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The Bite

Middle Eastern Horrors and the Future of Creature Features, DRACULA, DEAD BY DAYLIGHT, And More
The Bite #160

Middle Eastern Horrors and the Future of Creature Features, DRACULA, DEAD BY DAYLIGHT, And More

With this week’s VOD release of The Djinn drawing on long-standing myths from the Middle East for the titular antagonist driving the film’s scares, one realizes how little modern movie horror comes from that region of the world. This is made doubly surprising when one considers just how many foundational, archetypal tropes of good and evil –– stories that have resonated for centuries through all manner of interpretations –– first originated there. As such, it seems an appropriate time to look at what other creatures and concepts can be pulled from Middle Eastern folklore to gain new or renewed resonance on the screen.

THE MUMMY RETURNS And Joyful Horror, SCOOBY-DOO, Clive Barker, And More
The Bite #159

THE MUMMY RETURNS And Joyful Horror, SCOOBY-DOO, Clive Barker, And More

Though they’ve been mostly labelled as action, adventure, and fantasy, make no mistake, The Mummy films — 1999’s bi-panic-inducing sensation The Mummy and its followup, The Mummy Returns — are horror films. Taking cues from their Boris Karlof-starring predecessor while evading its more xenophobic roots, these films are part of the Universal Classic Monster family, even if they’re not part of a larger cinematic universe. But the films’ inherent excitement and undeniable action-adventure overtones seem to overshadow their role as horror films, largely because we tend to forget that there can be joy in the genre.

The Comedy Of FRIDAY THE 13TH PART 2, HAUNTED MANSION, SILENT HILL, And More
The Bite #158

The Comedy Of FRIDAY THE 13TH PART 2, HAUNTED MANSION, SILENT HILL, And More

This Friday marks the 40th anniversary of Friday the 13th Part 2. A commercial success, it would serve as the true introduction of Jason Voorhees, slasher extraordinaire. This is the first film in which adult Jason begins his cinematic hack-a-thon, one that has racked up over 160 kills across 10 films (parts 1 and 5 don’t count). And while the Jason we know today is a behemoth who can outwalk the Energizer Bunny, Part 2 showed us a character who was careful, thoughtful, and, hear me out, funny.

Everybody is a Suspect: Three New Rules For SCREAM, TRAGEDY GIRLS, SAW X, And More
The Bite #156

Everybody is a Suspect: Three New Rules For SCREAM, TRAGEDY GIRLS, SAW X, And More

So you’ve survived four entries into a horror franchise that’s still grinding its gears based on box office profitability and nostalgia hounds who cackle-clap whenever they see a familiar title card with a higher number. Congratulations! Thanks for proving that Laurie Strode isn’t Haddonfield’s iconic fluke, but now face your most unpredictable obstacle yet—a fivequel. The Killer Cinco. Fivequel Goes West. The powers that be won’t allow Freddy vs. Jason vs. Ash, yet here you are waltzing onto the battlefield again like you’re hotter than Danielle Harris. I mean, you’ve seen Alien³ and what David Fincher did to poor little Newt alongside hero-boy Hicks. Death comes for all of us: ask Final Destination’s Devon Sawa or Ali Larter.

Everybody is a Suspect: Three New Rules For SCREAM
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Everybody is a Suspect: Three New Rules For SCREAM

So you’ve survived four entries into a horror franchise that’s still grinding its gears based on box office profitability and nostalgia hounds who cackle-clap whenever they see a familiar title card with a higher number. Congratulations! Thanks for proving that Laurie Strode isn’t Haddonfield’s iconic fluke, but now face your most unpredictable obstacle yet—a fivequel. The Killer Cinco. Fivequel Goes West. The powers that be won’t allow Freddy vs. Jason vs. Ash, yet here you are waltzing onto the battlefield again like you’re hotter than Danielle Harris. I mean, you’ve seen Alien³ and what David Fincher did to poor little Newt alongside hero-boy Hicks. Death comes for all of us: scream queen, shriek king, survivor person, whatever. Ask Final Destination’s Devon Sawa or Ali Larter.

On Val Lewton And CAT PEOPLE, Kolchak, HALLOWEENTOWN, And More
The Bite #155

On Val Lewton And CAT PEOPLE, Kolchak, HALLOWEENTOWN, And More

Val Lewton was one of the most influential producers/writers in horror yet he seems to be nearly forgotten in modern discourse. He has over time become known as one of the forefathers of the modern B movie after heading the Horror Unit at RKO Radio Pictures. With 11 features released during his four years, Lewton pumped them out cheap and fast, Roger Corman-style. The highly successful business model of forcing creativity with a studio-mandated low budget amounted to larger returns. This model mirrors that of most popular films in the horror genre today, such as Halloween, The Purge, and Get Out.

Model Fiends: Our Friendship with Monsters, Lil Nas X, Jason Voorhees, And More
The Bite #154

Model Fiends: Our Friendship with Monsters, Lil Nas X, Jason Voorhees, And More

For as long as monsters have existed, us horror kids have seen ourselves in them. Throughout cinema, the monster has represented the outsider. Whether it’s King Kong afraid and alone in a city that hates him, or The Gill Man seeking companionship from Julie Adams, the story is always the same; society hates what it doesn’t understand, and society sure doesn’t understand being “different”.

Hopeful Dysfunction: The Families of M. Night Shyamalan, Attack the Block, Heavy Metal, And More
The Bite #153

Hopeful Dysfunction: The Families of M. Night Shyamalan, Attack the Block, Heavy Metal, And More

Family is central to the films and horror of M. Night Shyamalan. Often told from a child’s perspective, his films can be understood as fairy tales where innocence is lost and regained. In a media culture steeped in irony and cynicism, Shyamalan maintains an unpopular earnestness even in his exploration of dysfunctional family units. He sees hope in people’s ability to change and grow. Often the horror of his work emerges when communities fail to heal and move on, where festering pain and increasing ignorance fill the gaps where love ought to be.

Schlock and Awe: Killer Objects Reflect More Than The Absurd, Cocaine Bear, Vampira, And More
The Bite #152

Schlock and Awe: Killer Objects Reflect More Than The Absurd, Cocaine Bear, Vampira, And More

Throughout the history of the horror genre, we’ve watched on in amazement as films like Christine, Maximum Overdrive, The Car, or even more recently in Peter Strickland’s In Fabric and Justin Simien’s Bad Hair, as characters find themselves terrorized by the most impossible assailants: inanimate objects. It’s an age-old tradition in genre storytelling, one that Elza Kephart’s Slaxx is looking to keep alive through her story of cursed jeans who have a vendetta against those working and shopping at a trendy clothing boutique.

