Thursday, May 12, 2016

That Time When Hamill, Fisher & Ford Hung Out At Bakka

It's been a long time between blog posts, as I've been focused these past few months on researching and writing my new book, The Great Fright North. However, since I've uncovered many interesting examples of Canadian supernatural tales (and other horrors), I hope to blog more this summer in order to hint at the kind of things you'll read about in the new book!

In the meantime, I thought I'd post about that time when Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, and Harrison Ford hung out at Bakka books in Toronto, for an up-close-and-personal autograph session in June, 1977 promoting their new independent feature, Star Wars.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Alienation by Clark Ashton Smith

As part of researching Canadian fanzines for my upcoming book The Great Fright North, I've been delving into Supramundane Stories, which was Canada's first SF fanzine created by this country's first true genre fan, Nils Helmer Frome. He only published two issues, which primarily contained science fiction content; yet some of the work bled into the realm of weird fiction, the supernatural, and the macabre.

The second issue (Spring 1938) includes "Alienation," a 12-stanza poem by Clark Ashton Smith. Smith was a contemporary of H.P. Lovecraft, and is well-known for his short stories and poems that ran the gamut of science fiction, fantasy, and horror.

Monday, December 28, 2015

CFP: The 'Slayage' Conference on the Whedonverses

In 2004, the first Slayage Conference on Buffy the Vampire Slayer was held in Nashville, Tennessee, an event organized by David Lavery and Rhonda V. Wilcox. Interest in meeting again was so high that the conference became a biennial gathering of scholars and other enthusiasts. Today, the Slayage Conference on the Whedonverses has convened in Georgia (2006), Arkansas (2008), Florida (2010), British Columbia (2012), and California (2014).

In 2016, the conference celebrates the 12th anniversary of its first gathering by convening at Kingston University, Kingston upon Thames, England, UK, 7-10 July 2016.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Terrors from the Lobby! (part 4: también en español!)

At Horror-Rama 2015, I realized early on (just like last year) that I'd be spending far more than I'd ever make back selling books. But that's OK, because writing isn't yet my day job! And seeing as though Mike from Toronto's Hollywood Canteen would be there, well, I was pretty much guaranteed to spend a few dollars at his booth.

My latest addiction, which I've mentioned in past blogs, is collecting lobby cards from Canadian horror films, and I'm especially interested in foreign-language pieces (this is slowly bleeding into a side hobby of collecting foreign-language film posters, but I'm doing my best to stem this one before it gets out of control). Mike did not disappoint! I picked up a nice set of Spanish-language lobby cards for David Cronenberg's Rabid (1977).

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Philatelic Phantoms II: Haunted Canada Collection 2

Canada has its own share of urban legends and spooky folklore, and sometimes even our own government entities like to celebrate this fact. On June 13th of last year (a Friday, of course!), Canada Post unveiled a set of spooky stamps called the "Haunted Canada Collection"; although not quite as quirky as their "Haunted Stamp House" from 1997, it's still a worthwhile investment for those who are interested in such homegrown horrors.

This year, they've returned with Haunted Canada 2, which unearths five more spooky Canadian ghosts from across the country.

Friday, September 11, 2015

The Walker of the Snow

My current phase of research for The Great Fright North involves tales of the Windigo, which is now often written as wendigo. This cannibalistic creature, of Algonquian legend, has taken on many forms including that of a demon, devil, or a supernatural spirit that possesses human beings. (It has since become a popular monster menace in films and on television.)

Many early writings are collected in John Robert Colombo's excellent Windigo: An Anthology of Fact and Fantastic Fiction (1982), which covers three centuries of works from the 1630s-1970s. Long out of print, this tome is a preeminent work on the subject.