As part of a fantastic Christmas gift, Michael tracked down some contributors to my “My First Fright Series,” a series on my blog which I happen to love and which hasn’t gotten any contributors for awhile. In this series, which I started by writing about two of my earliest childhood fears, I ask other people to write about their earliest memories of feeling afraid. The results tend to be an interesting, surprising, eclectic group of terrors. So, before delving into my first Christmas Gift “My First Fright,” I’d like to extend a tremendous thank-you to my boyfriend, Michael, at My Comic Relief and today’s contributor, Bryan, of Hyperspace PodBlast, for a fantastic re-telling of a Star Wars related first fright. Continue reading “What Scares Us: Bryan L.’s First Fright”
True to the title of my piece, this is not a horror story. Although, what I see now that I didn’t see when things like this happened was just how much my friend and I wanted it to be a horror story, how much we enacted the things that we read in our Fear Street books and our horror movies, and made the world of horror come alive, if, simultaneously, to our delight and our chagrin. Again, this is not a horror story. This is a childhood memory – a childhood memory I share on an overcast day in early November, when my frenetic, two-and-a-half-month mania has dwindled and I’ve suddenly fallen into this shifting state that fluctuates between focused, positive energy and complete depression and self-loathing. This is not a horror story—at least, I hadn’t intended it to be so. But, maybe it will turn out that way as I keep writing. One never can predict the end of the story, after all—or, at least, I can’t—when one’s merely writing the beginning. Continue reading “The Blue Man – Or, This is Not a Horror Story”
Ridley Scott once asserted that if another life form came to visit earth, it’d be best to flee immediately, because the life form’s intentions assuredly wouldn’t be good. One the one hand, this premise seems contestable, like a sort of specie-ism that naturally pits “all against all” and relies on a narrative of innate hostility, in which the alien “other” is necessarily a dangerous, malicious being. On the other hand, it would, presumably, be a long journey from the unknown planet to earth, and what might motivations for that journey be? Far be it for us to assume extra-terrestrial intentions would necessarily be negative, but one can see how Scott’s line of reasoning is defensible. I watched District 9 last night and, I think, it situates itself with a bit of ambivalence, but mostly on one side of the narrative. District 9 suggests that an extra-terrestrial “other” who arrives on earth need only be hostile if we make them so, and even then, perhaps the alien-other isn’t as hostile as those skulking around the next corner, waiting to mercilessly obliterate him or her. Continue reading “Confronting the Other: Contemplating District 9”
A year ago on my blog, I began a series called “My First Fright” which sought to examine the things that scare us most when we’re children, to re-situate us in those moments when we first encountered feelings of fear. Upon consideration, it has occurred to me that a first fright, or a first confrontation with the feeling of fear, can be, and often is, much different than a first encounter with something – a story, experience, movie, and so forth – that may typically be considered part of the horror genre. While I may have experienced fear listening to the dreaded chipmunk song or watching Large Marge’s face contort during Pee Wee’s Big Adventure, those horrifying moments were far different than early moments I faced that constituted my first encounter with horror. And while I can’t decide, with certainty, what qualifies a work or a story for membership in the horror pantheon, and what my definitive first-horror moment is, I very much recall hearing the story of the formidable Bloody Mary, the violent mirror witch-ghost, for the first time. To that end, I’ll delight in re-living my first encounters with the Bloody Mary myth, and how she partially initiated me into the genre during my early years of childhood. Continue reading “Early Encounters, Part I: The Horror of Bloody Mary”
This is a special post for a few reasons. First, as someone who’s loved reading comic books and delighting to the adventures of superheroes since 1986; Joe Hill, Gabriel Rodríguez, and Jay Fotos’ Locke & Key is THE FIRST REAL HORROR COMIC I’ve ever read. I broke brand new genre ground here and it was…an experience. Second, this series came highly recommended by Nancy (half of the awesome twosome Nancy & Kathleen who run the wonderfully geektastic comic blog Graphic Novelty²). Locke & Key is one of Nancy’s all-time favorites and she’s been urging me to read it for ages. I made a lot of excuses because, well I can be a baby with horror stuff sometimes :). But I did it! Lastly, this is special because regular readers will notice Kalie’s been super busy with her PhD work of late so, sadly, that means less time for her to write new content. I decided to write this guest post for her today in celebration of our three year anniversary. Yep, three years ago today was the day we first met! Awwww…let’s mark this special occasion by talking about the gruesome, macabre, and haunting tale of the Locke family shall we?? Continue reading “Locke & Key and Horror Comic Books”
with Michael Miller
Well, Michael and I sat down to write our second genre mash-up. Instead of placing the original Ghostbusters in The Shining’s Overlook Hotel, we chose to work with the hugely popular, always hilarious Deadpool and placed him in the dreams of Nancy Thompson, main character of Nightmare on Elm Street, to help banish the infamous Freddy Krueger. We have yet to determine what our third series installment will be, but since this was, again, very fun to write, we’re very much planning on creating more! If you’d like to check out our first genre mash-up on The Shining and The Ghosbusters, feel free!
