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Showing posts from March, 2016

Black Horror Films: A Historical Odyssey

During February 2015, I had the privilege of providing for horror webiste,  Shock Till You Drop  10 Essential Black Horror Films. This wasn't a list of my favorites, well-known's, or even fairly excepted films in general. I really wanted to educate myself and expose to readers different ways of understanding how the horror genre has been utilized by African American filmmakers over the history of the medium. I owe a deep debt to Dr. Robin Means Coleman's identification of what a Black horror film is: By theorizing Blacks’ participation in horror this way, I am trying to make clear that though Blacks have been part and parcel to the genre since its beginning, how they are represented varies. It is easier to understand if we can think about films such as Nigger in a Woodpile (1904) or The Birth of a Nation (1915) as horror films, or more obvious horror films such as The Serpent and the Rainbow (1988) or Candyman (1992). In these films, Blacks and Blackness--their hi

Love For The Brothers: Johnny's Horror Pop Art

An artist on Twitter recently caught my eye this past Halloween by sharing his lovely esoteric and practically spot-on reproduction of the Decker disguise from a beloved film here titled,  Nightbreed . He was so nonchalant about my nerdy, jaw dropping response, like he's trialed, errored, and conquered these sorts of artistic feats for a lifetime. Since, Houston, Texas dweller Johnny Green ( @Jaylee1103 ) has displayed much of his visual art to see in real time on Periscope and in photos. Putting his The Glassell School of Art tenure to good use, I wanted to give him an opportunity to speak about how horror inspires many of his pieces and additionally, he brings insight on stories that haven't been told and some of the best horror television that's being reproduced today.

TV Series, Damien: First Impressions

I remember the day I turned 20. A close friend of my family called to wish me a happy one but to also sprinkle a bit of optimism on what embarking on the decade would inspire. I can't say that any of her best wishes were a big part of that trek towards yet another milestone which was 30 in 2012. However, I'm glad I can look back and really see the growth (cringe-worthy and otherwise) that is hopeful for when I turn 40, and be able to make an even better assessment. Growing older is painful. Especially when you choose the difficult task of evolving from the residual negative and, dare I say, unsavory recesses of your personhood. This is unquestionably why I have always enjoyed The Omen trilogy. More specifically, that brief moment in Damien: Omen II (1978) were our title character is physically and emotionally struck with the weight of his identity. It makes sense that he had such a dramatic reaction in direct correlation with his prosperous adolescence. In film fashion, he

Black Women in Italian Horror

Unabashed, relentless color, sensuous texture, careful pacing, and stinging action is a defining gumbo that's easy for many to register as Italian horror. The genre works to invoke a psychological terror that you didn't realize was hidden within your own brain, toying with your senses while being visually and narratively removed from American sensibilities yet manages to be embraced by audiences the world over.

British Nigerian Horror Films: Prey (2015)

Regretfully, this round of offering some of the most compelling, independent genre work featuring women of color talent (in front and behind the camera) is long overdue. Prey , the suspense thriller from filmmaking award winners, screenwriter Edith Nwekenta and director Sunny King asks, "What if a woman was trapped in a car park?" Ebele (Weruche Opia) and her friends return to a car park in the late night after a birthday party. After saying goodbye to her friends, she gets to her car but discovers that it won't start. A man she had an earlier encounter with, Obi (OC Ukeje), approaches and she reluctantly asks for his help, only to find out things are not what they seem.

#SciFiSunday: Survivors in Science Fiction Films

Why dystopia? While making correlations between Pan African and Black Nationalist thought along with dystopian fiction, writer Alicia McCalla notes, "there's a large hole in dystopian YA [Young Adult fiction] where the questions of society, race, and minority culture should be". McCalla further offers the idea that young adult fiction is the cornerstone for the birth of critical thinking in the lives of tweens and teenagers. If these books are widely read and the intertwining themes of race and white supremacy are missing, the audience is done a "disservice". We are doomed " if this goes on... " -Tananarive Due

Dara Taylor's Spooky Music Compositions

Hauntingly whimsical are the first two words I use in relationship with music composer Dara Taylor's Women in Horror crafted sounds. Immersed in music beginning with her formative years, Dara spent her life in both upstate New York and New York City, acquiring degrees in music from Cornell and NYU until moving to Los Angeles. The west coast has given her music composition gigs on films like Ride Along 2  (scoring assistant) and television's Agent Carter (score programmer) . If any of that wasn't impressive enough, Dara's also been nominated for a Hollywood Music in Media Award for Best Original Short Score for the thriller, Undetectable . Becoming a well-rounded music composer has not deterred from Dara's first love. As she puts it, "horror/thriller is my FAVORITE genre to compose". As she makes her way in a most reverenced space in the film industry, Dara reached out to discuss some of her favorite horror film scores, what a lot of the work she d