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Top July Films by myETVmedia
Top July Films, a photo by myETVmedia on Flickr.
I came home from work on Hallowe'en to groups of children with their parents, walking up and down our street dressed as creatures of the night, carrying orange buckets for their sweet goodies.

I saw a neighbour come out of the corner shop and at first I thought she had made herself up to look like a zombie. Upon closer inspection, I realised she was just tired.

My boyfriend and I spent the evening watching Byzantium, a pretty decent vampire film set in a nameless location in the British Isles. It had a new twist to the genre: a mother and daughter were on the run because vampires were a brotherhood that did not allow women.

(Nobody knocked on our door.)

The 16-year-old daughter had been moping like a teenager for 200 years. She dealt with her curse by feeding off elderly people who wanted to die. She played the piano beautifully, which made me think of the pianos in St Pancras, with their signs "Play Me." There's one just by the Eurostar's arrival door: visitors from France and beyond, quite often, are greeted by some random traveler playing it as they roll their suitcases into London. It's quite a nice idea and I salute whoever came up with it.

I wish I could play the piano. I wish I could play any musical instrument actually (apart from the triangle.) I'd drop by St Pancras once in a while on my lunch break, sit at the piano and whip up a sonata.

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Alfred Hitchcock and the Making of PsychoAlfred Hitchcock and the Making of Psycho by Stephen Rebello

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

On one level, this book is about the making of "Psycho" - from the story based on Ed Gein's killings that germinated the novel of the same name to the massive cultural phenomenon it became upon release, almost turning into a success Hitchcock could never escape from. On another level, this book was to me a great example of how storytelling should work; how to craft a narrative, how to create characters, setting, plot and suspense - all through observing how Hitchcock handled his material.

Film buffs will love the way Rebello shows what happened behind the scenes: the shooting of the famous shower scene, Hitchcock's relationships with the studio execs and stars, and the techniques he used to achieve certain camera shots.

I thought the marketing campaign around Psycho was particularly interesting. Hitchcock filmed a featurette at the house and Bates Motel, giving the viewer a tour of a place "now for sale" after the "terrible events that took place there." It's nicely macabre and tongue-in-cheek. He also did something unheard of at the time: he asked/insisted that film goers watch the film from the beginning, instead of just wandering in halfway through (as was bizarrely the custom at the time.) People were outraged that they had to wait in line until the start of the film, instead of popping in whenever they wanted, but their curiosity won over as the word-of-mouth grew stronger, and a new filmgoing habit was born.

I'd recommend watching Psycho before reading this book, even if you've seen it before.

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Fede Alvarez, Evil Dead, 2013
I was invited yesterday to a press screening of Evil Dead. This was exciting because I don't go to the cinema anymore for horror (hardly anyone wants to go with me) - and especially not in a big one right at Leicester Square, with free beer and pizza served beforehand (and your mobile phone bagged just before the entrance, in case you have any ideas about filming the screen.) There was a buzz of excitement, with a long queue snaking outside the cinema's doors - seemingly all of London's horror reviewers and aficionados in attendance.

I'm no horror expert, but I know when a film stinks.  The dialogue is too expository, wooden and boring.  The film's pace has no suspense, acting is flat and you don't care about the characters.  Every horror cliché is rolled out and it feels like you're watching just a bunch of splatter scenes cobbled together.  You wonder why nobody in this project watched the recent Cabin in the Woods, a successful horror-satire on exactly this sort of horror movie.

I don't remember much of the original Evil Dead - I saw it when I was 12 years old - but I do know that this new Evil Dead is pointless. I can recall the original's macabre sense of humour, its maniacal energy, its uniqueness - no matter how low its budget. Bruce Campbell was perfectly cast for it.  This new Evil Dead is just a studio exercise via various screenwriters on how to gross out teenagers who haven't seen much of anything. The actors are poorly cast and forgettable, moving around like videogame characters in a plot mashed from the original and Cabin in the Woods (with J-horror thrown in at times.)

Someone on Twitter agreed with me; he said that a good horror must get under your skin. Evil Dead is so forgettable that it was completely out of my mind by the time I took my Tube ride home.
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The Silent History sounds like something just down my alley. Is this what fiction and literature will look like in the future? 

