Living Dead/The Kindred Writer Launches IT COMES BACK

Award-winning writer & director John Penney debuts first look at his latest psychological horror novel ‘It Comes Back’ and asks you to help shape the story

Award-winning writer and director John Penney has launched a new Crowdfundr where fans can help shape the story of his third and much anticipated psychological horror novel, It Comes Back.

On September 15th, the first two chapters of the book become available via the Crowdfundr platform, and he is actively asking audiences to feedback on his work to shape the story through to the end – akin to a choose your own adventure. It Comes Back is a psychological horror novel that explores trauma, guilt and people’s unsuccessful attempts to run away from their past mistakes.

As well getting exclusive access to his book, other perks include getting a character named after you, signed previous works and one-on-one meetings with John himself, who can impart his wisdom with fellow writing enthusiasts.

Penney’s previous novels include Truck Stop and Killing Time. John is best known for the films Return of the Living Dead III, Zyzzyx Road, Hellgate and The Kindred.

“I have spent my career writing screenplays for films, including “Return of the Living Dead 3”, “The Kindred” and “Re-Animator Unbound.” Although the process has been rewarding, my best creative experiences have been the two novels I wrote “Truck Stop” and “Killing Time.” Crowdfundr gives me the opportunity to pursue writing novels. There are no barriers between my ideas and the reader. The connection is pure and I can express myself one on one. This is pure joy. Crowdfundr also allows me to hear back from my readers directly,” said Penney.

It Comes Back synopsis

It knows what you did… It will use it against you.
Allison Cutter is just a typical housewife living in California with her husband Ray. One night she wakes up to find herself alone in her bed with Ray nowhere in sight. She looks for him, but instead of finding her husband, she finds a different man in her kitchen. A completely nude man with slashed wrists raiding her refrigerator. Before Allison can call for help, she is stabbed seven times in the back. Ray flees from the police but is apprehended in Yucca Valley. He is frantic and makes only one request: to speak to Office Vale.

To the police, this is just a crime of passion. Another husband who went crazy and murdered his wife. Ray is taken to the Yucca Valley police station for one night and detained until the San Bernadino police arrive the next morning to transport him.

Office Bianca Vale arrives for her night shift along with her colleagues Jim, Charlotte, Arnie, and her boss Benjamin. They prepare for a regular night at the station with Ray and a drunk detainee in custody, simply biding their time until the sun rises. Bianca is fresh off a failed date and is looking to get her mind off it. But there is far more weighing Bianca down than just her love life. Her relationship with her sister is on the rocks and she has yet to forgive for a tragic mistake year prior. The type of mistake that most people could never live down.

Yet Bianca is not the only one at the police station who is wracked with guilt. None of her colleagues, despite their outward demeanors, have lived perfect lives. Some of them are dealing with demons as large as Bianca.

Everyone at the station follows protocol. They log in Ray’s belongings, fill out paperwork, and analyze the crime footage. However, Ray’s detention quickly proves itself to be far from a routine shift. And far more sinister too. A shadowy figure begins to manifest itself as each officer’s greatest regret and picks them off one by one. Each officer’s worst enemy is their own mistakes which means no one is safe. To make matters worse, the police station loses all contact with the outside world.

Now, making it until the morning alive may be one of the most difficult challenges Bianca has ever faced. But if she hopes to do it, the only key might be Ray himself.

For crowdfunding details, to claim your perk and to get involved, visit the website below or scan the QR code:


Author’s Biography

Award-winning writer/director John Penney attended UCLA where he studied film and received a degree in English. In addition to his screenplays, John has written short stories that have won him an award from the Adelphi Academy in New York, and have been published in the “Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction.”

