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Archive for "Dec 2016"

Titles of Interest: The Krampus and the Old, Dark Christmas

The Krampus and the Old, Dark Christmas: Roots and the Rebirth of the Folkloric Devil by Al Ridenour (Feral House, 2016) With the appearance of the demonic Christmas character Krampus in contemporary Hollywood movies, television shows, advertisements, and greeting cards, medieval folklore has now been revisited in American culture. Krampus-related events and parades occur both […]

Titles of Interest: The Psycho Records

The Psycho Records by Laurence A. Rickels (Columbia University Press, 2016) The Psycho Records follows the influence of the primal shower scene within subsequent slasher and splatter films. American soldiers returning from World War II were called "psychos" if they exhibited mental illness. Robert Bloch and Alfred Hitchcock turned the term into a catch-all phrase […]

Titles of Interest: The Laughing Dead

The Laughing Dead: The Horror-Comedy Film from Bride of Frankenstein to Zombieland, edited by Cynthia J. Miller and Bowdoin Van Riper (Rowman & Littlefield, 2016) Hybrid films that straddle more than one genre are not unusual. But when seemingly incongruous genres are mashed together, such as horror and comedy, filmmakers often have to tread carefully […]

Titles of Interest: Irony in The Twilight Zone

Irony in The Twilight Zone: How the Series Critiqued Postwar American Culture by David Melbye (Rowman & Littlefield, 2015) Rod Serling’s pioneering series The Twilight Zone (1959 to 1964) is remembered for its surprise twist endings and pervading sense of irony. While other American television series of the time also experimented with ironic surprises, none […]

Titleles of Interest: The Curse of Frankenstein

The Curse of Frankenstein by Marcus K. Harmes (Columbia University Press, June 2015) Critics abhorred it, audiences loved it, and Hammer executives where thrilled with the box office returns: The Curse of Frankenstein was big business. The 1957 film is the first to bring together in a horror movie the 'unholy two', Christopher Lee and […]

Christmas and Ghost Stories

While listening to Christmas music today I caught a part in one of the lyrics for "It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year" that mentioned telling scary ghost stories. I posted an inquiry on Facebook about the origins of this in the evolution of Christmas, and in addition to its incorporation in Victorian practices, […]

Thoughts on the Theological Implications of HBO's WESTWORLD

The 1970s science fiction film Westworld remains one of my favorites from the decade, having seen it as a child while growing up. HBO has taken the basic premise of the film, a futuristic robotic theme park based on the Old West where guests can indulge their fantasies, and has just finished its first season. […]

Apple Commercial - Frankenstein for the Holiday

The Uncanny, Monstrous, and Genocide

I work as a scholar in two major areas, and the monstrous is at the center of both. These two areas came together in some of my recent research in genocide. Not long ago I finished the great book Less Than Human by David Livingstone Smith, that explores the process of dehumanization and how viewing […]

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