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Did everyone else know about this web series but me? Starts a little slow, but she definitely finds her voice around episode 3 or 4.
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Sunday in Boston there is scheduled to be a rally in support of science. I'm really hoping there will be a significant subset of people carrying signs that say

"Why are you trying to keep this curiosity door locked?"
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The Case of Evil (Dirs. Neal Hallford, Jana Hallford, 2014)

This short is only ten minutes long but those are ten minutes of retro horror delight, especially for anyone who loves those blues songs about guitar players and the Devil.

The acting starts off a little stiff until things really start rolling, but the script is tight and the dialogue tells a story in a few simple words, just like the best blues songs.

I saw this for free with my Amazon prime membership, but I'm not sure how else one can find this short.
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Because every time I read about the "Stranger Things" party in Salem, which happens waaaay past my bedtime, I need to have a Stranger Things" Halloween.

So, idea?

The official foods: Eggos and chocolate pudding (I heart Dustin!)

Christmas light, maybe with a handmade poster of a large Ouija board?

D&D paraphernalia (I don't know--this might be hard to come by at Melville Keep)

Oh, and compasses! Everybody must have at least one compass!


Edited later: And yes, if I had the skillset I would try to make a DIY sensory deprivation tank...
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I know most people are reluctant to say goodbye to summer but, in Kestrell's world, Labor Day weekend means the start of the Halloween season, and this is my pick for the second coolest event* happening this year.

Creative Salem Stranger Things Halloween Party -Tribute to Barb.
October 7

Stay tuned for details.. But this will be a multidimensional trip to the 80's like no other :-) DJ, BAND, ALTERNATE REALITIES, NIBBLES, TAB, GOVERNMENT CONSPIRACY, REALLY BAD DANCING, TWINKLE LIGHTS, CASH BAR, LASERS AND MORE

Tickets will be on sale soon and members will get first shot at them!

There will only be about 100 tickets available for this one so once it is go time we HIGHLY suggest grabbing yours!
RSVP on Facebook

*The coolest event is Halloween at Melville Keep, where people definitely get into the spirits of the season. Also, it doesn't happen after my bedtime.
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From the HB newsletter

On Friday, September 27, Mr. King will be joining us at Harvard Yard's Memorial Church to read from and discuss Doctor Sleep, his long-anticipated sequel to The Shining. Tickets go on sale online only at 9am on Monday, August 5, will be $35 each, and will include a first edition of Doctor Sleep. Find all the event details, and some important information about tickets and signed books, here.
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So there is this new Lovecraft book just out with the catchy title of _H. P. Lovecraft's Dark Arcadia: The Satire, Symbology and Contradiction_, which I have been anticipating for some time.

However, in looking at the Amazon page for the book, there is no book description, but there is a bit about the author, who lives in Florida.

I realize this is really really petty of me, but I find myself doubtful regarding the abilities of an author to really get the mood of Lovecraft right when that author lives in a state that completely lacks gothic ambiance. I'm trying to imagine a Floridian Stephen King, and it just isn't happening.

And then I noticed that there is no publisher listed for the book.

How does that happen? I know I've come to regard self-publishing with some skepticism, but listing no publisher at all does not convey a sense of confidence, either. And why not just make up something if you don't have an actual publisher? I kind of like the ring of Infernal Publishing, Inc.
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I especially like the final line where someone reprimands the storytellerfor telling stories that will give kids nightmares--good to know spooky stories at bedtime is a timeless tradition.
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_Haunting Experiences: Ghosts in Contemporary Folklore_
by Diane E. Goldstein, Sylvia Ann Grider, and Jeannie Banks Thomas (Utah State University Press, 2007)

This was a fascinating collection of articles exploring the intersection of folklore and media studies, specifically, folklore narratives about ghosts and mass media. There is a lack of academic writing concerned with this intersection, and the explanation for this was one of the parts which I found most intriguing in this book:
lengthy quote below cut )


Mar. 22nd, 2013 10:49 am
kestrell: (Default)
It is almost impossible for me to read about the music of "The Wicker Man" while listening to New Orleans jazz. I had noticed the same dissonance while trying to read a British ghost story which was heavy on atmosphere.
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I've been reading a couple of academic books on the subject of zombies in film and other media, and there is this one statement which academics keep insisting upon which I sense is incorrect, namely, that there is little to no mention of zombies in Western narrative until the zombie films of the 1930s and 1940 brought this exotic concept to American audiences.

While I make no claim to being the Josie Campbell of horror, I seem to have absorbed from my reading the impression that revenants and the fear of the dead being reanimated is a universal fear. I can't recall where I read this specifically--perhaps that scholarly book about burial rituals and vampires which all bookish horror fans seem to have read at some point?--but I seem to recall that, at least through the Anglo-Saxon period, and possibly through the Elizabethan period, a ghost was not a disembodied spirit but the actual animated body of the dead person (as described in
this Wikipedia article on draugr
and I didn't even know that there is such a person as
The Viking Answer Lady, who can meet all your undead needs

Then there is the Wikipedia entry for revenant

A revenant is a visible ghost or animated corpse that was believed to return from the grave to terrorize the living.[1] The word "revenant" is derived from the Latin word, revenans, "returning" (see also the related French verb "revenir", meaning "to come back").

