Browsing Tag


Posted on June 17, 2021

Carrie White as Witchcraft, Power and Fear

Guest Post

In our hands: embers embers embers
just waiting for
the opportunity
to ignite

-Amanda Lovelace, The Witch Doesn’t Burn in This One (53)

The Witch in Popular Culture

In the twenty-first century, literature and film have demonstrated a compulsion to return to the figure of the witch. Witches are embedded in popular culture old and new. From the folkloric enchantresses Baba Yaga, Circe, and Morgan Le Fay to the fairytale hags who eat, kidnap, and murder children in stories such as Hansel and Gretel, Rapunzel, and Snow White, the witch is designed to reinforce men’s fear and abhorrence towards women. Modern media, however, continues to challenge the witch as a figure of absolute terror and evil. What happens, for example, when the witch is a child herself? Portrayals of the “goodhearted” child-as-witch emerged and took centre-stage in stories such as Harry Potter (2001-11) and Chilling Adventures of Sabrina (2018). But before Hermione and Sabrina, there was Stephen King’s Carrie White.

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Beneath Us
Posted on March 6, 2020

Beneath Us & Immigration Horror

Guest Post

Much like Jordan Peele’s Us, Max Pachman’s deliberately provocative debut feature Beneath Us presents the viewer with the subaltern- the dispossessed, those without power or a voice and forces us to question who we identify with. The title functions both literally and metaphorically. Four undocumented immigrants, Hector, Alejandro, Homero and Memo (Roberto Sanchez, Rigo Sanchez, Nicholas Gonzalez and Josue Aguirre) are hired by a rich couple, Liz and Ben Rhodes (Lynn Collins and James Tupper) as construction workers on their palatial home. What seems a comfortable job paid in cash soon turns nightmarish as they are treated like slaves at gunpoint, beaten, humiliated and forced to beg for their lives alongside being imprisoned underground. Then the tables appear to turn.  Read more

Rafael protects family
Posted on August 22, 2019

Horror’s Exotic Religion? The Marked Ones & Curse of La Llorona

Guest Post

The Conjuring universe had a bumper crop this year with two films being released within four months of each other. The Curse of La Llorona (Michael Chaves, 2019) is technically a spin off—and quite far spun out at that—from the diegesis established in the main Conjuring series and its popular Annabelle sub-series. La Llorona came out in April and the latest chapter on said doll, Annabelle Comes Home (2019), was released in late June. Having grossed nearly $2 billion dollars, the Conjuring franchise shows no sign of slowing down.

A certain intertextuality has long been recognized as a hallmark of horror cinema. The genre is notoriously self-referential. Even so, those who spent a few years drinking in the Paranormal Activity films (2007–2015) beginning in the middle of the last decade will perhaps notice some distinct similarities to The Conjuring franchise. Indeed, The Curse of La Llorona stands out from other films in its universe–similar to the way in which Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones (Christopher Landon, 2014) relates to the main story of its series. Both involve Hispanic communities, feature a botánica and even involve some of the same rituals associated with Hispanic folk tradition. This could reflect nothing more than the fact that religions that used to be called “syncretistic” bear certain similarities. Nevertheless, this particular form of religion in horror is a form of exoticism for the white mainstream, and it draws on very similar motifs in these two films. Some backstory might be useful right about now. Read more

Crawl alligator
Posted on July 16, 2019

Crawl: This Summer’s Must-See Naturalistic Creature Feature

Guest Post

For anyone who wished that last year’s shark movie The Meg had an R rating instead of a PG-13 rating, then Crawl won’t disappoint. Director Alexandre Aja’s alligator flick is a fun and gory romp, a nail-biting thriller with naturalistic undertones. While the film may not have as much to unpack as other horror hits this summer, namely Ari Aster’s Midsommar, it’s a wild ride that should titillate horror fans and make for a fun time at the movie theater.

The plot of Crawl, which is expertly written by Michael Rasmussen and Shawn Rasmussen, is straightforward. College swim star Haley (Kaya Scodelario) returns to her childhood home in Florida to locate her father, Dave (Barry Pepper), a recent divorcee who went missing after he was attacked by a gator while trying to fix a pipe in the basement, amidst a Category Five hurricane. It’s probably best not to question why he didn’t just evacuate instead of worrying about home repairs. The film includes some family drama and internal demons, but generally, the plot is straightforward without much subtext. Read more

Posted on May 31, 2019

Monstrous Relationalities in Alan Moore and Stephen Bissette’s Swamp Thing

Guest Post

In anticipation of the upcoming web television series Swamp Thing (set to premiere on May 31, 2019 on the DC Universe streaming service), we have been asked to offer a “teaser” of our chapter about the comic series published in the 2016 anthology collection, Plant Horror: Approaches to the Monstrous Vegetal in Fiction and Film, co-edited by Dawn Keetly and Angela Tenga. While the television series may draw from any of the various versions of the Swamp Thing character put forth since its initial creation by Len Wein and Bernie Wrightson in a 1971 issue of House of Secrets, our essay looks specifically to Alan Moore and Stephen Bissette’s version, which saw a complete overhaul of the Swamp Thing canon and included a small but significant twist in the titular character’s origin story. Read more

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