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Sargasso: The Journal of William Hope Hodgson Studies #3

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The third issue of Sargasso: The Journal of William Hope Hodgson Studies is now available. Well, it’s actually been available for quite some time, but I only just found out about it. Like previous issues of the journal, this issue includes in-depth essays on Hodgson's life and work, including Utter Quiet in All the Land: A Recurring Motif by Ryan Jefferson, The House on the Borderland: The Ultimate Horror Novel by Liam Garriock, Ye Hogge: Liminality and the Motif of the Monstrous Pig in Hodgson’s The Hog and The House on the Borderland by Leigh Blackmore, and The House on the Burren: The Physical and Psychological Foundations of The House on the Borderland by Joseph Hinton.

There’s also poetry inspired by the author’s work, and several short stories, including my own short story A Hideous Communion. This story was previously published in Carnacki: The Lost Cases, an anthology that took the mysterious cases hinted at by ‘Ghost-Finder’ Thomas Carnacki (a fictional occult detective …

Folklore Thursday Competition

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Today is the last day to enter a competition to win a copy of my Devil's Advocates book on The Company of Wolves. Simply head over to FolkloreThursday.com and subscribe to their lovely (and completely free) newsletter (just underneath my article on the evolution of the tale of Red Riding Hood) for the chance to win a copy (valid August 2017; UK & ROI only).

There are other folksy goodies to be won, including beautiful Wicker Man tea-towels designed by Hare & Tabor, and a copy of Kevan Manwaring's new book Ballad Tales: An Anthology of British Ballads Retold.

50 Shades of Red: Sexuality and Loss of Innocence in Little Red Riding Hood & Book Competition

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Of all the folk and fairy tales known to us, the tale of Little Red Riding Hood is perhaps one of the most enduring and provocative. In its most basic form it is a tale of good vs. evil, and it is generally regarded as one of the most effective expressions of sexual curiosity and the ultimate loss of innocence.

I recently wrote an article exploring the evolution of the tale and how its meaning changed throughout the years - from its supposed origins as an oral folktale warning girls of the dangers of predators, to Charles Perrault's literary fairy tale adaptation warning young women against exploring their sexual desires.

Head over to Folklore Thursday to read the article, and for the chance to win thyself a copy of my Devil's Advocates book on The Company of Wolves (Neil Jordan's Gothic fantasy film based on Angela Carter's feminist reworking of Red Riding Hood). After you’ve read the article, simply subscribe to Folklore Thursday's lovely (and completely fr…

Book Update

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If you go down to the woods today, be sure to pick up a copy of my new book on Neil Jordan's Gothic fantasy The Company of Wolves. The book is part of Auteur’s Devil’s Advocates series, and is now available to buy. A recent review (courtesy of author and critic Jon Towlson over at Starburst) said it was 'A meticulously researched, beautifully written and fascinating book...'

Book includes chapters on the ‘making of’ the film, the evolution of folk and fairy tales in our culture, an examination of the tale of Red Riding Hood, the figure of the werewolf in folklore, literature and cinema, the powerful feminist message of the film (and the short stories by Angela Carter upon which it is based), and the representation of female monsters and werewolves in literature and cinema.

Stay tuned for news of how you can enter a competition to win a copy of the book (courtesy of the lovely people over at FolkloreThursday.com) later this week.

I have been receiving nice messages, photos…

Nope, Nothing Wrong Here

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Stephen King’s tenth novel, Cujo (1981), tells of a young woman and her infant son who are trapped in their car at an isolated farmhouse when confronted by a rabid dog. It was adapted for film by Lewis Teague in 1983 and the adaptation features all the sweltering claustrophobia and intensity that made King's novel so gripping.

Teague’s adaptation - which, like King's novel, also explores themes such as addiction, free will, childhood fears, adultery and familial dysfunction - is the subject of a new book by Melbourne based author and film historian, Lee Gambin. Nope, Nothing Wrong Here: The Making of Cujo (BearManor Media) is a staggeringly detailed work featuring academic scene-by-scene analyses alongside in-depth interviews with key members of the cast and crew, including stars Dee Wallace, Daniel Hugh Kelly and Danny Pintauro, director Lewis Teague, and composer Charles Bernstein.

