NOVELS AND STORY COLLECTIONS
RESURRECTION EXPRESS (2012)
There is no code Elroy Coffin can’t break, nothing he can’t hack, no safe he can’t get into. But for the past two years, he’s been incarcerated in a maximum-security hellhole after a job gone bad, driven to near-madness by the revelation of his beloved wife’s murder.
Now a powerful and mysterious visitor who calls herself a “concerned citizen” offers Elroy his freedom if he’ll do another job, and sweetens the deal with proof that his wife might still be alive. All Elroy has to do is hack into one of the most complicated and deadliest security grids in the world—clear and simple instructions for the best in the business. Or so he thinks.
Quickly drawn into the epicenter of a secret, brutal war between criminal masterminds, Elroy is forced to run for his life through a rapid-fire labyrinth of deception, betrayal, and intrigue— where no one is to be trusted and every fight could be his last . . . and the real truth hidden beneath the myriad levels of treachery may be too shocking to comprehend. . . .
"Resurrection Express has the pacing, technical detail, and unshakable suspense to excite thriller fans, and even readers who typically retreat from the high-tech context will appreciate . . . A must read for followers of Andrew Vachss and Charlie Huston."---BOOKLIST (Starred Review)
"The pace never slackens in screenwriter Romano's superior debut thriller . . . Extremely satisfying. Romano doesn't pull his punches."
---PUBLISHER'S WEEKLY (Starred Review)
"Resurrection Express moves like a bullet train on a twisting track. The result is a slick, satisfying thriller, in which the reader is constantly wondering, who is on whose side."
---MYSTERY SCENE MAGAZINE
"Romano plunges into a frenetic plot that doesn't slow down until the very last word, (investing) in sturdy characters who can make the non-stop action plausible."
"Compelling, devastating and brutal, with battle-hardened prose and relentless energy, Stephen Romano has crafted one hell of a first novel. A juiced-up, whacked-out, back-to-the-wall book that reads like a ride through the Knife and Gun Club on the night of a full moon, riding the Resurrection Express will leave you dizzy from betrayal, speechless from reversals, and quite possibly battered and broken by its revelations."
---GREG RUCKA, New York Times bestselling author of the Queen & Country series
"A high-voltage blast! Romano's action scenes are light years ahead of the pack, fueled by muscular prose, terrifying villains, and Elroy Coffin--a protagonist for the ages. RESURRECTION EXPRESS is one of the finest examples I've encountered of noir's evolution into the 21st Century."
---BLAKE CROUCH, best-selling author of the WAYWARD PINES series
"RESURRECTION EXPRESS is a rip snortin' white knuckle ride. Highly recommended!!"
---DON COSCARELLI, director of Phantasm, The Beastmaster and Bubba-Ho-Tep
"RESURRECTION EXPRESS is a cinematic, hyperkinetic, action-packed thriller."
---JEFF ABBOTT, New York Times bestselling author of THE LAST MINUTE
"Stephen Romano's imagination is so scary-brilliant, you should be required to obtain a controlled dangerous substance license before opening RESURRECTION EXPRESS."
---DUANE SWIERCZYNSKI, New York Times bestselling author of Fun and Games.
Stephen Romano's taut prose is as unrelentingly violent and brutal as the story he tells. Resurrection Express is a killer debut that demands attention. A scorching read.
---BRIAN AZZARALLO, New York Times bestselling author of BATMAN: JOKER
"Horror scribe Stephen Romano makes his crime fiction debut in the sci-fi tinged thriller Resurrection Express . . . a compelling mystery that marks an auspicious crime fiction debut."
---CRIME FICTION LOVER.COM
"The book has the heightened freneticism of a drill-quick action film. It's long, over 400 pages, but the momentum keeps you always on edge."
"From noir to apocalyptic at the speed of sound! This book is relentless. It has the feel of a grind house auteur working with a two-hundred million dollar budget . . . you feel pummeled by the end of the novel. That said, RESURRECTION EXPRESS questions ideas of love and hope. Just don't expect any happy answers.
