Next SFF Author: Ben Aaronovitch

Month: October 2023


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Four Horrors From Merry Ol’ England

In today’s Shocktober column, I would like to shine a light on four terrific horror films from merry ol’ England. Three of these, as might be expected, hail from Hammer Studios, the foremost English purveyor of shuddery films in the 1960s, while one is a product of the rival studio Amicus Productions. But all four of these, as might well be expected, will provide the requisite thrills and chills one dark and stormy October night…

THE SKULL (1965)

On paper, the 1965 Amicus Productions film The Skull would seem to be a surefire winner.


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A Quartet of Grisly Gialli, Volume 3

In today’s Shocktober column, I would like to take another look, for the third time this Halloween season, at some of the giallo films that were so very popular during the 1970s. But in this quartet of films, you will find a few that press the questions “Just what is a giallo? Can a film be a giallo if it does not hail from Italy, or if it is not all that particularly violent in nature?” As far as I’m concerned, all of the four spotlighted below most assuredly fall into the giallo camp.


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Mooncakes: A magical YA love story

Reposting to include Brad’s new review.

Mooncakes by Suzanne Walker (writer), Wendy Xu (illustrator), & Joamette Gil (letterer)

Mooncakes (2019) is the story of Nova and Tam, two young people who are exploring their connections to magic. They are both, in their own way, deeply connected to the magical world and must decide what that means to them. Their relationships — with the people around them and each other — fuel the emotional core of this whimsical, down-to-earth, LGBTQ+ narrative.

I was delighted by Mooncakes.


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Eve: How the Female Body Drove 200 Million Years of Human Evolution

Eve: How the Female Body Drove 200 Million Years of Human Evolution by Cat Bohannon

In Eve: How the Female Body Drove 200 Million Years of Human Evolution, Cat Bohannon sets herself an ambitious task as evidenced by the sub-title — How the Female Body Drove 200 Million Years of Human Evolution — and I’m happy to report she’s more than up to the job, turning out out a work that impresses across the board: in information and organization, in scholarship and research, in voice and wit,


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A Quintet of Italian Horrors

Although the Italian horror industry in the late ‘60s and throughout the 1970s seemed to be fairly well focused on the giallo film, and that genre’s stylish and often grisly murder mysteries, other types of horrors were still being produced for the ever-hungry audiences of the day. In today’s Shocktober column, I would like to focus on a quintet of Italian horrors that veered away a bit from the strict formula of the giallo. Thus, here you will find films dealing with rejuvenation, murders in a sanitarium, a vampiric countess, Frankensteinian hijinks, and modern-day zombies … all with a distinctively Italian zest.


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Three Frankenstein Outings From The House Of Hammer

In 1957, Hammer Studios in England came out with the first of their full-color horror creations, The Curse of Frankenstein, starring Peter Cushing as the good doctor and Christopher Lee (for the first and only time) as The Monster. The film was such a hit that it not only spawned an entire Frankenstein series from the studio, but would also cause the producers there to begin on a Dracula series and a Mummy series, eventually leading to Hammer becoming one of the preeminent creators of Gothic horror in the 1960s and ‘70s. The Frankenstein series would extend to seven films in all: The Curse of Frankenstein,


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WWWednesday: October 18, 2023

I re-watched Guillermo del Toro’s gothic ghost story Crimson Peak, and was smitten by the amazing wardrobe, just as I was the first time. I found a nice and spoilery discussion of the costumes of the two female leads, Mia Wasikowska and Jessica Chastain. Kate Hawley is the costumer. (She has since done the costumes for Rings of Power.) In 2015 when Crimson Peak came out, Variety did a profile of her.

Atlas Obscura offers another photography contest.


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A Devilish Double Feature

The subject of Devil worship is one that the cinema has returned to repeatedly over the decades, and for good reason: Honestly, is there anything much more frightening than a group of people who actually adore and pay homage to the epitome of evil? Whether you refer to him as Satan, the Prince of Darkness, the Serpent, Lucifer, Beelzebub, Mephistopheles, Old Nick or the Antichrist, you’ve got to admit that the dude is one intimidating proposition, and that anyone who willingly bows down to do him honor is one twisted – and fascinating – puppy. Any number of interesting films have been brought to the screen concerning these debased sects: Val Lewton’s wonderfully creepy The Seventh Victim (1943),


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A Lycanthropic Double Feature

When most people think of the cinematic werewolf, chances are that they have in mind the big three, and who can blame them? In 1935, Kentucky-born actor Henry Hull portrayed the first of these lupine creatures to make it to the big screen, the unfortunate Dr. Wilfred Glendon, in the underrated horror outing Werewolf of London. The lycanthropic ball would really start rolling six years later, however, when Lon Chaney, Jr. played, for the first of five times, the immortal character Lawrence Talbot, whose turn in The Wolf Man proved so very popular that Universal featured his character in an entire series of now-classic films.


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A Quartet Of Grisly Gialli, Volume 2

In today’s Shocktober column, I would like to focus on another quartet of wonderful giallo films from the classic period of the early 1970s. These four films, unlike many of their ilk, are a bit less concerned with graphic violence and so might just appeal to those viewers who are turned off by depictions of such carnage on screen. But make no mistake: All four films are truly harrowing, nail-biting experiences that will doubtlessly leave you slack-jawed with astonishment. And all four, need I even mention, would make for perfect fare this Halloween season?

SHORT NIGHT OF GLASS DOLLS (1971)

As far as I know,


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Next SFF Author: Ben Aaronovitch

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