Sunday, July 30, 2017

Sci-Fi Sunday: Oh, Susannah, How The Dark Tower Explores Black Woman Stereotypes

Art by Lady Fiszi
This summer, the first installment of Stephen King’s opus, The Dark Tower, will finally arrive in movie theaters across the country. The protagonist, Roland of Gilead will be portrayed by international superstar Idris Elba, a black British actor. Although Roland will appear on-screen differently than his novel namesake, my concern as a fan and black woman, resides in where the movie adaptation will go with Susannah Dean, the only black person in the series. The Dark Tower series exposes modern views of black womanhood and so I wonder how the movie adaptation will address those issues, if at all.

Odetta Susannah Holmes, who will become Susannah Dean, does not appear in the first installment in The Dark Tower series, The Gunslinger.  She appears in the second book, The Drawing of the Three, which tells of Roland selecting the members of his ka-tet from different worlds and whens. Susannah’s door, through which Roland enters her world, is labeled, “The Lady of Shadows.”

“The lady of shadows, does she look two faced to you Gunslinger?”--Walter O’Dim

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Thursday, July 27, 2017

Four Great Horror Film Shorts You Need To See

There's never a shortage of original, engrossing horror films to consume. You'll find them in many lists that circulate online at notable spaces such as Blumhouse.com, film festivals, and of course, YouTube where it's highly likely the next Lights Out is now. Here are four horror films that all feature central Black characters and two that were created by Black women.

Little Red's Pie (2016)
Written & Directed by Rae Shaw


Little Red's Pie is a somber yet righteously vengeful spin on the Little Red Riding Hood fable many of us remember from our formative years. The classically grainy aesthetic that immerses itself in the film's tone of a haunted memory, the silent/soundtrack storytelling technique is used perfectly to capture the anachronism of the tale and maximize on the audience's emotional experience. Rising from tragedy, Little Red seeks retribution for the loss of innocence and joy. Shaw has certainly made something old new again in the most refreshing of ways.

Trailer

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Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Salem Horror Fest Examines American Fear With Month-Long Celebration Of Terror


This Fall, Salem Horror Fest is celebrating one of the horror genre's greatest weapons; fear as "an evolutionary learning tool."

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Thursday, July 20, 2017

Graveyard Shift Sisters Summer Read & Watch Giveaway


Graveyard Shift Sisters is gifting a curated care package to bring some more sunshine to what we hope is your fruitful and pleasant summer.

  • Origins of an African Elemental by Alicia McCalla
  • Sycorax's Daughters, a horror fiction anthology Edited by Kinitra Brooks, Linda Addison, and Susana Morris
  • Tales from the Crypt Presents: Demon Knight directed by Ernest Dickerson [DVD]
  • Candyman directed by Bernard Rose [DVD]
  • One Graveyard Shift Sisters tote bag to carry your loot in

In order to win, simply tag the @GraveyardSister account on Twitter in photos of independent people of color artists that produce work in the horror genre including authors, actresses, designers, make-up artists, print illustrators, and filmmakers with links and why you love their work. It is consistently necessary to expand and celebrate the network of those in the horror community who beat the odds daily simply by not giving up. We want to be a part of the encouraging anchor that gives them the attention and recognition they deserve.

You can tweet as much as you'd like.

US & Canada residents only.

The deadline for tweets is Sunday, August 6th. The winner will be notified on Monday, August 7th.

Good luck!
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Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Snatchers: A Horror Comedy Web Series You Must See


From middle school to high school, I observed a lot of my peers in an extremely multi-ethnic education pool change their identities. Some in regards to code-switching, others in a bit of a dramatic fashion divorced from their monolithic upbringings to more borderline offensive cultural appropriative leanings, and just simply those who found an opportunity to find a seat at a cool kids table. I learned very early on it was futile to think I desired to fall into any of those categories. With a toe forward in each at some point, my gut sent another message. And while I let authenticity guide me, I saw many people I once spent a great deal of time with dorking off choose the temporary glamour of false acceptance. Luckily, I never had any awkward reunions that involved a scene out of It's Alive.

