HEYYYYYYYYY. Just barely in time for this year’s 31 Days of Halloween, I am also celebrating 7 years of writing with the smartest, best humans and one (alleged) space lady at The Cultural Gutter! We are your source for thoughtful writing about disreputable art, lavishing on films, comics, books, and video games. Check us out for recent pieces on The People’s Joker, The Vast of Night, Ghoul, Swamp Thing, and my own latest on the heroines of the Good For Her meme and why they are not Final Girls.
As for myself, I’m not great at self-promotion [gestures to this here fallow blog], but here are ten(ish) articles I’ve written over the last few years that have garnered some kind attention, and mayhap they will also be of use to you this spooky szn? To the list!
- Sheriff Andy Taylor Is the Prince of Lies earned me one of the most amazing pieces of hate mail I have ever, ever received and I cherish it, I do. Totally missed my point and, as it happens, Andy’s point, too. The thesis here is that what keeps the idyllic Southern hamlet of Mayberry humming is not virtue, charity, and good fellowship, so much as plain old deceit. I look forward to your letters.
- Halloween: The Curse of Sam Loomis went way over word count, much as my heart brims over with love for moviedom’s worst practicing psychiatrist, and I’m including Dr Channard, Dr. Decker, and Dr. Lecter. One day, Good Lord willing, Imma write a spec script for a Loomis origin story. It will be terrible.
- As we look forward to Halloween Ends, The Many Lives of Laurie Strode may be useful to keep track of your Halloween chronologies. (Note that this was written before Halloween Kills, which imho proved to be the most Halloween II of the Halloween IIs, mostly in bad ways.)
- I have two articles about the Hellraiser franchise at the Gutter. The first, Hell Hath No Fury, is about Julia, the woman who loved not wisely, but too well, and also with a claw hammer; the second is about the whole dang franchise in Stuck in Development Hell. The second piece is from 2018, when the last official Hellraiser sequel Hellraiser: Judgment was pumped out to VOD. And just in time for the 2022 Hellraiser reboot premiering TODAY, I can plagiarize myself.
"You know, I don’t have the energy to be angry about continuity for its own sake anymore. I used to be that kind of fan, a long time ago when I could be threatened by the idea of something I loved changing. That me wouldn’t have accepted a Hell Priest other than Doug Bradley. But I’ve seen too many once-exciting series collapse under their own weight, too many promising stories choked by audience expectation and overpromising creative folks, and frankly, too many successes that a younger, furiously-certain me never would have given a chance. I’ve written about that before, and I think about it in relationship to Hellraiser here, not so much in that my heart is open for a new, different Hellraiser, though it is, but more that I’m not blinding myself to the strengths and weaknesses of the beloved original. There was no mythology underpinning Clive Barker’s tale of a wronged woman doing very wrong things for the wrong man. Julia was always the real villain, and the Cenobites were a cool-looking manifestation of the most unwholesome appetites. That was their strength. They were as uninterested in guilt or innocence as the blade of a headsman’s axe. They just wanted to play."
- Bela Lugosi was my first crush, I love Christopher Lee, and I’ll never delete the Jeremy Brett as Dracula stills from my Pinterest, but hear me when I say William Marshall played the best and most romantic of Draculas. Blacula Is Beautiful!
- As a latchkey key kid and a Gen Xer, the popular and widely syndicated Friday the 13th movies were my gateway into the horror genre, and my favorite might actually be the widely-panned Jason X. The Once and Future Jason is all about that. Pity we don’t have a new Friday the 13th this year. I really enjoyed They/Them for what it was, but it wasn’t that.
- What Becomes a Legend Most? is the one where I say Candyman five times and call Helen a Karen.
- In Ari Aster Has a Plan For Your Life, I talk about fatedness as the clockwork heart of Aster’s meticulous horror universes in Midsommar and Hereditary. I can’t wait to pay too much attention to the set design of Disappointment Blvd.
- This isn’t the right holiday to talk about Die Hard, but Home Depot and Costco already have the Christmas trees out, so why not? I got good feedback on this ‘un. The True Meaning of Masculinity.
- If You Love Something, Let It Reboot. This article ended up being a little ironic because I HATED what Chris Chibnall did with his run of Doctor Who–loved Thirteen, loved the art direction, love my officially-licensed Thirteen trenchcoat and flattering rainbow top, loved the Fugitive Doctor, loved Sacha Master, but HATED the Timeless Child arc and every blah de blah workmanlike episode until I finally gave up on this last series. Still, insofar as the article was about letting go of a selfish, exclusionary, inappropriately ego-staking enthusiasm for an artistic work, I feel like it’s evergreen, especially now, when the consumption of film and TV has become not just a primary diversion for all of us but how we relate to each other in an increasingly connected-yet-isolated world. So…anybody wanna buy my entire collection of New Who-era bric-a-brac? …except chibi Twelve. Him, I’m keeping.