BLACK LIGHT (2017)
If you have a supernatural problem that won't go away, you need Buck Carlsbad: private eye, exorcist, and last resort. Buck's got a way with spirits that no one else can match. He was normal, once. Until Something Horrible killed his parents and left him for dead. Buck has spent years using his gift to trace his family. It's his only hope of finding out what happened to them-and what made him the way he is. Now the voices say that something big is coming. Buck already knows what it is-a super high-tech bullet train running express across a stretch of unforgiving desert known for the most deadly paranormal events in history. A place where Buck almost died a few years ago, and where he swore he would never return. But as the train prepares to rumble down the tracks, Buck knows it can only be the inevitable hand of fate pulling him back to the most harrowing unfinished case of his career at four hundred miles per hour.
Acclaimed author STEPHEN ROMANO teams up with Patrick melton and Marcus Dunstan, top Hollywood screenwriters of the SAW films for a relentless ride through a very dark night . . .
"Ghostbusters with bloody mayhem on steroids."
-- Kirkus Reviews
"Fun and exciting. A definite winner."
"I found myself riveted to the page, and about to go for the ride of my life...The style here is phenomenal, all at once calling upon noir, action, and straight-up, hard-core horror, and throwing it at the reader in a well blended mix...A brilliant play on the whole medium/ghost hunter thing, and a concrete way to make all fans of horror happy in one way or another."
"Black Light is immensely entertaining, fueled by breakneck pacing and an action-packed story...A thrilling reading experience. In the end, Black Light entertained the hell out of me and I sincerely hope Patrick Melton, Marcus Dunstan & Stephen Romano offer up another serving of Buck Carlsbad in the very near future..."
"Wry, complex and suspenseful, Black Light will keep spines tingling from the first ghoulish encounter to the final exorcism. Readers will have a ghastly good time tagging along on an exorcist's bullet-train journey through the nexus of evil."
--Jaclyn Fulwood, Shelf Awareness
"Visceral and cinematic ... over-the-top fun."
The acclaimed author of Resurrection Express breaks all the rules in this non-stop suspense thriller packed with killers, comic books, drug lords, and film nerds.
For the last five years, Jollie, Andy, and Mark have lived together in a crazy bohemian crash pad in Austin, Texas, immersed in an endless summer of sex, drugs, and rock and roll. But one of them is not what they seem to be. And when that person finally blows a decades-long cover during a violent attack on a powerful Austin dope dealer, all hell breaks loose in the bloody, bullet-riddled aftermath. As the façade of the normal world sizzles away, revealing an ominous shadow league of endemic spies and assassins known only as METRO, Jollie, Andy, and Mark must run like hell into a very dark night, where love and friendship will bind them, a terrifying hatchet man will close in to kill them, and the pitch black truth about everything will be revealed, again and again...
"This dark and graphic rip of a ride is not for the faint of heart. But if you like books that force you to stay awake (at night), and you want something that will make my sentences look positively terse, then this is your book. Stephen Romano is amazing with words."
--Taylor Stevens, New York Times bestselling author of THE INFORMATIONIST
"Holy hell. Nitro-charged, blood-thumping, brain-twisting entertainment. Romano isn't messing around."
--Joe R. Lansdale, international bestselling author of COLD IN JULY and the HAP AND LEONARD series
"METRO is a bloodbath to remember. Stephen Romano writes the way an AK-47 fires, six hundred words a minute, all of them hitting their target and spreading for maximum damage....When you get to an action scene—and there are enough to satisfy any gamer—strap yourself down, because Romano has found remarkable ways to destroy life....heart-pumping mayhem."
--William Kotzwinkle, New York Times bestselling author of FELONIOUS MONK, THE FAN MAN and A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET 4: THE DREAM MASTER
If you're an aficionado of pop culture, paranoia, violence, Trivial Pursuit, and terrific writing, you'll love METRO."
--Joss Cordero, acclaimed author of WEST PALM
SHOCK FESTIVAL (2008)
An illustrated history of 101 of the strangest, sleaziest, most outrageous movies you’ve never seen! An elaborate work of illustrated fiction, Shock Festival is a raunchy, hilarious tall tale of imaginary sleazebag exploitation films, lavishly brought to life with hundreds of exclusive, never-before-seen original movie posters and memorabilia items! It’s the retro-dazzle of Grindhousemeets the authentic ‘mockumentary’ appeal of Spinal Tap in over 350 full color pages! From wild monster flicks like "Universe of Bloody Zombies" to the streetwise blaxploitation of "Chocolate Cherri On Top," this illustrated epic is guaranteed to blow the most jaded movie geek’s mind . . . and leave everyone else cheering in the aisles for more!