From what I understand, it's an app only for iPads or iPhones (but I may be wrong.) You download it and every day it gives you a new chapter on the story of children being born across the U.S. (the world?) who suffer from a mysterious condition where they are completely silent.  Each daily chapter is through the point of view of someone related to the epidemic - one of the main characters, doctors, parents, etc.

There's an additional feature, the Field Reports, which are GPS tagged and entered by the authors and readers - they can only be accessed when you are near them.  Which has, supposedly, led people to travel across the U.S., and now even to London, to unlock them (though they are not essential to the comprehension of the main story.) 

The story comes to an end one year after you download and start the app.

I've been thinking for some time now about storytelling that is interactive with social media and gadgets - in line with some of the stuff Secret Cinema does as well as other arts organisations in London.  My own idea revolves around a bus route in London and how different aspects of the story related to it can be unlocked/viewed if you: travel the route; visit certain houses near it; read certain newspapers; etc.

But my idea didn't include contributions from the public - it would be purely my creation and perhaps involve some film making with actors.  I like though The Silent History's use of the public's imagination - I'm tempted to download the app right now and start filing some of my own "Field Reports" around my neighbourhood, adding to The Silent History's "myth".

Imagine the implications for other genres... a horror story, for example!  You could unlock a segment of the story once you visit a church after sunset.  Or a walk through one of the "Magnificent Seven" cemeteries in London.  The possibilities are endless actually, and they can be used to comment on a load of things.  It could also be a wonderful way of teaching history, languages, social concern.

Very curious now about other apps/stories like The Silent History currently in development.
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Zombie Crawl | Denver by Emilio Antonio
Zombie Crawl | Denver, a photo by Emilio Antonio on Flickr.
I listened recently to an interesting discussion of Victoria Nelson's Gothicka: Vampire Heroes, Human Gods, and the New Supernatural on the podcast Expanding Mind. She traces the appearance and reoccurence of vampires and zombies in popular culture (with an added final - controversial - theory that we are at the brink of a new world religion based around this type of supernatural creatures.) You can listen to the podcast here.

What interested me about the discussion was how she traced the changing use of zombies in popular culture - starting from the stories related to voodoo in the Caribbean to the rise of the mindless hoards in America post WWII. She then goes on to talk about how what seemed improbable a few decades ago is now a reality: zombies having romantic relationships with humans, and even breeding with them.

Coincidentally, Margaret Atwood is now writing a zombie serial on Wattpad with the writer Naomi Alderman (Atwood is her mentor through the Rolex Arts Initiative.) It's called The Happy Zombie Sunrise Home and it's free to read. The idea appears to be that Atwood writes a chapter and passes it on to Alderman, who then has to continue the story and return it to Atwood, without either one knowing where exactly it's going. They've been posting the chapters every few days, which is a fun sort of way of seeing how writers work together (their pace, their outputs, how their imaginations interact with each other.)

Makes me want to have a Walking Dead boxset marathon.
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City of the Dead is a little known horror classic from 1960 that is worth checking out, especially if you like Hitchcock's Psycho. Although it was filmed before Psycho, it was only released afterwards. Similarities in plot twists branded it a plagiarism, but it's now obvious that both films were tapping into some zeitgeist that was just round the corner: the 60s' counterculture explosion.

I'd never even heard of City of the Dead before this last Saturday, when I saw it alongside other horror films at [ profile] naturalbornkaos and [ profile] moveslikegiallo's awesome Hemel Hellfire Weekender (a back to back horror films marathon plus a quiz, pizza and a raffle of lousy straight-to-DVDs that left everyone a "winner".)

The film revolves around a small village where a witch was burnt in the 1600s - a place now cursed with dry fog and creepy inhabitants. A young university student (a Hitchcock blonde) is encouraged by her university professor to visit the village for two weeks and write her dissertation on the witch persecutions. She arrives and stays at a creepy inn, where all sorts of warnings to run away fail to register in her radar. When she disappears, her uni beau plus her brother decide to investigate.

The film was known in the U.S. as 'Horror Hotel', which lent fire to the critics accusations of plagiarism. Like Hitchcock's Psycho, it has a profusion of stuffed animals hanging on walls, a ballsy blonde that walks straight into danger and a revelation surrounding an old woman's corpse.

