We knew Universal Studios was rebooting the classic monster movies into a new cinematic universe. So who's writing them? The "Monster Men," a collective of writers inspired by both the Pixar "brain trust" and the traditional tv writer's room. Among the writers on board: screenwriter/director Alex Kurtzman (Star Trek, Fringe); longtime Fast & Furious writer Chris Morgan; the creator and writer of the Fargo tv series, Noah Hawley; Prisoners screenwriter Aaron Guzikowski; and Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure and Men In Black screenwriter Ed Solomon. [more inside]
The Uncanny Power of Weird Fiction, by Jeff VanderMeer in The Atlantic.
The film that frightened me most - Guardian writers on their personal cinematic nightmares: Threads, Ringu, The Sixth Sense, The Blair Witch Project, The Shining, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, The Orphanage, Eden Lake, Watership Down, Psycho
Disclaimer: The facts are taken from the journal "Taste, Taboo, Trash: The Story of Ramsay Brothers" by Kartik Nair. I personally declare that the journal is only used as a reference & no intentions copying the content for any benefits, it's only to spread the knowledge regarding the working ways of Ramsay brothers. [more inside]
Pseudopod 401: The Lighthouse Keeper’s Wife Be careful what you wish for, and be careful of things with labels you can't read. [more inside]
The Dissolve's "Movie of the Week" on this week leading to Halloween has been The Blair Witch Project, which it describes as "the most widely despised great horror movie". They discuss the legacy of the film fifteen years after its release and the future of the genre that it helped to create: found-footage horror. And where are the people who made it these days? Heather Donahue is growing pot. Josh Leonard is still acting (Michael C. Williams less so). And the directors Daniel Myrick and Eduardo Sánchez seem to want to catch that same lightning in a bottle, but with very underwhelming results.
FACT magazine runs down the 100 greatest horror soundtracks (that's a lot of horror soundtracks). Also, there's a companion streamable YouTube playlist.
Lauren Davis rounds up webcomics to give you thrills and chills on io9, calling out 18 specifically, then listing additional titles in some of the descriptions. [more inside]
Why not just quit your job and spend all of your savings on a horror-themed road trip where you visit the real locations of some iconic scary movies. If that sounds like too much effort, well we've done a Google-based trip ourselves.
Here's what we found... [more inside]
Here's what we found... [more inside]
Halloween is almost here which to me means one thing: overanalyzing horror flicks for any feminist undertones! ... [N]o season has better metaphors for misogynistic fears and powerful female sexuality than the scary movies that permeate almost every channel and film festival throughout October.At Autostraddle, Nina suggests nine horror films she likes in the "Blossoming-Teenage-Girl-Becoming-A-Woman" sub-genre. She is far from alone in her search for interesting feminist themes in horror cinema and literature. [more inside]
The closest a film has ever come to adapting King’s internal-horror aesthetic is a film King himself has publicly lambasted: Kubrick’s version of The Shining. It’s the most artful, scary, and beautifully directed of the King adaptations, and even excludes some of the novel’s more overt (and potentially silly) visual elements, such as the hedge animals that come to life and stalk the family in the yard. Yet, the film never tackles the serious human horrors that infect Jack Torrance throughout the novel, specifically his alcoholism, along with the themes of cyclical abuse and mounting financial pressure. King’s criticism of the film is that Torrance, as played by Jack Nicholson, is portrayed as unhinged right from the start, whereas the novel slowly unravels the man’s sanity, the haunted house he occupies pushing him deeper into madness and violence. [more inside]
One minute horror film. By director Ignacio F. Rodó, based on this two sentence horror story from an AskReddit thread last year. Picohorror previously.
This is a tale nobody wanted to be told. It’s a cautionary tale about an obscure 1980s horror movie cobbled together from work by two separate groups of filmmakers working on the same set with two totally different casts. There’s also a savage businessman, crooked real-estate dealings, betrayal, madness, death, ex-Green Berets, ex-porn stars, and one of the founding fathers of the United States. - The Dissolve on "Spookies"
Scared Yet? is a creepypasta review series produced by Kris Straub, himself the creator of the infamous "Candle Cove" creepypasta. Episodes one, two, three, and four critique "Jeff the Killer," the SCP Foundation, "The Russian Sleep Experiment," and The Josef K. Stories, respectively. [more inside]
ComicsAlliance writer Benito Cereno has put together a collection of links to horror films available for streaming on Netflix this October: The Haunting of Netflix House 2: Your Sister is a Netflix
Fun Size Horror is a film collective which is creating enough variety of scares to make this Halloween really special. Starting October 27, five websites (DreadCentral, Bloody Disgusting, Shock Till You Drop, Hitfix, and Collider) will each host one of 31 horror shorts for 24 hours, and then the next day each will bring you a new horror short. The trailer for the entire series is on Vimeo. I assume you can get links and information from @FunSizeHorror on twitter.
