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Welcome to episode 30! This week Jason and Michael sit down to discuss the Kevin Smith movie Tusk.
Music that makes an appearance:
Torquemada 71 by Electric Wizard. It appears on their album Wictchcult Today. Both the song and album are available on iTunes and Amazon and any decent record store.
Lane Boyce is newly divorced and a former high school teacher who finds himself in a small town in order to get things right with his head. Without giving away too much of the plot or backstory, Lane has suffered some serious accusations in his recent past that led him to where he is: alone, isolated, left behind by the one he loves the most. Perhaps this is rightfully so, perhaps not, but the point is that he needs this time away from everyone to figure out what happened and, with any luck, to heal fresh wounds that refuse to stop bleeding.
The small town he moved to, however, has a problematic recent history of its own. Strange lights are seen in the sky. There’s mutilated livestock and a local farmer is found dead up on a snowy hill with no tracks leading him there. It’s as though he fell from the sky.
As a master of suspense and character development, Greg Gifune does not disappoint. Lane’s journey goes from curious to the weird and surreal pretty quickly. As the story unfolds, we learn more about Lane and why he is in this cabin in the first place. We also learn more about the strange occurrences happening in the town surrounding him.
My biggest complaint about this one is that it felt like it could have been longer. The ending felt a little rushed, in my opinion. This could be simply me wanting more out of a story, but I don’t think so. I really do feel that the mechanics behind the story, Lane’s past corresponding with the strangeness that comes out of the woods in his backyard, could have been explored with much more detail.
What we do have, however, is an exciting glimpse into something tragic and gut wrenching. Not at all a bad thing, really. But I’m not sure this would make for a great first read to anyone new to Gifune’s awesome canon of literature.
It is well worth the read, though. I give it my recommendation unless you’re new to Gifune’s work. If that is the case, then I suggest trying out The Bleeding Season, The Rain Dancers, and/or House of Rain first. Either way, you can’t go wrong.
Keep your eyes and ears on Darkness Dwells for more from Greg F. Gifune, coming soon!
Anyone listening to the Darkness Dwells podcast should know by now that I’ve taken on a co-host. His name is Michael Schutz-Ryan, and he is the writer of the novel Blood Vengeance. I chose Michael because of a few different conversations we had about horror movies, especially the day he messaged me over Facebook to see if I had seen the movie Tusk or not. I have seen it, so we discussed what we both felt were strengths and weaknesses of the movie, which somehow led to our discussing a mutual love for Rob Zombie films.
As he’s been on the show before, I knew we could talk without any real barriers. In short, we get along just smashing!
My plans for the blog, however, do not end with Michael, though. I want to grow the Darkness Dwells blog into a small network of writers where we review horror movies and books and, more importantly, become a massive news source for horror literature, including reviews, release dates on novels, interviews, and whatever else our imaginations can conjure. This will create a need for a website makeover sometime in the future, but hey, this blog is now a year old. It took me this long to find Michael, so let’s take it one step at a time. Baby steps, my friends. Baby steps.
As for the podcast, I think Michael and I will do just fine as we discuss the macabre on the big screen of moving pictures.
What it comes down to is that I’ve had big plans for the blog, which includes the podcast, from day one. I want to share my love of horror literature and movies with the world. I also would like to create a place online where people can go to get the latest on horror literature news.
This will probably take some time, so if you’re getting excited I suggest you have a beverage and take a deep breath. Patience will be of virtue here.
So, please welcome Michael aboard as the first team member of Darkness Dwells. He’s an awesome writer and a great dude to talk with. And thanks,
Michael, for your enthusiasm and input. It will be fun, I’m sure.
Earlier this week, a silly article surfaced on Facebook titled What It Says About You If You Enjoy Horror Movies. On Facebook, I remember that it had the picture from The Babadook on it that’s at the top of the article itself. These two things were the reason I clicked the link, thinking, “Here we go.” With a title like that, you know that, as a fan of horror movies, you’re in for a flaming.
I wasn’t disappointed. The article went on to say that fans of horror movies lack empathy, are aggressive, and are generally men. I sighed, and perhaps by mistake I also dismissed the article as so much BS.
I say mistake because at the time I didn’t think of what kind of hatred this kind of thing spreads about people who enjoy a certain genre of popular culture. One could argue that fans of action movies hold the same characteristics because of the thrill seeking and the violence. Yet they are rarely, to my knowledge, attacked.
