“The Blair Witch Project meets The Andy Griffith Show” — Revealing T. Kingfisher’s The Twisted Ones


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Sometimes the things that go bump in the night are real, and they’re looking for you…

We’re excited to share the cover for The Twisted Ones, a horror novel by T. Kingfisher (the Hugo and Nebula Award-winning author also known as Ursula Vernon), inspired in part by the author’s childhood love of ghost stories and unexplained mysteries. Check out the full design and learn more about the novel below!

When Mouse’s dad asks her to clean out her dead grandmother’s house, she says yes. After all, how bad could it be?

Answer: pretty bad. Grandma was a hoarder, and her house is packed to the gills with useless garbage. That would be horrors enough, but there’s more. Mouse stumbles across her step-grandfather’s journal, which at first seems to be the ravings of a broken mind.

Until she encounters some of the terrifying things he described herself. Alone in the woods ...

Watch Yourself in the Disturbing New Trailer for Jordan Peele’s Us


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Us Super Bowl TV spot Watch Yourself Jordan Peele Lupita Nyong'o

Do you believe in coincidences? Or things lining up in ways they’re not supposed to? Lupita Nyong’o does in the latest teaser for Us, Jordan Peele’s doppelgänger-loaded follow-up to Us, but those instincts don’t seem to do her any good before all the double vision. So, all they can do is watch themselves.

Watch the new TV spot, which aired during the Super Bowl:

If you’d like more of a sense of what to expect beyond this fascinating teaser, here’s the official synopsis from Universal Pictures:

After sending shockwaves across contemporary culture and setting a new standard for provocative, socially-conscious horror films with his directorial debut, Get Out, Academy Award®-winning visionary Jordan Peele returns with another original nightmare that he has written, directed and produced.

Set in present day along the iconic Northern California coastline, Us, from Monkeypaw Productions, stars Oscar® winner Lupita Nyong’o as Adelaide ...

Bad Dads Make for Family-Friendly Drama, But Bad Moms Are the Stuff of Nightmares


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Hollywood seems to have a thing for struggling fathers, running the gamut from hapless or distant to downright sinister. The trope is so common that it permeates every genre of fiction regardless of tone—even family-friendly fare like Mary Poppins Returns centers on a father’s inability to keep his family above water following the death of his wife.

I don’t think these stories are bad by virtue of their very existence—for some, they may even offer some much-needed catharsis—but their ubiquity is a bit troubling, especially when compared to how stories about women who struggle with parenting are often framed.

The number of “bad dads” in fiction really adds up when you attempt a count—even just sticking to science fiction and fantasy. Nearly every Avenger has a horrible dad or father-figure. Lucius Malfoy does a complete number on his son Draco in his quest to become a key member of Voldemort’s ...

Bird Box

Watch the First Trailer for Jordan Peele’s New Horror Film Us


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Us trailer Jordan Peele Lupita Nyong'o Winston Duke horror doppelgangers home invasion

Merry Christmas! Jordan Peele’s present to us is the first trailer for Us, his highly-anticipated followup to Get Out starring Lupita Nyong’o, Winston Duke, and Elisabeth Moss. Whereas Get Out was something of a stealth modern horror film, Us seems to wear its genre trappings like the blood-red robes of its antagonists, and carry a commentary as cutting as the eerie gold scissors they hold. With elements of The Others, Peele’s take on the home invasion subgenre nonetheless has a fascinating twist.

“It’s us.”

Doppelgängers are a mainstay of horror, but we can’t wait to see what Peele does pitting Lupita against Lupita, as well as the other members of the Wilson family.

The official (and rather detailed) synopsis from Universal Pictures:

Set in present day along the iconic Northern California coastline, Us, from Monkeypaw Productions, stars Oscar® winner Lupita Nyong’o as Adelaide Wilson, a woman returning ...

Over the Garden Wall is A Sweet, Strange Journey into The Unknown


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If you’ve ever seen Over the Garden Wall, chances are you’ve seen it more than once—it’s a show that rewards repeat viewings. If you’re not familiar with it, it’s a bit hard to explain—it’s an Emmy award-winning animated miniseries that first aired on the Cartoon Network in November, 2014. It’s weird, and beautiful, and not like anything else you’ve ever seen, and features the voice talents of Elijah Wood and Christopher Lloyd, along with John Cleese, Tim Curry, singer Chris Isaak, and opera singer Samuel Ramey, among others. I recently rewatched it, as I tend to do every November. Here’s why.

