Publication date: February 11th 2021 Links:  Amazon  |  Goodreads T he first season of Sole Survivor has aired, a traumatized December Foss...

Guest Post || Zachary Ashford, Author of Sole Survivor II: Drop Bears on the Loose


Publication date: February 11th 2021


The first season of Sole Survivor has aired, a traumatized December Foss is trying desperately to escape her fifteen minutes of fame, and everyone thinks the drop bears are dead. Everyone that is except The Ark: a radical group of eco-terrorists with an axe to grind, and Joseph Steinberg, who still has plenty of them in reserve.

When the Ark release the drop bears from captivity, all hell breaks loose and December must face them again. This time, though, they’re on her turf. This time, it’s personal!

Book 23 in the Rewind-or-Die series: imagine your local movie rental store back in the ’70s, ’80s, and ’90s, remember all those fantastic covers. Remember taking those movies home and watching in awe as the stories unfolded in nasty rainbows of gore, remember the atmosphere and textures. Remember the blood.




Before I begin here, I want to make sure I thank Valerie at Cats Luv Coffee for giving me the chance to share a blog post on her site. Of course, if you don’t know anything about me, you might be wondering why she’s gone and done that. The simple answer is she’s awesome, and she’s helping me promote my new book, Sole Survivor 2: Drop Bears on the Loose.

We’ll talk more about that in a moment, but if I sum it up by telling you it’s a killer koala creature feature (again, more on that in a second), it’ll help this post make a whole bunch of sense. Basically, I’m going to share some of my favourite creature features here with you today.

In coming up with this list, there were a few rules I had to set myself. I didn’t want to feature the 
same creatures more than once. Seeing as I love crocodile movies, that would rule out a whole bunch of films about everyone’s favourite man-eating reptiles from the Mesozoic. I also didn’t want to worry about the laws of physics or reality and limit myself to real creatures you might encounter. The ‘koalas’ in the Sole Survivor books are actually drop bears, and even then, they’re twisted away from what the general public might see as a drop bear here in Australia. You can find out about the ‘real’ ones here.

The other thing I tried to keep in mind was that I had to have seen it recently enough to actually remember it. I remember loving movies like Congo and The Ghost and the Darkness when I was a kid, but I really can’t remember them well enough to talk about them although I should probably revisit them soon. Oh, and finally, they needed to be horror, whether loosely or firmly. So, as brilliant as I think Life of Pi is, I couldn’t include it.

Without further waffling, let’s have a look at what we’ve got here.

Night of the Lepus:

Some people talk about movies like Friday the 13 th and Nightmare on Elm Street being the ones they were exposed to at far too young an age. For me, it was this one. Flicking through channels, I saw giant bunny rabbits storming a ranch, and I immediately knew what I wanted to watch. Next minute, there were flashes of blood and close-ups of gore-laden rodent teeth everywhere. Years later, I saw gifs of these same scenes on the internet and, when I investigated, I knew I had to revisit. Funnily enough, this is a movie that still holds up today. Its environmental themes and focus on human relationships goes really well with the incredibly fun scenes of mayhem it includes. I won’t run through the plot for you, but when a little girl is given a pet rabbit that’s been injected with a birth-control serum, it escapes and all hell breaks loose. The rabbits grow to massive sizes and eat everything in their path, including the residents of the local community. As I said, it’s a tonne of fun and it’s surprisingly touching. 

Razorback:

The only real way to describe this one is as an Australian cult classic. Even as I type, I’ve just discovered it will be screened in a local cinema next Friday night! Here in Australia, giant boars are a pretty well-known part of the folklore. We all know they’re vicious and they can properly gut you, but on reflection, this movie may have a lot to do with that. Just like the more recent Boar, it features a giant pig that’s terrorising the local community. The plot is a little too crazy to explain in detail, so I’ll put it simply: Mad Max-style human villains, a giant baby-eating razorback boar, a father hell-bent on revenge and as much carnage as you care to partake in, this one’s loads of fun. I first became aware of it when I was at University, and now that I know it’s going to be at the cinema next week, I’m going to try to convince the wife that we need to see it again!

