Werewolf Wednesday: She-Wolf of London

My weekly series on werewolf films at Killer Horror Critic has reached the 1946 period psychodrama She-Wolf of London…

Past instalments:

What is the Horror Canon?


The controversy over this year’s Hugo Awards brought with it a debate about the science fiction canon, and whether or not such a concept is still relevant. That conversation seems to have faded away by now, with discussion moving on to newer happenings (hello, Ignyte Awards! Welcome back, Dragon Awards!) But I kept an eye on it while it was happening, and all the while I was wondering whether or not, and to what extent, the debate applied to horror.

That’s a question that’s been on my mind throughout a lot of the controversies happening in the science fiction community over the past few years, from the Sad Puppies onwards. Quite often, I’ve found that the disputes that hit SF and fantasy often don’t have counterparts in the horror scene – and the debate over the relevance of the science fiction canon was one of them. Nobody seemed to be talking about whether horror literature needs a canon.

Why is that? Well, I’d like to start my answer by imagining exactly what a horror canon would look like.

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Congrats to the Inaugural Ignyte Award Finalists!


There’s a new SFF award in town this year — the Ignye Award, presented by Fiyahcon. The inaugural ballot of finalists has just been published; the nominees are curated, while the winner will be decided by a public vote.

My initial takeaways:

  • Quite a bit of overlap with the Hugos and Nebukas in terms of short fiction, but not in Best Novel (Gods of Jade and Shadow was a Nebula finalist, and that’s it)
  • The appriach to nonfiction is interesting, with three categories: the Critic Award, Creative Nonfiction (includes two books, two essays and a podcast) and the Community Award for Outstanding Efforts in Service of Inclusion and Equitable Practice in Genre (includes three individuals, a writing course and a nagazine)
  • The comics category is framed as “best comics team”. I think this is the first time I’ve seen that done.

Well, hopefully I’ll have time to take a closer look at the finalists in due course…

The Unexplained Revisited: UFO Files

Dk91Vc0W0AAnfRhThe Unexplained #2 continued the first issue’s features on Bigfoot and extra-sensory perception, and introduced new series on hypnosis, spontaneous human combustion and black holes. That leaves just one more feature: the two-page “UFO Photo File” spread.

The magazine’s semi-regular section on UFO photographs really does bring home how The Unexplained was the product of a bygone age. We now live in a time in which vast swathes of the world’s population carry video cameras wherever they go, and yet there’s been no appreciable rise in UFOs being photographed. The rise of CGI has allowed UFO hoaxes to become more spectacular, of course, but they’re now too spectacular to be taken seriously. The smudgy sky-blobs that fascinated readers of The Unexplained in the eighties now look quaintly old fashioned.

Which makes them the perfect subject for a trip down memory lane…

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Dragon Awards Vs Goodreads Awards, Redux


The ballot for the 2020 Dragon Awards was published this week. The Dragons are a pretty controversial prize: although they’re ostensibly decided by a public poll, the opacity of the voting process, the sloppiness of the written rules and the fact that comparatively obscure writers have sometimes beaten considerably more popular finalists have all led to accusations that the awards are rigged.

Personally, I’m willing to give the Dragon Awards the benefit of the doubt and assume that they are, indeed, decided purely by public vote. Of course, it’s obvious that the Dragons have a history of failing in their stated aim of awarding the most popular works in SF/F, but this can easily be chalked up to a low voting turn-out rather than misbehaviour on the part of the administration.

Last year I caused a very minor online scuffle when I compared the Dragons unfavourably to the Goodreads Choice Awards, which are likewise open to the public but attract far, far more voters (in 2019 there were around 10,000 Dragon voters according to official stats, and roughly 100,000 Goodreads voters in the fantasy category alone). My stance was that, if the Dragons were ever to live up to their aim of representing public taste in SF/F fiction, then they’d start to look more like the Goodreads Awards.

Well, I’ve looked at this year’s ballot, and that’s exactly what’s happened.

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Werewolf Wednesday: It’s All in the Mind


Another Wednesday, another post in my Killer Horror Critic column on the history of werewolf cinema! This week I’m looking at the time Universal tried to blend Gothic horror with science fiction: House of Dracula

Past instalments:

The First of the Cartoon Vampires?


Sometimes when I’m writing about vampire cinema, I run into odd areas of research. Here’s one of the questions I’ve turned up: what was the first animated cartoon to feature a vampire?

Well, I ran my mind across a lifetime’s worth of cartoon-watching, and the earliest vampire-themed animation that I could think of was the 1963 Bugs Bunny short Transylvania 6-5000. Digging further I found an earlier animated vampire in the 1933 cartoon Mickey’s Gala Premier, where Lugosi’s Dracula, Karloff’s Frankenstein and Fredric March’s Mr. Hyde get seven-second cameos alongside various other Hollywood stars. However, I haven’t been able to find a cartoon predating Transylvania 6-5000 that makes a vampire one of its main characters.


This left me with another question: why did it take so long for animators to get around to spoofing vampires?

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House of Eddas: Thor vs. Storm Giants in Journey Into Mystery #100

JourneyMystery100Time for another jaunt back into Norse mythology, as reimagined by 1960s Marvel comics…

Journey Into Mystery #100 opens with “The Master Plan of Mr. Hyde!” which concludes the storyline from last month. At the start of the tale Thor is a wanted man thanks to Mr. Hyde impersonating him while robbing a bank (how Hyde pulled off such a convincing transformation is never explained: was he wearing a latex mask and fake muscles, or does he have an additional shapeshifting form?). Trying to forget his troubles, Thor returns to his mortal guise as Don Blake and enjoys dinner with Jane Foster – until Mr. Hyde kidnaps the pair of them.

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Congratulations to the 2020 Splatterpunk Award Winners!

45448518._SY475_Now that the 2020 Splatterpunk Awards have been handed out at Killercon Austin, here’s a complete list of winners and finalists and a round-up of my reviews…

(I considered calling this post “Consplatulations” but soon realised that absolutely nobody would have been better off for it)

Best Novel

Continue reading “Congratulations to the 2020 Splatterpunk Award Winners!”