"One of the greatest homage to B-cinema ever undertaken . . . SHOCK FESTIVAL is a breathtakingly thorough overview of over 100 movies and a slew of filmmaker and actors who never existed -- but which you'll believe actually did by the time you finish reading. And your eyes don't even have to touch the words to be convinced, thanks to the down-to-the-smallest-detail perfect collection of posters, newspaper ads, still photos and other visuals Romano and his art team have created."
"Take a drop of Joe R. Lansdale's blood. Then a slice from David J. Schow's scalp. Scrape some phlegm off Tarantino's tongue. Inject some of Robert Rodriguez's sperm. Pour in some Karo syrup. Mix it in a blender. Pour. These are just some of the ingredients of Stephen Romano's unique work . . . If the buzz surrounding his new book, SHOCK FESTIVAL, is any indication, Stephen Romano's work will not only turn heads, it's going to make heads roll."
"While the term mockumentary practically wrote itself, it's going to take a clever writer to describe Stephen Romano's fictional alternate history of exploitation films . . . (Romano) has created a vivid universe filled with films you'd love to see and personalities you'd line up at a convention to meet, lavishly illustrated with a plethora of eye-popping posters, lobby cards, on-set still and ad mats for such ficional films as THE UNDERTAKER AND HIS WIFE and STARFIRE BEYOND THE GALAXY... Fans swept up in the recent wave of grindhouse nostalgia NEED to buy this book!"
--Rue Morgue Magazine
THE RIOT ACT (2006-2016)
From acclaimed Amazon best-selling author Stephen Romano comes a highly-praised collection of berserk cutting-edge horror stories that plunge deep into the darkest mires of twisted human madness and venture through the twisted outer reaches of future shock. It's a universe of scorned lovers and psychotic superheroes, of terrible family secrets and hideous mutant freaks. One thing is certain: One you have read THE RIOT ACT, you'll never be the same! With a hard-hitting introduction by legendary best-selling author JOE R. LANSDALE, this 10th Anniversary Edition now presents the author's definitive vision for the first time in a decade.
"Stephen Romano writes like he's on fire. And I don't mean with some funny notion like The Muse, or the Lord. No, he writes like someone just SET HIM ON FIRE . . . THE RIOT ACT is some of the most urgent, blistering, breathlessly paced, microscopically observed, mordantly hilarious, heartbreakingly hopeless, and utterly devastating bloodbath fiction ever burned into print."
---JOHN SKIPP, best selling author of THE SCREAM and JAKE'S WAKE
"Stephen Romano is Jackson Pollack and THE RIOT ACT is a canvas dripping with blood-red energy. Herein lies a technicolor ricochet inside the mind of a true pioneer in urban nightmare."
---Kealan Patrick Burke, Bram Stoker-Award Winning author of CURRENCY OF SOULS
"This is a guy with a vision, a real narrative style, a dark and mesmerizing worldview. It's as if Joe Lansdale, Dave Schow, John Skipp, and Norm Partridge all had a long, wild weekend in Vegas replete with moonshine, .45s, snakeskin boots, twleve kilos of uncut Colombian coke, Five Thai hookers, and the dug-up corpse of Jim Thompson, spent three days out of their minds, and woke up the following morning to find little baby Steve Romano in the middle of the hotel room gurgling, "Daddy! Daddy!" And yes, that really IS the only way to explain how solid his fiction is. Brutal, full-on street-cred, sharp, insightful, human, authentic, bloody, savage, asskicking, but smooth and altogether pure. Seriously, you've got to check him out."
---TOM PICCIRILLI, best-selling author of THE LAST KIND WORD
"There are certain authors you will always remember reading for the first time. Stephen Romano is one of those authors. He brings a fresh, unique voice that's firmly grounded in the genre's history, yet daring and different that anything that's come before. His stories have weight. His words have impact. You will not be disappointed."