I’m not sure why it never occurred to me to analyze poetry on this blog, especially since one famous Edgar Allen Poe made macabre poetry so popular. (By the way, stay tuned for an examination of some Poe poems to come this summer). Still, I held fast to films, with the occasional graphic novel, short story review, or miscellaneous essay. Then, one fateful Wednesday evening during my second semester of PhD course work, my Victorian literature professor assigned a thick chunk of lesser-known female poetry from the Victorian Era to read. There is, to be sure, an entire world of often unacknowledged brilliance in my Victorian Women Poets anthology, but one work, about the depths of evil shrouded in complete innocence, struck me as particularly apropos for this blog. We have Mary Elizabeth Coleridge, great grand-niece of renowned Romantic-era poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge, to thank for this subtle work of unnerving literature, an 1896 poem entitled “The Witch.” Continue reading “The Just Dread-Full Poetry Corner: Mary Elizabeth Coleridge’s “The Witch””
On the rare occasion that I write about a novel – especially a classic novel – on this horror site, I balk at the prospect. Reviewing a movie – even analyzing some of its salient components – is fairly easy, but how does one “review” a classic work of literature? To what extent am I just writing a paper? Who am I to say whether Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein is a great piece of literature? Haven’t preceding generations already decided that? And what in God’s name am I going to say about this novel that is original? Such hesitant speculation deterred me from writing for about a day after I finished the text, but since I haven’t written for my beloved website for over a month, and since I just read frickin’ Frankenstein, it was hard to justify my lassitude on a permanent basis.
The title of this post comes from the Dave Matthews Band Song, “Two Step,” an old favorite I found on a dusty, battered but still half-working mixed CD I made in college over a decade ago. In the song, Dave sings “Celebrate we will, ‘cause life is short but sweet for certain.” Well, Dave, I agree with you, life is short, and (often, but not always) sweet, but I’m not celebrating because life is short and sweet. I’m celebrating because my little blog recently had her first birthday (yes, in case you didn’t know, Just Dread-full is a girl), and I’m gushing and bragging like any proud parent. Unlike the proud parent who thinks her baby is the best, I in no way contend that my blog is the best blog on the interweb (I’m not delusional, and there’s tons of good stuff out there) but it is a creation uniquely mine that I can share with anyone who’s remotely interested. If I’m Victor Frankenstein, this blog is my glistening, verbose, sometimes pedantic monster – only, it’s not going to skulk around my perimeter, threatening to kill me if I don’t create a mate for it (which I tried to do when I started another blog that I never post on, 1000 in a Decade).
Pre-Reading Note: My grad program has been time consuming, so I haven’t been able to post as regularly. I hope to keep up a slightly more regular posting schedule, however, in coming weeks, my writing will be supplemented by the works of other bloggers who will add to my Walking Dead Series and/or write about their first frights! (Get excited!)
Funny Story: It took me a second perusal of the comic rendition Stephen King’s N to realize that the plot sits at the nexus of some of my favorite literary areas of exploration. What – you were expecting a story that was literally funny? Sorry to disappoint you. This is a horror blog. We don’t laugh here. Continue reading “N – Or the Frailty of the Non-Monster”