Hey-o, since we’re having a pandemic and a quarantine, this seems like a fantastic time to reboot my blog! I’m sure many of you are just dying to hear my thoughts and opinions on all things horror, well, here’s your venue.
Where shall we begin?
The recent current events have given me some extra time for content consumption (though as I’m still going to work regular hours, not as much extra time as I’d like. I wish quarantine meant no work and only playing with friends, instead of only work and no playing with friends…). I’m finding that lately I’m really liking everything I’m watching or reading. Is it the pandemic? Am I just on a really good streak of books and movies? I’m going to shout out to a few nibblets of media I’ve enjoyed recently and why.
The Twisted Ones by T. Kingfisher – She tells us from the very beginning that the dog lives. Is this a blessing or a curse—such information has the potential to rob the book of tension when you know your protagonist and her four-legged friend (a hound named Bongo, be still my heart). Here is a story of a woman cleaning out her mean, recently deceased grandmother’s house in the rural south, and discovering more than she bargained for. For horror fans, this text engages with Arthur Machen’s “The White People” in a very cool and playful way. The juxtaposition of a very light narration style with bone chilling events made this one a page turner.
The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires by Grady Hendrix – One of my life’s great pleasures was to conduct the Guest of Honor Interview at NECON 39 with Linda Addison, John Langan, and Grady Hendrix. He whispered tell of this upcoming novel, set in the same universe as My Best Friend’s Exorcism. His latest has it all. Like The Twisted Ones, the narration is breezy and almost fun, but the content touches on a lot of social issues from the 1990’s wearing a veneer of vampire. The role of women in the household, race relations, the things we do for money…all of this is bundled up in what could just be a cutesy novel about a book club who discovers a vampire in their midst.
Future of Another Timeline by Annalee Newitz – Feminism? Time travel? Punk rock? Women’s suffrage? Count me in! This was a book club pick, and we’ll be discussing it in early May, but I read it early and devoured it. Chunks of the book took place in the early 90’s. I was a teenager in the late 90’s and it’s interesting to start seeing that decade represented in fiction because it was so long ago! I read several reviews about this book not being fair and balanced, male characters not being properly represented…the book isn’t for or about them. It’s for all the riot grrrls throughout history who fought against oppressors. If my description so far doesn’t sound appealing, then likely one won’t care for the book. I loved the themes of sisterhood, and the examination of what revenge gets us.
I won’t spend as much time on movies. I watched The Changeling from 1980 (Shudder), inspired by the podcast Faculty of Horror. Some really elegant scares, haunting, atmospheric and steeped in grief. Apparently it’s based on a true story? Craziness!
I have fallen in love with the 2015 Indian action epic wonderful amazing ridiculous and perfect film Baahubali (Netflix). Two parts, each closing in on three hours, am tempted to watch them again right now. (Come to think of it, all those subtitles might count as another book.) It’s got the statecraft of Game of Thrones, some of the most beautiful cinematography I’ve ever seen, Bollywood (or Tollywood, to be more specific) song and dance numbers, and Lord of the Rings scale battle scenes. Baahubali was a baby found in a river (like in Willow!) who had a humble childhood. Once grown he learns he’s heir to the kingdom of Mahishmati, and then we go into a crazy flashback, where the same actor who plays main character Baahubali also plays his dad who is also names Baahubali! Not confusing at all! It’s pretty, it’s fun, heads will roll, songs will be sung, costumes are amazing…just watch it. It’s the Coronatimes, what else do you have to do?
Finally, yeah, I was completely sucked in by Tiger King and binged it in a weekend. I hate them all, and couldn’t look away. It was like a car accident, and I feel dirty now. When I was a kid I made my parents take me to the Turnpike Mall parking lot in Augusta Maine where I got my picture taken with a lion cub. I feel gross about that. I also think the spin and portrayal of Carole Baskin is pretty vile. She’s on the cuckoo side for sure (most passionate people are, if you really think about it), but she’s done a hell of a lot more for animals and conservation than any of the other derelicts depicted in the show. Maybe she did feed her husband to the tigers? I still find it distressing that she’s one of the only female personalities on the show and she’s spun to look especially unreasonable.
So that’s a nutshell of what I’ve been up to. I’m shopping a novel about the Florida Bigfoot and a suicide cult. I’m 75,000 words into a novel with the working title MURDERGHOSTS which doesn’t have nearly enough murders or ghosts in the first draft. Toss some comments in about what you’ve been reading or watching!