Horror Rewind #6 – ‘The Cleanup’ by John Skipp & Craig Spector (1987)

‘Splatterpunk’ was a short-lived tag applied to a generation of younger horror writers who appeared in the mid-80s and took the levels of explicit gore pioneered in the late 70s to new levels. John Skipp and Craig Spector were twenty-something US horror authors at the forefront of the movement. In an interview with them in … Continue reading Horror Rewind #6 – ‘The Cleanup’ by John Skipp & Craig Spector (1987)

Horror Rewind #3 – Robert Aickman’s “Cold Hand In Mine” (1975)

I’m cheating on two counts here. I’d intended ‘Horror Rewind’ to be a look back at works of fiction from the Horror Boom of the late 70s to early 90s, and in their original (or at least a contemporary) edition. Cold Hand In Mine is a 2014 reissue from Faber (a lovely thing, as all … Continue reading Horror Rewind #3 – Robert Aickman’s “Cold Hand In Mine” (1975)

Horror Rewind #1 – Mark Morris’s “Toady” (1989)

Welcome to the first in an occasional series of retrospective looks at 80s & early 90s horror. There are, I know, loads of excellent websites covering this area. Will Errickson’s Too Much Horror Fiction is the Daddy, and of course Grady Hendrix’s essential Paperbacks from Hell is your print companion. Elsewhere in the Gyre I’ve … Continue reading Horror Rewind #1 – Mark Morris’s “Toady” (1989)

“There’s been a breakdown at the BBC”: the rural horror of Daphne du Maurier’s ‘The Birds’

It’s my birthday today. I’ve always liked that I share it with two favourite writers: poet and nature writer Kathleen Jamie (born 1962), and the master of mid-20th century English gothic, Daphne du Maurier (1907-1989). I’m going to take a brief look at du Maurier’s short story The Birds, which can be read as an … Continue reading “There’s been a breakdown at the BBC”: the rural horror of Daphne du Maurier’s ‘The Birds’

The lure, the lie and the lessons of nostalgia

“Proust had a bad memory…The man with a good memory does not remember anything because he does not forget anything.” Samuel Beckett, ‘Proust‘ To begin with, the first part of the quote above must look like exceptional contrariness on Beckett’s part. Proust’s most famous work is, after all, À la recherche du temps perdu (In … Continue reading The lure, the lie and the lessons of nostalgia

Killing the parents: Clive Barker’s “Hellraiser”

“There are no new tales, only new ways to tell.” Clive Barker, in introducing Christopher Marlowe’s renaissance drama Doctor Faustus, acknowledges that the challenge for the modern writer lies in the “shaping of a fresh and original interpretation of a story cast and re-cast several hundred times.” The artist must drive “his imagination to new … Continue reading Killing the parents: Clive Barker’s “Hellraiser”