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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.

The Company of Wolves/Gothic Feminism Conference

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My monograph on The Company of Wolves was launched this weekend at the Gothic Feminism Conference in Kent. Auteur Publishing had a stall with a selection of titles on Gothic horror from their Devil's Advocates series, including advance copies of my contribution.

Gothic Feminism is a research project based at the University of Kent which ‘seeks to re-engage with theories of the Gothic and reflect specifically upon the depiction of the Gothic heroine in film. The project raises questions of representation, interpretation and feminist enquiry in relation to the Gothic heroine throughout film history including present day incarnations. This project will illuminate the concerns, contradictions and challenges posed by the Gothic heroine on-screen.

This year’s conference, the second, took place on 24th – 26th May. Entitled Women-in-Peril or Final Girls? Representing Women in Gothic and Horror Cinema, it featured a plethora of papers and presentations including:

‘The Presence of Absence: …

Conversations About Wolves: Tsa Palmer

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While conducting research for my monograph on The Company of Wolves, I had the absolute pleasure of chatting with Teresa (Tsa) Palmer, the wolf-handler who worked on the film. Much of our chat was of course about her work on The Company of Wolves and those parts of the conversation are included in the first chapter of the monograph, which focuses on the background and making of the film. Tsa also reflected on experiences she’d had working with wolves on other films, her work with the UK Wolf Conservation Trust (which she founded in 1995 with her late husband Roger) and the various perceptions people have of wolves, due in part, to their depiction in horror literature and cinema.

It wasn’t possible to include all our conversation in the book, so what had to be omitted for the sake of relevance and a pesky wordcount, I have shared here.

On her early career as a wolf-handler: When I was about 18, I met my late husband, Roger Palmer, and he had a wolf cub which was incredibly charismatic. …

Conversations About Wolves: Suzy McKee Charnas

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While conducting research for my forthcoming monograph on Neil Jordan’s The Company of Wolves, I had the pleasure of conversing with science-fiction and fantasy author Suzy McKee Charnas. Back in the late eighties Suzy wrote an award-winning short story called ‘Boobs’, which not only shares strong affinities with The Company of Wolves, but also preceded the thematically similar Ginger Snaps (2000) by over a decade. Like these titles, ‘Boobs’ connects the ambivalent figure of the adolescent girl, fluctuating between childhood and adulthood, with the figure of the werewolf, which fluctuates between human and beast, and draws parallels between menstruation, developing sexual identity and desire, and the unleashing of something wild. It tells of Kelsey, a shy and lonely teenager whose menarche coincides with her transformation into a wolf. She uses her new-found power and abilities to take revenge on a bully who has made her life a living hell and whose cruel nickname for Kelsey, due to …

The Company of Wolves Book Update

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I’ve just submitted the final proofs of my monograph on The Company of Wolves (part of Auteur’s ‘Devil’s Advocates’ series), so it won’t be too long before it’s available to pre-order. I also wanted to share a preview of the beautiful cover design (right).

Here’s a little snippet from the intro:

The Company of Wolves is a dark fantasy film quite unlike any other. A meditation on the horrors of the adult world, and of adult sexuality, as glimpsed through the dreams of an adolescent girl, it amalgamates aspects of horror, the Female Gothic, fairy tales, werewolf films and coming of age parables. Drenched in atmosphere and an eerily sensual malaise, it boasts striking imagery immersed in fairy tale motifs and startling Freudian symbolism. 

The Company of Wolves was Irish filmmaker Neil Jordan’s second film, and his first foray into the realms of Gothic horror. Jordan co-wrote the screenplay with British novelist Angela Carter, and it is based upon several short stories from Carter’s The B…

'Too Dreadfully Brutal': In Conversation with Author Jon Towlson

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Is the 1930s horror film more akin to graphic modern horror than is often thought? In his recent book, The Turn to Gruesomeness in American Horror Films, 1931-1936 (McFarland & Co), film critic and author Jon Towlson vividly explores the misconception of 1930s horror as safe and reassuring. Towlson will also give a lecture at the Miskatonic Institute of Horror Studies in London on 16th March, to further discuss the subject and share his research.

Synthetic Flesh/Rotten Blood: The Turn to Gruesomeness in American Horror Films, 1931-1936 will examine ‘happy ending’ horror in relation to industry practices and censorship, and detail how the likes of Murders in the Rue Morgue (1932) and The Raven (1935) may be more akin to the modern Grand Guignol excesses of The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974) and Hostel (2005) than many critics and audiences believe. Towlson’s discussion will be reinforced with memos, letters and censorship reports from the studio archives and other research conduc…