And didn't Greek necromancy involve summoning and enslaving the embodied dead, not just their spirits?

These descriptions seem to indicate that there *was* the equivalent of the zombie in Western narratives, and that the distinction is one of semantics.

What do other fans of the gothic think?
kestrell: (Default)
While I'm kind of at a loss for the popular fascination with zombies, I seem to have developed a sudden addiction for reading academic books about zombies in popular culture. The book I am currently reading was very obviously scanned from a paper version of the book and, frankly, I think zombies could have done a better job of it.

But that's not what I'm here to talk about. What I wanted to mention was that sometimes one comes across a scanno which opens up all sorts of new ideas.

The one which I am particularly fascinated by is one scholar's statement that, zombies, unlike other varieties of monster, do not have a long narrative history, unlike, say _Dracula_, written by *Brain Stoker.*

Let's see: _Dracula_ contains piles and piles of maundering prose, and Stoker *was* a theatrical agent...

I think that an argument could be made that Brain Stoker was some variety of evil zombie. Really, I want to read the book where Brain Stoker, the zombie theatrical agent, and Robbie Stevenson, the wimpy ailing guy with a split personality, team up to solve a mystery, possibly located in an alternate London where Holmes only accepts cases from those who are not life-impaired.
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LJ user tinybuffalo came over to watch "Behind the Mask: The Rise and Fall of Leslie Vernon" (which is tied with "Scream" as my favorite meta-horror movie) and then A. and I watched "Cabin in the Woods" for the first time.

I have to say: Marty, I love you!

Other than Marty, however, I didn't feel that there was a lot of fun in "Cabin." There is a really fine line between creating parody but still conveying a love of the genre (as, I think, "Scream" manages to do) and creating something which is just a montage of mean-spirited snark. Yes, the second category can still be witty, but it's like hanging out with the Algonquin Circle--intellectually stimulating but not really a positive social experience.

Something which I did find intriguing about "Cabin" was the character of Marty, who, like Randy in "Scream" is not only a fan knowledgeable about what genre he is in ("Okay, I am drawing a fucking line in the sand here and saying, do *not* read the Latin!"), but also a Cassandra figure. By Cassandra figure I mean that, like Randy, he that certain actions will doom other characters's fates. At the same time, however, he conveys a tiny sliver of (Pandora-like?) hope, not for his future, but for a future, something else's future, something else that might get a chance.

Overall, though, "Cabin" seemed just a little too much like the paint-by-numbers horror movies it was pointing the finger at, but I'm still intrigued by the dynamic of the story where, if the final girl actively picks up the phallic knife/gun/ax (though really, mythically I would think an ax/labris would be a female symbol), a male character becomes the passive prophet and wise fool/advisor.
kestrell: (Default)
despite the fact that, as I have mentione on previous occasions, I am not a fan of zombie stories.

1. Gregory is a genre trickster, a narrative mixologist who whips up concoctions made up of ingredients that you would swear could not possibly complement each other, let alone offer anything new to say about genre fiction. In this case, the flavors are basically "Night of the Living Dead" (as documentary, no less) meets Ray Bradbury Midwest farmboy fantasy, with a shot of horror and some superhero comics as a garnish. (
2. The theme of zombie as disabled isn't even a subtext in this story: Gregory puts it right out there. (Plus there are some totally kickass roll-your-own prosthetics.)
3. Stony is the antithesis of the mindless zombie: he is a complicated character full of hopes and hurts and contradictions. In other words, completely human.
4. Female characters kick ass all over this book and yes, there is a final girl.
5. It makes Alexx so happy that now we can have media studies conversations about all of our favorite parts and, even after he spent the last year telling me I should read it, he hasn't uttered the phrase "I told you you would like it."
kestrell: (Default)
But this one is so cool: *blind* zombies *and* they are also Knights Templar!
"Tombs of the Blind Dead"
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A [wandering into the aerye still half-asleep]: Media studies conversation: what is the original source of zombies as brain eaters?

K: Well, Hollywood-style zombies are not my forte, but I don't think the cannibalistic zombie showed up until "night of the Living Dead," so I expect brain eating zombies happened sometime after that....

[Conversation wanders around a bit until Alexx goes back to bed, and is later revived when LJ user tinybuffalo comes to visit and mentions "Return of the Living Dead," after which the conversation circumlocutes some more.]

According to TV Tropes, tinybuffalo got it right

but I feel certain that someone out there must have written a thesis on the topic of the socio-political implications of the emergence of brain-eating in the modern Hollywood zombie. Does anyone out there know of any scholarly papers on the subject?
kestrell: (Default)
From the Quote of the Day:

My experience of life is that it is not divided up into genres; it’s a horrifying, romantic, tragic, comical, science-fiction cowboy detective novel. You know, with a bit of pornography if you're lucky.
kestrell: (Default)
"Welcome, foolish mortals!"

You can hear the entire thing online --and also get some background info--by going to this link on my favorite blog
kestrell: (Default)
How have I not seen this before? And it all begins with, Prospero's magic book was the _Necronomicon_, to which I can only reply, well, of course, why hadn't that occurred to me before?


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