September 2020: A Month in Horror

When you’re covering the horror genre, September is always something of a calm-before-the-storm period. That said, there were a few happenings of note genre-wise this month…

HBO’s Lovecraft Country, which was adapted from the novel by Matt Ruff and premiered in August, has been gathering steam. Reviews remain positive: the Guardian calls it “a trippy, afro-futurist time-travelling delight”, while other outlets have been enthusiastically analysing plot twists and genre allusions.

Less well-received was The New Mutants, the long-gestating X-Men spin-off that takes the Marvel mutants into more horrific territory. The low box office can be chalked up to the pandemic, of course, but the middling-to-poor reviews (34% at Rotten Tomatoes) can hardly be blamed on current affairs. Amongst those disappointed in the film was Bob McLeod, the artist on the original comic, whose name was misspelt in the movie’s credits.

Having seen the good and the bad, let’s move on to the ugly. ChiZine Publications, the subject of a scandal late last year involving its authors being bullied and/or subjected to non-payment, has revealed that it is still alive and well, announcing a new slate of books for the Autumn/Winter period. The current version of the ChiZine website features praise from Gabino Iglesias – despite the fact that he denounced the publisher after learning of the allegations. Notably, one of the six authors featured in the new slate, Yaqoob Ghaznavi, is unable to cut ties with ChiZine as many other writers did as he passed away in 2016.

And finally, the sad. Ron Cobb, an artist who provided concept material for various science fiction, horror and fantasy films including Aliens, Back to the Future, Conan the Barbarian and others, passed away on 21 September, his 81st birthday. There will be many people who admired his creations without knowing of the man himself – so now would be a good time to take a look through the art he created throughout his career, which includes political cartoons and other work as well as his concept pieces.

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