How I Spent February 2019

DorisFeb19As I type, springtime is making its welcome arrival, I’m in early-but-promising talks about a new professional project and I’m in a good mood all round. This is despite the fact that I’ve been immersing myself in book after book of unrelenting depravity.

Why? Well, the Splatterpunk Awards are in town again! Like last year, I’ve decided to read and review every single finalist on the ballot. In the process, I’ve built myself a not-inconsiderable to-be-read pile, hewn entirely from the lowest impulses of humanity.

In other news, I’m still preparing the crowdfunding campaign for Midnight Widows. Right now I’m getting started on the promotional video, my friend (and fellow Horror Honey alumna) Kim having been nice enough to provide a voiceover. The campaign is still on track to go live this spring.

Articles published elsewhere this month:

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Article topics for March and beyond:


Condraculations to the 2019 Bram Stoker Award Finalists

The ballot for this year’s Bram Stoker Awards has been announced, so congrats to the finalists and may the best ghoul win. Meanwhile, I’ve been thinking…

I write regularly about the Hugo Awards, the Dragon Awards and the new-fangled Splatterpunk Awards, but I tend not to write about the Stoker Awards. Perhaps I should start — it could be interesting. I doubt I could fit in every category, or even every novel category, but there are some worthwhile angles I could still take. Maybe someday I’ll start a retrospective of the winners; or perhaps I could dig into the comic category — it’d bring back lovely memories of being the Comics Honey for Belladonna. Or maybe a spotlight on the First Novel category, to help celebrate new talent?

Well, anyway. Here’s this year’s ballot:

Continue reading “Condraculations to the 2019 Bram Stoker Award Finalists”

The Vampyre’s Legacy Part 2


Continuing my year-long series on the history of vampire fiction, as it developed since John Polidori’s The Vampyre”. This month I’m pushing on through the nineteenth century to look at how women — by they female characters or female authors — helped to shape the genre. Head on over to Women Write About Comics for more!

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Happy Death Day 2U


Pauline Kael famously remarked that movies are so rarely great art that if we cannot appreciate great trash we have very little reason to be interested in them. I’d like to offer a variation on that thought: that Hollywood films are so rarely original that we should be prepared to commend inspired unoriginality.

For a prime example of inspired unoriginality, take 2017’s Happy Death Day. It was Groundhog Day done as a campus slasher. It wore its influences on its sleeve, and proceeded to rub that sleeve on the audience’s faces saying LOOK LOOK DO YOU SEE THESE ARE MY INFLUENCES HERE THEY ARE.

And the audience (or at least, this member of the audience) says “oh, yeah, Groundhog Day as a campus slasher. That’s a pretty solid premise. Good on you for coming up with it.”

Continue readingHappy Death Day 2U

My Book on The Mummy is Spreading, Spreading…

deviladmummycoverMy upcoming Devil’s Advocates book about The Mummy has been available to preorder at Amazon UK for a while, and I’m happy to report that it’s spread to a few other outlets as well.

If you live in the US, you’ll be able to order your copy from or Barnes & Noble. Canadians can hop on down to, and I notice that this German outlet appears to be accepting preorders.

The book is due for release in late May, and goes into detail about the origins and inspirations of the classic 1932 film The Mummy. If you like to explore the nooks and crannies of horror history, it should be up your alley.

The Unexplained Revisited: Where it Started

Unexplained 1British readers of a certain generation might recall a partwork series about paranormal phenomena called The Unexplained: Mysteries of Mind, Space and Time, which ran from 1980 to 1983. And even if — like me — you weren’t around to catch the original magazine during its 156-issue run, you might have come across the various books reprinting its articles, which continue to turn up regularly in “esoteric” sections of second-hand bookshops.

The Unexplained wasn’t overly credulous: its writers were unafraid to bring up mundane explanations for the various phenomena they covered. Granted, the magazine worked on the understanding that mundane explanations were generally less interesting than the ones involving ghosts, aliens or psychic powers – but if we approach the magazine as an exercise in cataloguing modern folklore, this standpoint is no bad thing.

I myself have fond memories of devouring Unexplained reprints as a teenager, and more recently I’ve managed to get my hands on a complete run of the original magazine. So, I thought it’d be interesting to take a look through it right from the beginning…

Continue readingThe Unexplained Revisited: Where it Started”

Escape Room: Saw for the Young’uns


I’ve never been to an escape room. Perhaps I should try it; I imagine it’d bring back fond memories of watching Knightmare  as a kid, only without stony-faced muppets popping out the wall and proclaiming to be GRANITAS OF LEGEND. But while haven’t given escape rooms a try in real life, I’ve given them a try in the world of celluloid thanks to my first horror film of the year: Escape Room.

The film deals with a group of people receiving mysterious invitations to a series of elaborate escape room. The protagonists in question are a confident, successful guy; a confident, successful girl; a twitchy middle-aged man; an insecure underachiever; a nerdy gamer; and bright but shy Zoey, who becomes the most likeable character by default as she avoids joining in the petty sniping of her comrades.

Continue readingEscape Room: Saw for the Young’uns”