I’m in full Halloween mode now. Nary a night goes by without a pant-shittingly scary film on the telly or a spooky ass book in my hand. Film-wise I’ve been having a ton of fun with some new-to-me stuff and classics alike. Got a rewatch of Dog Soldiers in last week, followed by UFO cult cosmic horror The Endless on the same night. Started early on Sunday morning with a viewing of zombie flick Pontypool at 11am. More zombie films should be watched over breakfast imo. My gf also told me she’d never seen Scream, so we watched that together with popcorn and shandy. I’m weird and like to watch films on my own and I’m rarely affected by jump scares, so it’s always an oddity to see my gf shit herself at jumpy stuff like Scream. This isn’t movie night at Jonny’s though, so let’s get to what I’ve been reading lately.
Recently Finished: IN SOMNIO: A COLLECTION OF MODERN GOTHIC HORROR edited by Alex Woodroe
If you follow me on the bird app you probably saw me going wild for this book during the Kickstarter, and I’ve since been lucky enough to nab an ARC in advance of its release on November 1st (cos horror doesn’t end with Halloween after all). Lately I’ve been reading a load more short stories than I used and I knew within the first two stories in this collection that I wasn’t gonna be let down by my own hype. The first story, Senescence by J. A. Bryson, unsettled me to fuck, followed immediately by The Blight of Black Creek by Mary Rajotte, which may well be one of the best shorts I’ve read this year and did an about face emotion-wise by making me burst into tears. So strong reactions from the get go. I can feel the irresistible pull to start waxing gothical about how much I loved this whole collection, and I am gonna write a full review up for it soon, but for now all I’ll say is this is a must-have for all you gothmother lovers out there who want to see what happens when Mary Shelley gets a 21st century makeover.
Currently Reading: THE WORM AND HIS KINGS by Hailey Piper
Hailey Piper was originally slated to have a story featured in In Somnio, but got permission to sell it to a different publisher before the release, and culty maybe-cosmic-horror(?) novella The Worm and His Kings has been on my radar for a few months now so I thought why not get my fix here instead. I started it last night and got about a third of the way through. It’s a pretty good read so far, though it’s not giving me the unsettled vibes I was maybe expecting for a story about freaky monsters and their cult followers kidnapping people in the sewers of New York. Books rarely scare me per se, but a good horror book can give me the willies for sure, and I’m not getting that so far. Will see how things progress.
Next Read?: PROLESCARYET: TALES OF HORROR AND CLASS WARFARE edited by Eric Raglin
I’m so in love with the concept for this collection of anticapitalist short horror stories. After all, we all face the oppressive and all-consuming horrors of capitalism every day of our lives. Some of the tales in proleSCARYet feature designer children, deadly bosses, predatory lenders and plague-ridden labourers, and are billed as revealing the dark underbelly of economic oppression from some of the best independent and emerging horror writers from around the world. I know there’s more of it out there already and I just need to hunt it down, but there’s so much potential in this kind of horror. Horror is a genre that holds a mirror up to society and reflects it back to us in ways that lay bare our biggest fears of it, and what’s more terrifying than the overbearing economic system that dictates how we live, seeking to exploit our very bodies while actively destroying the planet we live on? Not much. But never forget that ‘what the bourgeoisie produces, above all, are it’s own gravediggers’.
That’s it for this first of at least a few Halloween posts. Planning to put a couple of reviews up this week for some perhaps less well-known horror stories, and also some other more mainstream ones that I’ve been wanting to read for a while. In the meantime, happy Halloween and happy reading!