Rogue:

It’s not easy to pick a crocodile (or alligator) movie as a favourite. I love the genre, and when you consider the creatures don’t even need to be exaggerated to create real scares, they make brilliant horror movies. So, although I enjoyed Crawl, I could easily have slotted Black Water or another older Aussie creature-feature Dark Age in here, but Rogue is the one I’ve gone for. It uses the familiar trope of the US journalist coming to Australia to taste the local colour, but for this guy, the boat ride through Kakadu doesn’t end well. Halfway through the ride, a giant crocodile tips the tour-boat and leaves our cast of characters stranded on an island in the middle of a tidal flat. Needless to say, there’s blood, there’s carnage, there’s suspense, and there’s an American to save the day. Sort of. Mostly, though, there’s a humongous crocodile that generates real tension and will have you on the edge of your seat. Recommended.

Primal:

I didn’t mention this before, but I needed a Nicolas Cage movie in here. And, you know what, this one’s more of an action movie, but that doesn’t matter, it’s still loads of B-Grade fun. Cage, playing big-game hunter Frank Walsh, has captured a rare white jaguar in the Brazilian rainforest, and he’s trying to get it back to the States where he can sell it to a zoo. To do that, he boards a container ship with the creature. Unfortunately, US Marshals are also on the ship, and they’ve got cargo of their own, a highly trained assassin. Naturally, the jaguar is let loose (as is every other dangerous creature on the ship) and chaos ensues. It’s a pretty straight-forward romp, and it’s not in danger of being remembered as a classic, but is loads of fun and the jaguar causes more than its share of bloodshed.

Arachnophobia: 

I revisited this one recently with the family, and it’s easily the most well-known film on this list. Objectively, it’s the best film on this list too. As you’re probably aware, it’s tonnes of fun. When extremely venomous Venezuelan spiders find themselves let loose in a small Californian town, they immediately set to work killing the locals. There’s a whole bunch of context to the plot, but the long and short of it is that Jeff Daniels’ character Dr. Ross Jennings suspects spiders are to blame, and once they have their proof, he needs to stop them. John Goodman is brilliant as the pest control guy in this one, and the whole thing is incredibly entertaining. 

So there you have it: five animal-inspired creature features that are great fun. And that brings me to my new book, Sole Survivor 2: Drop Bears on the Loose.

If you’re like me and you love a good old-fashioned bit of creature carnage, you’ll probably dig the killer koalas in this one. Mutated and bloodthirsty, they’re let loose on the mainland, and as always, the result is chaos. It’s loaded with huge kills, tonnes of action and loads of fun.

If you’ve enjoyed this article, my newest Australian creature feature, Sole Survivor II: Drop Bears on the Loose comes out on February 11. The sequel to Sole Survivor (go figure), it features an army of killer koalas and a desperate fight to survive their onslaught. They’re both part of Unnerving’s Rewind or Die line.

You can pick them up from the links below.
Sole Survivor
Sole Survivor II: Drop Bears on the Loose


I’m also down to my last five paperbacks. If you’d like me to sign one and put it in the post, they’re only $15 US plus postage. DM me on Twitter or email me through my website to make it happen.

Zachary Ashford earned his writing chops as a journalist covering heavy metal bands for street press magazines and as a copywriter for a rock n roll radio station. Since those days, he’s done plenty, including operating as a freelance copywriter and editor. Nowadays, he writes fiction and teaches English and Literature in a high school.

You can find some of his nonfiction writing at Nerdbastards and Ozzy Man Reviews (under the name Chuck Steinway).

His fiction has featured in:
Dark Moon Digest 32/33
Kyanite Press Halloween Edition


Thanks so much for being a guest today, Zachary!

Be sure to check out his Sole Survivor and Sole Survivor II: Drop Bears on the Loose.  You can read my review of Sole Survivor here!


An uninhabited island… Several hundred hidden cameras… Ten contestants who think they’re stranded… One man employed to thin their numbers…

One predatory species determined to feed…

For the contestants of television’s latest prime-time reality show, the plane crash is a mere inconvenience on their way to fame and fortune. Unfortunately, there’s no rescue coming. Instead, the producers have other ideas, like watching them find the island’s killer creatures for themselves…

Like watching them die.

Tune in and discover who will be the Sole Survivor!

Book 6 in the Rewind-or-Die series: imagine your local movie rental store back in the ’70s, ’80s, and ’90s, remember all those fantastic covers. Remember taking those movies home and watching in awe as the stories unfolded in nasty rainbows of gore, remember the atmosphere and textures. Remember the blood.