Sublime Horror

Celebrating the best in horror

Month: September 2019

Memory: The Origins of Alien review – a long and painful gestation

Alien is very possibly my favourite film. I certainly spend much time overthinking it, as anyone who’s read my recent article on its Gothic roots will already know. Imagine my annoyance, then, when I realised I would miss the limited theatrical run of the film’s new documentary, Memory: The Origins of Alien, directed by Alexandre O. Philippe. Imagine my comparable delight when it suddenly became available to stream through the website of the trusty old BFI.

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The Devils (Devil’s Advocates) by Darren Arnold review – a potted history of Russell’s controversial masterpiece

The Devils is Ken Russell’s notorious 1971 historical drama telling the extraordinary story of a case of possession in 17th century France, in the city of Loudun. I start with possession because, were this any other story, that would be the most extraordinary part. But this isn’t a film about possession; it is a film about the dangers of religion and politics colliding, and it’s message is as resonant today as it was on release (and on publication of the Aldous Huxley book, The Devils of Loudun from 1952, on which the film is partly based).

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It Chapter Two review – a tonally-strange and disappointing follow-up

It Chapter Two is the much-anticipated sequel to Andy Muschietti’s 2017 It, following up twenty-seven years after where It left off. The child members of the Losers’ Club have grown up and grown apart. Apart from Mike Hanlon (Isaiah Mustafa), who stayed in their childhood home of Derry, Maine, all of the other Losers moved across the country and have completely forgotten about their previous battles with the homicidal supernatural entity which appears to the children as Pennywise the Dancing Clown (Bill Skarsgård). After a string of child disappearances, Mike calls the other Losers, instructing them that it’s time to make good on the promise they made twenty-seven years ago to return if Pennywise ever comes back.

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Ancient nightmare, modern guise: Elements of Greek mythos in A Nightmare on Elm Street

The nightmare was real. Sitting in Ava Chitwood’s course on Greek civilization, my phone starts going off. Loudly. Dr. Chitwood was the kind of professor who inspired both fear and fascination. No doubt, those of us majoring in classics adored her but nobody, and I mean nobody, wanted to get on her bad side. I remember once advising a friend of mine, “if you’re late, just don’t go.” Truth be told, she just didn’t have time for any college-age bullshit. This was the kind of professor (icon) that would throw you out for yawning too loudly. So, you can imagine the fear, the panic, and utter desperation I felt as my phone starts ringing. There I am, tearing through my bag, praying she doesn’t kick me out, when my hand finally finds the phone. I silence it, drop it back in the bag, and pick up my pen. Dr. Chitwood is just standing there silently, eyes locked on me. “In 44 CE,” she continued, “…there was a sudden outburst of music.” She winked at me and, I swear to God, it felt like a wink from Fate, herself!

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Bone China by Laura Purcell review – a well-researched and atmospheric Gothic chiller

After first discovering Laura Purcell’s precise skill for crafting unsettling and foreboding Gothic tension in The Silent Companions, I was excited to read her third novel Bone China. Bone China follows housemaid and nurse Hester Why as she joins Morvoren House, an imposing abode atop the cliffs of Cornwall, and its peculiar and withdrawn mistress Miss Pinecroft. As Hester learns of the strange household dynamic and superstitious nature of the residents, she must also keep her own secrets of her blighted past.

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Wonderland: An Anthology review – ‘lose yourself in the rabbit hole of this delightful anthology’

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland has captivated minds, young, old and eternally, since its publication in 1865. From literary spin-offs to film adaptations, its influence has been widespread. 154 years has not lessened its charm, and Titan are celebrating its longevity with an anthology, simply titled Wonderland.

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The Institute by Stephen King review – hope in the face of terror and evil

Let me admit something up front – I was initially a bit nervous to take on this review. How do you review a Stephen King novel when you’ve been a devoted “Constant Reader” (to borrow King’s term) for most of your life? The task was daunting, but I ultimately decided that my desire to read his latest novel, The Institute, as soon as possible was stronger than my fear of reviewing King’s work. If you’re on this site, you’ve likely encountered something written by Stephen King, whether it be a bestselling novel, short story collection, screenplay, viral tweet, or virtually any other written medium. I could list the awards he’s written, but I think it’s more valuable that I just say this: Stephen King is a horror legend and a vital figure of horror fiction. 

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Latest horror books: September 2019

It’s been a little while since we published a roundup of the latest horror books so it’s nice to return with quite an exciting bunch for September. Stephen King’s The Institute is certainly the biggest name on this list – read our review. Is there a book we’ve missed that you think should be included? Leave a comment or get in touch.

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The Weird Tales of William Hope Hodgson review – weird riches and uneven writing

In his introduction to The Weird Tales of William Hope Hodgson, a new anthology of Hodgson’s short stories, editor Xavier Aldana Reyes writes: “Hodgson has not always been as well-known or admired, however, and had remained rather forgotten until the late 1980s…it is not difficult to see why. Hodgson’s writing is certainly uneven and…prone to repetition…” But, Reyes writes, Hodgson’s “stylistic shortcomings” are compensated for by his “imaginative invention and ability to conjure up a strong feeling of dread of the unknown”.

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