Nicolas Cage And The Freedom of Genre, Terminator, Turbo Kid, And More
The Bite #151

Nicolas Cage And The Freedom of Genre, Terminator, Turbo Kid, And More

Nicolas Cage is both a great actor and a walking meme-machine, and while the former should never be forgotten it’s safe to say that his latest film, The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent, exists because of the latter. Cage stars as Nicolas Cage, an actor unable to turn down a paid gig, who finds trouble when a superfan turns out to be a violent drug lord. With his family’s life on the line, Cage “becomes” various characters from his filmography in order to save the day.

Female Filmmakers: Reclaiming An Exploitative Genre, Fortnite Aliens, Serial Killers Galore, And More
The Bite #150

Female Filmmakers: Reclaiming An Exploitative Genre, Fortnite Aliens, Serial Killers Galore, And More

Exploitation cinema isn’t exactly known for its feminist messages and careful treatment of female characters. It is built upon the torture, rape, and trauma of women. But, isn’t that we’re meant to expect from the genre? Those who wish to avoid such topics should just avoid films like I Spit On Your Grave and The Last House On The Left at all costs. It’s also often assumed that only men could enact such cruelty to their characters. But such an assumption erases a growing canon of women-directed exploitation cinema that illustrates how these violent films can be captured through a female gaze without sacrificing the expected blood and gore.

Ernesto Alonso: EL MALEFICIO’s Demonic Mafioso Dandy
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Ernesto Alonso: EL MALEFICIO’s Demonic Mafioso Dandy

Enrique de Martino, a mature elegant man with a well-tended black moustache, platinum hair, and a black satin robe with a mandarin collar stands before a mirror, two long lit black candles and an antique painting of an 18th Century military officer with a deep dark stare. The painting is the embodiment of a demon: Bael. As he gazes at the painting, he pledges alliance and bondage before humbly asking for assistance in eliminating his enemies. After a moment of silence, the eyes of Bael glow red as the candles extinguish. De Martino turns and faces the camera while sliding doors shut themselves behind him, concealing the altar within an ornate cabinet in an elegant office. All through this scene, Jay Chataway’s “Mannequin’s Revenge” from the Maniac soundtrack has been playing in the background.

Ernesto Alonso: EL MALEFICIO’s Demonic Mafioso Dandy, Wednesday Addams, Train To Busan, And More
The Bite #149

Ernesto Alonso: EL MALEFICIO’s Demonic Mafioso Dandy, Wednesday Addams, Train To Busan, And More

El Maleficio (February 1983 to April 1984) was a horror telenovela phenomenon that captured the attention of an entire nation in the midst of a deep recession. The lead was Enrique de Martino, a ruthless but seductive Mexican businessman who was the Latin American representative for the Mafia. This totemic character was expertly played by Ernesto Alonso, the famed cinema, theater, and TV actor. He was also a powerhouse telenovela producer who helped bring pioneering TV writer Fernanda Villeli’s concept of El Maleficio to life.

DRACULA Through The Ages, Skeleguitar, Godzilla’s Thicc Thighs, and More
The Bite #148

DRACULA Through The Ages, Skeleguitar, Godzilla’s Thicc Thighs, and More

Dracula has undergone many iterations through the years. More archetype than man, he has represented everything from xenophobia to sexual expression to the specter of Marxism. Throughout all evolutions, the wealthy, reclusive predator echoes social, cultural, and sometimes economic maladies.

The Lambs Still Scream: Reanalyzing SILENCE OF THE LAMBS
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The Lambs Still Scream: Reanalyzing SILENCE OF THE LAMBS

Thirty years have passed since moviegoers experienced the thrilling story of rookie FBI agent Clarice Starling’s triumph over the murderous Buffalo Bill. With the pearl anniversary of Silence of the Lambs, the new crime show Clarice will continue following Agent Starling’s career but with it comes a lot of baggage, both new and old. Buffalo Bill (real name Jame Gumb) has been prominently seen lurking in the promotion for the series and exhuming that corpse has released all of the rot and stink to the open air where it is just as foul as it was in 1991.

The Lambs Still Scream: Reanalyzing SILENCE OF THE LAMBS, Drácula, Demon-Summoning Parrots, and More!
The Bite #147

The Lambs Still Scream: Reanalyzing SILENCE OF THE LAMBS, Drácula, Demon-Summoning Parrots, and More!

Thirty years have passed since moviegoers experienced the thrilling story of rookie FBI agent Clarice Starling’s triumph over the murderous Buffalo Bill. With the pearl anniversary of Silence of the Lambs, the new crime show Clarice will continue following Agent Starling’s career and with it comes a lot of baggage, both new and old. Buffalo Bill (real name Jame Gumb) has been prominently seen lurking in the promotion for the series and exhuming that corpse has released all of the rot and stink to the open air where it is just as foul as it was in 1991.

The Bite #146

Special Features as Historical Preservation: Celebrating 30 Years of POPCORN, Jason Behind-the-Scenes, Face Melting, and More!

A lot of the films I grew to be obsessed with were found on the shelf at the video store, my attraction based on how cool the VHS cover was. That’s how I found Popcorn, a film I would one day produce special features for. I rented it countless times. If there was one film out there I wanted to know everything about, it was Popcorn.

The Bite #145

Haunted by History in HIS HOUSE, LA LLORONA and SHE DIES TOMORROW, RESIDENT EVIL, Kindertrauma and More!

In the last year, we have lived through a massive confluence of events. We can look back to the past and see how humanity has dealt with these issues before, whether it be the 1918 flu pandemic, the rise of fascism, or the cry for social justice from multiple communities. Yet, collectively, we continue to struggle to learn the lessons of the past with many believing themselves to be the exception rather than the rule.

The Bite #144

ONE STEP BEYOND and the Shadow of THE TWILIGHT ZONE, 30 Years Later Exhibit, Custom Sneakers, and More!

“What you are about to see is a matter of human record. Explain it: we cannot. Disprove it: we cannot. We simply invite you to explore with us the amazing world of the Unknown… to take that One Step… Beyond” – John Newland, One Step Beyond

The Bite #143

How Álex de la Iglesia Redefines Depictions of Good and Evil, THE EXORCIST, Fright Rags Masks, and More!

A priest with a murky, traumatic past finds the chance for redemption when tasked with holding the front lines of a long-running battle between divine good and evil. Often, this battle is waged within an object or the body of an innocent possessed by Satanic forces, to be excised and made pure again. That basic plot setup could apply to any number of religious-based horror films, from The Exorcist to The Conjuring. Spanish filmmaker Álex de la Iglesia uses that familiar setup for 30 Coins to convey something far more authentically modern, where faith and moral purity hold a different significance in an apocalyptic biblical war.

