I full intended to write a newsletter this month about the brilliance of Keep Your Hands Off Eizouken, the perfect one-season anime about teenage girls creating animated films, but my brain has been drained dry by noveling. So here instead is a grab-bag of seasonal horror recommendations in all media — some new, some timeless, all of them well worth your attention if you're looking for some recreational terror.
Floor 9.5, directed by Toby Meakins and written by Simon Allen. Essentially perfect 2 minute horror movie.
Queen of Teeth by Hailey Piper, who’s one of the current queens of horror. This one has: vagina monsters, lesbians, anti-capitalist and anti-corporate sentiment, and an apocalypse that’s honestly kinda heart-warming. If AKIRA was written as a sapphic novella, it might have been something like this.
Torn Hearts, directed by Brea Grant. So let’s imagine that Reba McEntire and Dolly Parton were sisters and a country music duo, one of them died mysteriously, and their legend has drawn two struggling musicians to invite themselves over with pie and a proposition to collaborate. What could go wrong? LOTS.
It Came From the Closet, edited by Joe Vallese. A series of essays by queer writers that blends film criticism with autobiography.
Darkly by Leila Taylor. A lit-crit memoir about being Black and Goth in America, examining the uneasy intersections of race, the Gothic, art, and counter-culture. Taylor is erudite, funny, and it’s kinda like listening to your smartest friend talk about the things she loves over cocktails.
White Smoke by Tiffany D. Jackson. An excellent haunted house-ish story that never goes where you expect it to. Blends history of redlining with some solidly terrifying vibes. I’m also super excited to read Jackson’s take on Stephen King’s Carrie, The Weight of Blood.
Doki Doki Literature Club, created by Dan Salvato. It’s honestly better if you don’t know anything before going into this cute little visual novel/dating sim, but here are the content warnings: graphic depictions of depression, suicide, abuse, self-harm, and one scene of someone vomiting after finding a dead body. 10/10.
The Magnus Archives, written and performed by Jonathan Sims, directed by Alexander Newell. TMA remains one of my favorite podcasts of all time; it starts off as an anthology series until we (and the narrator) starts to understand the connections between the accounts of the supernatural, and then the plot thickens, you fall in love with the characters, and the sound design goes absolutely apeshit. But also, at its heart, it's always someone telling you a scary story.
A reminder: Patreon makes up a not-insignificant amount of my regular monthly income, and if you like what I do or what I write, I would love if you supported me there.
Defekt won a British Fantasy Award! This was wildly unexpected, considering how amazing all of the other nominees are. Check out the full category!
My teaching for Atlas Obscura is wrapping up for the year, and I'm considering expanding into teaching some independent online classes. Is there something you'd like to learn from me? Or would you be interested in participating in a writing workshop? Please let me know!
Please enjoy these pictures of Morty in his Halloween costume, wondering what he's done to bee treated so cruelly by his parents.