Monster Legacy, a blog "trying to delve into the secrets of the making of Movie Monsters," presents Subterranean Terror, an in depth look at the creature effects of the greatest Precambrian sandworm horror-comedy franchise of all time. [more inside]
R.I.P., the Vincent Price of podcasts Lawrence Santoro (old but useful site), writer, director, and actor, passed this July. But he might be best known for his work as a podcaster, most notably through his Tales to Terrify. [more inside]
"The du Maurier sisters had, from their volatile, crowded childhood onward, formed this private country they could slip in and out of, where "menaces" and "Venetian tendencies" could be freely discussed. In other words, they found a way to use games of pretend to tell the absolute truth." - Carrie Frye on author Daphne du Maurier and her seminal gothic novel, Rebecca.
In 2004 Joseph Kahn directed the hyper-kinetic, poorly reviewed motorcycle action movie Torque. It was Kahn's directorial debut, and though he was tapped for (one of many) failed Neuromancer adaptations, he devoted the next six years to a largely self financed project: the horror-comedy farce Detention. Noted cultural critic Steven Shaviro discusses in this essay why Detention, despite also being reviewed negatively, is one of his favorite movies of the decade. Shaviro's review contains major spoilers for the plot, and it's probably best to go into the movie blind. A brief non-spoiler synopsis is available below the jump. [more inside]
Ghostbusters is the best comedy ever made about the limits of the Lovecraftian worldview. By Max Gladstone.
You invest so much in it, don't you? It's what elevates you above the beasts of the field, it's what makes you special. Homo sapiens, you call yourself. Wise Man. Do you even know what it is, this consciousness you cite in your own exaltation? Do you even know what it's for?Dr. Peter Watts is no stranger to MetaFilter. But look past his sardonic nuptials, heartbreaking eulogies, and agonizing run-ins with fascists (and fasciitis) and you'll find one of the most brilliant, compelling, and disquieting science fiction authors at work today. A marine biologist skilled at deep background research, his acclaimed 2006 novel Blindsight [full text] -- a cerebral "first contact" tale led by a diverse crew of bleeding-edge post-humans -- is diamond-hard and deeply horrifying, wringing profound existential dread from such abstruse concepts as the Chinese Room, the Philosophical Zombie, Chernoff faces, and the myriad quirks and blind spots that haunt the human mind. But Blindsight's last, shattering insight is not the end of the story -- along with crew/ship/"Firefall" notes, a blackly funny in-universe lecture on resurrecting sociopathic vampirism (PDF - prev.), and a rigorously-cited (and spoiler-laden) reference section, tomorrow will see the release of
Things That Don't Suck, Some Notes on The Stand
[Spoiler alert: assume everything, from the link above to those below, contains SPOILERS.] [more inside]
I recently reread The Stand for no particular reason other than I felt like it. I'm honestly not sure how many time[s] I've read it at this point, more than three, less than a half dozen (though I can clearly remember my first visit to that horrifyingly stripped bare world as I can remember the first reading of all the truly great King stories). It's not my favorite of King's work, but it is arguably his most richly and completely imagined. It truly is the American Lord of The Rings, with the concerns of England (Pastorialism vs. Industrialism, Germany's tendency to try and blow it up every thirty years or so) replaced by those of America (Religion, the omnipresent struggle between our liberal and libertarian ideals, our fear of and dependence on the military, racial and gender tension) and given harrowing size.
I'm happy to say that The Stand holds up well past the bounds of nostalgia and revisiting the world and these characters was as pleasurable as ever. But you can't step in the same river twice, even when you're revisiting a favorite book. Even if the river hasn't changed you have. This isn't meant as any kind of comprehensive essay on The Stand. Just a couple of things I noticed upon dipping my toes in the river this time.
[Spoiler alert: assume everything, from the link above to those below, contains SPOILERS.] [more inside]
Director, writer, and producer Mick Garris releases videos of his interviews with people in the horror and sci-fi entertainment industry at his new website, Mick Garris Interviews. There is also a YouTube channel. An introduction can be found at the about page. According to The Nerdist, interviews will be released at the rate of one per week. Interviews already uploaded: a four-parter with Director John Carpenter (here's Part 1 YT), and one segment with John Badham, director of Dracula (1979) and, incidentally, Saturday Night Fever (1977).
Jason Blum—producer of Paranormal Activity, Insidious, Sinister, The Purge, The Bay, and Oculus—participated in an interesting interview at SXSW Film 2014 about his model of producing high-quality low-budget horror films for wide release. The video is almost an hour long, but worth watching if you're interested in contemporary mainstream horror.
The gals at Anglo-Filles have an entertaining (and epicly long) talk about the history of Dracula and vampires as characters and symbols throughout the ages and throughout fiction - topics discussed include Varney The Vampire, The Vienna Vampire Scare, Where Does Sunlight Killing Vampires Come From, The Secret Spanish Dracula, and Jonathan Harker As An Abuse Survivor.
