There are plenty of extremely talented young women who make good money running social media feeds of their fantastic makeup artistry, but they don't have a patch on the artistry of the women and girls who specialize in horror makeup effects, perfecting and sharing techniques for the grossest, greatest prosthetic-and-paint monster and gore effects. Read the rest
Every time I imagine that Richard Kadrey has run out of ends-of-all-creation to torture his long-running, hard-boiled supernatural antihero Sandman Slim with, he surprises me with a bigger, badder, meaner, scarier end-of-days than the last, and with the eighth volume in the series, The Kill Society, Kadrey pulls out all the stops. Read the rest
Brexit is not the cause of Britain's renewed interest in its weird folk heritage, in the joys of cults and pagan sex. But the sudden veering into that world's darker side, where violence and groupthink and human sacrifice rule, seems guided by its anguish and sickly glee. Here's Michael Newton on the new flowering of folk horror.
Folk horror, which is the subject of a new season at the Barbican, presents the dark dreams Britain has of itself. The films pick up on folk’s association with the tribal and the rooted. And our tribe turns out to be a savage one: the countryside harbours forgotten cruelties, with the old ways untouched by modernity and marked by half-remembered rituals. ...
They may lurch into the ludicrous, but with surprising earnestness these films nonetheless play out a three-way philosophical debate: between enlightened rationalism, orthodox Christianity and renewed paganism. Sex is at the heart of this debate: just as these films both adore and recoil from natural beauty, so human loveliness entrances and repels them.
The anxiety comes from an unsettled telepathic quality of exurban British life, where eccentricity is adored so long as privacy is abdicated, and the heightened empathy of the village lurches to the crowd's destruction of individuals. Newton notes that a key theme of British folk horror is that the supernatural is never so vulgar as to show itself: the darkness is in people. And by the time you get to see it, you are thrillingly both participant and victim: "The pagan rite we are witnessing is the film itself." Read the rest
With the death of author William Peter Blatty on January 13 at 88, I could not help but be reminded that, exactly 43 years ago on that date, at age 15 I first saw The Exorcist, for which he had written the screenplay based on his earlier book. He also exerted strong control over the production.
It was a time when I was able to see many films due to a decent allowance from a generous father. The previous year, my mother had taken me to see The Godfather at the Loew’s Orpheum theater on 86th street just off Third Ave in Manhattan.
It was a big deal because at age 14, and at that time in 1972, there was a lot in The Godfather most kids my age had never seen (we still had only seven TV channels; no cable, no internet). To top it off, a friend of mine was an usher at what I hazily remember as a Trans-Lux Cinema on Third Avenue just off 57th street, and he offered to sneak me into a showing of Last Tango in Paris. I was a big Brando fan, and I definitely saw a lot in that film I had not seen before. (On the other hand, you’ve probably never seen an usher in a movie theater.)
I’d also watched about 10 zillion horror movies on WPIX’s Chiller Theater during the preceding decade, and was extremely curious about why people were so freaked out about The Exorcist. Instead of going on opening day, my usual habit, I decided to wait until the lines abated. Read the rest
Pennywise and his real-world imitators may be thanked for putting an early end to the Pokemon Go fad last year, but the real fruit of It's labor is the forthcoming
TV film version of Steven King's classic horror book. Here's the trailer.
The Do-It-Yourself Monster Make-Up Handbook is a 1965 classic: Famous Monsters of Filmland founder Forrest Ackerman tapped movie makeup legend Dick Smith to create guides for turning yourself into any of three Martians, two kinds of werewolf, a "weird-oh," a "derelict," a ghoul, a mummy, Frankenstein's monster, Quasimodo, Mr Hyde, "split face," and more. Read the rest
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