31 Days of Halloween — Day 31, Happy Halloween

Happy Halloween!

It’s the most wonderful night of the whole year and also the last night of our annual Halloween series. Spending the last month with you all trading scary stories and book recommendations and costume suggestions has been terribly fun. I’m already looking forward to next year. Read More 31 Days of Halloween — Day 31, Happy Halloween

31 Days of Halloween — Day 30, Synthetic Shadows

Cassandra Panek of Synthetic Shadows is a suburban Philadelphia based photographer and artist. During the month of October, Panek has been producing a fantastically awesome Halloween-themed portrait series. She has shared some selections from her series, as well as some thoughts on her process, with Persephone Magazine. – Slay Read More 31 Days of Halloween — Day 30, Synthetic Shadows

31 Days of Halloween: Day 29, Slay’s Big List of Monstrous Music

“Listen to them, the children of the night. What music they make!”

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31 Days of Halloween — Day 28, Personal Chills

As a horror fan, the question I am most frequently asked is what I personally find scary. Everyone always wants to know what movies or books are “really”frightening, and I’m often at a loss to answer them. The truth is, more than two decades into my fandom, I no longer have a baseline for what “normal” (read: non-fan) viewers find scary, and rarely find myself truly upset by the media I consume. I can get caught by a jump scare in a movie like anyone else but being startled is not the same thing as being afraid, no matter what movie marketing departments might have you believe.  Read More 31 Days of Halloween — Day 28, Personal Chills

31 Days of Halloween — Day 27, Such Links to Show You

October is almost over, which means it’s nearly time to say goodbye to our annual horror series, 31 Days of Halloween. As we round up this year’s posts, here’s a quick look at some horror-related writings around the web.

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31 Days of Halloween — Day 23, Bloody Reunion

Without waxing sentimental, let’s acknowledge that teachers have a long-term impact on our upbringing and adult character. Sometimes, though, horrible people can hold such positions of authority over tender young psyches. Many of us have had some horrendous nightmare of a teacher who still gets our hackles up when we think about them. We wish that we could have told them off in some spectacularly snarky manner, but mostly we just walk away after graduation and revisit the past as a humorous talking point over drinks with friends. In Dae-wung Lim’s 2006 horror film Bloody Reunion (or To Sir with Love, the original title in all of its intended irony), one student waits for more than a decade to exact revenge for a childhood of humiliation at the hands of someone who was supposed to be a benevolent adult. (TW for a bloody film poster, and references to suicide, abuse and violence ahead.)

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31 Days of Halloween, Day 22: Women Helmed Horror Films

Horror is often categorized as a very masculine genre, both in film and literature. Conventional wisdom in this case manages to be both wrong and right at the same time. Studies have found that audiences for horror films tend to be about 50% women. The number of women producing, directing, and writing horror, that reflects the larger Hollywood picture, where women in these roles remain a minority.  Read More 31 Days of Halloween, Day 22: Women Helmed Horror Films

31 Days of Halloween — Day 21, Ecosystems Bite Back: A Primer for Contemporary Eco-Horror

One night, while watching Creepshow 2, I turned to my significant other and said, “I bet I could write a Master’s thesis on the environmental themes in this movie.” For those of you who haven’t seen it, the central installment, called “The Raft,” features a carnivorous oil slick that terrorizes – who else? – a group of carefree, stranded college kids. I was kidding, but only a little – as an ecologist and a horror nerd, I enjoy when my interests cross-pollinate such that one helps me make sense of the other.

Environmental themes have been present in horror since the birth of the genre itself, since before we even named it a genre. (Picture our primitive ancestors around a cooking fire, speculating about the monsters lying in wait out in the unknown wilderness at the edge of the light.) The terrors associated with the natural world take different forms in different eras. Godzilla and other giant-creature-features often play on fears related to nuclear technology. Frankenstein sets a pursuit for the monster against a landscape including the sublime sight of Mont Blanc, a reminder (a taunt?) against the deviance of Frankenstein’s experimentation. I have (half seriously) made a claim for environmental themes at work in My Bloody Valentine (mining, you guys!). While the great fears and troubles of different eras reshape how we construe our nervousness and horror related to the natural world, often what we are most frightened by is not simply the unknown, but the uncontrollable. What might we have awakened that could crush us in an instant? What could we have broken and be helpless to fix?  Read More 31 Days of Halloween — Day 21, Ecosystems Bite Back: A Primer for Contemporary Eco-Horror