The Bite #142

The Unexpected Infection Narrative of THE BLOOD ON SATAN’S CLAW, Sigourney Weaver, GODZILLA Showa Era on Vinyl, and More!

In the opening minutes of Piers Haggard’s 1971 folk-horror classic The Blood On Satan’s Claw, the titular claw along with a misshapen skull and other bodily pieces is unearthed by farmer Ralph (Barry Andrews) while tilling his soil. He’s repulsed, deeming it a “fiend” to the town Judge (Patrick Wymark), but he’s not the only character to find pieces of the decomposing creature. When a local group of teenage schoolkids happen upon it, their reaction is different. To them, the claw is a novelty to be passed around and pored over. But since it is, after all, Satan’s claw, their behaviour inevitably causes evil to spread. What’s particularly interesting about this is its virality: in many ways, Satan’s Claw is as much an infection movie as it is a supernatural one.

The Horror that Helped: The Content that Made 2020 a Bit Brighter
The Bite #141

The Horror that Helped: The Content that Made 2020 a Bit Brighter

To say that 2020 has been difficult is a huge understatement. We’ve all lost a great deal this year, some far more than others, and as a result things have felt insurmountable at times. But you’re here now, hopefully in good health, and that is truly worth celebrating. So how do we wrap up a year as monumentally awful as this?

The Bite #140

The Three Drinks of Christmas: Holiday Horror Libations

The holiday season is the coldest and darkest time of the year, so it only makes sense that it would blend so well with horror. With this year in particular, as we’re lacking the usual cheer most often associated with the holidays, I thought it’d be nice to give the gift of cocktails based on some of my favorite Christmas themed horror movies. Let’s add some extra meaning to the “Christmas spirits” with some at-home mixology!

The Bite #139

The Joyous Horrors to Come, DON’T BREATHE Poster Art, A Year of Queer Cocktails, and More!

Horror gamers have never had it as good as they do now. With a seemingly endless amount of indie developers and major studios releasing one title after another, there is a bit of a glut for solid, interactive spooks and scares. Just like with horror movies, horror games can be hit or miss. Some offer something unique and exciting while others feel like the same old thing with a fresh coat of paint.

The Bite #138

The Ultimate Horror Holiday Gift Guide for 2020, Krampuskarten, Ichabod’s Last Meal, And More!

It’s that time of year where we’re all desperately scrambling to try and find the perfect gift for our loved ones (no judgement). So if you’re struggling to come up with ideas for the horror fan in your life, look no further — we’ve got our ultimate horror gift guide right here. From books and movies to subscription boxes and games of the board, card, and video variety, we’ve got every base covered.

Ho Ho Huh? The Sequel, RIP Daria Nicolodi, A Krampus Sweatshirt, And More!
The Bite #137

Ho Ho Huh? The Sequel, RIP Daria Nicolodi, A Krampus Sweatshirt, And More!

‘Tis Donato’s grand return, for this festive Bite;
Spreading seasonal fear meant to thrill and excite.
Yes, once again, with Christmas horror’s good word;
But last year was too tame, so let’s get more absurd.

Bigger Bites

The Ontology of Open Mouths: The Scream and the Swallowing

In his studies of the grotesque and carnivalesque (what we might consider a theoretical precedent for queer theories of camp), Russian philosopher Mikhail Bakhtin identifies the mouth as “the most important of all human features for the grotesque.” As he puts it, “the grotesque face is actually reduced to the gaping mouth; the other features … only a frame encasing this wide open bodily abyss.”

The Bite #136

The Ontology of Open Mouths, An ALIEN Poster, JASON TAKES MANHATTAN on Vinyl, And More!

“The grotesque face is actually reduced to the gaping mouth; the other features…only a frame encasing this wide open bodily abyss.” – Mikhail Bakhtin

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A Life Force in the Darkness

When I was casting Daniel Isn’t Real, I would talk to the actors I met about Tim Robbins’ performance in Jacob’s Ladder. The way, for me, it exemplified the contrast between a thematically bleak world and the expression of a character’s inner life. Ironically, the one actor I couldn’t do this with was the one I cast; Miles Robbins, my lead, is Tim’s son. I couldn’t point to that performance without chaining him to his dad, and so I had to find other ways to reference the particular energy I was looking for. That particular aliveness. And so we talked, among other things, about Rocky.

The Bite #135

A Life Force in the Darkness: Jacob’s Ladder at 30, NASA Horror Posters, FANGORIA Merch, And More!

When I was casting Daniel Isn’t Real, I would talk to the actors I met about Tim Robbins’ performance in Jacob’s Ladder. The way, for me, it exemplified the contrast between a thematically bleak world and the expression of a character’s inner life. Ironically, the one actor I couldn’t do this with was the one I cast; Miles Robbins, Tim’s son. I couldn’t point to that performance without chaining him to his dad, and so I had to find other ways to reference the particular energy I was looking for. That particular aliveness.

The Bite #134

POSSESSION, SUSPIRIA, and the Berlin Wall, the Evolution of Terror, And More!

While Steve Miner was shocking American audiences in 1981 with Friday the 13th Part 2, Ukrainian director Andrzej Zulawski was providing ghastly images in Possession, his infamously unkempt tale of guilt and dissonance — a film that centers around the wall that has been raised between two parties during wartime.

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POSSESSION, SUSPIRIA, and the Berlin Wall

While Steve Miner was shocking American audiences in 1981 with Friday the 13th Part 2, his bloody follow-up to Sean S. Cunningham’s game changing lakeside set slasher, Ukrainian director Andrzej Zulawski was providing such appallingly ghastly images in Possession, his infamously unkempt tale of guilt and dissonance — a film that centers around the wall that has been raised between two parties during wartime.

The Bite #133

The Promising Future of Irish Horror, Beauty and the Beast, Coffin Pies, and More!

In this Issue: Horror History: The Promising Future of Irish Horror Image of the Week: Beauty and the Beast Tiny Bites – This Week’s Best Horror Headlines Things We Love: Pies to Die For Hey, That’s Us! – Shudder in the News HORROR HISTORY The Promising Future of Irish Horror By Robert Mackenzie When Mike …

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The Promising Future of Irish Horror

When Mike Flanagan was looking for up-and-coming filmmakers to direct episodes of The Haunting of Bly Manor, he turned his sights to Ireland. Ciaran Foy, known for his 2012 feature debut Citadel, directed the series’ second and third episodes. While Irish/Welsh director Liam Gavin, who’s 2016 film A Dark Song was named Vulture’s 46th best movie of the 2010s, manned the helm for Bly Manor’s fourth and fifth episodes.