---BRIAN KEENE, Best-selling author of GHOUL
"(Stephen's stories) have that kind of magic where you take something wild and wooly, and tell it in such a way that you just can't doubt it. They make you feel, and they make you think, even if they are for the most part, disturbing. Fact is, THE RIOT ACT may be the best new short story collection I've read in years. Stephen Romano isn't fu**ing around."
---JOE LANSDALE, best-selling author of THE BOTTOMS and BUBBA HO-TEP
Original release cover from the original 2006 edition, with art by James Keating, now out of print and extremely rare. "I don't even have one of those things," Stephen says.
IT'S JUST US (2016)
From the poison pen of acclaimed Amazon best selling author Stephen Romano (WAYWARD PINES: BEFORE THE FALL) comes an ALL NEW assault of extreme short fiction that asks hard and inescapable questions . . . and provides the terrifying answers in a bizarre maelstrom that spirals even beyond even his highly-acclaimed story collection THE RIOT ACT. This is horror at its purest and most terrible, a shattered mirror held to the face of humanity, featuring the searing, controversial book-length novellas ROSE .45 and TRENCHCOAT TRAILERPARK MASSACRE. In these alchemic depths Romano is the Klown Prince of Darkness, where only the power of love can save a chosen few from the enemy within. While for others it may already be too late . . .
WAYWARD PINES: BEFORE THE FALL (2016)
Wayward Joe is a man who has has seen a lot. But he's never seen anything like the storm that's coming.
When Joe Casey, a former Special Forces soldier living a haunted retirement as a homeless bum on the streets of Austin Texas, is hired by his oldest friend to euthanize him in his own home, he stumbles across a hidden message that leads him directly into the crosshairs off a legion of underground spooks and assassins. They're all protecting an apocalyptic cabal, and will kill anyone in their way---including Joe. Aided by a renegade cop and a kind nurse with a dark secret, Joe plunges headlong into obsession, determined to find out why his buddy really wanted to die. And when the truth comes out, it leads directly into the heart of Wayward Pines, a city which is destined to become the last outpost of humanity, in a future ruled by monsters.
This is the hard-hitting prequel to the popular WAYWARD PINES series of novels, taking place decades before the fall of humanity, and providing the terrifying origin story of the Abnormals, as everyman Joe Casey discovers his unwitting role to play in the apocalypse that will destroy mankind.
Stephen Romano's professional commissioned e-book for the WAYWARD PINES Kindle Worlds series was an instant success when it hit Amazon in 2016, staying at the top of the bestseller list for over ten weeks. Only available as a Kindle executive and now out of "print" since the cancellation of the Kindle Worlds series, BEFORE THE FALL is a "lost classic," set to return in at a future date, hopefully in 2023. We're negotiating now with the powers-that-be. Fingers crossed!
PROJECT 51 (2021)
In November of 2020, on the eve of his fifty-first birthday, acclaimed author Stephen Romano locked himself in his home, put the throttle down hard and attempted the impossible: The creation of 51 stories in twenty-four hours. With only the help of the Eibon Press “Psycho Fans,” who contributed many ideas, plots and ramblings to the Project, Romano’s mad quest culminated in a maelstrom of blood and guts beyond the blackness of a hundred million nights. It wasn’t pretty. But you don’t have to take our word for it. A bizarre and hilarious nightmare ride awaits that only the strong will survive, reaching from the most twisted depths of the human mind, to the outer reaches of future shock. It’s a deeply-felt passion kiss from The Klown Prince Of Darkness that will rock you and challenge you . . . and maybe even shatter you.
Welcome to Project 51
"Stephen Romano writes like an AK47 fires."
-William Kotzwinkle, bestselling author of THE FAN MAN and A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET 4
"Stephen Romano's imagination is so scary brilliant that readers should be required to obtain a controlled substance license before reading RESURRECTION EXPRESS."
-Duane Swierczynski, author of CANARY
"His fiction is brutal, asskicking... but smooth and altogether pure."
-Tom Piccirilli, author of THE LAST KIND WORDS
"Stephen Romano writes like he's on fire!"