I attended a talk at the BFI a week ago on Hitchcock's Women and their magic, delivered by Camille Paglia. It was an amusing talk, in particular because Camille sounded like she'd drunk three cups of coffee beforehand - she was so enthusiastic about her subject. The main thing that stayed with me was her theory that Hitchcock's women were quite independent and unlike the stereotype of the 50s dutiful suburban wife. Impulsive and determined (Rear Window), sexually aggressive (North by Northwest), daredevils (To Catch a Thief), an enigma to men (Vertigo). There were some elements of that in the women of The City of the Dead.

I then started wondering why these two films are so alike. Could it be their writers and directors were somewhat channeling the counterculture movement's birth (on the back of the 50s beat movement?) Psycho with its transsexual killer (upside-down sexual mores) and The City of the Dead with its satanism (overturning of Christianity, the hippies experimentations that led to new cults.) The chills and fears played upon by these films were the anxieties of their audiences? (Including women who are too independent and don't need men.)

Anyway... City of the Dead is worth checking out - perhaps even as a double bill with Psycho.

Oh look... it's available in its entirety on YouTube!
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Oohhh, exciting! The sequel to The Passage comes out this October!

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My family bought its first VCR in 1985, when I was ten years old. Our building had an inhouse cable TV channel (very modern for the time) which showed two films at night (picked by the building manager); but we lived right by a large film rental shop and had wanted for a while the option to choose our own films. The weekend routine was for me to pick five films (this would allow us to keep them until Monday morning) - one comedy, one drama, one action/thriller and two horrors.

The first two films we rented were Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom and a B-movie horror from 1983 called The Lift. Indiana was my brother's choice while The Lift was mine. Afterwards, I invented a game with my friends in the building where everyone was trapped in a space (say, a part of the playground that was made up of three walls) while one person played the killer lift (arms for wires that snuck through the door, latched onto legs and dragged them out to their death.)

This memory came back to me today as I was waiting for my tower block's elevator. There's a sign by it that says: "don't throw any garbage in the elevator. CCTV is in full operation." Pointless: you can find all sorts of things in the elevator, from chewed chicken legs to napkins and candy wrappers, and as far as I know nobody has ever been penalised for this. The elevators are new too, installed just last year at great expense to all property owners, but they are already keyed, scratched, spat and battered.

I toyed with this private fantasy as the elevator rose, of it coming to life as someone was defacing it, the walls slowly starting to close in on them as the light flickered and they desperately tried to get out (to no avail). Squish.

The version of The Lift I watched back in 1985 was dubbed in Portuguese - I somehow always thought it was an Italian film. Just discovered that it's actually Dutch and you can watch the whole thing on YouTube.

Here's the trailer with a Marc Almond lookalike for the hero:

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Exquisite CorpseExquisite Corpse by Poppy Z. Brite

My rating: 1 of 5 stars

There will always be a special place in my heart for Poppy Z. Brite. When I was a teenager in the 90s, living in Hong Kong and without any clues or access to anything unashamedly gay, her fiction's blend of gay melodrama, horror and goth/indie music seemed like an explosive revelation to me. I still remember reading a review of her novel "Drawing Lines" in the NME and then nervously ordering it from a bookshop (the copy had to be flown into HK for me!) When I got the call that the book had arrived, I nervously went to collect it - fearing all sorts of repercussions for purchasing such a "filthy" book. The scenes of gay sex between the two main characters were the first of the kind I'd ever read in literature (I don't count the one I read in my mom's copy of Danielle Steel's "Family Album" because it never went into details of what they did in bed.)

But our first loves aren't always what's best for us. When you've never been kissed, any sloppy first pucker can seem marvelous; and when your literary tastes have always navigated between Tolkien and Stephen King, Poppy Z. Brite must read like literary revolution. Then you grow up, get more (and better) kisses, get more sex, discover the Western literary canon, and suddenly Poppy Z. Brite's gory hearts pulch loudly and the sadistic details of her serial killers seem as pointed and fascinating as a teen's carved graffiti on a desk chair.

After "Exquisite Corpse", I believe Poppy Z. Brite turned her back on the horror genre and moved into the "culinary" genre. That's a move I can respect, though I can never return to these early books of hers and enjoy them as I once did. My taste for the rotten is gone.

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Mellow Days

Apr. 7th, 2012 05:38 pm
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In Shepherds' Room by Hamed Saber
In Shepherds' Room, a photo by Hamed Saber on Flickr.
It's 17.32pm Greenwich time and I'm drinking tea from a mug that says "Sex" while listening to indie music on iTunes shuffle. I've been alone most of the day - my boyfriend left in the morning to meet his sister across town and take a £13 yoga class. Like yesterday, he woke me with a cup of coffee before banging the front door in his wake.

