My latest research rabbit-hole entails digging up fundamentalist Christian websites from the turn of the millennium (you know, when these fine fellows were crusading against the unholy trinity of Harry Potter, Pikachu and Osama bin Laden).
One such site I’ve turned up is Steve Van Natten’s Blessed Quietness Journal, which I vaguely remember coming across in the early 2000s; I was surprised to find that it’s still onlie. It’s not as wonderfully demented as Demonbuster, but it’s still pretty eccentric.
In this week’s post in my Killer Horror Critic column on the history of werewolf films, I’m digging up a bit of an oddity: Daughter of Dr. Jekyll, a 1957 film that decides Mr. Hyde was a werewolf. And a vampire, too, apparently. Read on…
After I took a look at Jungle Comics #1 there was one character who stuck in my mind: Camilla, Queen of the Lost Empire. Credited to “CAW” (apparently this was an artist named C. A. Winters, but I can find little information about him online) the original strip was an imitation of H. Rider Haggard’s She that ended with the titular Camilla dead. But later issues not only revived Camilla, they eventually turned her from villainess to heroine. I decided to take a closer look at how the transformation took place…
I’ve been on a bit of a Golden Age comics kick lately, so I decided to take a look at Fiction House’s Jungle Comics. This is a series that ran for 163 issues from 1940 to 1954 and sums up a genre that was once very popular. There are a number of possible reasons why the jungle adventure comic eventually fell out of favour: one is the decline of empire and, with it, the concept of Africa as merely an exotic playground for adventurers; another is the rise of censorship, not particularly healthy for a genre so filled with violence and bikinis (notably, Jungle Comics ended the same year that the Comics Code was launched); still another is the rise of sword and sorcery as a rival genre, with Conan ultimately ageing better than Tarzan.
Whatever the causes of its downfall, this is a genre that once flourished – and Jungle Comics #1 is a snapshot of when it was hale and hearty. Let’s slash away at the vines and see what treasures we find within…
One of the pet topics I’m prone to geeking out over (as anyone who knows me in person will wearily testify) is the “video nasty” scare that hit Britain in the 1980s. This was a moral panic whipped up mostly by social conservatives about horror films available on video; dozens of movies got caught up in the controversy, ranging from the admittedly exploitative (Faces of Death) through to mainstream horror films (The Evil Dead) with a whole lot of cheesy zombie flicks in between. Films like The Werewolf and the Yeti, Night of the Bloody Apes and Zombie Flesh Eaters were deemed obscene publications, video rental outlets were raided by the police, and distributors were taken to court for selling films which, today, you can pick up on Amazon no problem.
The public mood in regards to films like The Evil Dead appears to have been that only a shameless reprobate could even think of arguing against their banning. I wasn’t around at the time, but having read about the controversy and watched Jake West and Marc Morris’ two documentaries on the subject, I’ve sometimes found myself wondering what it would feel like to have been in the shoes of the people who railed against the censorship of the video nasties – and, in the process, been vilified for defending the indefensible.
Well, with the recent controversy over the film Cuties, I think I’ve got a clearer idea.
I’ve decided to spend the final months of 2020 knuckling down on a few projects in particular, and one of these is my book Thoughts and Fears: Essays on Horror and Culture. I haven’t yet pinned down all of the topics I’ll be writing about, but at this point, I can confirm that the essays in the book will include…
Lost Boys and Girls Next Door: Jack Ketchum on Film
Fascist Ghosts: Racism and the Far Right in British Horror
The Life and Times of Countess Zaleska, Dracula’s Daughter
I Was a Teenage Stanist: My Immortal, The Last Resurrection and Millenial Adolescence
Wary in Wonderland: Christina Henry’s Alice and Red Queen
Cartoon Nightmares: Creepypasta, Elsagate and Pup Culture Horror Online
Corpses in Cottingley: The Folk Horror of Alison Littlewood
Fish Fingered: The Sex Life of the Creature from the Black Lagoon
Jack Chick’s Unhappy Halloween
Poltergeist Girls: Hauntings, Possession and Coming of Age
Streets Blue and Red: The Vampire Comics of Nancy A. Collins
Giving Cthulhu Forty Whacks: Cherie Priest’s The Borden Dispatches
If any of that piques your curiosity, then perhaps you could help fund the book with a donation via Ko-Fi or Patreon!
In the latest instalment of my column on werewolf cinema, I’m looking at a film with one of the most famous titles in B-movie history: I Was a Teenage Werewolf. How does the film itself stack up? Read on…
While scribbling my House of Eddas posts about Marvel’s Thor comics, I started thinking about my own introduction to the Norse myths. My first detailed exposure to the Norse myths was through Dorling Kindersley’s Illustrated Book of Myths, Tales & Legends of the World by Neil Philip and Nilesh Mistry, but I can remember coming across (generally rather loose) versions of the stories and their personages in the entertainment media I consumed. Not the Thor comics, though – I never read those as a child. Instead, the pop-culture versions of Norse mythology that I came across were largely video games.
Here are three games in particular that I can remember playing as a youngster…
Welcome back to another look at how Marvel Comics processed Norse mythology to create its Thor comics. In this issue, the main story is “Slave of Zarrko, the Tomorrow Man”, which concludes the storyline beginning in the previous instalment.
There’s not much to do with mythology here, although Loki gets a small part in which he refers to Thor as “the stepbrother whom I despise”. I believe that this is the first time the comics have acknowledged Loki’s complex family background: in mythology he’s not a biological son of Odin but rather the son of the giant Farbauti (his mother is named either Laufey or Nal, depending on the text). The main plot is not concerned with genealogy, however, but with the newly-enslaved Thor being taken in to the twenty-third century by the evil genius Zarrko, who forces him to sow discord by smashing the city’s central control mechanism.