Wednesday, March 20, 2019

British Library Tales of the Weird

In late 2018, the British Library kicked off their "Tales of the Weird" book series with From the Depths and Other Strange Tales of the Sea, edited by Mike Ashley. Spanning thirteen books in total, the first eight are now available, with five more set for release later this year. I've just received the first set of books, courtesy of the British Library, and cannot wait to start reading. But where to begin?

Check out the fantastic covers by illustrator Mauricio Villamayor! So much weird goodness here. Each published title is linked to its corresponding information page at the British Library. These books may also be purchased via other online sellers like Amazon.

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Polidori Vampyre Symposium, April 2019

John William Polidori by F.G. Gainsford
John Polidori published his tale The Vampyre in 1819. It is well known that his vampire emerged out of the same storytelling contest at the Villa Diodati in 1816 that gave birth to that other archetype of the Gothic heritage, Frankenstein’s monster. Present at this gathering were Polidori (who was Byron’s physician), Mary Godwin, Frankenstein’s author; Claire Clairmont, Percy Shelley, and (crucially) Lord Byron.

Byron’s contribution to the contest was an inconclusive fragment about a mysterious man characterized by ‘a curious disquiet’. Polidori took this fragment and turned it into the tale of the vampire Lord Ruthven, preying on the vulnerable women of society.

Friday, February 22, 2019

Review: Gallery of Horror (1967)

Gallery of Horror (1967) presents five horror tales based on stories written by Canadian Russ Jones, of Creepy and Eerie fame. Producer/Director David L. Hewitt was not a fan of horror movies, and this disinterest clearly had an impact on the film, which explains the lack of blood (and horror) one expects from, well, a horror film.

It's a good example of a really bad movie made on the cheap, utilizing an overabundance of stock footage (of varied quality) that was added to make it look like it cost more than $30K to make. It's the kind of movie where classic horror stars of the silver screen went to die, and in this case the poor souls are John Carradine and Lon Chaney Jr.

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

CFP: Monsters, Aug 2019 in Lisbon

This inter-disciplinary and multi-disciplinary conference seeks to investigate and explore the enduring influence and imagery of monsters and the monstrous on human culture throughout history. In particular, the project will have a dual focus with the intention of examining specific ‘monsters’ as well as assessing the role, function and consequences of persons, actions or events identified as ‘monstrous’. The history and contemporary cultural influences of monsters and monstrous metaphors will also be examined with a view to forming a selective publication to engender further collaboration and discussion.

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

The Frazetta You Didn't Know About: A Portfolio

Captain George's Comic World was published by Memory Lane Publications, which was run by 'Captain' George Henderson out of his comic store, Memory Lane, in Toronto. In the late 1960s and into the 70s, Henderson's "Vast Whizzbang Organization" produced this and several other nostalgia publications, including Penny Dreadful, The New Captain George's Whizzbang, and Captain George Presents--which was the second incarnation of Comic World.

This particular issue of Comic World, "The Frazetta You Didn't Know About," was published c. 1969 and features some of Frank Frazetta's early pin-up artwork. Ranging from sultry to sexy, this stunning art is far removed from the fantasy work he's most famous for.

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

CFP - Revolution in the Dead: The Cultural Evolution of the Zombie

Since its arrival on the silver screen in Victor Halperin’s White Zombie (1932), the concept of the zombie has captivated and terrorized mainstream audiences across generations. However, before such low-budget celluloid imaginings, and the legions of undead staggering across the old Deep South plantation landscapes of Robert Kirkman’s The Walking Dead (2003-present), the zombie was already conjuring fear and repulsion. Originating from the mythology and rituals of voodoo practised in late seventeenth and early eighteenth century West Africa and subsequently the French slave-colony of Haiti, the zombie is much more than the brain-devouring bogeyman of early cinema representations but instead a cultural and social marker of the era in which its varied representations are produced.