I watched videos on my laptop for a while then took a bath (still can't take showers.) The plan was to take a bus to Stratford and walk to the communal garden - do a bit of digging in the dirt before heading downtown to meet [ profile] loveinsuburbia for a drink. But the minute I stepped outdoors I knew the day was wrong: ominous drops hitting my head, heavy clouds over London, a sluggishness that couldn't leave me even with the help of soap box screamers outside Westfield. Bought some things in Sainsbury's (why were all the chocolate Easter eggs gone?!) and took the bus back home.

Did a creative writing exercise where I imagined myself to be a half-naked woman about to perform on a cabaret stage with two other lasses. Read a poem by T.S. Eliot. This made me think again of my story - of how the two cabaret dancers and I were performing to soldiers from the 1st World War.

Moved on to A Clash of Kings (the sequel to A Game of Thrones) while Radio 3 played Late Junction from a few days ago. Then I played Xenoblade Chronicles for a few hours (oh god it's going to take me years to complete this bloody soap opera JRPG).

When Sissy A was visiting, she let me copy dozens of films from her hard drive onto my laptop - we watched one of them last night (the new version of The Thing). A friend built a blanket fort in her living room two days ago and held a horror marathon underneath it - I'm tempted to do the same.
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Cthulhu by perich
Cthulhu, a photo by perich on Flickr.
Lovecraft's "Call of the Cthulhu," as well as its immediate predecessor, Machen's "The Great God Pan" are about data management. I love that Cthulhu has as its ratiocinative center a "clipping agency" -- something that I don't think exists anymore, or exists only in highly rarefied modes, because of the web. It comes as no surprise that these weird stories have as their core, an engine of information technology, or even just the impulse to make meaning out of information gone awry, since it has always been recognized that the supernatural is also a type of allegory of information -- no more so than in Bram Stoker's Dracula of course. We can talk about Dickens' "The Signal Man" also, and things like The Hunchback of Notre Dame which, at least in the 1939 film version, has at its core, a debate about the merits of the Gutenberg press. We could go on and on with examples both obvious -- dealing with the "uncanny" impact of any new technology -- and implicit: that all supernatural literature spectacularly stages the absences that communication both exacerbates and attempts to repress.

This Mysterious 'This': Joe Milutis in conversation with Eugene Thacker
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The Little StrangerThe Little Stranger by Sarah Waters

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

What a disappointment this was. All the elements for a good ghost story are there: a decaying grand house, a cast of characters with varying damaged psyches, a perfectly described England post-World War II, and a series of paranormal events that get progressively worse. So what went wrong? I think Waters chose to stretch what could have been a great short story or novella into a novel with too much padding. With ghost stories, either you get it right or you get it wrong, there is no middle ground: the suspense has to be just right, the build up carefully leading the reader to a dénouement. Any padding on the way that makes you put down the book and do something else dispels the creepiness, unlatches the trap, blows away the mists.

But the novel isn't a complete failure: there's a very subtle and enjoyable nod to Shirley Jackson's "Haunt of Hill House" in the character of Caroline, a "spinster" with modern views on how a woman should lead her life; and the novel does have a great ending that brings the story full circle to its first pages. Waters is very good at bringing to period romances a touch of the unexplored, queer and even kitschy. That quality is absent here, apart from a few eggy paranormal scenes that do very little to bring the reader back into the story.

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commonpeople1: (Mr Stamp)
Black Swan

Black Swan is a good movie, but not great.

Read more... )
commonpeople1: (George O'Brien)
The English Ghost: Spectres Through Time

Peter Ackroyd, The English Ghost: Spectres Through Time, 2010
This is a short and enjoyable collection of diary entries, newspaper clippings, anecdotes and oral stories revolving around ghost sightings in England. The English are, apparently, the people who most see hauntings and Ackroyd goes some way to explain this in his introduction. Still, I wish there was more meat to these bones: many of the anecdotes deserved some commentary or notes, and quite a few didn't really stand out. Some of the sightings are clearly from people with a strong imagination. Others are hard to explain away, especially the ones with more than two witnesses.