Everyone in my family dies in November.

It’s not an exaggeration. Every major death in my family, save one or two, happens between pumpkins and presents. The biting days of November are when my family says good-bye. Grandparents, aunts, uncles, and more have waved so long under skies ...

Bram Stoker’s Classic Continues to Inspire


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I’ve never had a reading list; if I created one I would have a list of 500 books before I’d even started in, and I don’t like having my reading patterns pared down to a queue. So I have a general idea in my head of what I’m going to tackle next with the understanding that I can change that ephemeral inventory any time and pick up something completely different if the mood strikes me.

With that in mind, I felt properly spontaneous when I decided that it was time to read Dracula a couple months back. I already had a copy available to me, so I cracked into it excitedly and prepared myself for what was to come. It’s Dracula, after all. Everyone knows Dracula. He’s the man, the one you brag about hanging out with to all your friends. Spike, Edward, and Lestat are those poor relations that ...

Night of the Demon: M.R. James Reinterpreted as a Classic ’50s Horror Film


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Jacques Tourneur’s Night of the Demon begins, like so many of the best ghost stories do, on a dark night in the English countryside. A panicked man—we soon learn he is the skeptic and debunker Professor Henry Harrington—speeds along empty roads until he arrives at a grand country house. He pounds at the door and is admitted by the great home’s owner, of whom he begs forgiveness and pleads for mercy. Dr. Julian Karswell, calm and collected, offers vague promises of help, and sends his victim home to a terrible fate. The police, when they find Harrington’s body the next morning, claim that he backed his car into a utility pole and electrocuted himself; the horrible marks on his body must have been inflicted postmortem by an animal. But we viewers know better: we’ve seen the demon.

So ends the life of one skeptic, but another dedicated debunker of superstition ...

Explosive Action Meets Religious Horror in the Giant Demonic Fireball that is End of Days


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1999 was a weird year. Plenty of people believed that Y2K was a thing that would kill us all, and there was a fascinating spate of gritty, strangely lit films that either used sci-fi to tell us Reality Is A Lie (Existenz, Thirteenth Floor, The Matrix) or horror to tell us that Ghosts And/Or The Devil Are Real (Sixth Sense, Stigmata, Omega Code, Dogma, End of Days).

Of these, End of Days was the only film that attempted to merge my two favorite subgenres: bombastic ‘80s action thrillers, and religious horror. Some might say it tried too many things, but I say, if you’re going to fly, aim straight for the sun.

End of Days begins like a typical religious horror film: deep within the Vatican, worried priests note that a comet fulfills an end-times prophecy. Meanwhile in Manhattan, a placid nurse whisks a newborn ...

Doing Buffy One Better: Sawkill Girls and the Subversion of Genre Tropes


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Decades of dead girls. Poor girls and rich girls. Black and brown and white girls. All of them Sawkill girls.

Hello, let me tell you about Sawkill Girls by Claire Legrand, how much I loved it and how it tramples on a number of minor and major tropes like a boss. A horror YA novel, Sawkill Girls is about tradition, survival and death. It has four major viewpoint characters who are given equal footing in the story.

Plain and awkward new girl Marion moves to the small town of Sawkill Rock, a remote island with a close-knit community where everybody is nice to each other but also where dark secrets are kept. Along with her mom and sister, Marion is grieving the recent death of their father. Marion has always been close with her sister, but their relationship has grown fraught with the untold weight of their grief, which each ...

Netflix’s Chilling Adventures of Sabrina is Enchantingly Spooky


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It took me a grand total of one episode for Chilling Adventures of Sabrina to hex me into obsession. Based solely on my love of the comic from which the show was adapted, I knew going in that I’d like it. But my preemptive affection turned into post-binge adoration with the show’s twisted sense of humor, campy sense of horror, and willingness to engage with social justice issues, not to mention the fantastic cinematography, direction, and acting.

So let’s take a look at my latest addiction that I’m sorely tempted to go back and rewatch next weekend.

Some spoilers.

As a half-witch, Sabrina was raised in the human world by her witch aunts and cousin. On her sixteenth birthday, she’s forced to make a choice: live as a mortal or become a full-fledged witch. The former means never achieving her magical potential while the latter means giving up her friends ...

