Thursday, June 29, 2017

I'm A Survivor: Conceptualizing Horror With Filmmaker Elizabeth Bayne


Elizabeth opens our Q&A talking about her fascination with Amityville 4: The Evil Escapes (1989) "in which a demonically possessed floor lamp terrorizes a California family." What I find equally amusing is the fact that it's a film she's reminded of when she encounters a street lamp. Watching horror films as a child truly is a range from the distinguished to the utterly bonkers that played commonly on Saturday's in the 1980's and 1990's. Since it appears we both are in a similar age range, I completely relate to the allure of some of the questionable-in-coherence genre entries. And it is often these kitchen sink film viewing experiences that lead down a winding road of creating our own work in some capacity.

Elizabeth Bayne, a filmmaker who has spent over ten years working in video production for the University of Southern California and various organizations in the wellness and public health sector found inspiration for her own entry into the horror genre while home for the holidays in Hampton, Virginia. She was jogging by a fort, the famous Fort Monroe, a historical military installation known for being used as a war defense location and even its role in freeing slaves before the Civil War. With a myriad of 'what if's' swimming in her brain, The Fortress, the name of her idea-turned-screenplay became one of the Top 10 Finalists for the Clive Barker presents Reel Fear Horror Contest. Its premise aligns next to some of the most notable revenge films of the past such as I Spit On Your Grave (1978). When Elizabeth's main character goes jogging along this same location, she is taken captive for sadistic acts but manages to escape and endure an unpleasant test that throws a wrench in her faith of the United States criminal justice system.

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Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Three Diverse Heroes Battle Evil In Young Adult Novel, Revengers


The slippery slope of retribution is a universally human device translated in every form of communication. Its persistence and fascination lies in its truth even when presented as fiction. A fantasy of cathartic action that rarely, if ever, feels wrong. Revenge is a tale that will never go out of fashion. A theme that demands our attention beginning at our closest proximity to birth because the device is an awareness we have long before we understand its consequences. Further complicating the matter of recent are three teenagers that have intimate ties to dimensions beyond the living, a conquest from author David Valdes Greenwood. He's titled this series simply, Revengers.

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Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Women Of Color Horror Writers: Interview With Rebecca Pierce


Sometimes I stumble upon fantastically inventive writing in my travels online, and when that writing is horror written by a woman of color, I take notice. Rebecca R. Pierce writes horror poetry and short stories that have a graceful quality that lives among the creeping darkness. Her experience with the poetic form bleeds into her prose, filling it with resounding symbolism and lingering metaphor. She is able to move between sub-genres of horror, while maintaining the ability to give the reader the sense of awe and what all horror readers love—that gasp of surprise.

Some readers shy away from short stories, feel they aren’t long enough to get involved in the characters and be pulled along into a plot. Short stories are a skill unto themselves—the ability to craft an immediate connection to protagonists and villains alike, as well as craft an intriguing storyline that unfolds and resolves within an abbreviated number of pages.

Pierce shows she’s in control of the short story form in “Shambles,” which gives us a view of the apocalypse through the eyes of a zombie trying to understand and come to terms with what he has become. Vivid and squirm-worthy description combine to make a surprisingly touching read. 

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Thursday, June 15, 2017

Horror Blackademics: The Get Out (2017) Syllabus

illustration by Sharlene Artsy
I'll be in the movie mania that was/is still Get Out for a very long time. I had my initial response soon after my first screening and sung its praises of being an all around great film. Literally, a piece of cinema that is almost perfect. And the follow up from other writers that have celebrated and highlighted other facets of symbolism in relationship to the dynamics of race as well as what Get Out woefully underdevelops has been necessary to the conversation.

Crystal Boson, PhD is the woman responsible for creating a syllabus inspired by Jordan Peele's 2017 shockwave. A film that brilliantly tackles the nuances and fine threads of racial discrimination that often aren't addressed with care, Get Out uses them to tell a darker, more overt, genre-fied tale about the outcomes of them.

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Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Quarries (2016): Movie Review


During a nature hike, seven women encounter a group of men and must put an end to their murderous rampage in order to survive.

Written by Nils Taylor & Nicole Marie Johnson
Directed by Nils Taylor

There's a constant awareness of how unknown and vast the wildness is. It has been alluded to as its own dimension with living creatures and objects that humankind has yet to witness or comprehend. If ever there is a physical or emotional need to journey through this space, the first rule is to reverence both its beauty and danger. There are so many films that give the outdoors this credit, and horror turns up the dial on dread, capitalizing on the uncertainty with just about anything it can muster. This includes the broad depravity of humanity.

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Thursday, June 8, 2017

Should You Watch This? Blair Witch (2016)


Did you ever wonder if you could trust those rating sites on their reviews of movies? I mean all those strangers can’t know if you’re gonna like a movie! Leave it to just one stranger... me. I’m gonna tell you whether or not you should watch movies (there will be spoilers). Let’s go.

Movie Name: Blair Witch

Year: 2016


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Tuesday, June 6, 2017

A Nightmare On Elm Street: Dream Warriors Live Commentary


Wizard World Horror Fest held a remarkable event during Philadelphia Comic Con weekend that gave A Nightmare On Elm Street fans a treat in the form of a screening of the franchise's most popular installment, Part 3 sub-titled Dream Warriors, along with live and in-person, star Heather Langenkamp (Nancy) and director Chuck Russell giving commentary with hosts Andre Gower (Sean) & Ryan Lambert (Rudy) of 1987's The Monster Squad.

Chuck and Heather were pleasantly responsive to random crowd inquires and those from Gower and Lambert. You got a little bit more than what was even detailed in the Never Sleep Again documentary. With all the fan fare and accurately timed applause during memorable scenes, I figured a simple recap was just not good enough.

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Thursday, June 1, 2017

Watch R. Shanea Williams' Psychological Horror Film Paralysis Now


The best of #Blackwomeninhorror in 2016, R. Shanea Williams' psychological horror film, Paralysis is at the top of the stack. As a visionary, Williams' work is packed within these digital pages because of the way she's taken her Hitchcockian methods and molded them into something of her own. The beating heart of her work is horror, but the connective tissue threads drama, thriller, and suspense that's arguably unrivaled due to her relentless push for the centrality of Black women; their stories, and just how they confront the horrific.

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