“Protect the Coven,” American Horror Story: Coven, Episode 11

American Horror Story: Coven makes me uncomfortable. Not uncomfortable because it’s frightening or gross or shocking. Uncomfortable in how it handles race. I’m not entirely sure how to process Coven‘s take on race—I’m a straight white male in America, part of perhaps the most privileged class of people in the history of the world—but I […]

Review: Kiss of the Damned

Many films grow out of, and succeed due to, their strong, closely observed characters. By making Paolo, Juno, and Mimi stock figures from central Transylvanian casting, Cassavetes leaves her audience sharing too keenly the emptiness of her characters’ lives.

Review: Ghosts and Ruins, by Ben Catmull

In recent years, a uniform aesthetic has come to characterize visual horror: Ben Catmull’s new collection of short haunted house and ghost stories, reminds us forcefully of just how powerful other visions of horror can be.

Review: Errantry, by Elizabeth Hand

Errantry: Strange Stories by Elizabeth Hand Small Beer Press 2012 There’s a phrase used by some in Maine, where Elizabeth Hand lives part of the year, to describe those who aren’t Mainers: they are “from away.” It’s a fascinating phrase, rich with the insular, New England suspicion of outsiders and a pride of place that […]

Countdown City by Ben Winters

Review: Countdown City, by Ben H. Winters

Countdown City By Ben H. Winters Quirk Books 2013 The world is still going to end. That’s the reality facing former Concord, NH, police detective Hank Palace as Countdown City, the second book in Ben Winters’ Last Policemen trilogy, opens. Still going to end because Maia, a 6.5-km-wide asteroid discovered by scientists prior to the […]

the sixth gun vol. 1

The Sixth Gun and the Problems of Polish

It may seem perverse to fault a work for feeling too perfectly crafted, but the polish of Oni Press’ comics series The Sixth Gun, the sense of every element being in its ideal place, hindered my enjoyment of the series’ first volume, “Cold Dead Fingers”—but that dissonant experience says more about the media age in […]

Review: The Shining Girls, by Lauren Beukes

The Shining Girls by Lauren Beukes Mulholland Books 2013 The premise of The Shining Girls sold me before I’d read a sentence from it or knew who Lauren Beukes was: a serial killer with the ability to time travel jumps across decades to kill women and escape capture, until one of his victims survives and […]

Frontier #1 Uno Moralez

Review: Frontier #1: Uno Moralez

Frontier #1: Uno Moralez Publisher: Youth in Decline Pages: 32 Price: US$8 Buy If you have a broad enough media palate, you’ll recognize the buildings blocks of Uno Moralez’s art and comics—but there’s also nothing quite like it. Even though its touchstones—the films of David Lynch refracted through Junji Ito-style horror manga and pixel art, seasoned with Soviet flourishes—may […]

V/H/S/ and the Case of the Missing Women

The first V/H/S was a boy’s club. The sensibility of that film, an anthology released to much acclaim and success in 2012, was so aggressively straight and male that the entire film was nearly spoiled. From the framing sequence’s group of men assaulting women while videotaping their exploits to the frat-boy bar pickup/sex in a […]

Open Source Horror: The Slender Man

In his terrific monograph, H. P. Lovecraft: Against the World, Against Life, French novelist Michel Houellebecq proposes that Lovecraft differs from virtually all fiction writers before and after him because his work constitutes a founding mythology. Houellebecq is referring to Lovecraft’s Cthulhu mythos, which he created and developed, and then—in a move practically unthinkable in […]

Rod Serling

Is This the Greatest Era for Horror TV?

While researching my article on this spring’s horror TV debuts, I was struck by the volume of new programs. Six new horror shows joining a field already somewhat dense with genre series felt unusual. I wondered whether there were other periods in televised horror that offered as deep a roster of shows. There were a […]

11 Things You Must Know About the New Evil Dead

Sequels tend to be the re-used tea bags of film—reminiscent of earlier, stronger experiences now weak and watery. Remakes can be even more dangerous, especially when the original material is revered. There are some instances where the remake is superior (the U.S. versions of The Ring and The Grudge outstrip their original Japanese incarnations, for […]

Rites of Spring: The New Horror TV Shows

True Blood stirs no interest in me, I don’t enjoy The Walking Dead, and my feelings about American Horror Story are deeply mixed, but as a fan of horror TV, I owe something to all three shows. Thanks to them, it’s a great time to be a fan of TV horror–and it’s about to get […]

cultographies: evil dead

We Accept You, One of Us: The Cultographies Series

Thanks to the mainstreaming of genre it’s no longer disreputable in many parts of academia to declare an interest in and love of genre. While too much interest in genre might once have marked a dead-end career path, genre studies are increasingly simply another option for engaging with art, ideas, and culture. It’s a good […]

Unstuck #2

Genres Get Unstuck, or My New Favorite Literary Magazine

Prior to the 1991 introduction of SoundScan, record stores self-reported what was moving off their shelves. That system, open to bias and shaky math, created rigid separation in sales charts that ensured you didn’t find country albums on the pop charts. But SoundScan’s precise, computerized measurement revealed an uncomfortable truth for the music industry: The […]