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Showing posts from January, 2017

Stakes Is High Part 4: Welcome To Fight Night

By Tarik R. Davis (@tarikrdavis)

Americans are currently in a post-inauguration, post-facts, post-America-as-we-know-it-democracy. The horror, the nightmare is real. For how long? I can’t call it. All I know is there’s no time for sitting idle hoping this storm will blow over and “we’ll be fine.” Nah. We got a lot to do. That is what I’d like to talk about now. What do we do? How do we fight? How do we win? The subject matter of my series was always intended to be metaphorical. With the story of rich people actually ingesting blood, it seems the case I’ve been making has become all too real. And if that’s the case, then let me make this point: If you were to meet my father you would most likely hear him say this (which I grew up hearing him repeat over and over), “The questions to all of life’s problems can be answered in the movies!” I used to roll my eyes when my Pop would say this but here am writing about how we’re all living in a vampire film. So I’ll no longer roll my eyes at …

Searching For A Decolonized Horror: Interview With NeverDeadNative Creators Dani & Talon

"Horror cinema elicits a physical and psychological response by forcing the subconscious fears of the audience to the surface. This is why the genre can be such an effective vehicle for uncensored Indigenous expression, pushback and resistance. Horror cinema liberates us as indigenous filmmakers by allowing us to not hold back on or censor our gruesome symbolism, our unflinchingly unpleasant allegorical representation of the abhorrent, repugnant, violent abomination that is colonization."

-Ariel Smith, filmmaker/artist/author of "This Essay Was Not Built On an Ancient Indian Burial Ground"

While horror narratives have played with speculative ideas that surround Native/Indigenous themes, they are commonly buried (pun intended) in white saviorship, superficial exposition, and erasure. The "Indian burial ground" trope doesn't allow nuance and the voices of the Indigenous person to prosper. This is commonly noted in Indigenous critical film theory when i…

Conquering Challenges: Interview With Horror Film Producer Sandy Ayesh

Sandy Ayesh is a Brooklyn native currently residing in Queens who spends time writing children's books, teaching bellydancing to kids, manages a dental practice, and finds time for her passion as a film producer and lover of the horror genre. This superwoman's latest producer credit is the upcoming psychological horror film, The Luring, about a man who returns to the childhood site of a traumatic event in his life in order to retrieve the truth of what happened; a truth that has been kept from him since. Along with writer and director Christopher Wells and fellow producer Brian Berg, Sandy has been hard at work getting the word out about the film with emphasis on The Luring as the "horror film that you always hoped someone would make."

Stakes is High Part 3: New Blaculas, Fauxteps and Male Privilege

By Tarik R. Davis (@tarikrdavis)

In the beginning of the 1972 blaxploitation film Blacula, we’re shown the tragic origin of Mamuwalde, the man who would become Blacula. It’s the 18th century and Mamuwalde (played by the fully committed king of cartoons and stage William Marshall) is an African prince who travels to Count Dracula’s castle with his wife Luva to ask the count to help him abolish the slave trade. The Count basically laughs in the Prince’s face and tells him, “Nah. But how 'bout I make your wife one of my brides tho?” This leads to fisticuffs and Mamuwalde ultimately loses the fight. Count Dracula bites Mamuwalde turning him into a vampire, Dracula locks him in a coffin and curses him with the name “Blacula.” Years later, the very same coffin that Blacula slumbers in is dug up and the former noble African prince awakes and begins to wreak havoc as a chocolate child of the damned. Now I know that seems like a silly, campy premise, it is, but Blacula and its sequel Scre…

Black Horror Filmmakers: Interview With Monica Moore-Suriyage

I have been that painfully awkward girl who tried to get the guy of my affection to notice me. More times than I care to admit. Looking back, I think I would've loved a funhouse of terror, 28 Days Later-like, infectious outbreak to distract me from the neurosis of how hopeless pining for someone who doesn't even notice you has made us all feel at times. Watching Meryl (Chelsey Colosimo) stumble her way in a Argento lit, house party to finally (hopefully) get it in with Davey (Shaun Sutton) takes the complete plunge when carnage threatens their livelihood. Director and writer Monica Moore-Suriyage (@monicatweetsnow) has captured this universally insecure moment with a pleasantly gross origin story of a zombie apocalypse in her short, Black In Red Out.

