Stories For Ghosts

Horror Through a Literary Lens

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The Very Long List of New Horror at Fantastic Fest 2017

Fantastic Fest 2017 is here! Finally!a

Fantastic Fest is the largest film festival specializing in genre films, which basically means it focuses a lot more on sci-fi, horror, fantasy, action, and generally fun and weird movies. Fantastic Fest may not be a critical darling like Cannes, Venice, or Sundance, but it has a proven track record of showcasing crowd-pleasers and groundbreaking genre films. It usually picks up where TIFF leaves off, pushing the envelope even farther with non-horror movies like There Will Be BloodRed, and John Wick.

These are the kinds of movies that really make you feel something, whether that’s a vicarious blood lust, a sense of wonder, squealing terror, or outright uncomfortable confusion. Fantastic Fest is always interesting and has something for every type of horror fan.

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My All-Time Favorite, Scary Good Action Horror Movies

It’s summer time, and that means lots and lots of blockbuster pictures. It also means we’ll be on a steady diet of action movies, which is both good and bad. Good because I freakin’ LOVE action movies. Bad because that means there aren’t a lot of horror movies.

But there is a ray of hope in summer: the action horror film.

The action horror film is an audience favorite, for good reason. A good action horror movie smashes together the jump scares and roundhouse kicks, supernatural elements and thrilling fight scenes. When a horror movie makes me squeal in fear, an action movie makes me squeal in delight.

An action horror movie makes me do both, which makes for a thoroughly enjoyable and entertaining film-going experience. In the same spirit as a superhero film, an action horror movie lets me watch mega-powerful beings and monsters duke it out for my benefit, serving creepiness and gore the whole time.

I had hoped, sincerely, that Universal’s recent remake of The Mummy would satisfy my unquenchable thirst for badasses fighting monsters, but it sucks. Like, really sucks.

Side note: Universal really needs to get it together if it wants the Dark Universe to work.

Instead of slogging through a review of The Mummy, I decided to post about my favorite action horror movies. So here you go, thirteen awesomely cool, bloody action horror movies. They embody all the coolness of traditional action movies with the supernatural and horror baddies I love to watch. They may not be the smartest movies or the most culturally relevant, but they endure and impact audiences for years, and that’s something important.

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Get Out: Entertaining, Challenging, and Required Viewing

*Very Mild Spoilers for Get Out*

Every once in a while, a horror movie comes along that checks off all my horror-movie boxes. Such a movie strikes a balance between horror and comedy, between jump scares and mounting dread, between imagination and classic genre fare, between a stand-alone story and an important social message.

Every once in a while, a horror movie comes along that knocks me back. Holds me in my seat. Grabs me by the throat.

Get Out is the most recent example of such excellent filmmaking. By now you’ve surely heard that the film has a 99% rating on Rotten Tomatoes from 167 total reviews and an 83% “Universal Acclaim” rating on Metacritic. You might also have read that Get Out is a certified box office smash, grossing $111 million dollars worldwide against a budget of $4.5 million, which is 24x over its budget.

Get Out deserves every good review and every penny it earns. Movies like this make me proud to be a horror fan because they prove how the genre is positioned as uniquely challenging and entertaining art. From its technical execution, to its writing, to its casting, to its deeply relevant social criticism, Get Out will probably be one of the best movies of the year and will undoubtedly be one of the best horror movies of the decade.

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January 2017 Horror – Vampires, Zombies, and James McAvoy

Happy New Year!

January is one of my favorite times of the year because there’s so much hope for this brand new shiny year we have before us. With a new year comes new surprises and delights, and I feel particularly optimistic since I think 2017 owes us for 2016. Hopefully that will extend to horror movies.

The good news is that, if the January horror movie release calendar is anything to go on, 2017 is off to a solid start. We’ve got some awesome horror-action films, a M. Night Shyamalan psychological thriller, and a promising urban legend supernatural horror movie, among others that could surprise us.

Enjoy!