-John Skipp, author of THE SCREAM
'Stephen Romano isn't fucking around."
-Joe R. Lansdale, champion Mojo storyteller
"He brings a fresh, unique voice that its firmly grounded in genre's history, but daring and different than anything that's come before. His words have weight. His stories have impact. You will not be disappointed."
-Brian Keene, best-selling author of THE GHOUL
"RESURRECTION EXPRESS (may leave you) battered and broken by its revelations."
-Greg Rucka, bestselling author of BATMAN: NO MAN'S LAND
AND IF YOU THINK "PROJECT 51" IS INSANE . . . be sure to check out Stephen's other collections and novels and comic books, such as SHOCK FESTIVAL, METRO, RESURRECTION EXPRESS, THE RIOT ACT, IT'S JUST US, Lucio Fulci's ZOMBIE, BOTTOMFEEDER, WASTELAND 1989 and more!
JULIA STARCHILD and other stories (2023)
A young boy sees a sexy ultra-violent Barbarella style space opera movie at a local theater in 1975 and instantly becomes captivated by Julia Starchild, the siren of the stars, played by a marginally talented Playboy bunny, under the direction of a half-crazed, drug-fueled genius who has made deals with every imaginable devil to bring Julia into the world. And it doesn't stop. There are sequels, of course. While Julia's biggest fan obsesses over each new film in the Starchild Saga, her creator barely survives their making... until the destiny of a super-fan and the fate of a tragic artist collides on the streets of New York City, spawning several generations of exploitation filmmakers who will live in magic and die in darkness, with only the films they made left to mark their passing . . .
Stephen Romano's epic tale of tragedy and triumph, sex and drugs, art and mayhem, and cinematic alchemy will take you on a journey that transcends time and family. Originally published here at the Express as a serialized novella in six parts, JULIA STARCHILD is now presented in a revised print edition from Eibon Press, with all new chapters and illustrations by Stephen himself. Accompanied by fifteen never-before-published tales, JULIA STARCHILD is Romano's fourth and most challenging collection of short fiction, one that asks his usual hard questions, but probes even further into worlds and realities unknown.
Coming in 2023
SAFE IN THE WOODS (2010-2023)
Marion 'Winnie" Winston. Drug dealer by trade. Killer by nature. Fugitive for hire. His whole life has been a struggle on the crazy streets of Austin, Texas, where the American Dream has a price tag, and only one man in a million is hungry enough to pay. But tonight, Marion's world has been shattered, and his desperate flight from the perverted clutches of a ruthless inner city drug and trafficking cartel will bring him face-to-face with the most bizarre secret ever kept in the underworld---a secret kept deep within the Arkansas wilderness by a twisted phantom overboss whose bloodthirsty wrath is felt only by those who dare to challenge him. Hooking up with a beautiful and deadly mafia mistress, Winnie will plunge had first into a desperate spiral of murder, torture and revenge, where he will discover that is something far worse than death waiting in the dark... along with a final score so big it defies imagination.
Stephen Romano's "lost" chapter of his Austin Underworld Trilogy (which includes METRO and RESURRECTION EXPRESS, all set in the same universe) was self-published in a micro-run of just 50 COPIES in the summer of 2010. Sold directly to fans, only at convention appearances, that pressing is now sold out and almost impossible to find. In November of 2023, it will finally be unleashed anew, with all new revised chapters and a new afterword from the author, in both limited edition hardback and paperback from Eibon Press.
INVASION OF THE MUTANOIDS (1998)
Ozzy Hoffmaster is a shotgun crazy escaped con on the run from pretty much everyone, haunted by the voices his head. The only problem is, those voices are actually an alien collective intelligence which has picked an ugly fight with Ozzy, sending him on a headlong breakneck chase through the backstreets of Tinseltown, a backwater Arizona shithole crawling with mutant monsters from another dimension. Ozzy's destiny, and the fate of the entire planet, hang in the balance, as he survives one insane confrontation after another with the "Mutanoids," and eventually realizes he's caught the crossfire of an endless war between galactic demigods. Something like this could really fuck up your weekend! And meanwhile, in another time, a struggling young science fiction writer wrestles with his soul as he is visited by monstrous visions, all set to warn him of a cosmic apocalypse. When he is finally consumed by it, his drunken father must race to the rescue, confronting the secret of Ozzy Hoffmaster and the Invasion of the Mutanoids, deep inside a bizarre and deadly alternate reality where literally ANYTHING goes...