There was some backlash to this (In Response … by John Squires and An Open Letter to Alice Hobb by BJ Colangelo, both of which are great) which is what got me off my ass and made me realize that we, as horror fans, can’t just shrug this sort of thing off as nonsense, not even worth giving an ounce of our attention. The reason for this is that articles like this one will only affirm what people already believe in people like you and me, the fans of horror.
As an author, I get flack all the time for being a sick bastard because of the things I write about. Most of these people are not horror fans at all and they tend to look at me with a new kind of fear in their eyes after reading one of my stories. My own father, who holds deep Christian values and beliefs, thinks I’m going to burn hell. Someone I know even went to say to me, “I thought I knew you!” There was laughter in that comment, but there was also a real change of perspective.
I wanted to write this response not to join the ranks of people who are better at making arguments for this sort of thing, but more so because this is a subject that fascinates me: why are people like me drawn to horror?
What my friends and family don’t understand about me is that horror is part of my reality. All fans of horror come to it for different reasons, but I think that there is a core similarity for most horror fans. This similarity is fear and the remarkable fact that we are able to look into the abyss and face our fears.
I fear a lot of things. Death, aging, losing the ones I love, seeing terrible things done to the ones I love are all at the top of that list, but let tell you something. The list is long. Things, like dying and death, also disturb me deeply. So watching horror movies is a sort of healthy and vicarious way of dealing and preparing myself for these things.
For they will come. We all age, and we all die. Some of us way before our time.
I’m certain that I’m not alone in thinking about these things. The guys over at a Horror ETC, especially Ted, have discussed this topic on their podcast a few times, and they express similar feelings on the subject. I’ve been member of various horror related forums online and have discussed this topic with friends and came up with similar results. We, in fact, often marvel at how the horror community seems to be more compassionate and understanding of each other more so than non-horror fans. As far as I know it there are no statistics supporting my beliefs here. And, I do indeed understand that there are people out there who are exactly what Alice Hobb’s article describes. To the more intelligent and less judgemental, however, I don’t think that I have to explain how there’s a bad apple in every bunch.
My point is driven from experience, through friends both in real life and online. I’ve experienced both the good apples and the bad ones. I have to say that the good apples thrive, outnumbering the bad.
So then, if that’s the case, why do we enjoy movies like Friday the 13th so much? The good old slasher. That’s a fair question, but there is also the idea of having fun with the things that, if they were at all possibly real, would terrify the living shit out of us. Friday the 13th, and movies like it, are so far removed from reality, though, that it’s nothing but schlock. A fun thrill ride that fans of the Expendables movies, or Commando, Robo Cop or any of the Terminator films, experience. Yes, it is that thrill-seeking element, but I suppose snowboarders and bungee jumpers are also a bunch of sick fucks who can’t be trusted around children either.
Who would imagine that safe, vicarious violence and thrill seeking can be fun?
Does anyone watch cartoons that are targeted at children, as John Squires mentions in his response? John also has a terrifying story about someone who lost his job working with children after his superiors found out he was a horror fan.
The fact is, Alice Hobbs wrote her article on a misunderstood topic that already has prevalent ignorance towards horror fans. We fear what we don’t understand and it’s funny, I think, how fans of horror would look into something that frightens them rather than simply write it off and insult the very person of the typical fan of whatever genre.
Oh, and I wanted to point out that The Passion of the Christ and Avatar are not horror movies as the beginning of Alice’s article might try to pass off. Granted, Passion is certainly horrifying. But it’s not horror.
In closing, I am thankful that this article was written, even though I passed it off at first as so much BS. For one, it gave some people, such as the response articles mentioned above, an intelligent and fact bearing retort. It’s also something that does fascinate me and I love to talk about.
At the same time, it’s sad that someone would use long outdated stats and articles as proof for their convictions.
Hopefully one day we’ll learn.
Welcome to episode 16! This week your host Jason White explores insanity in horror fiction, both in movies and literature. What sparked off this topic was my viewing the movie The Babadook recently. The movie blew me away. One thing I loved about the movie is that it keeps you guessing as to whether or not what you’re watching is real or if the story’s protagonist is going insane. There’s evidence towards both sides, but I think that the movie is about insanity, and I explore why later in the episode. So, Warning, there will be spoilers.
I also discuss the interesting haunted house story archetype that often plays with this insanity/supernatural idea.
There’s a top 5 list of Is It Insane? Horror Stories.
And some cool tunes.
So, let’s get it on, shall we?
All songs available to buy from Amazon and iTunes:
-This House is Haunted by Alice Cooper
–Waiting for the Darkness by Attika 7
You can reach the show online @:
Facebook: Reach me or Darkness Dwells group
Voice mail: 206-600-4257