The Demonic Ecstasy of The Witch

Posted: February 26, 2016 in Uncategorized
Tags: ,

“Thou hast conquered, O pale Galilean; the world has grown grey from thy breath” — so wrote Algernon Swinburne in “Hymn to Proserpine” (1866), and the faith-imbued world of the unfortunate family in The Witch is grey and pale indeed. The force they encounter is unequivocally evil, but one of the remarkable things about the movie is that even as we fear this force, we feel its seductive power as well. It is anything but grey.

The Witch is fine new entry in the annals of Satanic cinema. Its closest cousin is probably Blood on Satan’s Claw (1970), a period piece in which the children of a rural village in England become demon-possessed. In its rhythms, though, it has more in common with The Wicker Man and Don’t Look Now (both 1973) — horror films that are not constructed around a series of terrifying set pieces, but choose instead to keep their powder dry, building dread and preparing the way for their devastating conclusions. (Though The Witch has a major piece of nastiness early on, alerting us to the fact that all bets are off. Anything can happen here.)

Spoiler warning now for the rest of this entry. Don’t read any further if you’re planning on seeing the film.

Read the rest of this entry »

Who comes up with these titles?

This is anything but that.

Read the rest of this entry »

The Sorrows of Hope

Posted: December 28, 2015 in Uncategorized
Tags: ,

This is a bit of a follow-up to my post on repetition in Star Wars (so the spoiler warning applies again). This article in Salon touches on some related ideas, again emphasizing the thematic purpose of repetition in the saga. I was struck by the author’s grim reading of the nature of the Star Wars universe. I think there are excellent points here, ones worth grappling with, and so herewith just a few rough, preliminary thoughts.

Read the rest of this entry »

So I finally saw Star Wars: The Force Awakens, only a few days after most of the sentient life in the solar system (or so it seemed). I had a great time, sometimes feeling not unlike I had at the age of 10 in 1977. At other times, I was rather uncomfortably conscious of the echoes of ’77, and so here are some musings as I try to sort out my thoughts on the subject.

Spoilers follow. If you haven’t seen the film, I really wouldn’t read any further. Read the rest of this entry »

Cryptid Clash!

Posted: December 21, 2015 in Uncategorized

So here’s a project I’ve been really looking forward to talking about. Last summer, Joshua Reynolds came up with the brilliant idea of a series of novellas featuring monster mashes between cryptids (you know — Sasquatch, Nessie and the like). Within days of this brainstorm, he had 18thWall Productions on board as a publisher, and a roster of authors lined up. I consider myself very fortunate to be included in that roster. Well, the pitches are all in, and we’ll be working away at the stories over the coming year. There will be a more formal announcement soon, and I’ll be teasing and tweeting about this a fair bit. But for now, from my end, I’m can promise you monsters, mad science, and a travelling carnival. And that’s just the start.

This is going to be so much fun.

Edit: Here’s Joshua’s blog post about the series, complete with the full roster of authors!

Some Notes on Spectre

Posted: November 29, 2015 in Uncategorized
A few spoilery thoughts on SPECTRE.

Read the rest of this entry »

I’ve just been reading London After Midnight by Marie Coolidge-Rask. This is the 1928 novelization of the Tod Browning film starring Lon Chaney. It is one of the most famous of lost films, one that has tantalized generations of horror movie fans with the gorgeous stills of Chaney in monstrous make-up, even as it frustrates with the knowledge of the twist — the vampires in the film are not the real deal, and are part of the plan by Inspector Burke of Scotland Yard (Chaney again) to unmask a murderer.


(Yeah, I know, no spoiler alert. But as this twist is beyond infamous, and has been discussed for 87 years, I think we’re past the statue of limitations.) Read the rest of this entry »