Thoughts and Fears: Progress Report

A couple of months ago I posted about how I was working on an essay collection called Thoughts and Fears: Essays on Horror and Culture, mixing revised versions of blog posts alongside all-new work. Since then — as well as proofreading and formatting some of my older articles — I’ve finished a draft of the first new essay, which discusses Christina Henry’s Alice and Red Queen and muses about our culture’s wider fondness for retelling Alice in Wonderland as a horror story.

I’ve also started another new essay (provisionally entitled “The Sex Life of the Creature from the Black Lagoon”) and got stuck into heavily revising a particular article from years ago — so heavily, indeed, that it might as well be considered a new piece. For a start, it now contains a lengthy section on one of the most notorious pieces of vampire literature ever to be uploaded to…

So, things are going smoothly right now. But somewhere down the line there’ll come a point where I have to start splashing out money before Thoughts and Fears can become a reality. If the project sounds appealing to you, perhaps you’ll consider popping in a quick donation through Patreon or Ko-Fi. If you do, you’ll get a PDF copy of the comic I wrote, Midnight Widows issue 1 (which, incidentally, now has its own Twitter account!)

Monsterville: Universal Monsters do Town Management Simulation

monster-ville-pcI was browsing a charity shop and noticed, among the DVDs, a Windows game from 2002 called Monsterville. I can’t say I’m much of a gamer these days, but how could I resist a game where one of the playable characters is the Metaluna Mutant from This Island Earth? You bet I plonked down my £1.

The object of the game is to rampage through a Transylvanian village, competing with other monsters to chase down peasants and take control of buildings. The four mains are Dracula, Frankenstein, Quasimodo and Metaluna, who each have their own strengths and weaknesses. If you’ve taken over a chunk of the village and want to keep Dracula off your turf, you can put up a few crosses. If it’s Frankenstein you’re worried about, lighting some torches should keep him at bay. Quasimodo — never noted for body-positivity — stays away from mirrors, while the Metaluna Mutant is scared of clocks, presumably because they remind him of his homeworld’s impending destruction or something.

Sounds straightforward, but here’s where things get quirky: the game’s mechanics were clearly derived from a town management sim, which leads to a situation where you have to shamble about hunting down peasants while simultaneously building infrastructure.

Continue readingMonsterville: Universal Monsters do Town Management Simulation”

Charlee Jacob’s Dread in the Beast


Continuing my WWAC series on the transgressive horror fiction of the late Charlee Jacob, here’s my analysis of her third novel, Dread in the Beast. In it, I look at how the story changed in its expansion from novella to full novel, and discuss the narrative’s philosophical underpinnings while celebrating Charlee Jacob’s knack for always finding new ways to gross out her readership…

How I Spent February 2020

DorisFeb20I can’t say this was the most active month for me. No travelling, not a great deal published… but on the other hand, some behind-the-scenes affairs have been progressing rather well. I hope to make a couple of announcements soon.

I also did some tests for my vlog, but the camera turned out to have problems with its focusing and I came out blurrier than a photo of Bigfoot snogging Damon Albarn.

Chances are I’ll be spending March the same way I spent February — writing, writing and writing — and if all goes well I’ll have more to show for it.

Articles of mine published elsewhere this month:

Article topics for March and beyond:


February 2020: A Month in Horror


With the decade’s second month over and done with, what happened in the worlds of horror? Well…

I finally got the chance to see The Lighthouse, which wasn’t released in the UK until January 31. The film features Willem Dafoe as an ageing lighthouse-keeper and Robert Pattison as his new hand; their task is to act like parts of a well-oiled machine to ensure that the lighthouse is kept in good working order. But over time the combination of personal antipathy, sexual frustration and nautical superstitions place the younger man in a fraught psychological state — and bit by bit, pieces of that machinery start to fall away.

Continue reading “February 2020: A Month in Horror”