Metafilter favorite David Cronenberg (previously, previously, previously) has lately been making short films for festival exhibition. Most are aggressively simple, with only a few actors and even fewer locations. But they're all unmistakably Cronenberg films. [more inside]
SF Signal today finished a top 50 countdown of short SF/fantasy podcast fiction: 50-41, 40-31, 30-21, 20-11, 10-1. The Parsec Awards for SF podcasts honor many other stories annually, as well as related non-fiction, comedy, and music: 2014 nominees; 2013; 2012; 2011; 2010; 2009; 2008; 2007; and 2006. And since 2012, the Hugo Award nominees for Best Fancast have been two-time winner SF Squeecast!, plus The Coode Street Podcast, Galactic Suburbia, SF Signal, The Skiffy and Fanty Show, StarShipSofa, Tea and Jeopardy, Verity!, and The Writer and The Critic with the popular Writing Excuses podcast often appearing in another category. [more inside]
Diseased Gardens offers a selection of 20th C. weird fiction from Belgium and France as well as a checklist of strange fiction in translation. [more inside]
"If the phone rang and you were in another room, you had to come running: in that immediate sense, and in a way that now seems comical, your phone controlled you. And before the ‘90s, there was no caller ID, an inconvenience which ensured, for that benighted first century-plus of the instrument’s analog existence, the first premise of phone horror—that you could never know for certain whose voice, or what sound, would issue from the other end of that raised receiver." - HiLoBrow is in the middle of a series exploring the tropes and history of Phone Horror. Of particular note is the brief historical connection between the telephone and the world of occult crypto-science - The Atlantic explains further.
"The Texas Chainsaw Massacre was the first real “slasher” film, and it changed many things—the ratings code of the Motion Picture Association of America, the national debate on violence, the Texas Film Commission, the horror genre—but it remained a curiously isolated phenomenon. The film itself, involving five young people on a twisted drive through the country, is a strange, shifting experience—early audiences were horrified; later audiences laughed; newcomers to the movie were inevitably stricken with a vaguely uneasy feeling, as though the movie might have actually been made by a maniac—but the story behind the film is even stranger." We begin with a couple of stolen barbecue chicken wings....
Phenderson Djèlí Clark details H. P. Lovecraft's racism (earlier version with links to recommended reading/listening). Daniel José Older situates HPL's racism within a more general aesthetics of disgust. Silvia Moreno-Garcia engages with racism in both HPL and Robert E. Howard through work such as co-editing a multicultural issue (pdf) of Innsmouth Magazine (formerly Innsmouth Free Press) and a new Sword & Mythos anthology. Balogun Ojetade explains how confronting racism in HPL and REH spurred his participation in the sub-genre of Sword and Soul.
"Looking back on it, one of the things that's crazy is I don't think I even realized that first of all, Joe Flaherty is supposed to be a vampire but he's howling like a werewolf. [laughs] I just took that for granted, and it must've been years until I saw it and was like "Wait a minute, that's a joke!" Furthermore, Count Floyd's always wearing a turtleneck which is the least vampire thing ever." "Splitsider kicks off its new column, Sketch Anatomy, with television writer Bill Oakley breaking down SCTV’s "Dr. Tongue’s Evil House of Pancakes" (previously). Oww owww oowoooooo!!!
VOMICA is a short horror film about a British commando raid that finds an ancient evil in the crypts and tunnels of occupied France. It recently won Best Short Film prize at the 2014 H P Lovecraft film festival, and is available to watch on Vimeo—for today only—if you go here and use the password 'mayday'.
EC Comics and MAD Magazine cartoonist/editor died on tuesday at age 88. Al Feldstein's covers and artwork for EC Comics great Sci-Fi/Horror books are legendary. Sadly, his singular, clunky, thick, goofy style was phased out after a few years of classic work at EC in favor of the more modern, detailed artists in the stable as he took on more editorial and writing duties. He went on to turn a post Kurtzman MAD Magazine into a phenomenon as its editor.
David Cronenberg: a virtual exhibition based on an exhibit at the Toronto International Film Festival.
Vinyl Terror and Horror uses physically altered vinyl records and many turntables to produce an eerie soundscape.
Late in 2013, Guillermo del Toro released a voluminous book, entitled Cabinet of Curiosities: My Notebooks, Collections, and Other Obsessions. As he explains in the video, the 256-page hardcover is a selection from his notebooks, where the director developed many of the monstrosities we’ve seen on screen. The Guardian notes that there’s something of da Vinci’s notebooks in del Toro’s records: the small, neat script, mixed in with the wonderfully detailed sketches, combine to give the impression of del Toro doing his best to record the torrent of his imagination before the thoughts disappear. In this post, we include a number of these images.Previously [more inside]
Stefan Grabiński is often called "the Polish Poe" or "the Polish Lovecraft," which are both useful for short-hand, but don't quite capture Grabiński's style. As suggested by China Miéville in the Guardian, "where Poe's horror is agonised, a kind of extended shriek, Grabinski's is cerebral, investigative. His protagonists are tortured and aghast, but not because they suffer at the caprice of Lovecraftian blind idiot gods: Grabinski's universe is strange and its principles are perhaps not those we expect, but they are principles - rules - and it is in their exploration that the mystery lies." If you haven't heard of Grabiński, it is probably because only a few of his works have recently been translated to English. The primary translator is Miroslaw Lipinski, who runs a site dedicated to Grabiński. You can read Lipinksi's translation of Strabismus (PDF linked inside), and The Wandering Train online. [more inside]