In 2011, John wrote and directed the supernatural thriller “Hellgate” starring William Hurt and Cary Elwes. The film was awarded Best Film at the Bram Stoker International Film Festival as well as the Best Horror Film from the Fantasy Horror Awards in Italy, sponsored by Syfy Europe Universal. Prior writer-director credits include the thriller “Zyzzyx Road” starring Katherine Heigl and Tom Sizemore, the family film “Magic” with Robert Davi and Christopher Lloyd, and a segment in the anthology film “Virus of the Dead.”

In 2017 John formed the genre company Dark Arts Entertainment with Brian Yuzna, (“Re-Animator” “Honey I Shrunk the Kids”) which has been producing a range of quality, marketable features and multimedia projects, tailor-made for today’s discerning horror audience.

John is also currently prepping his next feature film, “Crossover,” based on his novel “Truck Stop” and co-writing the final sequel to the seminal genre film “Re-Animator” for The Wolper Company.

In addition to his directing, John has written the screenplays for such films as “The Enemy” starring Roger Moore, Luke Perry, Olivia D’abo; “Contaminated Man” starring Peter Weller and William Hurt; “A Breed Apart” with Robert Patrick, Andrew McCarthy; “In Pursuit” with Daniel Baldwin, Claudia Schiffer, “Matter of Trust” with C. Thomas Howell. “The Kindred” with Rod Steiger, “Return of the Living Dead 3” with Mindy Clarke, “Past Perfect” with Eric Roberts, Laurie Holden and “Amphibious 3D” with Michael Pare.

John also served as a producer on his films “Zyzzyx Rd” ,”A Breed Apart”, “Matter of Trust” and “In Pursuit” and Executive Producer on the feature “Reborn” (2019) with Barbara Crampton, Chaz Bono and Peter Bogdanovich.

In 2012 John wrote his first novel “Truck Stop” and followed that up in 2013 with his second novel, “Killing Time.” He is also featured in the book on screenwriting by Jose Prendes, “The High Concept Massacre” along with fellow screenwriters Carl Gottlieb (“Jaws”) Amy Holden Jones (“Mystic Pizza” “Indecent Proposal”) and Doug Richardson (“Bad Boys” “Die Hard 2”)

John has been an adjunct Instructor at The Los Angeles Film School since 2013 where he teaches writing and directing.


Filmography (Writer/Director)

“The Donner House” (2022) TOH Entertainment – Optioned
“Rage” (2022) TOH Entertainment – Optioned
“Killing Time” (2022) presently being packaged
“Crossover” (2022) based on his novel “Truck Stop”
“Virus of the Dead” (2018) Anthology segment “Life”
“Hellgate” (2012) IFC Films, starring William Hurt, Cary Elwes
“Magic” (2009) Artist View Entertainment, starring Robert Davi, Christopher Lloyd
“Zyzzyx Road” (2006) Regent Entertainment, starring Katherine Heigl, Tom Sizemore


“Reanimator: Unbound” (2019) sequel in the Reanimator franchise (Wolper Company)
“Amphibious 3D” (2010) Starring Michael Pare, Janna Fassaert
“The Enemy” (2001) Starring Luke Perry, Roger Moore, Tom Conti
“In Pursuit” (2000) Starring Daniel Baldwin, Claudia Schiffer
“Contaminated Man” (2000) Starring William Hurt, Peter Weller, Natascha McElhone
“Perfect Assassins” (1998) Starring Andrew McCarthy, Portia de Rossi, Robert Patrick
“Matter of Trust” (1998) Starring C. Thomas Howell, Joan Severence
“Legend of the Mummy” (1998) Starring Lou Gossett Jr., Amy Locane
“Past Perfect” (1996) Starring Eric Roberts, Laurie Holden
“Return of the Living Dead 3” (1994) Starring Melinda Clarke, Kent McCord
“The Kindred” (1988) Starring Rod Steiger, Talia Balsam, Kim Hunter


2011 Best Film for “Hellgate” (aka “Shadows.”) The Bram Stoker International Film Festival, England.
2011 Best Horror Film for “Hellgate” (aka “Shadows.”) The Fantasy Horror Awards, Italy.

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