Author Nicole Givens Kurtz is back with a new adventure! Sisters of the Wild Sage is a compilation of short stories that have a Wild west flare in a future where heroines are armed with ancestral magic. "When someone with a pistol meets someone with a magic wand, the pistol loses," Nicole says. "Saddle up. Escape to a West as weird and wonderful as one might imagine."

Josh (William Jackson Harper)

For a film that could have been easily white-washed, Ari Aster’s Midsommar does have an inclusive cast. Before our characters are even taken to Sweden where most of the film's dread fueled action takes place, we meet them in their college town. Dani (Florence Pugh) stresses about her sister’s scary email while her boyfriend, Christian (Jack Reynor) drinks at a bar with his buddies, only one of whom is black named Josh (The Good Place's William Jackson Harper).

I have watched enough horror movies to know—and I’ve been brown enough long enough to know—that this setting does not bode well for a person of color. The token minority, say it with me, tends to die first. Because of this ratio, I expected a few other established tropes of the horror genre in Josh’s character, too, and I have to admit, I was delighted and surprised that nothing played out the way I expected.

Ebony Elizabeth Thomas was not allowed to indulge magic. She was warned that magic was essentially a quest towards trouble, and as a black girl living in working-class Detroit in the 1980's, trouble could all too easily (and without merit), find her. That motherly heed opens and echoes throughout the introduction of Thomas' book, The Dark Fantastic: Race and the Imagination from Harry Potter to the Hunger Games. That deafening pause on imagination manages to blossom into a aromatic refute. The lore of magic is for everyone with many worlds to traverse. What was once demanded be inaccessible to Thomas is now extensively encapsulated in The Dark Fantastic as an act of taking to task, widely accessible, mainstream, popular fantasy fiction (fairy tales, horror, superhero comics, 'soft' science fiction, alternate histories) for its woefully problematic approaches to to racial representation. This history has had unsavory consequences for children and young adults of color as audiences and consumers.

Britt Banks, donning a Halloween II graphic tee that resembles a VHS cover is delightful stimuli. On camera, she articulates her goal to unpack and recreate in her image, the building blocks of fear. Inspired by some of the most iconic scenes in horror cinema history, Banks is keen on tension building and heightening the sense of the unknown and unpredictable. You gain all of this by observing her pitch for Ronald, a melinated, Dexter-esque a web series that shadows a tech blerd (the title character played by Ernest Keith Walker) who wrestles with winning the heart of his now reunited childhood crush and his apetite for massacre. Currently, Ronald's solid teaser reveals a narrative dipped deep in night hues that'll make you delete that rideshare app and walk instead. Hot off Black Mirror's "Smithereens".

Heather Elizabeth King was the girl at the sleepover waiting for the perfect time to tell a scary story, guaranteeing a sleepless night for all. The author of dark fiction has about 14 novels where she indulges romance with her monsters in paranormal universes. The biggest lesson she's learned about the world-building process is to always write a story the way it wants to be told. Never force characters into spaces they do not want to be in. I've heard this truth from many writers. This is one of the reasons I wanted to respond to Heather's kind feedback with a free associative follow-up about what makes her horror loving heart pump life into her consciousness and creativity. The Virginia dweller keeps the flow here short, sweet, and consistent in how what she's loved for a lifetime has majorly influenced her work today.

A group of high school friends become the target of a town loner with unpredictable behavior.

Written by Scotty Landes

Directed by Tate Taylor

Dipping and dodging major spoilers. Mild ones may appear.

When I was digging into what was next for Black women in the genre earlier this year, noticing that Octavia Spencer would appear in a horror film sparked moderate interest. This is an Oscar winner who had been consistently appearing in minor roles. I dismissively assumed she'd be another tertiary authority figure with maybe 15 minutes of screen time. If we were lucky.

Two talented cellists come to terms with their intertwining lives in a bizarre fashion.

Written by Nicole Snyder, Richard Shepard, and Eric C. Charmelo
Directed by Richard Shepard

No spoilers to be found here. But with that being said, watch the film before you read this. Yep, it's like that.

The forces of critique are a fragile line between necessary and utterly hazardous. Criticism has positioned me in an infinite realm of quiet madness. Is what I'm hearing accurate? A legitmate note for improvement? Simply a unintentionally (or intentionally) hurtful opinion? Hateration? I'm guessing no one is immune from the process of processing how to reach a level of mastery. The hazing so to speak, in its many forms, both psychological and physical, has some sort of sublime endgame. Sometimes in very unpredictable ways. Completely shattering the limits of the horrific, The Perfection invites an immersion of these concepts without ever losing its composure and intent.

I never really considered myself an activist. When I said this to a friend years ago in her living room, she looked up, incredulous to my belief. I was passionate about a specific observation that became a stewing issue. I had modest resources; intersectional insight, fan identity, and a laptop merged into a "unique and nuanced" educational resource for the purpose "of bringing awareness to important social and cultural issues not normally explored."

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