Stephen Romano's early "student novel" (as it is now called by its author) was a tough sell to publishers in 1997. So Stephen did what he had to do. He published it himself through his own imprint in 1998. This was at a time when such efforts were still difficult, and online print-on-demand platforms were years in the future. The result was a lovingly produced and extremely limited edition of just 300 copies, lavishly illustrated by Austin artist JAMES KEATING and sold from the trunk of a car to bookstores and readers. Only a few dedicated fans have managed to track down copies of INVASION OF THE MUTANOIDS so many years later, though the book and its many extreme visions are heavily referenced in Romano's later illustrated novel SHOCK FESTIVAL. 'That was my way of sort of legitimizing the whole thing," explains Romano. "I am embarrassed by the novel in so many ways now and almost wish I hadn't ever published it... but I'm not sorry, really, because it taught me some hard lessons about what and what not to do in the publishing biz. I thought it was all silly enough to make fun of in SHOCK FESTIVAL. I also sort of reinvented the story in a strange way when I wrote the story SWALLOW THE HARD WAY, which was eventually published in THE RIOT ACT"
There are currently no plans for a re-pressing of MUTANOIDS. Romano prefers to leave this one where he feels it belongs: In the past.
CLICK HERE for some choice additional words by Stephen himself about MUTANOIDS and the best writing advice it ever led him to.
MASTERS OF HORROR: INCIDENT ON AND OFF A MOUNTAIN ROAD (2005)
In 2005, thirteen of the horror genres most legendary directors were assembled for an unprecedented effort: the creation of “short films” that would present their purest, most undiluted vision. Produced by STARZ and originally aired on Showtime, the first episode was INCIDENT ON AN OFF A MOUNTAIN ROAD, a hard-hitting adaptation of Joe R. Lansdale’s short story by screenwriter Stephen Romano, working with the film’s director, the legendary genre mavrick Don Coscarelli, maker of the PHANTASM films, BUBBA HO TEP and THE BEASTMASTER. Met with unanimous critical praise, the short film remains among the best-reviewed effort of the director’s career, and most beloved of the series, along with John Carpenter’s CIGARETTE BURNS.
When a car accident on a lonely stretch of mountain road leaves a young woman hurt and alone, a backwoods maniac leads her on an insane chase through the blackest night. But the trauma of it all initiates a recalling of a series of mysterious events from her past and renders her anything but helpless in this Don Coscarelli nail-biter.
Stephen: “Don and I worked together as screenwriting partners for many years and it was a great honor. I even did a PHANTASM comic series based on his legendary movie. We developed so many motion picture projects together, including a couple that would have been really neat to see on the screen, like BUBBA HO-TEP 2 (BUBBA NOSFERATU: CURSE OF THE SHE VAMPIRES), but the only one that actually got made was INCIDENT ON AND OFF A MOUNTAIN ROAD. It was my first experience making a real movie on a big union set, and I was there for every day of it. A real trial by fire! But we ended up with something special at the end of the day. It’s my super dark slasher flick with the director of PHANTASM and the writer of MUCHO MOJO. What more do you want?”
YOU KILLED MY MOTHER (2017)
The first of Stephen’s made-for-TV feature thrillers, produced by genre film legend Pierre David and released internationally by Lifetime Networks.
After her mother dies in an emergency room, teen rebel Joanna Flay goes a little crazy. But when she’s released from a mental hospital years later, she’s anything but a model citizen, using every deadly trick she learned from her criminal father to seek revenge on Miriam Preston, the doctor she holds responsible mommy’s death. And that’s not all. Pretty poison Jo is also getting dangerously close to Doctor Preston’s teenage artist son Bobby… and all hell is about to break loose.
