Spinell.  It’s one of the first movies to allow the viewer to eavesdrop on the lifestyle and ramblings of a serial killer who, in this outing, likes to scalp his victims and drape them on the heads of shop mannequins.  There’s an unlikely romance between Spinell and Caroline Munro (!) but this only adds to the bizarre viewing experience.  Tom Savini provides makeup FX again.  His wife probably saw little of him during the eighties.
NIGHTCRAWLER – Jake Gyllenhaal is Louis Bloom in this dark, intelligent 2014 thriller that follows a wannabe LA news reporter stalking the streets in an attempt to capture sensational stories to sell to a TV veteran played by Rene Russo.  But it’s not just her approval he craves and soon he crosses the line between reporter and participant to bring her increasingly exclusive footage.  Bloom’s psychopathic obsession escalates and there’s some great suspense as he begins to instigate the sort of confrontation he needs to up the ante.  Jake’s disquieting performance deserves to be up there with De Niro’s Travis Bickle.
SWITCHBLADE ROMANCE/HAUTE TENSION – A hardcore French horror movie made in 2003 which was the showcase for director Alexandre Aja who has since gone on to direct in Hollywood including the remake of THE HILLS HAVE EYES.  The protagonist is simply called The Killer, a sweaty van driver who breaks into the home of a family and terrorises two female friends.  The twist at the ending of the movie became something of a talking point for all the wrong reasons.  Despite this, however, there’s a lot of excellent suspense and set pieces to enjoy along the way, which is why I can personally forgive it.
BLACK CHRISTMAS – Another movie that got ‘reimagined’ recently with lots of eyeball swallowing and gore.  The original is still viewed annually in my household around the festive season.  This one was made in 1974, before John Carpenter and Sean Cunningham sewed up the genre.  A stranger stalks a group of girls, including Margot Kidder and Olivia Hussey, in their sorority house.  Sounds hackneyed?  It wasn’t at the time and the movie serves up some memorable images and moments as well as an unsettling atmosphere.  The creepiest scenes for me were the stranger’s phone calls to the house.  Instead of heavy breathing he allows the person who answers to listen in on him having bizarre dialogues with himself.
THE EXTERMINATOR – This time the stalker is on the side of good.  A Vietnam vet played by the late Robert Ginty avenges his friend after he is attacked by a gang, The Ghetto Ghouls, and paralysed.  Ginty sets out to clean up the filth of 80s New York (see MANIAC) starting with the gang before moving on to the inhabitants of a chicken house and a gangster running a protection racket.  It enjoyed major box office success and contains many infamous scenes including the death of one of his victims in a meat grinder.  I’m sure watching movies like this before I was remotely old enough is where the rot really started.  ‘If you’re lying, I’ll be back.’
THE HITCHER – Rutger Hauer oozes composed menace in this 1986 movie about a hapless young man, Jim Halsey (C Thomas Howell), foolish enough to pick him up and then dump him back on the roadside.  Jennifer Jason Leigh is then drawn into the cat and mouse game that ensues, as Hauer not only kills innocents but frames Halsey for his murders.  A much-underrated thriller that packs a real wallop in terms of stunts, twists and bloody action.  It certainly ticked all my boxes when I first saw it on the big screen.  Finger food anyone?     
HALLOWEEN – OK, I couldn’t possibly compile this list without mentioning Michael Myers.  But so much has already been written about John Carpenter’s classic movie it’s difficult to add anything significant.  Personally, I think it’s the expressionless features of The Shape’s Captain Kirk mask that make his casual butchery so eerie and, like many of the characters above, his relentless dedication to duty.  I often think authors seeking publication can take a page out of his book.  Not that they should stalk and slaughter people who frustrate them but that, after taking the blows, repeatedly getting back up and striding grimly onwards is the only sure way to find success.  Donald Pleasance as Doctor Loomis sums it up best: ‘I watched him for fifteen years, sitting in a room, staring at a wall, looking past the wall – looking at this night, inhumanly patient.’  Been there, done that.
Today’s giveaway is FIVE PRINT COPIES OF STALK ME!!!! Yup, that’s right!!!
Because these are a print copies, WINNERS ARE LIMITED TO THE U.S. and CANADA.
To enter to WIN: Find today’s post on the Official FB Event page featuring Richard Parker, and comment, “I WANT TO WIN!” in that post and you just might!!! Good luck!!!

Good luck!!!
After being involved in a severe car accident and a vicious roadside assault, Beth Jordan wakes briefly to discover a coach party of students recording the aftermath with their phones.
Beth furiously attacks the crowd before being restrained and lapsing into a coma.

When she wakes in hospital, Beth is distraught when she's told her husband Luc died in the crash and she’s horrified that the phone clips have been shared online and that millions of people around the world have seen the incident.

The driver of the car she collided with has vanished without trace and Beth needs the recordings to help piece together exactly what happened.

But somebody is viciously murdering the owners of the clips and deleting them.

What is concealed within those moments and can she find the survivors before the digital fragments of the event disappear forever?

Living with her brother Jody while she recovers, Beth catches a glimpse of one of the clips and sees that Luc appears to whisper something to a paramedic before he dies.

Beth, discovering she is pregnant, tracks down the paramedic who held Luc’s hand while he died.

Rae Solomon is no longer a paramedic, having changed her identity, attempting to escape an abusive relationship.

At first Beth is told Rae is dead, but then Rae calls her, telling her the one word Luc said to her before he died.

It means nothing to Beth, but she is determined to get to the truth behind the accident.

When a man calls her and says he has the information she needs, she flies to LA to meet him.

And from the moment she lands in LA, someone wants her dead…

As Beth fights for her life in California, she realises the threat against her was disturbingly close to home.

Stalk Me is a gripping thriller which keep you guessing until the very last page.
Richard Parker worked as a professional TV writer for twenty-two years and started by submitting material to the BBC. After contributing to a wide variety of TV shows he became a head writer, script editor then producer. He then decided to subject himself to the easy streets of writing and getting a novel published. Stop Me was picked up for publication in 2009 and it was nominated for the CWA John Creasey (New Blood) Dagger Award 2010 and entered the Amazon Top 10 bestseller chart. Scare Me, his second stand alone thriller, has been acquired by Hollywood production house Relativity Media. Wentworth Miller has now completed his screenplay.


  1. Love the movie list. Several on it I haven't seen, so I'll have to look for them. Thanks.

  2. Great movie list.
    This book sounds intriguing..
    Thank you for the Giveaway

  3. Great movie list.
    This book sounds intriguing..
    Thank you for the Giveaway