In the first in a new series where authors share the inspiration behind their latest works, Helen Marshall talks to us about five books that inspired her debut novel The Migration. You can also delve deeper into the background of The Migration by reading our recent interview with Helen Marshall.
I read a book much like the one you’re holding now. And this is what happened to me. Don’t make the same mistake. Please, put it down. Or better yet, throw it away. This is your last warning. Turn the page, and you’re on your own. Actually, that’s not true. Turn the page and he’ll be there, watching you. (Will Haunt You, p. 1)
The opening of Will Haunt You is an instant hook. A horror book saying that something bad will happen to me if I read it? Count me in. Although the concept of read-this-book-then-you-die is hardly new, with titles such as The Book With No Name on the market, I was excited at the prospect of seeing how Brian Kirk would break the fourth wall.
Stoker’s Wilde is a new novel for Flame Tree Press, co-written by writing partners Melissa Prusi and Steven Hopstaken, that sees an unlikely adventuring party led by Bram Stoker and Oscar Wilde battle dark forces firstly in Ireland and then in London, to prevent “a vampire cult from opening the gates of Hell”. Here, Peter speaks to Melissa and Steven about the new book.
For years, I have been telling people about the legacy of Milicent Patrick to anyone who would listen, so you can imagine my delight when I came across this biography. As author Mallory O’Meara explains, there’s a dearth of female role models in monster movie production. Sure, there are plenty of women in front of the camera, but all they seem to offer is what Carol Clover identifies as “tits and a scream.” Therefore, when I first learned about Patrick’s design of the Gill Man for Creature from the Black Lagoon and the Metaluna Mutant for This Island Earth, you cannot imagine how overjoyed I was that some of my favourite movie monsters had been designed by a woman. But, as is the case with many talented women in Hollywood who threaten the egos of their male counterparts, she slipped into relative obscurity after she was unceremoniously fired from Universal Studios. Therefore, this biography shares a dual purpose: to tell an important piece of cinematic history that had been previously left out by sexism and Hollywood, and to share the inspiring journey of a woman who lived according to what she loved, including her monsters.
In this month’s fantastic selection we see obsession driven to madness, a reimagining of the Kilkenny witch trial, the weird stories of William Hope Hodgson, folk horror in the remote Scottish highlands, John Langan’s new short story collection, the devil’s corrupting influence, and much more.
“When I decided to write this movie I was stricken by the fact that we’re in a time where we fear The Other – whether it’s the mysterious invader we think is going to come and kill us or take our jobs, or the faction we don’t live near that voted a different way than us. We’re all about pointing the finger. I wanted to suggest maybe the monster we really need to look at has our face. Maybe the evil is us.” – Jordan Peele
Jordan Peele’s new horror film Us, the eagerly awaited follow-up to his Oscar-winning horror debut Get Out (2017), documents the terror of a terrified mother, Adelaide (played by Lupita Nyong’o), as she fights to protect her family from an uncanny band of doppelgänger home invaders. The film opens with a series of haunting quotes, one of which claims that the whole of North America is infested with a network of subterranean tunnels, directly mirroring the above-ground world. From the outset, then, Peele makes it clear that the domestic horror promised in the trailers for Us will give way to something much more expansive, a nation-wide catastrophe. Nevertheless, the cinematic gaze focuses almost explicitly on the Wilson family, for reasons that become clear in a final twist in the closing minutes of the film.
Readers of Sublime Horror will likely know novelist Michelle Paver best for her acclaimed ghost stories Dark Matter and Thin Air. Amongst her extensive oeuvre is also the bestselling Chronicles of Ancient Darkness series, consisting of six historical fantasy novels for children, to which three more books were recently announced. I had the pleasure of speaking to Michelle Paver about her latest book, Wakenhyrst, which is very much in the Gothic ghost story tradition, even more overtly Gothic than the previous two she has published. We spoke about the novel, the unusual elements that inspired it, as well as her love of ghost stories and the Gothic.