Halloween With The Prices, Freddy In The Makeup Chair, CURSED FILMS Vinyl, And More!
The Bite #132

Halloween With The Prices, Freddy In The Makeup Chair, CURSED FILMS Vinyl, And More!

Celebrating Halloween at our house when I was a kid meant costumes and pumpkin carving and candy. And, although my dad was the King of Horror, I often think about my mom around this time of year. Now, of course, Halloween is as big as Christmas with fabulous front yard decorations, costume contests, fun houses, corn mazes, and horror conventions. But when I was a kid back in the 1960s, it was just starting to become popular.

The Bite #131

Readapting Rebecca? It Might Not Be Such A Bad Idea After All, Everyone Needs A Watch Buddy, And More!

Stop me if you’ve heard this one: “All remakes are pointless.” Actually, stop reading if you’ve thought that before because this article probably isn’t for you. The anti-remake mindset pervades the brains of many people in the film community, especially genre fans, a group that is faced with countless remakes each year. 2020 is no exception, as we are now seeing a new adaptation of Daphne du Maurier’s 1938 novel Rebecca. That novel was famously adapted by Alfred Hitchcock in 1940 and would go on to be the Master of Suspense’s only film to win Best Picture at the Academy Awards. This new iteration comes to us courtesy of British director Ben Wheatley, who is no stranger to suspense after having directed 2011’s Kill List and 2016’s Free Fire.

The Bite #130

What Might Have Been: The Unmade Works Of George A. Romero, Horrific Hungry Hippos, A HOCUS POCUS Featurette And More!

After George A. Romero’s estate asked me to complete his unfinished epic zombie novel, The Living Dead, I spent some time cycling through a series of emotions. Ninety percent of them were variations of disbelief that I would be a part of finishing Romero’s fifty-year zombie saga — the same zombie saga that was my own origin story, having seen Night of the Living Dead at the impressionable age of 5 or 6.

The Bite #129

Rumors Of Halloween’s Demise Have Been Greatly Exaggerated, So Many Demons, And More.

Historically, Halloween has always been a last hurrah before the arrival of the colder season. We’d dress up to ward off ghosts and celebrate the harvest, gathering to fill ourselves with the energy of togetherness before we found ourselves spending more time tucked away from the winter. This year, we’ve already spent a LOT of time tucked away. The itch for togetherness is stronger than ever, and I think we’re going to need to scratch it before winter sets in. BUT! We have to be smart, and we have to be safe.

The Ultimate Guide To Halloween Triple Features
The Bite #128

The Ultimate Guide To Halloween Triple Features

As we head into October, we’re all aware of how different this Halloween is going to be, so we wanted to put together a treat for the season. That’s why this week’s special issue of the Bite is designed with one thing in mind: to give you some inspiration for your Halloween movie marathon.

The Bite #127

The Attraction Of Oblivion: Mike Flanagan’s Sympathetic Portrayals Of Addiction, Fire On The Set Of THE SHINING, And More!

Sympathetic portrayals of addiction are often a balancing act, one that’s exceptionally well-suited to horror. The genre is built for asking the hard questions and isn’t interested in easy answers. Mike Flanagan is one such storyteller who shines light on such intense and difficult topics. He approaches addiction with the care and respect the subject deserves and has built upon the themes of addiction and recovery throughout his career.

The Bite #126

The Kids Aren’t Alright: Why Now Is The Time For Teen Horror, THE FOG Limited Edition LP, And More!

Horror movies have long been favored by teen audiences. But as I teen I can tell you: today’s horror isn’t hitting home for us.

The Bite #125

There’s Something About The Warrens, Horror Ultimate Edition Trivial Pursuit, And More!

Over the past seven years, Ed and Lorraine Warren have become the most popular couple in Horror. From The Conjuring and its hotly anticipated third installment through the various offshoots in between, they’ve become a gateway into the genre while keeping fans on the edge of their seats. And while Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga have painted the Warrens in a warm hue, the truth about these very real figures isn’t quite as charming.

The Bite #124

Trauma And Isolation In FLOWERS IN THE ATTIC, Spooky Wrapping Paper, And More

As the pandemic continues to ravage the world and many continue to self-isolate in order to stop the spread of the virus, a wildly creepy tale of isolation has gone mostly unnoticed in spite of its renewed relevance to our current situation; Flowers In The Attic. When V.C. Andrews’ gothic horror drama came out in 1979, it caused an enormous scandal. Even by today’s boundary-pushing standards, its dark themes of child abuse, murder, and incest remain shocking. But perhaps what’s more shocking still is the enduring relevance of its subject matter.

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Oh, The Sin Of Writing Such Words: The Infinite Horror Labyrinth Of The Carcosa Mythos

The Carcosa mythology is not solely attributable to any one particular horror author, though is most commonly associated with American short story writer Robert Chambers. His 1895 collection The King in Yellow contains a number of stories that reference the King of the book’s title and the mythical city of Carcosa. The opening story, “The Repairer of Reputations,” is the most explicit work of fiction about the titular figure. The story’s narrator, Hildred Castaigne, has lost his mind, presumably from reading a forbidden play called “The King in Yellow.” To read the play is to suffer irreparable madness.

The Bite #123

The Infinite Horror Labyrinth Of The Carcosa Mythos, THE EXORCIST Miniature, And More!

In HBO’s True Detective, moments before his face is blown off, Reggie Ledoux tells detective Rustin Cohle “You’re in Carcosa now.” The 2014 show straddled the line between drama and horror brilliantly, in part because of how it alluded to an esoteric horror mythology — “Carcosa,” and “The Yellow King” — without ever bogging itself down in explanations. As HBO begins another journey into cosmic horror with its acclaimed new series Lovecraft Country, let’s take a look back how weird fiction haunted this earlier pop culture phenomenon.

The Bite #122

HOST And The Cultural Relevance Of Found Footage, Facehugger Masks, And More!

You’ve heard the familiar song and dance about found footage: it isn’t scary, it’s too prevalent, and you can’t see anything through the shaky camera. But to see found footage as just a collection of tired tropes is to dismiss a revolutionary style of filmmaking that is quick to adapt to the changing technological landscape. Filmmakers are able to creatively tell unique stories through handheld cameras, security footage, and webcams. They create fear not with CGI or elaborate effects, but with lingering shots of darkened doorways and quiet bedrooms. Found footage is all about tension and changing how the viewer watches a film, making the experience an active rather than passive one. Blink and you may just miss something.