I recently had the pleasure of chatting to Gambin about his new book and the unyielding appea…

Diabolique Magazine Issue No. 27 Pre-Order

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Diabolique is a lavishly illustrated print and digital magazine exploring every aspect of horror film, literature and art. It brings fresh perspective to subjects old and new, foreign and domestic – from ancient folklore and Gothic classics to contemporary film releases and modern literary gems. Each issue brims with insightful commentary, analysis and engrossing information complemented by photos, illustrations and handsome, full-color design.

Issue 27 (July/August), now available to pre-order, is entirely dedicated to witchcraft, magick and folk and fairy tales. Within its pages you’ll find in-depth explorations of the occult inspired works of Norman J Warren, ‘occult gialli’, the late George A Romero’s Season of the Witch, The Craft and the history of the witch trials seen in Ken Russell’s The Devils. There are also essays dedicated to the urban myths and lore of Candyman and the cinematic counterparts of Eastern European folk and fairy tales such as Little Otik and Viy.

Elsewhere,…

RIP George A. Romero

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Film director George A. Romero has died at the age of 77. He died in his sleep last night (Sunday 16th July) after a brief but aggressive battle with lung cancer. His agent, Chris Roe, said Romero’s wife and daughter were with him and that he passed away listening to the score of The Quiet Man, one of his favourite films.

As the director of Night of the Living Dead (1968), Romero will be remembered as one of the major pioneers of the modern horror film. A truly groundbreaking work, it took horror out of the realms of the supernatural, away from a far flung Gothic locale and posited it directly on our doorsteps. Released just eight years after Hitchcock’s Psycho (1960) it similarly suggested that horror can exit right next door to us. Indeed, that it is us. Commenting on his vision of zombies as a metaphor for society, Romero commented ‘All I did was I took them out of ‘exotica’ and I made them the neighbors. I thought there’s nothing scarier than the neighbors!’

Prior to Romero’s fil…

Exquisite Terror 5 Pre-Order

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Born from a love of horror, ponderous thoughts and meandering topics, Exquisite Terror is a periodical that takes a more academic approach to the genre, featuring exclusive art, script analysis and in-depth essays. Like all good things that come to those who wait, issue 5 – after the shedding of much blood, sweat and tears - is now available to pre-order. And it’s really been worth the wait…

Now featuring even more content than before, inside this issue you'll find in-depth essays and analyses on the likes of The Shining, The Omen, Silence of the Lambs and the werewolf (as a representation of 'coming out') in horror cinema, plus interviews with Uncle Bob Martin and Ramsey Campbell. Elsewhere, author and critic Jon Towlson delves into the world of film director Michael Reeves, while I explore the relationship between eroticism and death in the films of Dario Argento*. Every essay and article is accompanied by original and beautiful artwork (including some gorgeous illustra…

Book Update: Starburst Review

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The first review of my Devil’s Advocates monograph on The Company of Wolves is in, courtesy of Starburst. And it’s a good one! According to author and critic Jon Towlson, it is ‘a meticulously researched, beautifully written and fascinating book.’ I’ve copied the full review below, and you can also check it out (along with a wealth of other film related reviews, news and features) over at Starburst, the world’s longest running magazine of cult entertainment.

At the time of its release in 1984, Neil Jordan’s The Company of Wolves received mixed reviews: it’s not a children’s film, critics complained, but it’s about fairytales; werewolves feature heavily but it’s not a horror film. Indeed, it’s a strange beast, as pointed out in this excellent new study by James Gracey (author of Kamera Books’ Dario Argento). ‘Part fairy tale, part werewolf film, part horror film, part feminist coming of age allegory’, Gracey approaches his monograph from all these angles; and from a beguiling, if flawe…

Demon Hunter

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The feature directorial debut from Irish filmmaker Zoe Kavanagh, Demon Hunter (2016) tells of Taryn (Niamh Hogan), a young woman whose sister is kidnapped and ritualistically sacrificed by members of a creepy demonic sect. Taryn joins forces with a gang of demon hunters to rid Dublin of the diabolical fiends, but when she is arrested for murder, the covert operation is at risk of exposure and she must convince a cynical cop of the existence of real evil before it is too late.

Head over to Exquisite Terror to read my full review.