You Might Be the Killer Falls Victim to Meta Horror Pitfalls


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You Might Be the Killer meta horror tropes adaptation movie review Chuck Wendig Sam Sykes Fran Kranz Alyson Hannigan

If you attend a remote summer camp, you have to know there’s a non-zero chance that you’ll get stalked through the woods by a killer with a mask and a machete. If you cheat Death on a plane/the highway/a roller coaster, you can’t be surprised when it comes after you in your daily life in increasingly creative ways. If you pick up the phone when you’re home alone, you’re rolling the dice on whether the voice on the other side of the line wants you dead. Horror is filled with these (and other) scenarios that don’t exactly say that you’re asking for death and dismemberment, but you really should know better by now.

You Might Be the Killer, an entertaining horror-movie riff that began its life as a masterpiece in Twitter improv, engages with these horror tropes and a larger debate about free will: Should you find yourself running ...

You Might Be the Killer meta horror tropes adaptation movie review Chuck Wendig Sam Sykes Fran Kranz Alyson Hannigan
You Might Be the Killer meta horror tropes adaptation movie review Chuck Wendig Sam Sykes Fran Kranz Alyson Hannigan

Video Game Horror Doesn’t Get Much Better Than Silent Hill 4: The Room


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Silent Hill 4: The Room—released in 2004 for PlayStation 2 and the Xbox—is the best Silent Hill game after the second one and one of the most original horror games ever developed. If SH4 hadn’t been part of the Silent Hill series, it’d probably be considered one of the most unique games in the genre. Part of what makes it so distinct is that it goes against the formula of what we’d come to expect of the series. Many gamers, including myself, were initially turned off by how drastically it had changed. But once the expectations faded, a horrifying experience awaited, unrelenting in its oppressive terror.

Room 302

A big part of why most of the recent Silent Hill games have been underwhelming is because they tried to outdo what was essentially narrative perfection in Silent Hill 2. The story is a trek through madness, guilt, and personal horror ...

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All Hail Brimstone, The 90s Supernatural Cop Show that Deserves a Cult Following


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Twenty years ago a television series premiered about a man returned from the dead, stalking monsters through Los Angeles, hoping for a second shot at life and redemption.

No, not AngelBrimstone.

Brimstone was an early entry in the urban horror genre, before Angel, Constantine, or Supernatural, even beating out the rash of apocalyptic religious horror that hit movie theaters the following year. It only lasted a single short season, aired out of order, with nowhere near enough promotion to help audiences attach to its high concept. Which is a shame, because the alternate universe where the show was a hit is probably a much more interesting place.

Revisiting the show for its anniversary, it’s a conflicted but fascinating work of horror shot through with ’90s cheesiness, but also dotted with moments of brilliant writing and heart.

Created by Ethan Reiff and Cyrus Voris, who went on to write ...

How Dead is Dead, Really? Shelley Jackson’s Riddance


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Shelley Jackson has long been one of gothic fabulism’s most delightful and ambitious Renaissance persons. Her 1995 hypertext Patchwork Girl is a reimagining of Frankenstein by way of L. Frank Baum’s The Patchwork Girl of Oz, a labyrinthine and nonlinear rabbit-hole collage of quotations, allusions, and anatomical diagrams. In 2003 she began the novella Skin, published entirely as one-word tattoos on the bodies of several thousand volunteers; her ongoing novella project is written in snow. She is a visual artist who’s illustrated the covers and interiors of Kelly Link’s short story collections Stranger Things Happen and Magic for Beginners as well as her own children’s books. And her most conventional (in form, anyway) novel to date, Half-Life, is the story of conjoined twins Nora and Blanche, one of whom is on a murderous quest to take back the first-person singular pronoun.

Riddance is Jackson’s first novel in ...

Read This, Watch That: Perfect Horror SFF Books and Anime Pairings


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There’s nothing like cuddling up on a dark October night with a creepy horror novel—or hunkering down to watch a scary anime. In this season of terror, we’ve got four pairs of horror books and anime to check out, from favorites to stories you shouldn’t miss.

With horror fiction and horror anime both being such incredibly in-depth areas, we’ve narrowed it down to pairings of stories that focus on people and the relationships between them. While many of the stories possess paranormal elements, the real terror lies not in the monster you’ve barricaded out, but the person you’re locked inside with.

 

Read The Devil Crept In, Watch When They Cry

Small towns in horror can be home to truly terrifying things. Ania Ahlborn’s The Devil Crept In is the tale of one such small town: Stevie’s cousin and best friend has gone missing, and he knows as well ...