The Bite #121

Lovecraft’s Shadow Over THE BEACH HOUSE, HEREDITARY Screenplay, And MORE

Depicting the natural world as a terror-in-waiting, humanity its cowering subjects, writer-director Jeffrey A. Brown’s The Beach House evokes the cosmic madness of H.P. Lovecraft’s stories The Colour Out of Space (1927) and Till A’ the Seas (1935).

The Bite #120

At The Drive-In, RIP John Saxon, And MORE

The drive-in movie theater was invented 88 years ago in a driveway in Riverton, NJ. Industrial heir Richard Hollingshead Jr. experimented with equipment and screen materials in his driveway, and a year later opened his drive-in theater (25 cents a car) on the Pennsauken-Camden border with a screening of Wives Beware. The theater closed 14 months later, but drive-ins exploded in postwar America, and by the 1950s there were over 4000 of them.

The Heather Donahue Project, The Yellow King, FRIDAY THE 13th And More!
The Bite #119

The Heather Donahue Project, The Yellow King, FRIDAY THE 13th And More!

Women in horror have a lot to prove. Especially as filmmakers, we’re scrutinized with a microscope, often damned if we do and damned if we don’t. In The Blair Witch Project, Heather Donahue juggles the pressures of maintaining leadership in the face of mounting dread with her creative responsibilities to her subject. Though the road is rocky, to say the least, her choices resonate with me. They’re choices I would have made.

The Bite #118

Horror’s Profound Empathy, Tarot Del Toro And MORE!

What is it about horror as a genre that can lead to increased empathy for others? Over time, horror has transitioned between being a source of entertainment and a learning tool that teaches us about the privileges we take for granted. For a couple of hours, the character’s terror becomes our own, making space to engage with different backgrounds and experiences than our own. There are specific terrors I fail to consider in the real world; broken street lamps don’t give me pause; footsteps from behind me aren’t a reason to turn keys into a makeshift weapon; a minor traffic violation or accidentally bumping into someone in a store won’t lead to a gun pointed in my face. I have it easier than most.

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Horror’s Profound Empathy

I love horror. I love the sound of a hundred voices in a theater gasping in terror then letting out cathartic peals of laughter to relieve tension. I love listening to ghost stories with my kiddo outside in her tent. During the scary bits, she talks fast over the audio as a way to cope, and nothing brings me more joy. I love horror movies because that ball of worry that threatens to chew a hole in my stomach during the scariest bits mirrors how I experience anxiety. Taming those anxieties through controlled breathing or slowing down racing thoughts reminds me that I can do the same during real-world situations. I’m not alone in this; millions live with anxiety. What makes us unique is how we process and act on our symptoms. Horror affords people the opportunity to work through crippling worry that repeats itself like a needle stuck in a groove. It even gives us the chance to learn what scares people different than ourselves, who share different cultures, values, and experiences from our own.

The Bite #117

The Power Of THE EXORCIST Compelled Them, RIP Ennio Morricone And MORE

Throughout the 1970s, the horror genre was flooded with Exorcist knockoffs, most of them genuinely better than The Exorcist II. None of them had the same impact, of course, as they often focused on the more extreme elements (Green vomit! Foul-mouthed children!) instead of the character-driven drama and exploration of faith that Williams Friedkin and Blatty brought to the table, but it was always clear that Regan MacNeil was on the minds of these hopeful producers. However, a trend usually doesn’t really kick off until a second success proves that the first wasn’t a fluke, and in this instance, the first copy had a big head start.

The Bite #116

The Prescient Predicament Of George A. Romero’s LAND OF THE DEAD, Funky Punk NYC And MORE!

George A. Romero always found astute ways to wield his zombies as a weaponized metaphor, holding up a mirror to society and reflect the current social climate with every Dead film. His fourth, Land of the Dead, was critically praised during its initial release, but many felt the allegory lacked subtlety and that it fell back on familiar tropes. None could predict, not even the forward-thinking Romero, just how eerily precognitive his film would read precisely fifteen years later.

The Bite #115

“Those Kind” Saved Me, Big Frank’s Monster, Gothic Lamb And MORE!

Queer horror is having a moment. Yes, horror has been queer from the beginning, stretching back to directors like James Whale and using queer subtext in a number of positive and negative ways. Recently, we’ve seen so much outspoken, textual queerness in horror that makes me excited to be a fan of the genre. So it’s weird to think back to 2011’s Chillerama where smack dab in the middle of rampaging sperm monsters and spoofs of zombie films was this little queer horror short called “I Was a Teenage Werebear.”

The Bite #114

ROSEMARY’S BABY And The Insidiousness Of Medical Gaslighting, The Real Queen Of Horror And MORE!

In Rosemary’s Baby, the depiction of gaslighting, impressively brought to life by Mia Farrow, hinges on the real-life plight of so many women navigating the healthcare system to this day. We see the arc of a pregnancy carried to term under duress, through the majority of which the mother’s well-being has been deemed unimportant.

The Bite #113

Stanny And The T-Rex: An Interview With Stewart Raffill, Tales From The Stitch And MORE!

It’s no secret I am a Stanny (that’s “Tanny + stan” for the uninitiated). Even before I saw the gore cut of Tammy and the T-Rex (1994) — or as the title card inexplicably reads, Tanny and the Teenage Rex — I was hooked. Not only is it my particular flavor of bonkers, but it’s also an important entry in the queer horror canon as it features a gay, black character named Byron (played by Theo Forsett). That kind of representation is rare in the genre, even by today’s standards. So I reached out to director Stewart Raffill to find out more.

The Bite #112

A Special Issue Of The Bite: How You Can Make A Difference

Horror belongs in our movies, not in our streets. This week’s issue of The Bite is dedicated to providing resources and information to help the horror community stand up and support organizations who are working to help bring an end to police brutality at the expense of Black lives and to make ours a more just world.

Black Lives Matter.

BIGGER BITES

Cooking With Vincent Price: Recipes So Good, You’ll Scream … And Scream Again

With a nearly six-decade-long acting career, the name Vincent Price is synonymous with horror. But the Master of the Macabre’s talent didn’t stop on the movie set — he was also a gourmet chef who published a number of best-selling cookbooks with his wife, Mary, hosted lavish dinner parties, and even had his own cooking show, Cooking Price-Wise.

The Bite #111

Vincent Price’s Scream-Worthy Recipes, ASMR Horror And MORE!

With a nearly six-decade-long acting career, the name Vincent Price is synonymous with horror. But the Master of the Macabre’s talent didn’t stop on the movie set — he was also a gourmet chef who published a number of best-selling cookbooks with his wife, Mary, hosted lavish dinner parties, and even had his own cooking show, Cooking Price-Wise.

