April 2021: A Month in Horror

The Unholy

This month saw a controversy in the horror podcast community, with a social media account belonging to the popular Nightmare on Film Street podcast contacting the owners of Nightmare on Fierce Street and Nightmare on 5th Street objecting to their choices of titles. Nightmare on Fierce Street co-host Sharai wrote a Medium article documenting the incident, arguing that the team behind Film Street was acting on racial prejudice. Nightmare on Film Street contributor Nina Nesseth responded with the announcement that she was leaving the podcast, while Bloody Disgusting also cut ties.

Meanwhile, another round of horror films were released into our pandemic-scarred landscape: The Unholy, adapted from James Herbert’s novel Shrine; The Oak Room, based on Peter Genoway’s stage play; the wendigo saga Dawn of the Beast; psychodrama The Power; the hallucinatory Honeydew; haunted house flick The Banishing; the horror-comedy Jakob’s Wife; the feminist-flavoured At Night Comes Wolves; the Ireland-set Boys from County Hell; Mortal Kombat, based on the once-controversial video game; the werewolf film Bloodthirsty; In the Earth; Separation, about a divorce gone horribly wrong; and, out just today, The Resort. On television, audiences were given the racism-themed Them and the anthology series Deadhouse Dark. Creepshow and Fear the Walking Dead received new episodes.

The ballot for the 2021 Hugo Awards was released; although (as per usual) geared primarily towards fantasy and science fiction, it includes a number of works that are horror or at least horror adjacent, such as N. K. Jemisin’s Lovecraft riff The City we Became, Tamsyn Muir’s necromancers-in-space sequel Harrow the Ninth and Rae Carson’s self-explanatory “Badass Moms of the Zombie Apocalypse”. The 2021 Ignyte Award finalists were also announced, with vampires a recurring theme: Sheree Renée Thomas’ “Love Hangover” (from the anthology Slay: Stories of the Vampire Noire), Imprint’s Vampires Never Get Old: Tales with a Fresh Bite and Tamara Jerée’s essay “How to Make a Family: Queer Blood Bonds in Black Feminist Vampire Novels” all made the ballot.

Bidding farewell…

While he played an Ewok in Return of the Jedi and the childlike robot Twiki in Buck Rogers in the 25th Century, Felix Silla‘s best-known role was the hirsute Cousin Itt in the sixties Addams Family series. He passed away on April 16, aged 84.

Composer and lyricist Jim Steinman worked with a range of artists, but rock enthusiasts will know him for his collaborations with Meat Loaf. Together, the two conjured up a landscape populated by bats out of hell and angels rising from tombs. The darkly romantic nature of Steinmen’s lyrics led to him being approached by Andrew Lloyd Webber to pen The Phantom of the Opera, although he turned down this offer. He passed away on April 13, aged 73.

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