Ghost sightings are in decline and this collection made me wonder if our increasily atomised lifestyle has something to do with it. Can you really notice a ghost if you are so caught up with your Nintendo DS or iPod? Another thing that struck me about the very old sightings was that people seemed to be hearing ghosts from the future instead of the past (i.e. the sound of a crowd trampling through a Victorian sitting room reminded me of a group of tourists which would visit that sort of house a few centuries later.) My favourite anecdotes in this collection: a woman who becomes unnerved by a young man who shares her train carriage and the poor bastard who is chased by a figure in black that then proceeds to scratch hay bails.
commonpeople1: (Jehovah's Witness)
I went into Waterstones during my lunch break yesterday, just to kill some time, and came out carrying three books: Sarah Waters' The Little Stranger (ghost story), C. J. Sansom's Dissolution (crime novel set in Thomas Cromwell's time) and Peter Ackroyd's The English Ghost. I wanted to buy this last one after reading a review last week that the English are the people on the planet to have reported the most ghost sightings. Ackroyd has put together a collection of newspaper stories, diary entries, etc, on reported ghost sightings. His introduction is worth the price alone. To me, Christmas holidays are all about ghosts and murder, so I'm pretty happy about these books.

In the evening, I went to the Royal Opera House with a colleague for their annual Firsts season. These are collections of performances - of all kinds - from young artists and companies. It's a way for the ROH to support recent graduates and for people like us to discover new talent we can commission. The one performance that really stood out for me was Ten, by Hetain Patel, which was a mixture of stand up comedy, choreography, music and a study of heritage and language... and more! It was really cool.

I chatted to my colleague about my impending contract termination (ends in the middle of January) and she confessed that it would be great for me to stay on. It's similar to what my boss has said but unfortunately I'm not allowed to apply for the new position being created until everyone in the council at risk of termination has a go. If none of them get it, I'm allowed to apply.

Onwards and upwards. Have started glancing at job listings again.
commonpeople1: (Cabbie)

Originally uploaded by shotbygrant
[ profile] wink_martindale and I sat beside Carole from Big Brother 8 this weekend. She was with a friend at the same coffee shop as us and she sang along to one of the songs on the radio at one point. I bet most of you don't remenber that particular Big Brother: it was the one where the housemates were initially all-female and then slowly men were introduced in the next couple of weeks. It was ferocious.

We had gone to the coffee shop to do our NaNoWriMo and I thankfully ended up breaking through my problem of not knowing what my story was about. I've now got a direction and I'm excited about my characters. I followed Natalie Goldberg and Ian McEwan's method of writing: jot down anything and everything - even if it means pages and pages of random narrative - until something clicks. It really does work.

Last night, we got home in time to see the fireworks in Victoria Park. As my landlady/friend correctly pointed out, it was probably the last one the park would have (thanks to the government's cuts.) The theme was the death of dozens of people at Bethnal Green tube station during the Second World War - where many had panicked after hearing sirens and rushed down the stairs, causing a crush that killed 176 people on 3 March 1943.

Just before the fireworks began, Wink told me that Bethnal Green was supposedly the most haunted station in London, with a very high amount of ghost sightings. Suddenly, in the park's darkness, sirens began to roar and lights pointed up at the sky. Tower Hamlets' logo at centre stage exploded on fire and two voices began to sing: "London Town is on Fire, London Town is on Fire..." It was very haunting and macabre. The fireworks were accompanied by popular hits from the 1940s. The memory of those who lived and died during the Great War was never far away.

commonpeople1: (Psycho)
The Passage, by Justin Cronin

Justin Cronin, The Passage, 2010
At the start of this epic horror/action adventure a little girl asks her father if the creatures reported by the news to be destroying America are like the vampires in movies.  He replies that no, they are not: vampires in movies are noble creatures who wear capes and knock on your door before coming in.  These "vampires" that turn America into a post-apocalyptic wasteland after just a few months are more like hoards of zombies.  Known as "virals", these somewhat mindless monsters glow in the dark, move in groups and jump from tree to tree (or skyscraper to skyscraper) on their quest for blood.  For all that is known, only a small group of survivors exist in the whole continent - holed up in a fort in the Californian mountains that needs to be fully lit during the night and constantly guarded against viral attacks (one of the best notions of the novel is that some of the humans have never seen the stars because they have never had a night without lights.)

