Spending Halloween with the Midnight Widows

Gabriela’s having zombie trouble — and you wouldn’t want to leave her hanging, would you?

Lately, I’ve been jamming with my ever-lovely art crew Marcela Hauptvogelova and Jio Butler to get Midnight Widows issue 2 finished by the end of the year. It’s coming along well, and I’m looking forward to having the issue done and dusted so I can share it with everybody. The story involves a flashback to Berlin in 1918, and will clue you in as to what the Widows had been getting up to before their present-day adventure seen in issue 1.

And for those of you who haven’t yet met the Widows, well, don’t forget that you can still get ahold of issue 1 as a digital copy simply by donating to my Patreon or Ko-Fi. If you like your Halloween reading to come in sequential art form, then Midnight Widows will be the title for you…

“Circus Girl, The Hunter, and Mirror Boy” by Neon Yang (2020 Ignyte Awards)

The Ignyte Awards have come and gone, but I haven’t quite finished covering the short stories and novelettes that got nominated. Today, I’m looking at the Best Novelette contender “Circus Girl, The Hunter, and Mirror Boy” by Neon Yang…

The main character of this story, Lynette, grew up in the circus, her mother being a performer. After she was orphaned as a teenager, Lynette was left at the mercy of a harsh environment: “The other women in the circus tried to project me as much as they could, but I eventually found out what people were willing to do to young girls when they no longer had the protection of a lion tamer.” Alfous, an escape artist, tries to rape her; when she struggles against him, he throws her into a water tank. Nearly drowning, Lynette meets a strange sight:

I thought I was going to die, until I saw that there was a boy in the water. He looked my age, with dark eyes and dark hair and skin yellow as the moon. “You can do it,” he said. I didn’t know him, but seeing I wasn’t alone calmed my panic.

Continue reading ““Circus Girl, The Hunter, and Mirror Boy” by Neon Yang (2020 Ignyte Awards)”

Werewolf Wednesday Meet the Mexican Mash-Up

Face of the Screaming Werewolf has one of the best titles in b-movie history, but how does it stack up as a film? Find out in the latest instalment of my Killer Horror Critic column on werewolf movies!

Past instalments:

The House of Eddas: Thor Helps to Create Humanity in Journey Into Mystery #103

Journey_into_Mystery_Vol_1_103While Journey Into Mystery’s back-up stories had introduced more mythological figures to play with, the main stories were, at this point, still using a very limited cast of Asgardians: Thor, Odin and Loki, plus some extras (if you’re feeling generous you could maybe count Heimdall as a significant character, although his main role was simply to fail at preventing Loki’s escape from prison).

That changed with issue #103, which introduces two more Asgardians into the Marvel Universe. Which ones, you might ask? Well… let’s just say you won’t be recognising them from anything Snorri wrote.

Continue reading “The House of Eddas: Thor Helps to Create Humanity in Journey Into Mystery #103″

“A Brief Lesson in Native American Astronomy” by Rebecca Roanhorse (2020 Ignyte Awards)

Having covered four of the Ignyte Award finalists for Best Short Story – “Ten Excerpts from an Annotated Bibliography on the Cannibal Women of Ratnabar Island” by Nibedita Sen”, “And Now His Lordship is Laughing” by Shiv Ramdas, “Dune Song” by Suyi Davies Okungbowa and “Canst Thou Draw Out the Leviathan” by Christopher Caldwell – I’m wrapping things up with a look at the fifth and final contender in the category: Rebecca Roanhorse’s “A Brief Lesson in Native American Astronomy”.

Included in the anthology The Mythic Dream, this story is set in a future where virtual reality is more immersive than before; where the famous can have their images projected into space, leaving them visible in the night sky like stars of a more literal sort; and where medical technology can keep a person alive for a century and a half – if they can afford it.

Continue reading ““A Brief Lesson in Native American Astronomy” by Rebecca Roanhorse (2020 Ignyte Awards)”

Werewolf Wednesday: Porno Porno Porno

My weekly column at Killer Horror Critic has reached one of the most important milestones in cinematic history: the first werewolf porno.

Past instalments:

Satanic Panic: Back and Based

0046_05

I’ve been thinking about doing a blog series on a revival of the Satanic Panic that’s currently going on in contemporary alt-right circles. For those unfamiliar, the original Satanic Panic of the eighties and early nineties had two main aspects; I’ve come to think of them as the soft and hard varieties:

The soft Satanic Panic came from the fear that entertainment popular with youngsters (Dungeons and Dragons, Star Wars, He-Man et al) contained occult messages. This was confined largely to fundamentalist communities, and tends to strike outsiders as being rather silly.

The hard Satanic Panic was based on the fear that cults of Satanists were ritually abusing children. This was obviously harder to laugh off than the first concern: even if you don’t believe in demons, it’s entirely within the realms of possibility that a cult or religious sect might commit acts of child abuse. Consequently, this aspect of the Satanic Panic caught on here in the UK, even though we don’t have the fundamentalist Christianity that exists in the US.

Continue reading “Satanic Panic: Back and Based”

Fundamentalist Creepypasta

Screenshot_2020-10-12-16-07-17

I’ve done some blogging in the past about how a genre of horror story involving cursed cartoons, haunted video games and the like has flourished online via creepypasta, but here’s something I haven’t seen talked about. Before creepypasta developed at the likes of /r/NoSleep, similar stories had been disseminated at outlets of a very different sort: fundamentalist Christian websites.

For a pristine example, take a look at this page on the Crossroad Ministries site, dating from circa 2000. The page republishes an email sent in by someone named Shellie, which is introduced as follows:

[*Note from Pastor Kevin – this is a real life testimony from someone in our fellowship dealing with a relative who is involved in Poke’mon. Demons are real and the power they possess is also very real. The amount of power is determined in degrees by the acceptance of the child or person of these demons.]

Continue reading “Fundamentalist Creepypasta”