The Bite #110

HOUSEBOUND And Tricks Of The Mind, A Lego Haunted House And MORE!

As most of us have learned recently, isolation kind of sucks. It grates on you in a way that most humans aren’t used to being grated on. Even worse, it gives us time to think, and we’re not so great at being left with our thoughts. We may gobble up every gruesome scene we can, but nothing holds a candle to the torment of the human mind.

The Bite #109

Horror’s Helping Hand, Saying Goodbye To John Lafia And MORE

It may seem antithetical to surround oneself with fictional terror when the real world is a scary hellhole. Yet, like many, when I turn to my stack of horror movies I come away comforted. It’s not just a love of monsters and serial killers that keeps fans coming back for more. For many, horror provides a boost to their mental health and acts as a form of self-care.

The Bite #108

The Horrific Catharsis Of RESIDENT EVIL 3, The May Queen And MORE!

Let’s be honest, life kinda sucks right now. The COVID-19 pandemic has brought the world to a grinding halt and we’re all stuck in our homes, albeit for the greater good. As a result, reports show that video game usage has increased dramatically since stay-at-home orders have been implemented nationwide. A means of catharsis and escapism, video games provide the perfect opportunity for active participation through an interactive experience, unlike watching movies, a far more passive activity. With horror games specifically, this allows players to face the very fears that haunt them in real life.

The Bite #107

Hijacking Horror In Jeff Barnaby’s BLOOD QUANTUM, Vampira And MORE!

The tropes are familiar to everyone who loves horror; a rural setting, characters with recognizable lives and problems like teen pregnancy and family strife, all painting a landscape of brooding calm before the coming storm. We also have the requisite warning signs that fans demand; nature in discord, strange police reports, key information unnoticed. A nurse, played with quiet resolve by Elle-Máija Tailfeathers (The Body Remembers When The World Broke Open) saying, “What do you mean we’re out of Tetanus?!” as she rummages through a hospital medicine cabinet. While we scream, “Because they BITE!!!” With the film’s first frames, Jeff Barnaby, visionary Mi’qmaq writer and director, and his long-time cinematographer, Michel St. Martin, want to flip this familiar world on its head. Literally. Stomach-churningly.

The Bite #106

There’s Something In The Woods, Jennifer Tilly’s Bored In The House And MORE!

Being in nature is proven to have a wealth of restorative benefits for the mind and body, making places like the woods a sanctuary for some that nurtures the soul. However, for as peaceful as nature can be, there is a darkness that lingers in its depths. By subverting the psychological effects of nature, while also weaving in folklore and history, the great outdoors are used by horror filmmakers to present nightmarish experiences in otherwise peaceful places.

The Bite #105

CURSED FILMS And The Power Of Myths, All Hallows’ Eve And MORE!

How do you make a documentary series based on a number of unexplained, unsubstantiated, practically impossible to investigate claims that have been told and retold ad nauseam by horror fans around the world? You focus on the people.

The Bite #104

Halfway To Halloween, A Killer Book Club And MORE!

Two weeks ago, we announced a month-long celebration of Halfway to Halloween on Shudder. For some, the unofficial holiday is as important as October 31st itself. For others, it’s an excuse to feel a burst of the Fall season in the Spring. But for most of us, it’s a time to look ahead to October and start planning the perfect costume, daydreaming about decorating your home for trick-or-treaters, or budgeting for that massive costume party with your friends and family.

The Bite #103

The Body Horror Of SUSPIRIA (2018) And BLACK SWAN, An Instagram Nightmare And MORE!

One of our most ironic cultural misperceptions is that dancing, as a sport and a profession, is easy and frivolous, a thing “for girls”. Dancing is for everyone, but that doesn’t mean everyone can excel at it. The world of dance is gatekept by the white and wealthy, and dancing professionally is a grueling endeavor. There’s no shortage of films about dancers, but few that showcase the real horror of a body pushed to the limit in the name of passion and perfectionism like Luca Guadagnino’s Suspiria and Darren Aronofsky’s Black Swan.

The Bite #102

The Indelible Impact Of EYES WITHOUT A FACE 60 Years Later, A New Plan And MORE!

For the European audiences of 1960, Les yeux sans visage went too far. Jean Redon’s original novel, about Dr. Génessier (Pierre Brasseur) replacing the ruined face of his daughter Christiane (Edith Scob) with those of kidnapped young women, was troubling enough. But in his adaptation, director Georges Franju shows the heterograft process in full, forcing viewers to witness Génessier and his assistant Louise (Alida Valli) remove the face of the captured Edna (Juliette Mayiniel).

The Bite #101

Yielding To Temptation: DR. JEKYLL AND MR. HYDE At 100, Max Von Sydow And MORE!

It all started with a novella. Robert Louis Stevenson’s The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde brought the iconic titular characters into our world back in 1886. There’s no way he could have known that his monster would become one of the top twenty-five adapted stories in history. Over two hundred films, shows, comics, songs, and plays would spawn from the original story’s seventy-one pages. Since this is a newsletter for a film streaming service, I can imagine you know which medium we’ll be focusing on today.

The Bite #100

A Year After HORROR NOIRE And The State Of Black Horror, Friday The 13th And MORE!

A year ago, Shudder’s Horror Noire: A History of Black Horror trended on Twitter on the night of its red carpet premiere, which brought out Hollywood’s horror royalty: icons Tony Todd (Candyman), Rachel True (The Craft), Rusty Cundieff (Tales from the Hood), Ken Foree (Dawn of the Dead), Ernest Dickerson (Demon Knight), Keith David (The Thing) and others who appeared in the documentary, alongside original Candyman director Bernard Rose, actress Heather Langencamp (A Nightmare on Elm Street) and all manner of horror heads in a feel-good event I’m still smiling about.

BIGGER BITES

A Year After HORROR NOIRE And The State Of Black Horror

A year ago, Shudder’s Horror Noire: A History of Black Horror trended on Twitter on the night of its red carpet premiere, which brought out Hollywood’s horror royalty: icons Tony Todd (Candyman), Rachel True (The Craft), Rusty Cundieff (Tales from the Hood), Ken Foree (Dawn of the Dead), Ernest Dickerson (Demon Knight), Keith David (The Thing) and others who appeared in the documentary, alongside original Candyman director Bernard Rose, actress Heather Langencamp (A Nightmare on Elm Street) and all manner of horror heads in a feel-good event I’m still smiling about.

The Bite #99

The Wrathful Onryō Of J-horror, ARMY OF ONE And MORE!

