I was driving from Indiana PA to Erie one night not a few weeks ago, my mind enmeshed in rapid succession of thoughts. It was dark outside, and I noticed little except for fleeting, flickering glimpses of surreal roadside images, ambiguous shadow outlines in the night, as my car coasted across 422, and then across 1-79, headed north. My CD player has been broken for months, so I was flipping through the channels, trying to settle on a song even vaguely satisfying, a melody that didn’t wink out into a barrage of static thirty seconds after I found it. Reliable radio stations are difficult to come by in some parts of Western Pennsylvania.
This is a special post for a few reasons. First, as someone who’s loved reading comic books and delighting to the adventures of superheroes since 1986; Joe Hill, Gabriel Rodríguez, and Jay Fotos’ Locke & Key is THE FIRST REAL HORROR COMIC I’ve ever read. I broke brand new genre ground here and it was…an experience. Second, this series came highly recommended by Nancy (half of the awesome twosome Nancy & Kathleen who run the wonderfully geektastic comic blog Graphic Novelty²). Locke & Key is one of Nancy’s all-time favorites and she’s been urging me to read it for ages. I made a lot of excuses because, well I can be a baby with horror stuff sometimes :). But I did it! Lastly, this is special because regular readers will notice Kalie’s been super busy with her PhD work of late so, sadly, that means less time for her to write new content. I decided to write this guest post for her today in celebration of our three year anniversary. Yep, three years ago today was the day we first met! Awwww…let’s mark this special occasion by talking about the gruesome, macabre, and haunting tale of the Locke family shall we?? Continue reading “Locke & Key and Horror Comic Books”
Occasionally, I stumble on an idea that really excites me. This would be a fortuitous occurrence to combat mid-day lethargy, but for better or worse, I’ve become perhaps irrevocably nocturnal. As such, it’s two in the morning, and re-reading sections of Paradise Lost for the upcoming candidacy exam has yielded a level of excitement about pondering the nature of evil – indeed, writing an essay completely committed to the topic of evil, which seems appropriate for a horror blog. And the excitement is difficult to contain. Really, I’m not exaggerating. I even thought maybe dissecting literary depictions of evil would be good fodder for a doctoral dissertation, which brought further almost uncomfortable fervor. So, I started pacing around frantically, then I decided to settle on the couch for a ten-minute meditation, to calm down and focus. I have learned, especially under the right circumstances, that I am a person who feels very strong emotions. In any case, the idea tonight is to harness those emotions into a writing product, one of my atypical miscellaneous essays for this blog, a piece of writing not tied to one particular work of art. Who knows – such meanderings may even help me shape the dissertation I need to start writing in about two years. As usual, then, I’m using whoever might be misguided enough to read my thoughts for my own academic purposes. To that end, thanks for your time. Continue reading “3 A.M. Thoughts on Evil”
with Michael Miller
Well, Michael and I sat down to write our second genre mash-up. Instead of placing the original Ghostbusters in The Shining’s Overlook Hotel, we chose to work with the hugely popular, always hilarious Deadpool and placed him in the dreams of Nancy Thompson, main character of Nightmare on Elm Street, to help banish the infamous Freddy Krueger. We have yet to determine what our third series installment will be, but since this was, again, very fun to write, we’re very much planning on creating more! If you’d like to check out our first genre mash-up on The Shining and The Ghosbusters, feel free!
I’m not sure why it never occurred to me to analyze poetry on this blog, especially since one famous Edgar Allen Poe made macabre poetry so popular. (By the way, stay tuned for an examination of some Poe poems to come this summer). Still, I held fast to films, with the occasional graphic novel, short story review, or miscellaneous essay. Then, one fateful Wednesday evening during my second semester of PhD course work, my Victorian literature professor assigned a thick chunk of lesser-known female poetry from the Victorian Era to read. There is, to be sure, an entire world of often unacknowledged brilliance in my Victorian Women Poets anthology, but one work, about the depths of evil shrouded in complete innocence, struck me as particularly apropos for this blog. We have Mary Elizabeth Coleridge, great grand-niece of renowned Romantic-era poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge, to thank for this subtle work of unnerving literature, an 1896 poem entitled “The Witch.” Continue reading “The Just Dread-Full Poetry Corner: Mary Elizabeth Coleridge’s “The Witch””
Guest Writer: Michael J. Miller
I am a huge baby. I don’t try to hide this. When Kalie and I began dating two years ago I’d only seen one or two horror movies. Why? I don’t like being scared so I didn’t like them. However, apparently part of being in a relationship is sharing each other’s interests soooo now I spend a lot of time watching horror movies. Aaaagggh!!! As I’ve embarked on this frightful foray into the world of horror (beginning with Annabelle and most recently A Cure For Wellness) I’ve come to appreciate and even enjoy the genre in my own way. I’ve also developed a series of coping mechanisms so I can survive watching these films. So, if you’re like me and you’re forced to watch you enjoy horror movies but are TERRIFIED while watching them, try these tricks!
I read an article today that really pissed me off. I’ll just start there. I read an article today that really pissed me off, and, in the midst of the start of my second semester as a PhD student, I haven’t been as politically involved as would be ideal in a time of such horror and upheaval. I marched in one protest in my hometown and I’ve shared some articles online and I try to keep up with the news, but I think it’s time to offer my own voice. I read an article that really pissed me off, and emphasized that what I’d already conjectured was important had to be put into practice: my beloved horror blog, Just Dread-full, has to be turned into a partial political platform. Don’t get me wrong; I’ll still make an intense effort during a busy semester to churn out content on all things sinister and macabre, but after all, what’s more sinister and macabre than the Trump administration? Political articles will appear on this site from time to time – and maybe regularly – because the climate of the times dictates it. As I’ve said three times now, I read something today that really pissed me off, so I’m putting down the 250 pages more of reading I have to do between now and Tuesday, casting my GA work aside for the moment, and taking some time to assert what I came to believe during Trump’s campaign and which has only become more true as he’s enacted terrifying, discriminatory policies: not all opinions are equally valid in a debate over Trump’s presidency. If we discard ethical relativism – the belief that we can’t follow any one specific ethical paradigm – then we have to yield that Trump’s policies so far have been egregiously wrong. It is dangerous to justify and legitimate his thinking. Continue reading “Dismantling Shades of Gray: Sometimes there is a Distinct Difference Between Right and Wrong”