Stephen: “Don Coscarelli was my first mentor in film, and I kept my batting average high when Pierre David became my second mentor. They’re both major legends in the horror world, of course, with Pierre having produced SCANNERS and VIDEODROME, my favorite David Cronenberg films. And like with Don, Pierre allowed me access to the sets when these were being filmed, he let me see the the dailies, and even the rough assemblies and fine cuts as they were being edited. This one was actually shot second, as a back-to-back deal with WEB CAM GIRLS, which is still my favorite of the two. We had fun with this because Jo is such an ingenious criminal McGyver type, rigging deadly booby traps and such for her victims, which is different from the norm at Lifetime, where people usually just get knifed or poisoned or whatever. We’re working in a certain wheelhouse to be sure, but I was able to bring many personal touches to this one. My comic book company Eibon Press even makes an appearance, with my star artist Pat Carbajal providing Bobby’s art.”
WEB CAM GIRLS (2017)
Romano’s second released Lifetime thriller was shot first, under veteran director Doug Campbell, in and around LA. On the night of its initial release, the film was a top trending topic on Twitter, and was ultimately one of Lifetime’s biggest hits that year.
When Alex Hilers’ hot mess cousin Carolyn vanishes, Alex suspects the worst. You see, Carolyn has been “camming” lately, and Alex suspects she broke the rules and met one of her clients. No one believes that a madman has abducted Carolyn and it’s now up to Alex to solve the mystery and save her cousin. But what she will find is more terrifying than she could have imagined: A secret monster with a double life who kidnaps only the prettiest Cam Girls and sells their grisly “death clips” online!
Stephen: “I still really love this one, because it was technically the first. We lived through a real adventure making it and I also got to meet and work with Tonya Kay for the first time, who is an incredible actress and an amazing filmmaker. (She steals every scene she is in!!) WEB CAM GIRLS is kind of a slasher whodunnit with a bit of a nasty edge. It’s easily the most disturbing of the Lifetime films I’ve done. But I swear putting poor little Alex in the ball gag harness was NOT my idea!”
CLICK HERE to read a TERRIFYING REVIEW of WEB CAM GIRLS
MY MOTHERS SPLIT PERSONALTIES (2019)
After her father dies of a heart attack, Julie returns home from college to see her mother Gail. But mommy is not herself these days, acting bizarrely and under the control of Warren Stacey, a highly intelligent criminal who wants to get his hands on her fortune. But it turns out Gail is not alone in her head: Amy, Simone and Sadie are along for the ride and they are a deadly handful!
Stephen: “Pierre wanted to make this because he saw SPLIT and was really inspired by it. He called me as he was leaving the theater and said we had to do this! It was made back to back with DEADLY INFLUENCER and was a very difficult script to get right. It ended up on LMN and Lifetime. One of our amazing villains, Joranda Lajoie, went on to co-star in one of my favorite TV shows THE BOYS after us. Jordana is so great and one of my favorite actresses these days!”
CLICK HERE to read an INSANE review of MY MOTHER’S SPLIT PERSONALITIES.
DEADLY INFLUENCER (2019)
After 18 year old Skylar Madison commits murder to keep her classmates’ social media careers under her thumb, she turns her sights on a new girl. But spunky Jessica Lake is not so early managed. Jessica’s hip mother suspects the truth, as the sneaky and manipulative Skylar stays one move ahead, planning a deadly game of her own.
Stephen: “This one was also hard to write, but I really love how it came out, at least in terms of the acting. Morgan Taylor Campbell is so great as Skylar Madison. She’s my favorite villain in all these films, the perfect combination of bookish beautiful and venomously crazy! It’s the only film I’ve ever done where the cast is almost entirely teenage girls. Of all the Lifetime flicks I’ve done, this one had the most amazing TV trailer. It’s just hilariously over the top.”
CLICK HERE to read a killer review of DEADLY INFLUENCER.
ESCAPING MY STALKER (2020)
Once a super-tough orphan raised on the streets of LA, eighteen-year-old Taylor is now living a normal life, after being adopted by a couple who run a shelter for people in need. But Taylor’s criminal past may be catching up with her. She’s got a stalker, and he means business. When her foster father is nearly killed in a night of terror that invades her new home, Taylor goes on the offensive, using every secret she knows about the underworld to find out who hates her enough to destroy everything she loves.
