JustDread-full’s Note: Every year, a handful of bloggers and I celebrate International Women’s Day by blogging about fearless women in fictional stories during the month of March. Traditionally, I’ve only featured my contribution to the blogathon on my blog, mostly because my blog tends to have a narrow focus. But, “tends to” is the operative phrase, here: I realized that I’ve posted about music, politics, and non-horror books in the past, so why not feature excellent, thoughtful, thematic content by other blogs on my own blog, even if the content isn’t directly related to the horror genre? So, this month, you’ll see a lot of posts from other bloggers about fearless women in fiction, starting with a post from an awesome writer, and one of my best friends, Michael Miller. Enjoy his post, and get ready for more features about fearless women throughout the month!
It’s International Women’s Day and for the fourth year in a row I’ve teamed up with some fellow bloggers – Kalie of Just Dread-full, Jeff of The Imperial Talker, and Nancy and Kathleen of Graphic Novelty2 – to celebrate some of our favorite female characters in all of fiction. This year I was having trouble deciding on who to write about. I wanted to rewatch Harley Quinn on HBO Max and read Tee Franklin’s Harley Quinn the Animated Series: The Eat. BANG! Kill. Tour but should I write about Harley Quinn or Poison Ivy? Then it hit me! The entire show (and comic which serves as Season 2.5) is anchored in their relationship. I would be hard pressed to write about one without writing about the other. Plus, for a series celebrating “fearlessness,” it’s within their friendship where Harley and Ivy find and demonstrate the most incredible courage. Standing beside each other, they (ultimately) own and face their greatest fears. So I’m writing about Harley and Ivy and the type of friendship we should all be so lucky to have.
Given the focus of this piece it’ll have major spoilers for S1&2 of Harley Quinn as well as light spoilers for Tee Franklin’s (as brilliant as it is beautiful) Harley Quinn the Animated Series: The Eat. BANG! Kill. Tour.
So yesterday, Michael and I spent a fair bit of time flexing our creative muscles and writing a The Shining Meetsthe Ghostbusters, a mashup that mixes the relatively dark Kubrick version of King’s canonical horror story with the beyond famous, original Ghostbusters franchise (although the new female Ghostbusters gang will likely be featured in later series installments). In other words, the blog has a new feature: genre mash-up fan fiction. Our version of The Shining, with the intervention of The Ghostbusters, has a bit more levity than the original. And Michael’s masterful knowledge of The Ghostbusters, creativity, and quick wit helped animate and bring them to life. We hope you enjoy. We had a lot of fun with this, so there’s likely more fan fiction to come….
I’ve heard the argument that there’s no need for horror movies because there’s enough horror in this world already. Perhaps, but perhaps not. What is horror? Bing’s search engine defines it as an intense feeling of fear, shock, or disgust. Okay, that doesn’t really help. What is horror as a genre? To cheapen a genre I love, we could say that horror is fiction-stuff marketed to manufacture fear, shock, or disgust. But horror movies do this by departing from reality, by placing us in far-flung scenarios that aren’t emotionally troubling – at least not in the long run – because they’re so blatantly fictional. The horror we see in movies really has nothing at all to do with the horror we see in real life. There are very few witches, vampires, and monsters traipsing about North America, and while there are murderers, there aren’t many methodical, superhuman, Michael Meyers-esque serial killers like the ones we see in slasher movies. People will say that we’re an apathetic nation, desensitized by horror and violence. But often times, entertainment violence is grounded in pure fancy; it bears no semblance to the problematic, and often violent scenarios we find in the real world. If I were concerned with avoiding real world horror, I would be more likely to cut myself off from action movies or any movie involving any kind of war – whether it be The Force Awakens, The Hunger Games, or Saving Private Ryan. Continue reading “In Defense of Horror”→
So I haven’t blogged in a while. I’ll admit: I downloaded an old computer game I used to play in high school, and I’m hooked all over again. This is my plug for RollerCoaster Park Tycoon: Once you start building virtual amusement parks, you’ll never stop. But I did read Hell House, by Richard Matheson, while I was on my blogging hiatus. Perhaps I seek to get in touch with my youth; I also flew through Hell House in high school and was mesmerized. I’ll admit, this time around, the story was less captivating. Maybe I’m old and jaded. But, the book is still a pretty good scare. As I sat alone downstairs at night reading it, I looked around anxiously lest any insidious spirits eye me up and prepare to pounce. As far as haunted house stories are concerned, Hell House provides an intricate plot with intense action and characters who are relatable, although some are more likable than others. Continue reading “Will Hell House Scare the Hell Out of You?”→
For Christmas, I was unexpectedly gifted with the book The Haunted City, presented by Jason Blum. Because I’ve seen myriad Blumhouse movies – and have been moderately thrilled to terrified by most of them – I was unquestionably excited by this present. Indeed, the book received much praise, which it splashed across its beginning pages. My excitement intensified. And I stumbled upon a story by Ethan Hawke. We all know him. He seems like a likable enough guy, and certainly a good actor. So I thought to myself: I wonder how Hawke does horror? And I had to find out. As it turns out, he does pretty well, but he left me wanting more. Continue reading “Hawke Does Horror Fiction — And Does Pretty Well”→
When I prepare to write a review of a story or movie, it goes something like this: I scribble some notes, on a tablet or in the margin of the book. Usually, I use these notes to prompt larger points. More ideas flow as I write. It’s highly exhilarating; I just started writing reviews for a blog, but I love it. At the same time, it doesn’t seem particularly hard. Indeed, it’s easy to discuss how I feel about something I’ve read. Sometimes, it’s easy to analyze it on a deeper level, especially if I apply a handy academic paradigm. Paradigms make all analysis easier. I went through four years of liberal arts schooling and two years of an English Master’s program; I know how to break things down and analyze them. My point? I find it relatively stress-free and enjoyable.
The cautionary tale is one we’ve all heard. A mysterious stranger comes from an exotic land and brings a talisman that tempts the protagonist. The stranger warns the protagonist not to use the talisman, but the protagonist does. Doom ensues. The protagonist’s purported greed is punished. Continue reading “Anything is Paw-ssible with “The Monkey’s Paw””→
“The Voice in the Night,” by William Hope Hodgson, published in 1907, starts like a stereotypical horror story: “It was a dark, starless night.” But Hodgson manages to provide suspense – and at least a few small surprises – throughout the telling of his story. As is typical of old horror stories, a narrator regales us with macabre events that have passed. George, the narrator, is sailing through the Northern Pacific with his friends, when they hear a faint voice coming from a small boat. Continue reading ““The Voice in the Night” and the Illusion of Place”→