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Showing posts from July, 2020

We Have Always Lived in the Castle (2018)

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Adapted from Shirley Jackson's 1962 Gothic novel of the same name, director Stacie Passon's sophomore feature film tells of the intense relationship between two sisters who, along with their ailing uncle (Crispin Glover), live in a large, lonely house on a vast estate outside a small New England town. Several years prior, the older sister, Constance (Alexandra Daddario), was acquitted of the murder of her parents, by poisoning, and the sisters are shunned by the townspeople. When their estranged cousin Charles (Sebastian Stan) arrives unannounced for a short stay, his prying presence shatters the sisters' claustrophobic little world and threatens to unearth long buried family secrets.

Admirers of Jackson's novel, and her literary work in general, will find much to appreciate here. The screenplay by Mark Kruger is a very faithful adaptation, and, true to the source material, its main themes also centre on isolation, familial dysfunction/disintegration and the persecuti…

The Devil’s Doorway (2018)

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Northern Irish film director Aislinn Clarke’s feature debut tells of two priests sent to investigate an alleged miracle at a remote Magdalene laundry in the Irish countryside. As well as witnessing the shocking mistreatment of the young women incarcerated there, the two men uncover sinister happenings that suggest occult practices and diabolical rituals are afoot. Before long, they realise they are dealing with a genuine case of demonic possession.

Magdalene Laundries were state endorsed workhouses, sanctioned and ran by the Catholic Church. They were cruel and secretive places where Ireland’s ‘fallen women’ were locked away and subjected to forced labour. Many also suffered sexual, psychological and physical abuse at the hands of their custodians. Prostitutes, unmarried pregnant women and mothers, orphans, women with mental health issues or physical disabilities, and women who had suffered abuse were all locked away, deemed to be society’s shameful, ‘dirty secrets’. With the devasta…

Libraries & Information Seeking in Horror

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“As gateways to knowledge and culture, libraries play a fundamental role in society. The resources and services they offer create opportunities for learning, support literacy and education, and help shape the new ideas and perspectives that are central to a creative and innovative society. They also help ensure an authentic record of knowledge created and accumulated by past generations. In a world without libraries, it would be difficult to advance research and human knowledge or preserve the world’s cumulative knowledge and heritage for future generations.” 
Ben White, Head of Intellectual Property, British Library

“Without libraries what have we? We have no past and no future.” 
Ray Bradbury

As a Library Assistant and an avid fan of horror films, I am always delighted when a character in a book I am reading or film I am watching visits a library in search of information, sanctuary and, ultimately, truth. Characters in horror cinema and literature often assume the role of information…