How to Dress Like a Stepford Wife. Great fashion advice without a trace of irony.
Capitol Couture via ladyhellbat.com. In which Andrea gets her Hunger Games in a twist.
HORROR BLACKADEMICS: THE GET OUT (2017) SYLLABUS. Graveyard Shift Sister’s compilation of essays about Get Out.
Jordan Peele on Why Get Out Is an Important Movie. Oprah’s interview with Jordan Peele.
Surveilling the City: Whiteness, the Black Man and Democratic Totalitarianism. John Fiske’s examination of the normalization of Whiteness through surveillance.
The history of Satanic Panic in the US — and why it’s not over yet Vox’s piece on the enduring impact of the Satanic Panic in the US.
Satanic Panic: Pop-Cultural Paranoia in the 1980s Spectacular Optical’s deep dive into the cultural influence of Satanic Panic.
Class of 2018 t-shirts. Limited edition Faculty of Horror t-shirts are only available for a short time! Order yours today.
Salem Horror Fest. We’ll be back October 12-14! Get your tickets now.
Pajama Horror Gala. The Faculty of Horror’s weekly Chat Group has a podcast of its own! Site is still under construction but check it out and be sure to subscribe!
Tommy Jeans ’90s TV spot. The ad that did the opposite of what it was supposed to.
Freaks, Geeks, and Cool Kids by Murray Milner; an in-depth and accessible look at the life of the American teen.
The horror-western sub-genre has generally been a male dominated one with films like Bone Tomahawk (2015), Ravenous (1999), and From Dusk Till Dawn (1996). Emma Tammi’s new film The Wind reorients the narratives of the unknown American frontier in the 1800s and focuses on Lizzie (Caitlin Gerard) and her husband Isaac (Ashley Zukerman) as their very small, isolated world is interrupted by a new couple, Emma (Julia Goldani Tells) and Gideon (Dylan McTee) who move into the cabin a mile away from them and the strange occurrences which escalate as their relationship develops.
In her intro to its TIFF screening Tammi referenced how she and her team were inspired by tales of women in the American frontier who were driven made by the endless, burrowing sound of the wind across the prairies. This phenomenon also known as Prairie Madness or Prairie Fever occurred when families moved from bustling urban centres to the deafening quiet of the relatively uninhabited prairies. In The Wind, the film supposes that this madness is brought about by something real, or real in the minds of those affected. An interesting companion piece to Robert Eggers The Witch (2016), The Wind circles the notion of female isolation and expectations as only the women are affected while the men go about their business. The husbands are side characters who appear to cause concern or instability for Lizzie and Emma. As the women form a rather competitive relationship, their isolation becomes clearer and their harsh reality more tactile.
The film flips back and forth between timelines establishing and subverting expectations on the narrative sometimes to great effectiveness, sometimes to an odd amount of obviousness. Gerard is tasked with carrying the film and she, like the film, succeeds in carrying a vast amount of plot and emotion while at other times giving a forced, staid performance. The frustrating thing about The Wind is that all the elements present for a great film are there – a creepy mythology, some truly beautiful cinematography and solid (if uneven) performances but it can’t seem to stick a landing. It knows it wants to say something but can’t detach itself from rudimentary plot points to say something truly exciting, unexpected or new.
The film offers stepping stones into a fascinating view into the Western genre by focusing on the women left behind while the men go off to hunt, tend to the land, or gather supplies giving the female characters the full weight of the story. The Wind apes on elements from Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s short story The Yellow Wallpaper more than anything else as Lizzie’s (and the audience’s) view of events is further cast into suspicion but The Wind never wants to dig deeper than introducing curious elements and then focusing on the plot. The sound design and mix which one would imagine to be at the forefront of the horror and psychological horror of a film called The Wind is barely noticeable and sounds like the white noise app I have on my phone. The Wind struggles to find its footing and decide on whether it wants to tell a rather straight-forward story or descend into the untold emotional trauma of women who endured this harsh and unforgiving way of life.
Where The Wind succeeds is in some truly great scares and world building with a minimal budget. Unfortunately, at the end of it all, The Wind has some sound and fury but ultimately it signifies nothing.
As you may have heard, Alex and Andrea have chapters in a forthcoming anthology from House of Leaves Publishing. Scared Sacred: Idolatry, Religion and Worship in the Horror Film is a collection of writings exploring the cultural landscape of religion in horror cinema. Bringing together leading critics, historians and writers in this field, the book includes an introduction by author and theologian Professor Douglas E. Cowan, and foreword from actor and author Doug Bradley.
Sacred Sacred is due for release early in 2019 and the crowdfunder, allowing supporters to pre-order a first edition copy of the book, is now live. The first edition run is limited to 1000 copies (the cover design will be foiled in silver), with only 100 copies of the hardback edition available (including an alternative cover foiled in copper). Each book will come with a numbered certificate. Visit https://igg.me/at/
Each chapter is also accompanied by an original illustration from John Sowder in a beautiful Medieval woodcut style. Faculty of Horror has an exclusive preview of Alex’s chapter on creeping conservatism in contemporary horror:
Onward Christian Soldiers: Eyes of the Believers in The Conjuring (2013) and The Conjuring 2 (2016)
James Wan’s The Conjuring (2013) and The Conjuring 2 (2016) follow fictionalized events drawn from the supposedly real adventures of Ed and Lorraine Warren, two deeply Christian figures on a mission to deliver white hetero-normative families from the clutches of certain evil. In these films, the Warrens come to represent a specific certitude: the way the American family can and should be (as evidenced by Ed and Lorraine’s blissful filmic relationship). This is reflected through the Warrens’ patriarchal, Christian ideals, a particular set of familial and faith-based values that serve to offer stability within the narratives of both films.
The real life Ed and Lorraine Warren have become significant figures in the paranormal community since their highly publicized involvement in the Amityville case, turned into a book by Jay Anson in 1977, and followed by the Hollywood film, The Amityville Horror (1979). Their dealings in the strange and unusual officially began in 1972, when they founded the New England Society for Psychic Research (N.E.S.P.R.). Throughout their careers, the Warrens purported to be devout Catholics and oft en claimed to work with the Catholic Church to carry out investigations and exorcisms. They claimed Ed was the only non-ordained demonologist recognized by the Catholic Church, and Lorraine was a gifted medium. According to the Warrens’ official website, the N.E.S.P.R. was meant to simply investigate local hauntings, but when they accepted a case which they believed was being caused by the supposedly lost ghost of a little girl looking for her mother, Ed saw their role as not only to investigate, but also to counsel (N.E.S.P.R., n.d.). While many—if not all—of the Warren’s investigations have been disproved through various sources, they still command a formidable presence in paranormal and, recently, more mainstream circles, thanks in large part to Wan’s The Conjuring and The Conjuring 2. Both films present the Warrens as Catholic missionaries who save tormented families from both literal and metaphorical demons.