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Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Horror Blackademics: Black Women In Vampire Fiction, Part 2

by Marie-Luise Loffler and Florian Bast

Online Journal: Kultur & Geschlecht #8 (2011)
The full article can be read here.

Key Term

Intersectionality - often used in critical theories to describe the ways in which oppressive institutions (racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, ableism, xenophobia, classism, etc.) are interconnected and cannot be examined separately from one another. The concept first came from legal scholar KimberlĂ© Crenshaw in 1989 and is largely used in critical theories, especially Feminist theory, when discussing systematic oppression. 
Source: http://geekfeminism.wikia.com/wiki/Intersectionality

Overview

Loffler and Bast point out the foundational importance of how Black women writers produce intersectional fictional texts with central themes in African American women's literature: racism, sexism, narrative perspective. In particular with genre narratives, a claiming of "the vampire [occurs] in order to conceptualize imaginary spaces within which both white supremacist and patriarchal power dynamics can be reconfigured  and formally marginalized characters can claim control over their voices, their bodies, and their lives." Ultimately, the Black woman vampire protagonist focuses on "self-determination" while navigating the "complex web of power relations" and through supernatural ability, preserve history and become boundless.

Authors Octavia Butler and Jewel Gomez "appropriate the traditionally white and male genre of vampire fiction to rewrite and renegotiate conceptions of power, Otherness, and hierarchy."

Octavia Butler                                                 Jewel Gomez    

Saturday, July 16, 2016

"Blending Gore with Human Frailty & Tragedy": Alexandra West's Films of the New French Extremity

Extremity - the furthest point or limit of something; the extreme degree or nature of something

"The New French Extremity movement has shown what the French are afraid of, themselves."
-Alexandra West


It can be said for any culture, community, collective, that art and the creator's existence or personal convictions are inextricably linked. As horror is deeply personal for many of its consumers, I am aware of its lifelong importance for myself as someone who struggles and pushes my own boundaries of perceived comfort. To face fear, address it, obsess over it, understand it, and possibly even neutralize its potency.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Cruel Summer: Friday the 13th Part 2 (1981)

One of my favorite, and arguably one of the best slashers ever put to celluloid is Friday the 13th Part 2 (1980). The first of many sequels in the Friday the 13th franchise was produced and released during an era where this popular horror sub-genre was hitting a stride and defining its core with an intriguing blend of sophistication and terror.

Because the slasher boom was sparked by the first entry (and Halloween before it and Psycho and Peeping Tom going back further), parent distribution company Paramount wanted this sequel. The cast and crew behind the Part 1 did not forsee this considering Pamela Voorhees was killed in such an iconic manner and the Jason referenced was in fact, dead. But what if he wasn't?

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Sci-Fi Sunday: Rain (2016) Movie Review

Fan film sets out to bring new life to Storm of the X-Men.



Story by Maya Glick (@MayaSokora)
Directed by R. Zane Rutledge & Jeff Stolhand

Praise Afropunk. That cinematic demonstration of the forgotten misfits in society (African Americans involved in the punk/hardcore/rock spaces) curated by James Spooner, a passionate artist and punk enthusiast who once asked on an online punk community message board, "Do you know any Black people?" What began as a documentary that deeply spoke to my own need for self-acceptance turned into an empowering online haven.

And this is where, after a long hiatus from my X-Men comic book and card collecting habit I acquired from a childhood friend, it all came back to remembrance when I saw a variation of Storm that did not get much lip service in my small circle:

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Dark Genre Publication Mantid Magazine Open For Summer Submissions

Genre writers and artists, Mantid magazine is offering an opportunity to get paid for your work!


I spoke with founder Farah R. Smith a few months back about why Mantid is so important to her as a genre fan. Her response still grips me:

The demand for intersectionality in fiction, specifically horror, science fiction, and fantasy, has long been a topic of discomfort to those who adhere to the tried and true paradigm of traditional literary publication. There are those who embrace this discomfort, and know that without it, there will be stagnation in the pursuit of understanding, little innovation and greater difficulty in creating a cultural shift towards equality. 

People have asked what can be done to make the horror and speculative communities (particularly the weird fiction community) not only inclusive, but welcoming. We need to breakdown the idea that it is an inconceivable venture, and seek to bring together communities of people who realize that the examination of the fears not intrinsic to their own experience is culturally significant, critically important in terms of artistic innovation, and long overdue.

Friday, July 8, 2016

Generation Purge: Interview with The Purge: Election Year's Brittany Mirabile


A senator and survivor of a sadistic annual Purge night participant's gruesome home invasion that left her family dead looks to nab the presidency to put an end to The Purge. With the upcoming Purge Night, her opponents conspire to take her out of the political campaign. Will she survive the night?

Written & Directed by James DeMonaco

It's probably the thing on everyone's mind who went out to see The Purge: Election Year (2016) over the July 4th weekend; not only was it cleverly chosen to usher in the United States' annual celebration of its independence from British rule, but did Election Year just give an overt smack to our past and present? Or is it predicting our future? In many ways, yes and both. It's only even made more daunting by the fact that we can fill in the gaps with recent examples of this assertion that lays bare a country in a racial, cultural, economic, and political hailstorm that really hasn't known much else ever.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Horror Blackademics: Dr. Maisha Wester

Dr. Maisha Wester holds a B.A., M.A., and Ph.D. in English from the University of North Florida, Jacksonville as well as the University of Florida, Gainesville. Her primary research interests are African American gothic literature and horror films, "specifically as the tropes mask horror over racial, ethnic, and sexual others." She is currently an Associate Professor at Indiana University Bloomington in the African American & African Diaspora Studies department who has taught and lectured across the country. She has written and presented her research on the work of Eli Roth, Toni Morrison's Beloved, 2005's The Skeleton Key and much more. All with a focus on Black female representation, history, race, class, and feminism.

Considering just a few of the courses she has taught, I am infected by inspiration:

Film and Literature Reading and Watching Horror

Monstrous 'Others': The Nature and Face of Terror in American Gothic Fiction

Black Horror Fiction and the Nightmare of Race

The Horrors of Blackness: African Americans Revising the Gothic

Contemporary Vampires: Metaphors of Oppression in 21st Century America

The Horrors of Race: Race and Class in American Horror Film

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