Five Spooky Books Set in Real Places


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If you’re anything like me, than as fall and Halloween roll around, you like to get cozy with some cider and a spooky or even scary book to read—or better yet, a whole stack of such books. And in general, I love novels with a strong sense of place, that really immerse me in the setting, whether present or past. As an author, I try to always travel to the places where my books are set so that I can bring that setting alive on the page for readers. Here are a few of my favorite spooky reads, all set in real places, much like my new novel The Spellbook of Katrina Van Tassel, which is set in Sleepy Hollow, NY (yes, Sleepy Hollow is a real place!).

 

The Diviners by Libba Bray

This is one of my all-time favorite novels, one I’ve read multiple times at this ...

Boba Fett vs. Zombies and Other Bonkers Moments from Star Wars: Galaxy of Fear


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John Whitman’s 12-book Galaxy of Fear series was the Star Wars Expanded Universe’s attempt to tap into the middle-grade horror market of the late ’90s—bringing Goosebumps to a galaxy far, far away. The series introduced two adorable Alderaanian orphans under the care of their mysterious shape-shifting anthropologist uncle Hoole, and set them loose into every random corner of the Star Wars universe, occasionally crossing paths all the fan favorites from the original (and at the time, only) film trilogy: Luke provides Tash some one-on-one lessons in the Force, while Boba Fett shows up to save Zak from space zombies. Thrawn’s in there somewhere, too, as badass as ever.

These character cameos made Galaxy of Fear the ultimate self-insert fiction—except if you preferred nightmares to fantasies. Because while R.L. Stine’s haunted ventriloquist dummies and egg monsters rarely provoked much of a reaction beyond, well, goosebumps, Galaxy of Fear was the ...

5 Books About Folk Horror


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It’s nearly impossible for me to choose five favorite horror novels. I simply can’t name a favorite (except in one case, as you’ll see below). But I can narrow it down a little and compartmentalize my preferences. In that way, even though I’m certain I’m forgetting something, the slight won’t seem too terribly egregious.

I grew up in rural North Carolina, amidst tobacco fields and scuppernong grape orchards, and in the Missouri Ozarks, amidst scorpions and tarantula herds. Living in those areas, I developed an appreciation for the folktales and ghost stories that run rampant among country folk. That upbringing has wormed its way into many of my own stories. With books like Harrow County, from Dark Horse Comics, I’m able to revisit some of my old haunts, if you’ll pardon the pun.

So, since I’m writing stories of country folk, undead witches, and ghostly apparitions, I thought I’d ...

The Bottoms
Best of HP Lovecraft
The Old Gods Waken
Cythulhu Mythos and Kindred Horrors
Boy's Life

A Good Horror Story Needs to Be Sincere


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I watch a lot of horror movies. However many you’re thinking right now, I regret to inform you that you have woefully underestimated the number of horror movies that I have watched in my lifetime. I watch a lot of horror movies. My earliest cinematic memories involve horror movies—Alien when I was three years old, sitting on my uncle’s lap in the living room of our old apartment; The Blob after a midnight trip to the emergency vet to have a cattail removed from my cat’s eye; Critters in my grandmother’s living room, elbows buried in the plush beige carpet, dreaming of marrying the handsome red-haired boy in the lead role. So many horror movies. The only form of media that has arguably had more of an influence on me than the horror movie is the superhero comic book (which is a whole different kettle of worms).

The standards ...

Netflix’s The Haunting of Hill House Finds the Beating Heart of Shirley Jackson’s Tale


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Mike Flanagan’s adaptation of The Haunting of Hill House is easily one of the best things I’ve seen on Netflix. It’s consistently scary and moving, creepy and heartfelt, and creates one of the best, most multi-dimensional views of a family I’ve seen since Six Feet Under.

And as a work of horror, Hill House works because it’s an adaptation. It takes Shirley Jackson’s novel as more of a sketch than a blueprint, and it frees itself to riff on the horror genre as a whole.

The key to Shirley Jackson’s book is that, about halfway through, you start to realize that Eleanor isn’t remotely trustworthy. Neither is Theo—she’s only really come to Hill House to inflict some extended silent treatment on her lover, probably a girlfriend whom she won’t name to the group. Dr. Montague’s kind of a quack hobbyist, using his wife’s money to fund a highly unscientific study. ...