August Derleth: Cthulhu re-myth

Earlier this year I looked at how Detroit electro outfit Drexciya (perhaps inadvertently) reconfigured the poisonous racism of H.P. Lovecraft's legacy. That legacy is a complex and problematic one, but one that we're unlikely to have at all were it not for the heroic efforts of August Derleth. Derleth (with Donald Wandrei) founded Arkham House … Continue reading August Derleth: Cthulhu re-myth

Horror Rewind #2 – Wyrms, Fire Worms & Spectres

Welcome to the second in my occasional trip back to the 80s Horror Boom. Having looked at Mark Morris's excellent Toady, we're now going a little further back in time - and a little further north - to look at three books from 1986-7, all of them set around Tyneside and Northumberland: Stephen Laws's The … Continue reading Horror Rewind #2 – Wyrms, Fire Worms & Spectres

The Folk Horror Chain in Clive Barker’s “Books of Blood”

The Folk Horror Chain is a framework devised by writer and film-maker Adam Scovell in his essential study of the genre, Folk Horror: Hours Dreadful and Things Strange. For Scovell, Folk Horror can - among other things - be categorised as "a work that uses folklore…to imbue itself with a sense of the arcane for … Continue reading The Folk Horror Chain in Clive Barker’s “Books of Blood”

The Haunted Generation – “Felt Trips”

Bob Fischer's The Haunted Generation - both his blog and monthly article for Fortean Times - is required reading for anyone interested in the whole arena of hauntology & creepily "wrong" nostalgia. One of his current strands is "Felt Trips", unearthing artworks created by kids in the 70s and 80s. Some of these are homages … Continue reading The Haunted Generation – “Felt Trips”

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)

Review – “Amorphous Albion” by Ben Graham (2018)

Let me start this extremely digressive review with a long digression. My 18th birthday was in May 1992. Eighteen is a rite-of-passage birthday, though of course different teenagers arrive at it with differing levels of maturity. I've previously written about the way we have different "selves" - co-existing within us are personas that can differ … Continue reading Review – “Amorphous Albion” by Ben Graham (2018)

…but is it Folk Horror? “The Droving” (2020)

Is The Droving Folk Horror? I was asking myself this more and more the longer this (admittedly short¹) film went on. It certainly uses some familiar tropes: an outsider comes to a "remote" location; there are people wearing animal masks, and there are rumours of magic & ritual. Some moderate spoilers follow. Martin (a superb, … Continue reading …but is it Folk Horror? “The Droving” (2020)

Review – “Winter Freits” by Andrew David Barker (2019)

I recently reviewed Dan Coxon's great little horror micro-anthology from Black Shuck books, Green Fingers. Impressed, I took a punt on another from their "Shadows" series. There are 21 at time of writing, but there's little information on their website to allow you to choose one over another, other than cover art (their jacket design … Continue reading Review – “Winter Freits” by Andrew David Barker (2019)

China Miéville’s “UnLunDun”: dismantling the cliché of Prophecy

UnLunDun cover

A quick post this, and one which the title pretty much explains. I've been reading UnLunDun to my son, because he really enjoyed Miéville's other YA novel Railsea when I read that to him. Railsea is aimed at slightly older readers, is more linguistically and thematically complex and probably the better book, but UnLunDun is … Continue reading China Miéville’s “UnLunDun”: dismantling the cliché of Prophecy