We all remember the scary movie, book, or image we saw as a child that still turns our guts to ice. I should be in therapy from the art in Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark alone and, growing up, it was Halloween. Micheal Myers’ unstoppable slasher was a personal boogieman for years.

Until I saw The Ring.

The Bite #98

Believing Is Seeing In H.G. Wells’ THE INVISIBLE MAN, DEATH STRANDING On Vinyl And MORE!

More than a century has passed since H.G. Wells’ The Invisible Man questioned what man might do with the power of invisibility. Knowing the answer reflects glaring truths about today’s society, and Leigh Whannell’s adaptation centers on a victim of domestic abuse left to reckon with the validity of her voice and the consequences — or lack thereof — when powerful men commit unspeakable crimes. They say that seeing is believing, but when evil hides in plain sight, how can the truth be brought to light?

The Bite #97

Tod Browning And The Inherent Humanity Of FREAKS, X-ray Art And MORE!

I doubt Dracula director Tod Browning could ever have fathomed that when he convinced MGM to buy the rights to Tod Robbins’ story, Spurs, it would change not just his life, but those of the audiences who encountered it. He certainly could never have known how much it would affect a disabled girl living Sacramento who wanted to write about movies but never expected to see herself represented.

The Bite #96

Nicholas Vince On NIGHTBREED, PARASITE Makes History And MORE!

A couple of years ago I spoke to someone who explained why Nightbreed was so important to them as a gay teenager. They said the film gave them hope because someone else understood what it felt like to be an outsider. It was different from other horror movies where the monster is pure evil and is trying to stalk and slash you, or where they’re simply a misunderstood victim. In Nightbreed, a community of monsters are the “good guys”.

Bigger Bites

The Tribes Of The Moon Embrace You

I’m going tell you a story about Clive Barker’s film Nightbreed, conversations since its release 30 years ago, and a secret…

The Bite #95

THE TURN OF THE SCREW’s Reliable Narrator, Sea Creatures And MORE!

With last month’s lackluster reception of Floria Sigismondi’s The Turning, it’s easy to wonder if the film’s source material – Henry James’ gothic novella The Turn of the Screw – has any lasting relevance in today’s society. With a culture as obsessed with Halloween and all things spooky as ours, gothic romance should be considered a timeless genre worthy of our recognition (Guillermo del Toro’s Crimson Peak certainly deserved a better shake than it got at the box office, for instance). But The Turn of the Screw has more going for it than its enduring scares. There’s an urgency, a nowness, to the story’s crucial question: can we believe the woman narrating this ghostly tale?

Bigger Bites

Lovecraft’s Frightful Messenger

“West of Arkham the hills rise wild, and there are valleys with deep woods that no axe has ever cut.”

So begins H.P. Lovecraft’s masterpiece The Colour Out of Space, a novella written and published in 1927 that Lovecraft himself considered his best short story. It tells the tale of the Gardner family, onto whose farm lands a meteorite from outer space which unleashes a mysterious, otherworldly “Colour” that first drives the inhabitants mad, then destroys and alters the land itself, finally changing the family into monsters.

The Bite #94

Lovecraft’s Frightful Messenger: THE COLOUR OUT OF SPACE And MORE!

“West of Arkham the hills rise wild, and there are valleys with deep woods that no axe has ever cut.”
So begins H.P. Lovecraft’s masterpiece The Colour Out of Space, a novella written and published in 1927 that Lovecraft himself considered his best short story. It tells the tale of the Gardner family, onto whose farm lands a meteorite from outer space which unleashes a mysterious, otherworldly “Colour” that first drives the inhabitants mad, then destroys and alters the land itself, finally changing the family into monsters.

The Bite #93

The Horror Of Empathy In Lucky McKee’s MAY, The Original May Queen And MORE!

Human beings like to use the word “inhuman” to describe those who have done terrible things. We have to. To acknowledge the humanity of someone who could, say, stab a stranger in the neck with a pair of scissors is to acknowledge your own potential for violence, as well as that of everyone around you. And how are you supposed to go about your day like everything is fine when the guy squeezing kiwis at the grocery store could have human heads in his freezer?

The Bite #92

Why TEETH Still Bites Back And MORE!

In 2007, Mitchell Lichtenstein’s Teeth premiered at Sundance, and audiences had no idea what to expect. Centered around an abstinence advocate who discovers she has sentient teeth inside her vagina, Teeth was a film that horrified and disgusted the majority of the cis men who saw it and was overwhelmingly loved by just about everyone else. Lionsgate and The Weinstein Co. immediately purchased the film, an irony that cannot go unnoticed.

The Bite #91

DEMON And The History Of The Dybbuk, Zombie Warhol and MORE!

An endless stream of ghosts, demons, and monsters have been lifted from the realm of religion and adapted into on-screen terrors. Though these are often taken from Christianity, there are ruthless baddies that have been lifted from Judaism. The most common of the Jewish spooks is an old one known as the dybbuk.

The Bite #90

Shudder Filmmakers’ Favorite Horror Of The Decade

As we say goodbye to 2019 and the 2010s, and all those “Best Of…” horror lists keep coming in, the Shudder team thought we should contribute some of our favorites of the last decade. Well, our filmmakers’ favorites, that is. That’s right, as a special year-end Bite for all our devoted readers, we decided to ask some of the filmmakers on Shudder to share their favorite horror films of the past decade.

The Bite #89

Bear Witness To The END OF DAYS, A Killer Mashup, And MORE!

After a risky heart surgery in 1997, Arnold Schwarzenegger took some time off from making movies, which lead to considerable audience anticipation for his big return. So it makes sense that he opted for End Of Days because he’d be fighting the actual Devil to save the world – the stakes had rarely been higher. But the movie was also a timely one when it was released in November of 1999 because the Devil had to pull off his plan by midnight on New Year’s Eve, and, at the time, we were all worried about the same moment; specifically, what might happen when the future threat of “Y2K” became the present.

The Bite #88

It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Krampus, A CHRISTMAS CAROL And MORE!

Some activities will forever be associated with the Christmas season: Roasting chestnuts over a fire; waking up early to catch the morning snowfall, with presents by the tree; dressing up like a horned demon-goat-man and threatening to shove bad neighborhood kids in a sack. You know, Christmas classics.

Strange Christmas Horror, SILENT NIGHT, DEADLY NIGHT And More!
The Bite #87

Strange Christmas Horror, SILENT NIGHT, DEADLY NIGHT And More!

‘Tis the month of December on this edition of The Bite;
And here comes Donato, who’s pro festive fright.
You may know Krampus, psycho Santas, elves undead;
And evil jolly demons who’d paint the North Pole red.