Stephen: “This one is my favorite because it has the most ME in it. I was not asked to do draft after draft, and much of what I initially wrote is in the final film. I hadn’t had a “pure experience” like that since MASTERS OF HORROR.” Also, like on MASTERS, I was on set every single day, working with the director and producers. So much of the film works exactly as I was hoping it would. That’s rare because usually you don’t wanna type your soul into these things. But I took a chance and did it this time, and it was great.”
CLICK HERE to read a KILLER REVIEW of ESCAPING MY STALKER
NEXT DOOR NIGHTMARE (2021)
A hard hitting entry in the outrageous “Psycho Granny Thriller” Lifetime sub-genre, the top-rated NEXT DOOR NIGHTMARE is a fast-moving thrill ride which pits newly married couple Kyle and Sarah Collins against the deranged 76 year old Helen Henderson, recently released from a nuthouse and looking to acquire a new family, complete with a bouncing baby granddaughter! She’ll do anything to make Sarah love her… including murder.
Stephen: “We developed this in early 2020, just as the pandemic started breaking. Though the writing went pretty smoothly, they pushed the shoot to the end of the year for obvious reasons, which meant I had to rewrite it as a “winter thriller” . . . but the final film is beautiful because of all that white wonderland stuff! And you gotta give it to these tough Canadians: They shot a very difficult and complicated thriller in the dead middle of a freaking snow storm! That’s real commitment! Debra Grover delivered the best Lifetime performance of the year, I think. You really understand Helen through Debra’s eyes. It’s just chilling. This one was released to massive ratings success and the poster they did was really creepy and beautiful too. It’s the best one done for any of my Lifetime films so far.”
And what’s on the way? So glad you asked . . .
TRIPLE THREAT (2021)
Premiering later this year . . . the newest Lifetime thriller from screenwriter Stephen Romano comes to you courtesy of veteran producers Pierre David and Tom Berry, who team up with the director of the SHARKNADO films, Anthony C. Ferrante, for a wild ride unlike anything quite seen before. This outrageous murder mystery blockbuster is now in post-production and stars another genre legend, to be announced soon! We can’t say who it is just yet, but we can say she’s a major player in horror AND rock and roll movies, and she gives a performance for the ages which will break your heart and chill your blood. Be very afraid . . .
Stephen: “I can’t give too much away here, but I have to say that Anthony is making a really ambitious film, and he’s truly delivering some creepy goods.”
CLICK HERE to read the original, uncut liner notes by Stephen Romano.
In addition to the many films he’s written for television, Stephen has provided commentaries on several others, including WEB OF THE SPIDER and the TRAILER TRAMA series, for which he also did key artwork. His most celebrated accomplishment in this arena was STARCRASH in 2010, when Stephen was contacted to co-produce the official HD release of the legendary cult classic and provide outrageous and informative commentary tracks, which were nominated for a Rondo Hatton award that year. Long forgotten by many people, the film is a campy outer space romp for all ages, released as part of the ROGER CORMAN’S CULT CLASSICS series from SHOUT! FACTORY. Romano also provided much of the materials used for the film’s lavish 2-disc release, much of which was culled from research from an abandoned book about the making of the film
From the official jacket copy (written by Stephen Romano):
Prepare yourself for a vintage science fiction adventure film you will never forget, as the sultry Stella Star (Caroline Munro) and her alien sidekick Akton (Marjoe Gortner) team up with robot lawman Elle (Judd Hamilton) on a high adventure to save the universe. It is a cosmic mash-up of daring escapes, wild special effects, beautiful women in sexy space bikinis and nonstop action on a dozen alien worlds. Roger Corman presents the ultimate European space opera, a colorful and dazzling chase through the galaxy that will blast you through the blackness of a hundred million nights!
Kicked into hyperspace by a maelstrom of ingenious low-budget special effects and the talents of Academy Award winning composer John Barry, the film was a smash hit in 1979 when the wild and humorous sci-fi adventure hit theatres. For over 30 years the film has gained a massive cult following, inspiring devoted legions of Crashers, fan clubs and more. Now, for the first time on DVD, the film is presented in a deluxe two-disc special edition.
CLICK HERE to read the original, uncut liner notes by Stephen Romano.