Stories For Ghosts

Horror Through a Literary Lens

Category: Art (page 2 of 3)

La Catrina – Icon of Death, Beauty, and Dia de Los Muertos

Today is All Saint’s Day! Or as we celebrate it in Texas, El Dia de Los Muertos, a Mexican holiday. For the uninitiated, El Die de los Muertos is a vibrant, introspective holiday devoted to remembering the dead. Those who celebrate the holiday will tend to the graves of their deceased loves ones, cleaning the tombstones, arranging flowers and altars, and leaving food and small offerings. They do this to invite the spirits to visit, so that the departed will hear the prayers of their living relatives.

While this sounds like it could be morbid and depressing, El Di de los Muertos is actually cheerful and uplifting. People are encouraged to remember the dead fondly by recounting happy and funny stories about them. This attitude carries over into the festival itself, which is often whimsically macabre and very enjoyable.

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30 Years of IT – Stephen King’s Enduring Horror Classic

September marks the 30th anniversary of IT, Stephen King’s infamous 1986 novel. IT sold a million copies in its first run and spent weeks on the bestseller lists. Like so many of King’s horrific tales, IT has broken past the confines of the own story, spreading chills and scares through our nation’s pop culture and terrorizing children and adults alike. People who have never read the book or seen the movie still know who Pennywise the Clown is.

Case in point: when I was a child, all the kids at school knew about the killer clown from the sewer who murdered children. We’d all seen that black book with the blood red letters sitting on a parent’s bookshelf, just out of reach. Some of us had even seen parts of the movie. Many of us had no idea what the actual story was; it didn’t stop us. We whispered and teased each other about Pennywise, and no one really wanted a clown at their birthday party. Such was the strength of that symbol.

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10 of My Favorite Horror Movie Scores

What makes a horror movie truly incredible? The same thing that makes any movie incredible—excellent writing, nuanced acting, gorgeous artistic design, daring cinematography, visionary directing, and a killer score.

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Autumnal Musings on the Wonderfully Morbid Art of Edward Gorey

Oftentimes, autumn puts me in a melancholy mood and only the most wonderful morbid art makes me feel better. Someting pretty, something scary, and something Gorey.

It has to do with how autumn affects me. The nights get very cold. The days wilt and dim under the flat, gray light. In Texas, because we don’t have real autumn, the leaves wither to a dull brown instead of the fiery colors other states enjoy. As such, the sickly brown emphasizes the emaciated, skeletal tree branches. And as the sky begins to darken earlier and earlier, all I find myself wanting to do is be home. There is a small voice urging me to go home, to get inside where it’s warm and safe.

I experience a curious mixture of forlornness and calm during these cold months. There is beauty in the cold. It possesses a certain elegance as it sweeps in with its frosty nights and frigid winds. Despite my apprehension of the cold (I am from Texas, y’all), when it washes over me in a sudden gust, I accept it.

And it always makes me think of the dark. Of the end.

It has always been this way for me. Every year.

I don’t share this to be overly morbid. There are some wonderful bright points in autumn and winter—tons of holidays, good food, time spent with family and friends, and no work! I only mean to acknowledge the connection.

I’ve always thought it had something to do with the fact that, around Halloween and into November, my grade school’s library would put out all the really good scary books. Overnight, beautifully illustrated copies of the children’s version of Dracula, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, and Frankenstein would appear. There were numerous volumes of ghost stories, urban legends, and campfire tales. One of the best and creepiest of these books was the Scary Stories to Tell In The Dark series, of which I’ve already written about here and here. Those books were deliciously scary, so good that most kids felt compelled to read them, no matter how much those pictures frightened them.

Another one of my favorites was the wickedly artful The Gashlycrumb Tinies, written and illustrated by Edward Gorey. I always remembered those dark tales, despite having long forgotten the name of the author. I remembered the sinister rhyme, offered to help small children remember the alphabet. I remembered the demented but clever drawings.

And it was a particularly grey day that inspired me to dig through my books to revisit this part of my childhood.

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My Favorite Beautiful Horror Films

I love horror. I love beauty. And I love both of those things in one pretty, shiny, terrifying package.

There’s something to be said for being scared by something aesthetically and visually enticing. A movie with striking, artistic visuals pulls me in and won’t let go. It creates a delicious tension that deepens my experience of being scared. Who doesn’t want that?

Here are some of my favorite beautiful horror films. I won’t bother you with too much commentary. If you are enticed by any of these films, you can find the plot summaries hyperlinked in the titles. Otherwise, save for a few comments, I’m going to let the pictures speak for themselves! Leave your own recommendations in the comments!

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The Man Behind the Xenomorph: A New H.R. Giger Documentary

Great news, Internet!

H.R. Giger, Swiss surrealist, artist, and creator of the iconic designs behind such films as Alien, Poltergeist II: The Other Side, and Species, is the subject of an intriguing new documentary. Dark Star: H.R. Giger’s World, directed by Belinda Sallin, offers an intimate view of the artist during an interview conducted in his dark and cluttered home. The man, the legend, invites the viewer to follow him deeper and deeper into the recesses of his home, which is full of stacks of books, his painting and sculptures, and countless items assembled for inspiration.

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Review of Spring (2015): Horror and Romance

After a month of crazy work-life imbalance, I’m finally posting my review of Spring, a brand new horror movie from Justin Benson and Aaron Moorehead. These guys are no strangers to the horror genre—Benson and Moorehead worked together on the 2012 horror movie Resolution. Benson also directed and wrote the “Bonestorm” segment of V/H/S: Viral. Spring, the most recent project from these up-and-comers, is available on certain online platforms.

I was excited to watch, hopeful that it would be another well-constructed, thoughtful horror movie. It did not disappoint.

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Dark, Creepy Poems (Part II)

Here is the second installment of my NaPoWriMo 2015 poem challenge. I’m writing a poem a day for the entire month of April, all of which I’ve posted to Instagram and am now compiling here. Check out the first installment here.

For this series of poems, I was inspired by the Seven Deadly Sins: Lust, Sloth, Envy, Gluttony, Wrath, Greed, and Pride.

Enjoy! Don’t forget to follow me on Instagram @storiesforghosts.

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Dark, Creepy Poems (Part I)

Sorry for the lack of recent posts! Life has been very hectic and I’ve been trying to get some writing/editing/reading done in the rare moments when I have down time.

Also, happy NaPoWriMo month! In case you aren’t familiar with NaPoWriMo, it’s the sister of NaNoWriMo, but instead of writing a novel, participants write a poem a day. By the end of April, you should have 30 poems.

I’m always looking for ways to improve my writing, particularly my poetry skills. I decided that not only would I participate in NaPoWriMo 2015, but I would post my poems to Instagram as a way to force myself to not only write the poems, but to share them.

And I’m sharing them here. Enjoy! Let me know what you think. (Don’t forget to follow me on Instagram @storiesforghosts.

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A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night: Monsters and Moral Authority

agwhaan

Recently, I was lucky enough to attend a screening of the stunning film A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night, the debut feature film from Ana Lily Amirpour, an Iranian-American director, screenwriter, producer, and actor. I’d been hearing a ton of buzz about this movie, but couldn’t a screening in my city. My town isn’t exactly a big stop on the indie film circuit, so it took a long time before a screening was finally scheduled and I could scoop up some tickets.

I was not disappointed. This film is, quite simply, amazing. I really enjoyed it.

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