The Bite #86

THE NIGHT OF THE HUNTER, Junji Ito, Gift Guides And MORE!

The Night Of The Hunter (1955) is, simply, one of the iconic films of the 20th century. Visually enigmatic, it’s inspired some of cinema’s great auteurs from Martin Scorsese and the Coen brothers to Spike Lee. It defies genre, working deftly as a psychological thriller, a horror movie, a family drama, and a staple of Film Noir. Though now recognized as a masterpiece, it is the only directing venture for prolific actor Charles Laughton; its failure so demoralized Laughton that he refused to get behind the camera again.

The Bite #85

The Deaths That Inspired A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET, A Gingerbread Overlook And MORE!

“Whatever you do, don’t fall asleep” might be reasonable enough for Nancy Thompson (Heather Langenkamp), who understood that falling asleep meant falling prey to a knife-gloved man in a dirty red and green sweater. But what do you do when the threat awaiting you on the other side of sleep isn’t Freddy Krueger, but something more horrifying?

The Bite #84

The Legacy Of DR. CALIGARI, Noirvember Horror And MORE!

It’s November which, for some film fans, means it’s time for the ultra-hashtaggable month-long celebration of all things Film Noir: #Noirvember. Folks tend to think of the genre as smokey bars, jazz, and dangerous dames, but it’s actually far more complex. With its roots firmly planted in German Expressionism and Horror, Film Noir can be traced back to a microbudget studio film from Weimar Germany that would completely change the face of cinema – The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari.

The Bite #83

Revisiting Tim Burton’s SLEEPY HOLLOW And MORE!

Fairy tales have long served as a moral guiding light for children. The works of The Brothers Grimm and Hans Christian Andersen, among others, have been cannibalized repeatedly throughout film history, each new adaptation attempting to outdo the last. We grew up on these stories, following Alice down the rabbit hole, flying with Aladdin over the Arabian Desert, and swimming in the depths of the ocean with Ariel. For many of us, our imaginations were molded by the Disney iterations of these fables. But most of the original stories feature some of the bleakest and most horrifying moments in literature.

The Bite #82

HOUSE ON HAUNTED HILL Revisited and MORE!

Haunted houses are a seminal setting within the horror genre. Their histories range from violent murders and demonic possession to witchcraft, ancient burial grounds, and insane asylums, all of which provide a menacing backdrop for tales of terror. This particular subgenre possesses a vastly experimental playground for technical execution and storyline that allows its visual aesthetic to thrive while the film’s characters spiral into madness, questioning the very fabric of life and death. Enter House on Haunted Hill.

The Bite #81

THE SKELETON DANCE, The History Of The Danse Macabre And MORE!

This year marks the 90th anniversary of Disney Cartoons’ innovative Silly Symphony series debut, The Skeleton Dance. Directed by the mouse man himself and drawn by Ub Iwerks, the short film features midnight mischief as a group of skeletons rise and dance a gruesome jig in a howling graveyard. Playing tunes on each other’s ribcages and stacking their skulls together, the dead unite for one night only, all to the cheeky tunes of composer Carl W. Stalling.

The Bite #80

Tobe Hooper’s Haunted Houses, The Man Of A Thousand Faces and MORE!

Life (and death) lessons from the late great Tobe Hooper: meat is murder, monsters wear human faces (some more literally than others), and the haunted house is where you find it. From the ode to nihilism that is The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and the slow-burning dread of Salem’s Lot to the niche favorite that is Lifeforce and beyond, Hooper returned to the haunted house more often than any other director in our beloved genre. Despite this, he never once made an entirely typical haunted house movie. Eschewing cobwebs and bats, he was able to mine new terrors from an old archetype by knowing its essence so intimately.

The Bite #79

Shock ‘n’ Roll High School: The Origins of Shock Rock and MORE!

History crowned Alice Cooper the king of shock rock a long time ago, and rightly so. But it’s always fun to remember who paved the path for our modern music monsters. So, with our holiest of holidays on the horizon, let’s look back at Cooper’s great-granddaddy of shock – Jalacy “Screamin’ Jay” Hawkins.

The Bite #78

Extreme Haunts, Halloween Movie Picks and MORE!

The world of extreme haunts is fueled by curiosity and controversy. I’ve crawled through electrified shock tunnels, been locked in coffins, and covered in real cockroaches. People go to extreme haunts to either learn something about themselves, to try to overcome their worst fears, or for the therapeutic value of being scared, what I like to call “scareapy”. But how did we get here? When did haunted houses for Halloween go from mazes where monsters yelled “BOO!” to hands-on, full-contact experiences?

The Bite #77

The Birth, Death, & Resurrection of American Horror Comics and MORE!

The war was over, the American Dream was dreamt once more, and comic books were sold by the millions. Pre-WWII comics were sanitary ordeals, but, by the late 1940s, post-war sensitivity was settling and publishers began exploring adult-oriented content inspired by rising fears. And so, in the final years of the 1940s, the Golden Age of horror was dawning.

The Bite #76

The Terrifying Normalcy of Stephen King and MORE!

It’s rare that one writer shapes an entire generation or two, and rarer still when one shapes the cultural and literary landscape of an entire country. The United Kingdom has J.K. Rowling; Japan had Soseki Natsume; Nigeria had Chinua Achebe.

In the United States, we have Stephen King.

The Bite #75

Pascal Laugier’s MARTYRS, a HELLRAISER Birthday Cake and MORE!

Notorious is a good word to describe Pascal Laugier’sMartyrs (2008). Notoriously violent, bleak, and, on its initial release, hard to get a copy of, Martyrs is made for the horror fan who needs to experience everything.

The Bite #74

A Queer Celebration Of SORORITY ROW and MORE!

When Sorority Row was released a decade ago, the film appeared to be just another misguided, run-of-the-mill slasher remake among a glut of similar movies. It retold the story of 1982’s The House on Sorority Row, about a sorority house prank gone wrong that precipitates a revenge-oriented murder spree. A year after it premiered, Sorority Row was DOA with a less-than-enthusiastic response from critics and an opening weekend gross of just $5 million on a $12.5 million budget. It was labeled a flop and quickly forgotten.

The Bite #73

BASKET CASE, Hitchcock’s Head, and MORE!

The films of Frank Henenlotter will always hold a very special place in my grimy, trash-loving heart. Basket Case specifically is one of those movies you can watch any time and just let the over-the-top acting and blood-splattery goodness wash over you. Henenlotter’s first feature, it prominently showcases the body horror, campy comedy and over-the-top (but never mean spirited) gross-out gore we’d come to associate him with.