Thursday, November 27, 2014

Mocha Memoir Press Presents... Ashes and Coffee by Sumiko Saulson

Enjoy one of five frightening tales of Death and his -or is it hers?--escapades with the living over your cup of coffee. Death's Cafe is now open...


Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Interview with Sumiko Saulson: Ashes and Coffee + Social Awareness in Horror

I first heard of Sumiko Saulson’s work during a 2013 Women in Horror Month (WiHM) event when she was an ambassador and interviewed twenty-five women for her WiHM blog series.  I noticed she was a horror blogger as well and I didn’t at the time know of many Black women running such a blog. Not long after, she interviewed me for her non-fiction book 60 Black Women in Horror. If you haven’t seen the book, pick up a copy and read about the authors, filmmakers, scriptwriters in horror that you don’t know about, but should!

Sumiko’s latest release is a short story from the Death’s Café series by Mocha Memoirs Press entitled "Ashes and Coffee"!


Thursday, November 20, 2014

That Feminist Vampire Warrior Film You Ordered Has Been Served

*Originally posted at Reel Talk Online on November 17, 2014 by Candice Frederick

And let me be among the first say, it is delicious. That's just one way to describe how absolutely hypnotic musician-turned-filmmaker Ana Lily Amirpour's A GIRL WALKS HOME ALONE AT NIGHT is. If only for its cool black-and-white photography, awesome indie rock/80s pop soundtrack and one of the baddest goth heroines we've seen in some time.

But if the premise (which follows the nocturnal escapades of a female vampire) sounds derivative to you at all, then just wait. It gets zanier. Amirpour personalizes the well-worn concept by blending the cinematic styles of 50s horror icon Vincent Price, 80's romcom king John Hughes and the millenial badassery of Robert Rodriguez with her own Iranian rock feminism -- resulting in a gorgeous, mysterious and seductive film. Picture it, if you will, a young woman vampire (remarkably played by Sheila Vand), wearing a striped Freddy Krueger-like shirt and sneakers underneath traditional full chador, prowling the streets of Bad City for misbehaving men. Her transportation of choice? A skateboard.

It's this fusion of several different cultural influences together that make the film so intoxicating to watch. But at its core the film is about the human connection, or the lack thereof. As Vand's character, simply referred to as "The Girl," lurks through the town (which actually looks like the backlot of an old John Wayne film though it was shot in a California desert), she encounters "The Persian James Dean" charmingly played by Arash Marandi, who is simultaneously slinking down the street after leaving a particularly joyless costume party. The two share very little conversation. Actually, it is our James Dean incarnate who does all the talking as he tries to mask his insobriety. But the two strangely hit it off as she struggles to hide her fangs from him and he likewise avoids telling her about his drug addicted father whose habit costs him his kickass convertible (a prize possession he worked hard to obtain). They are virtual strangers but united in that they both remain invisible except to each other in a town overrun with abominations. The world may be coming to an end, but as long as they've got a decent Lionel Richie song to listen to and each other, it may not be as bad.

This awkward 80's-styled romance humanizes an otherwise bloodthirsty tale in which a dangerous vampire seeks vengeance on men like James Dean's father, who solicits prostitutes and forces them to partake in his habit. Or the tattooed drug dealer/pimp who's so obsessed with his hustle that he doesn't even notice that The Girl he welcomes into his home is not interested in sex...

Rapturous, bold and even funny at times, A GIRL WALKS HOME ALONE AT NIGHT is that Iranian feminist vampire film you never knew you always wanted. Amirpour creates an unusual world that defies era and location. The electrifying performances further illuminate Amirpour's vision that is sexy without being about sex and modest without being at all conservative. It's so smart, meticulous and fresh that I can only hope it marks the beginning of a provocative new franchise.

Rating: A (**** out of *****)

About the Author
Candice Frederick is a former editor for Essence Magazine and a NABJ Award recipient. She writes the film blog Reel Talk and serves as co-host of “Cinema in Noir” (@ReelTalker)

Tuesday, November 18, 2014 Offers Old School TV Experience For Horror Fans with 21st Century Innovation

Cult and horror entertainment from some of the industry’s most creative independent producers and distributors is coming to fans’ televisions, computers and mobile devices every Wednesday night starting in 2015. Viewers will be able to watch with no fees or charges from virtually anywhere in the world at and on Roku-connected televisions.

Programming will not be offered “on demand,” instead providing viewers with a weekly dose of full, live late-night broadcasts boasting feature films, shorts, specials, marathons and series.


Sunday, November 16, 2014

Sci-Fi Sunday: Afrofuturist Film, Bar Star City

Author of Afrofuturism: The World of Black Sci Fi and Fantasy Culture  Ytasha L. Womack is embarking on completing her first trippy feature film, Bar Star City. After reading the description for myself, I got the sensation of experiencing one of those really late night Adult Swim bumpers on a roller coaster. Or a fever dream of the Chalmun Cantina, with Black people:


Thursday, November 13, 2014

Friday the 13th (1980): From A First Timer

Im going to admit to a little secret. Up until very recently, I had never seen Friday the 13th. I made the mistake of admitting this on the actual Friday the 13th, prompting this exchange:


Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Black Horror Films: Matthew 18 (2014)

Writer, director, and producer Roy Belfrey is at the helm of what's being called "The Scariest African American Film... Ever!" titled Matthew 18. Being a nitpicky pessimist for a moment, why can't it just be the scariest horror film or thriller ever? What makes it the scariest African American film ever? Aren't perceptions of what's scary and what isn't subjective? You can't make these blanket, click-bait statements without some thoughtful commentary with your potential audience. Upon finding this, I really wanted to hear more from the filmmaker, especially this first teaser was slightly underwhelming. But effectively enough, I suppose the line does capture attention. Here's the breakdown:


Thursday, November 6, 2014

Black Horror Films - Octavia: Elegy for a Vampire

Art by Katherine Hyunkyung Oh
If  “The horror is not what is imagined, but in what is real” (Antonin Artaud), then a horror movie to me is one that reflects the problems of our external world and how it informs our internal worlds, the countries within us. The horror is us, our everyday politics, habits, and choices.  And the horror, specifically in this movie — shall be the effects, acknowledgment, and awareness of colonization in all its forms and how it has marred the spiritual life of black people throughout the Diaspora, and therefore man at large….
-Dennis Leroy Kangalee


Tuesday, November 4, 2014

5 Questions With Dez The Horror Queen

In the true spirit of the mission of this blogosphere, Desiree Hess, a.k.a Dez The Horror Queen exemplifies a passion and thirst for horror fandom and creativity that is simply refreshing. I'm really looking forward to talking to her more about upcoming projects, movie reviews, and so forth! It's been a joy getting to know more about her with this introduction. Please embrace this lady and let her know that she's not alone!

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