Author Archive

All Hail the Popcorn King Movie Review

Aug 13, 2020 No Comments

Joe R. Lansdale is the Mark Twain of genre fiction. I can’t think of a more thoroughly American horror writer, with the possible exception of Ambrose Bierce. But for all Bierce’s brilliance, his vision was sharply defined by unwavering misanthropy and cynicism. Lansdale, like Twain, has range. He’s done horror, crime fiction, Westerns, comics, and […]

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The Tokoloshe Movie Review

Dec 11, 2019 No Comments

“Why do you like horror?” We get this question a lot, usually from people too puritanical or weak stomached to enjoy the genre, but this time was different. The woman who asked me was a refuge from Iraq. “I’ve seen too much horror,” she said. “I don’t like it.” I had no good answer; I […]

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Doctor Sleep Movie Review

Nov 20, 2019 1 Comment

Confession time: I prefer Stanley Kubrick’s take on The Shining to Stephen King’s. That’s not a knock on King. I burned through the original novel in a couple days when I picked it up back in college. But precious little fiction in any medium can lay claim to the brooding menace that infuses every scene […]

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The Making of Alien Book Review

Aug 21, 2019 No Comments

If you run in the circles in which I run, chances are you’ve been asked whether you prefer Star Wars or Star Trek at least once. The only answer to that question, of course, is Alien. Alien is such a part of our culture that it can be easy to forget what a revolutionary movie […]

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The Haunting of Hill House Season 1 Review

Nov 05, 2018 No Comments

I don’t believe in ghosts, but a few years ago, I regularly woke up feeling somebody standing over me. Bolting up in bed and turning the light on, I would be left with only the lingering image of a face or a shadowy form hanging for a moment in my vision before leaving me alone.  […]

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Rabid Genius: Harlan Ellison Eulogized

Jul 02, 2018 No Comments

Author Harlan Ellison died in his sleep on June 28th at the age of 84.  I’ve written and deleted that sentence about two-hundred times over the past 48 hours.  I have no idea what to follow it with, because I have no idea how to sum him up.  There’s no clever literary trick to summarize […]

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The Shape of Water Movie Review

Jan 08, 2018 No Comments

You watch any pre-George Romero horror movie and you know the monster is going to go after the hot blond.  There’s a certain Victorian sensibility to this, the contrast of the innocent maiden with the creature of darkness, though of course the trope was already old when St. George liberated a virgin princess from a […]

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Anno Dracula 1899 and Other Stories Book Review

Oct 16, 2017 1 Comment

In Anno Dracula 1899 and Other Stories, published by Titan Books, Kim Newman once again tears open the toy chest of genre culture and doesn’t pick up after himself, leaving a clutter of in-jokes and obscure references in his wake.  Yeah, Newman’s got his schtick, but so do we all and his is a lot […]

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Dissecting the Socio-Political Brain of GET OUT

Mar 09, 2017 No Comments

“Wouldn’t you feel uncomfortable, if it was you alone in a room full of black people?” I had never really thought about it when my friend asked.  We were in Cable, Wisconsin for a boxing match, a relentlessly white ski resort town of 836, of whom half must have been packed in the showroom around […]

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Satanic Panic: Pop-Cultural Paranoia in the 1980s Book Review

Nov 02, 2016 No Comments

Give the Devil his due: he’s been rebooted, retconned, and reimagined for millennia, but we never get sick of him.  To the ancient Hebrews, Ha-Satan (“the Accuser”) was less his own being and more a contrarian part of God’s nature.  In Job, God is essentially arguing with Himself, which makes an already richly fucked-up story […]

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