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20 Years Later, The Craft Is More Than A Cult Classic

One of my all-time favorite movies is 90s horror classic The Craft. I’ve loved this film since the first time I saw it, close to 20 years ago. I think it’s something of a perfect movie in many ways— gloriously 90s, unapologetically goth, and brimming with witchy fun. Those god-awful clothes? That terrible wig Robin Tunney wears? The maroon lipstick and smudged black eyeliner? Love Spits Love’s awesome cover of The Smiths “How Soon Is Now”?

TheCraft1

Neve Campbell, what are you wearing?!?!

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Green Room – A Taut, Gory, and Smart Horror Film

One of my biggest horror movie pet peeves is when characters die from making incredibly irrational, stupid decisions. Not when a character is stressed and freaks out, but when a character is a genuine idiot. I hate when that happens in movies because 1) most people aren’t that stupid, 2) convenient stupidity for the sake of moving the plot forward is the height of lazy, contrived writing, and 3) that shit isn’t scary.

I’d rather watch a movie where the characters are smart but woefully unprepared for the nasty situations they find themselves in. Helplessness is always scarier than stupidity.

And that’s why, despite my natural avoidance of super-gory horror, I really enjoyed Green Room.

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Houston: See Green Room For Free!

Hey Houston, wanna see a free advance screening of Green Room before it opens on April 29? I got passes!

I have 25 passes for a special screening on Thursday, April 21 at the River Oaks Theatre on 2009 W. Gray in Houston.  Each pass is general admission and admits two, so grab a friend and make a night of it! The movie starts at 7:00 PM sharp, so be sure get there early to guarantee your spot!

Follow THIS LINK, fill out the information, and secure your pass.

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Litspo: 9 Female Horror Writers Who Inspire Me

I didn’t realize until fairly recently, but February is Women in Horror Month! February 2016 marks the 7th annual Women in Horror Month, or WiHM, which aims to “encourage supporters to learn about and showcase the underrepresented work of women in the horror industries.” Women in all parts of the horror genre are represented—female horror directors, female horror writers, female horror artists, and many more.

I love that this initiative exists! Why should boys have all the fun? Everyone can contribute to horror. It’s refreshing to see women who love horror come together to support each other. There are many talented individuals sharing in this genre, be it through fiction, film, comics, or art.

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The Witch Is The Most Important Horror Movie of 2016

About ten or fifteen minutes into The Witch, I realized I was holding my breath. My shoulders were tense, shrugged up towards my ears as I sank further into my seat. I told myself to relax and just watch the movie, but I couldn’t. It didn’t help that I ended up curled up in my seat in preparation for the next insane development. And it didn’t help that the story became more and more unnerving and the scares more and more startling. Hours after the film had ended, I was still tense. I couldn’t stop revisiting the film, obsessing over certain scenes and replaying others in my head, desperate for details I’d missed.

It’s been a long time since a film, horror or otherwise, has provoked me like The Witch has. Few horror films have ever left me in a state of lingering physical discomfort. Not many horror movies have scared me like this, where I could not predict what fresh hell would come next. And few movies have left me this awestruck, because The Witch is one of the best horror films I’ve seen. It proves the level of art and craft the horror genre is capable of attaining.

And that’s because The Witch is not just a film. It’s an experience, a study in fear.

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Christopher Lee: A Tribute to a Horror Icon

The Internet was heartbroken this past week with the news that Christopher Lee had passed. At 93 years old, the film legend, author, and sometimes heavy metal singer had amassed fans from all generations and across genres. In particular, he was a horror film god, seen in many of the Hammer horror films of the late 1950s through the mid 1970s. But he was in many other kinds of films, including the playing the titular character opposite Roger Moore’s James Bond in The Man With the Golden Gun. More recently, you might know him as Count Dooku from the Star Wars prequels, as Saruman from The Lord of the Rings Trilogy.

christopher lee tribute

 

His influence on horror films in undeniable, placing him firmly in the pantheon of horror icons. I’ve put together a (non-exhaustive) list of some his most well-known horror films, including a few personal favorites. If you are already a fan, I hope you enjoy this list and remember Mr. Lee’s contributions fondly. If you aren’t a big fan, consider this list a good jumping off point to familiarize yourself not only with Mr. Lee’s work, but some well-crafted and entertaining horror classics.

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