Cronin knows how to manage a large cast of characters and crank up the suspense, keeping a lot of the horror off stage.  He's not afraid to jump several decades into the future when necessary or use e-mails and diaries as entire sections.  I first heard of this novel through an online discussion on the best "beach reads" for 2010.  It really is a great page turner and a good alternative from all the "nice" vampires that have recently cropped up (Twilight, True Blood).  Just don't expect - like thousands of disappointed readers - to have everything wrapped up by the end: it's part of a trilogy.  Also don't be surprised if it ends up as a TV/film series very soon.
commonpeople1: (March of the Dead)
The Duchess of Malfi

Punchdrunk and the ENO's Duchess of Malfi )
commonpeople1: (Car)
Betty and the Werewolves Tea Time Favourites

Betty and the Werewolves, Tea Time Favourites, May 2010
Who wins in a fight between Betty and Marina? There's no contest really: Marina may show off her diamonds, or even make bullets out of them, but we all know that you need silver to bring down a werewolf. Betty, dressed up in yellow tweed, scratches Marina's face off then pogoes into the sunset, late for a cupcake picnic in Regent's Park.

And what about Betty versus Zombina? Ohhhh, Zombina is a terrifying one, with her hoard of zombie-like fans that never miss any of her gigs and her infectious horror pop. But here comes Betty with her Sarah Records, flinging vinyls left, right and centre, chopping off every skeletone head in her way. Zombina is all alone now, crying into her pillow while Betty raises an Earl Grey cup in triumph and the full moon shines in the sky.

(Fingers crossed they release "Francis" as their next single.)

// Buy the album or tracks
commonpeople1: (March of the Dead)
There was an interesting article in the Guardian Review this past Saturday by the mathematician Marcus du Sautoy on the merging of books with software applications. It made me think that for anyone today wishing to be a successful writer, they should probably start thinking of their work in terms of online applications that can go with it. The way the article described Hilary Mantel's Wolf Hall for example, with interviews with the author, links to historical facts she used in her research, etc, had me curious to check it out on the iPad. Or Alice in Wonderland, with the original drawings come to life when you touch them, leading you into interactive games - the reading never the same when you restart the story. It just sounds so immersive and full of new potential for the reading experience. (The people in my bookclub were horrified though.)

I've been swept up by the marketing campaign behind new horror novel The Passage, by Justin Bieber Cronin. It all started in the Guardian Review last week when one of its reviewers described it as the best beach holiday and horror read of 2010. Stephen King thought the same because he felt compelled to call Good Morning America when the author was being interviewed and gush over the phone about the book. On Sunday, I discovered that Waterstones has the first six chapters available for free as a broadsheet (with two extra ones online). I've read them all and the book is indeed very good. The posters for it are all over town, often nudged between Eclipse and True Blood ads, and you have to ask yourself why we are so obssed with vampires (The Passage has them set in post-apocalypse America). We are all suckers.

Some years ago, I was at one of [ profile] sushidog's tea parties and the topic of horror came up (I think because of cult splatterhouse author C.J. Lines being in attendance). Two of Sushidog's guests disagreed with me that horror would make a comeback on the trail of sci-fi. I got the impression that they were heavy into spaceships, that it was sacriligeous for them to think of any genre doing better than sci-fi. But they have been proved wrong: horror is popular again today, in all shapes, sizes and formats. We have the inexplicable popularity of tepid stuff like Twilight as well as the gory Saw franchise and its imitators; we have the rise of werewolves now that vampires have been done to death; we have spoof in literature like Pride and Prejudice and Zombies as well as translations of dark stuff like Let the Right One In thanks to the film adaptation's success. The examples go on and on. And a quick look through any big store's horror section is an eye opener too: what had once nearly disappeared is now growing with re-releases and new authors. Even the covers look more "literary", like traps to catch the curious venturing where they've never been before (a good example being a re-release of Poppy Z. Brite's Lost Souls with the new cover line "the original sophisticated vampire novel" or something rubbish like that).

Bookshops are still badly organised and don't cater fully to horror fans. Cormac McCarthy's The Road, for example, should be in a horror section as well as American Psycho and a whole bunch of graphic novels. The Secret History should be in crime. And so on. If I owned a bookshop, I would separate books by their content and not by what publishers perceive to be worthy of awards, literary merit or genre ghettos. I would do it like that bookshop in Covent Garden dedicated to travel, where books are arranged by country. Like those software applications for the iPad, it would make life more interesting for readers.

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