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Thursday, July 13, 2017

Black Women Horror Filmmakers: Interview With L.C. Cruell


In broadening the “Black Women in Horror” interview series beyond authors, I’m showcasing another filmmaker/director, L.C. Cruell (the first interview with Meosha Bean is here). L.C. is the creator and co-executive producer of 7 Magpies, a horror anthology project written and directed by black women. Cruell is a longtime writer/director passionate about breaking the stereotypes of Black people not being involved in horror, especially Black women.

“As hot as horror anthologies are right now (the ABCs of Death series, the V/H/S series, Tales of Halloween, Holidays, etc.), not one black woman has been included in a single one, not even the all female-directed XX.” Inspired by advice from noted filmmaker & cinematographer Ernest Dickerson, Cruell crafted 7 Magpies out of the creepy nursery rhyme, which gave rise to the superstition that the bird can be an evil omen, depending on the number of them you see.

Here in England, I’ve heard many people saying, “How’s the family, Mr. Magpie?” in order to avoid the bad luck that comes from seeing only one. Cruell feels the rhyme represents, “a form of oral storytelling key to many cultures of color – and the perfect framework for the first all African-American female horror anthology feature.” L.C. was kind enough to talk to me more about her inspirations and what she wants to see in horror’s future.

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Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Black Horror Films: Mariner (2017)

I’ve had weird moments in life and I’ve had to pull weird things out of myself sometimes from situations I’ve gotten into, so that’s what that’s about. [Pulling] things out of yourself – things that you need when you need them.
-Thyrone Tommy's interview with ByBlacks


An intense psychological thriller that's brilliantly subtle, Mariner presents the mind of Nate (Thomas Olajide), a focused marine navigation cadet whose extreme anxiety is at its pinnacle during his final exams. But his memories, both real and surreal triggers, threaten to damper his opportunity at moving forward. What is pleasantly intriguing about Mariner is its talent as a short to display such a meaty, meaningful character study through simple visual cues that tell you Nate's life story in a mere glance.

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Sunday, July 9, 2017

Sci-Fi Sunday: Dystopian Web Series, Resistance: The Battle Of Philadelphia


Filmmaker M. Asli Dukan, the woman behind the epic Invisible Universe: a history of blackness in speculative fiction, my much anticipated look at a new horror anthology Skin Folk, and more is currently turning the spotlight on her latest project, a futuristic web series that tackles unjust policing and imposition in a community where one hacker sparks a revolution by using technological ingenuity to dismantle their tools. The few will become the many in stopping oppressive forces in Resistance: the battle of philadelphia.

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Thursday, July 6, 2017

Blood Hunters (2017) Movie Review


Canadian horror director Tricia Lee is behind clever indie genre films Silent Retreat and Clean Break, both bringing us strong female leads and interesting stories. As one of the leading female horror directors in Canada, she’s back with her award-winning feature, Blood Hunters. Lee, along with her long-time writer and collaborator Corey Brown, creates a story based on addiction, life after death, faith and regret.

Ellie (Lara Gilchrist) is a single mother who is an addict. The pressures of raising her son gets the best of her and after an overdose, she wakes up in a hospital facility strewn with dead bodies, and to her surprise, she is now nine months pregnant. As she searches for help, she meets fellow survivors and they realize they are all being stalked by creatures. They must set aside their differences to figure out how they got there and how to get out before the blood-thirsty creatures get to them.

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Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Horror Filmmaker Tricia Lee's Blood Hunters Now On VOD


*From The Press Release

Winner of the Audience Choice Award at Fright Night Theatre Film Festival, Blood Hunters, directed by Tricia Lee will have a theatrical run at the Carlton Cinema in Toronto, ON starting July 7th, 2017 and a one night screening as part of the DedFemme Screening Series at the Metro Cinema in Edmonton, AB on the same day. The film is also coming out on DVD, VOD and all digital platforms in Canada and the USA on July 4th, 2017.

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