Stakes Is High Part 2: Who’s Who in Blade & Beyond

By Tarik R. Davis (@tarikrdavis)

In the first installment of Stakes is HighI argued that our country’s current politics feel like the plot of a vampire movie. With the recent intelligence briefings, the plot took a turn toward a full on spy movie. Thinking of spy movies -- slick looking actors being all cool and secretive wearing sunglasses and all black, using gadgets to make impossible escapes -- it hit me: one vampire movie contained all those gimmicks -- Blade! The 1998 action horror film released by New Line Cinema based on the Black vampire hunting superhero in Marvel comics, was in many ways the precursor to the Marvel movie dominance we’re experiencing in cinemas today. There’d be no Avengers without Blade. Period.

Blade and its sequel Blade II are incredibly enjoyable films. I can’t acknowledge the abomination that was the third movie. I’m mad that I’ve given it this much of a sentence. Anyway, the first two films are great, setting up intriguing characters and a rich mythol…

Horror Favorites with yOyO Suicide

"Is that the Halloween 3 skull mask she's wearing?!"

That was one of my first thoughts upon stumbling into Wickedland. yOyOinWickedland is the full name of the blog spearheaded by yOyO Suicide. She's a Michigan-based online store owner and alt model, (as well as stellar cosplayer-- check out her Halloween 4 Jamie Lloyd and interpretation of Eleven from Stranger Things on Instagram) that possesses an alluring penchant for blending style with all things very much horror. But what's equally impressive is her craft hustle helming stores, Wickledland Jewelry and Sugar & Spice DIY where you can find an array of fringe accessories.
I thought yOyO was an excellent candidate for the Horror Favorites exercise that is much more about how we interpret horror texts in pure form. Right next to past participants, yOyO's picks are exemplary.

Stakes is High Part 1: The Real Life Horror of America

By Tarik R. Davis (@tarikrdavis)

In Stephen King’s Salem’s Lot a small Maine town is slowly taken over by a master vampire named Barlow. At first a few people disappear, then others begin acting strangely, for the most part however, most people go on about their lives, ignorant of what’s coming. Only a few people in the town know the truth about the vampire, they know what’s really at stake. Some in the town choose to fight, others choose to flee and most end up succumbing to the vampire sickness. I gotta say, the United States is starting to resemble Mr. King’s book an awful amount lately.

2016 was the year of WTF and it’s looking like 2017 is setting itself up to be a banner year too. With the election of our current President Elect, with the revelation of foreign hacking and influence, with the rise of hate and fascism, everything seems crazy. It’s almost like we’re living in a bad movie that won’t end. When life gets topsy turvy, I try to make sense of everything by using movies …

Horror Blackademics: Race & Gender in the Zombie Narrative

The Importance of Neglected Intersections: Race and Gender in Contemporary Zombie Texts and Theories by Dr. Kinitra Brooks
Key Terms:

oppositional gaze - an active form of observing media, particularly as someone who is Black and female, and analyzing it in a way that resists dualistic simplicities that commonly uphold white womanhood for heteronormative male pleasure.

democratic textual viewing - prioritizes and expands on the notion that the idea of the "majority viewer... [is] to include the experiences of female observers"

zombie horror/contemporary zombie theory - while George Romero focused on the zombie as a reflection of our behavioral reality, newer storytellers, "after the initial onslaught of blood, horror and guts, the zombies become a background of groans, an ever-present danger to the text's characters and an important cause for concern, but rarely the main focus of the ongoing psychological drama." It is "the mental and physical states of the su…