"We all have fear in us and we like to enjoy a vicarious, shall we say, toe in the water of fear," said Alfred Hitchcock in 1957. (Blank on Blank)
When I reviewed Matt Ruff's incredible Lovecraft Country last February on its hardcover release dates, I wrote, "Ruff inverts the Lovecraft horror, which turned so often on "miscegenation" and the duty of advanced humans to trample those around them in their drive to recapture this lost wisdom (and humanity's lost grace). His Lovecraftian horror is the horror of the people whom the Lovecraftian heroes viewed as subhuman, expendable, a stain on the human race. By blending real history (such as the Tulsa riots) and Lovecraftian tropes, Ruff's characters shine as active protagonists in their own story who have lives, have dignity, and have indomitable spirit that they use to fight back against the power structure that Lovecraft lionized." Read the rest
Writer and director William Peter Blatty, creator of The Exorcist, has died at age 89. Batty is best known for writing the story of poor, possessed Regan and her demonic resident Captain Howdy. He won an academy award for writing the screenplay for The Exorcist film in 1973.
Here is Blatty on The Tonight Show, January 17, 1974, talking about the surprisingly polarizing response to his classic novel of occult horror:
Tweet from William Friedkin, director of The Exorcist:
William Peter Blatty, dear friend and brother who created The Exorcist passed away yesterday— William Friedkin (@WilliamFriedkin) January 13, 2017
Beware the Slenderman is a forthcoming HBO documentary about the latest incarnation of the bogeyman, including the 2014 story of the two 12-year-old girls who attempted to stab their friend to death as proxies of the faceless, lanky humanoid monster. First manifested on the Internet (and memetically spread into young peoples' nightmares) around 2011, Slendy is also set to star in his own horror film produced by Sony's Screen Gems division. (via The Daily Grail)
If you've got a Spotify account, you can tune into the classic Caedmon Poe recordings (also available on 5 CD), featuring classic tales like The Masque of the Read Death; The Pit and the Pendulum; The Black Cat; The Cask of Amontillado; The Imp of the Perverse and The Gold Bug. (via Diane Duane) Read the rest
The Nightmare Machine is an MIT project to use machine learning image-processing to make imagery for Hallowe'en. Read the rest
Fragments of Horror by Junji Ito Viz Media 2015, 224 pages, 5.8 x 8.2 x 0.8 inches (hardcover) $12 Buy a copy on Amazon
Fragments of Horror is a collection of eight wonderfully grotesque and creepy short stories. A seemingly bright and pretty architecture student terrorizes a family while having a bizarre relationship with their house. A boy tries to hold his body together after cheating on his girlfriend. The number one fan of a novelist finds herself in a sick situation trapped in the writer’s basement. A young woman who just eloped can’t understand why her new husband won’t come out from under his futon covers.
Written by horror manga artist Junji Ito, whose influences include H.P. Lovecraft, the stories are as weird as they are original, while the art is crisp and expressive. What I love is the way these stories, set in modern Japan, are about seemingly normal lives that take a twisted turn into the bowels of darkness. They remind me of my favorite Twilight Zone episodes, the ones that start off in a stylish, mid-century modern house or office where sharp-looking people go about their ordinary lives… until a crack in normality suddenly appears, the creep factor sets in, and they enter the twilight zone. My only regret is that there aren’t more stories here, but fortunately Ito isn’t new to the genre and has many other titles that I’ll be picking up soon. – Carla Sinclair
A friend in France sent me an email one day and wrote, "You have to watch this Japanese movie 'Ring.' It's very special." Since he likes horror films as much as I do, his words carried weight. But in 1998 it wasn't easy to find a copy, and I had to nose around a bit before finally locating a DVD on amazon.co.uk.
As you can see from the photo above, it's one creepy-ass film. There's a moment at the end which, if watched in blissful ignorance of what's going to happen, and in a dark room, the hair on the back of your neck will stand up. If for some reason you haven't seen the movie, then watch it without reading anything about it in advance.
Like all good horror in the past few decades, it was recently turned into a parody where Sadako (the creepy lady with pale skin and long black hair in Ring ) eventually faces off against the Kayako (the creepy lady with pale skin and long black hair from another excellent Japanese horror film, Ju-on [The Grudge]) and her son, who is seen below.
The new film is supposedly funny (in a good way), though I haven't see it yet, so who knows. I guess it's the Japanese version of Freddie vs. Jason, which sucked. Or Alien vs. Predator, which sucked even more. (Frankenstin Meets The Wolfman still remains good fun.) But those films weren't supposedly to be intentionally funny. Shall we next see Michael Myers as a stand-up comedian? Read the rest
Evidently someone at Syfy is just as fond as I am of googling images [WARNING: POSSIBLY GROSS] for hyperdontia, in which subjects grow lots of supernumerary teeth; "The Tooth Child is Hungry" is an episode of Max Landis's series Channel Zero: it features a kind of dental onesie that I wish I could wear every day. (via JWZ) Read the rest
The Ray Bradbury Theater was a far out 1980s television series with each episode written by Bradbury himself. With 65 suspenseful (and sometimes terrifying) episodes of dark science fiction/fantasy, The Ray Bradbury Theater shined the freaky flame of The Twilight Zone and The Outer Limits down the shadowy path of The X-Files and Stranger Things. And now you can watch all the episodes free on YouTube! Below are two to get you started: Marionettes, Inc. and The Playground:
I was born in 1958, a tail-end Baby Boomer, and as a young boy—evidently like a lot of others—I faithfully read Famous Monsters of Filmland every month and spent an inordinate amount of time watching horror movies on WPIX channel 11, WNEW channel 5, and WOR channel 9—all local channels out of New York City. Read the rest