As the song goes, I don’t know much about history, but I know – especially after reading W. Scott Poole’s Monsters in America – that the 1960’s were a turbulent era: America was 15-20 years past WWII, but still dealing with the anxieties that accompany the use and proliferation of nuclear arms as the Cold War mounted. Vietnam had started, and according to Poole, American soldiers were often times literally getting rewards for how many Vietnamese citizens they could kill. Of course, this was the era of Civil Rights, and second wave feminism was also in full swing. Birth control was invented in 1960, making sex less formidable, and the Black Arts Movement started around 1965. Despite a struggle for rights by many groups, racism, sexism, and homophobia were pretty rampant. In the horror world, Psycho launched the interest in “maniac” killers in 1960, and The Exorcist was released in 1973. Serial killer lore and urban legends were on the rise. In 1968, censorship ended in Hollywood, making the modern horror fare we watch today possible.Continue reading “Analyzing American Horror Story Asylum: Episode One”
Let me just admit this: I missed a great calling in life. I’m fairly content with where I am now and what I do, and I feel like I’m working toward something incredibly challenging, but also valuable. Nevertheless, every Saturday night when I was a child, I’d watch all those teenagers on Nickelodeon throwing dust into a campfire to signal the end of their meeting, and I’d grow a little envious. Of course, I knew Are You Afraid of the Dark’s midnight society wasn’t real, but I’d imagine, dreamily, “What if there really were a midnight society? What if a group of people with a seemingly endless supply of horror stories sat around a campfire in the woods every midnight, sharing them? And, better yet, what if I were one of them?” These musings were, indeed, the stuff that dreams were made of. Continue reading “Early Horror Memories: A Tribute to “Are You Afraid of the Dark?””
There is a strange sort of titillation that comes with watching Penny Dreadful – for the first time, to be sure, but also for the second, third, or fourth time, or any time thereafter. The show’s introduction foregrounds a juxtaposition of unusual images that mean little to the new viewer but that accrue significance as one becomes more familiar with the series. A mosquito spasms and jilts to a stop, a crimson, blood-like liquid flows over the edges of a quaint, antique tea-cup, and the viewer is, upon seeing these images, quickly catapulted into the mid-late 19th century –into a world rife with class divisions and scientific positivism, ornate dresses and ostentatious houses – into a world with decorum, colonialism, and, best of all, naked, green-blue, thick-skinned, bloodsucking vampires. Continue reading “Just Dreadfull Talks Penny Dreadful: Season One, Episode 1”
If I were having a romantic conversation with The Walking Dead, I’d probably coo, “You had me at ‘bathing in zombie guts.’” Remember that early episode of The Walking Dead in which the characters rub zombie guts all over their bodies to mask their human scent and navigate through the ravenous packs of undead? Well, I’m not really saying that’s the moment I fell in love with the show, but it’s the moment that I realized – along with a compelling storyline – that The Walking Dead was willing to cover uncomfortable, even nauseating terrain that most horror – on the Big Screen or the TV – never considers touching. Watching the zombie-guts, season one episode of The Walking Dead is in fact a fond memory. Michael and I sat eagerly in front of the television, ready to binge watch the first five and a half seasons of the show to prepare for the second half of season six, which was set to air in the spring. When the characters lathered themselves in zombie guts like they were taking a shower and basking in aromatic, sudsy soap, Michael started to gag, and gag, and gag. “Honey, shut your eyes!” I exclaimed. “I am,” he yelled, “but I can still hear them!” “Well then, leave the room,” I told him, because I really thought he was going to vomit, and if he vomited on me, well, that might just send me over the edge, and then we’d have a mess on our hands. But he didn’t (leave the room or vomit). And so, we enthusiastically enmeshed ourselves in six more seasons of drama, violence, and unpredictable, unchecked bloodshed. Ahhhh, memories. Continue reading “WTF TWD?: AMC’s Hit Series Takes a Dark(er) Turn”
It’s no surprise that I’m studying literature (though I’ll probably be forever impoverished for the decision) because I just love a good story. There is, in a book – or a good movie or television show – the plot, a chain of events driven by character actions, and then there’s the more subliminal but often pervasive mood created through all elements of work, including scenery and word choice. But, my point in this post is not really to be technical. My point is to proclaim, happily, that through the suggestion of one of Michael’s friends, we stumbled upon a phenomenal, intricate story thanks to the popular Showtime series, Penny Dreadful. Penny Dreadful’s third season aired this spring, but Michael and I, in our infinite fandom, have been busy re-watching the first two seasons to “fully prepare” before we settle down and view the third. This post, then, is my introductory post: I will likely write more on specific questions the show raises in future posts. After all, Penny Dreadful is complex and intelligent, and many facets of the show could be explored. In this post, I aim to discuss why I love the show through an exploration of the main characters. And, bonus, if you haven’t seen Season Three yet, neither have I, so there will be no Season Three spoilers! In fact, there are no major plot spoilers in this piece, so read away, without fear of any undesired revelations.
Confession: This excellent post idea is not my idea. In 2013 a woman named Lainey created a Top 5 on YouTube, which morphed into a Top 5 group on Goodreads. This week’s top five? Top five literary fathers. Well, you know, since this is a horror blog, I’ve decided to name the Top Five Horror fathers of all time. Now, as any adamant fan will admit, a list like this is highly contestable, and in choosing my favorite five, other great (or not-so-great) fathers have been omitted.
Guest Writers: David Miller and Michael J. Miller
A few weeks ago, Kalie began her “Walking Through The Walking Dead” series and in her first article, she briefly commented on how the characters in the show have a surprising amount of mousse/hair gel for a post-apocalyptic dystopia. There’s also a lot of shaving of the face for men and legs/armpits for the women too. Basically, there’s an odd amount of modern grooming happening in a world gone to hell. This has generated a great deal of heated debate (particularly between my brother and I). So, below David and I have written short, opposing opinion pieces about grooming in the zombie apocalypse. Please read and please, please, please (yes, I’m begging but sibling debates will generate this) leave your opinion in the comment section about whose side you’re on! We are seeking some Internet aid in settling a debate that has filled too much of our free time already. Continue reading “Point – Counterpoint : Grooming in the Zombie Apocalypse”
I love watching The Walking Dead before bed. I have coined the term “Dead ‘til bed” for nights I set aside for a Walking Dead marathon. Nothing says nighty-night like slaughter, zombie guts and involuntary bloodletting. Indeed, I just finished season three, and I started watching the show a couple weeks ago, so I’m catching up quickly. But if mindless zombie hacking was all the show was about, I would have already stopped my viewing, and the show wouldn’t be in its sixth season. Much of The Walking Dead’s intrigue lies within its characters. The show presents us with complex, dynamic characters who evolve and adapt to a disorienting apocalypse, many of them with admirable gusto. We warm toward them and cheer for them. Season three, in particular, is rife with captivating character development. Continue reading “Walking through The Walking Dead (Season Three): The Characters”