Sublime Horror

Celebrating the best in horror

Month: February 2020

Pine by Francine Toon review – A literary and unsettling folk-horror debut

Francine Toon’s debut novel Pine opens with a young girl and her father driving on a darkened country road in the Scottish Highlands. They’re heading to the nearest settlement – a tiny collection of houses – to go “guising”, or trick-or-treating. Among the surrounding trees, they see a lone figure in a white dressing gown. This apparition haunts the following story, coming as close as young Lauren’s own fireside – where the lady in white is a hideous night-hag, barefoot, moving oddly, incapable of eating, wiping herself from the memory of any adult that encounters her – but otherwise seen in glimpses, as the weird and supernatural hovers over every aspect of Lauren’s childhood.

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Bad People by Craig Wallwork review – evil running through its core

Bad People… you ain’t kidding!

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Frankenstein and the anatomy of story in Bloodborne

From the moment the giant, snarling werewolf emerges from the floor, you can see where From Software’s Bloodborne takes its inspiration.

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Binocular by Nick Sidhu and Kelly Smith review – a stark lesson in what happens if we let our darker side take control

Suspense and chills galore await in Binocular, a tightly controlled, claustrophobic double bill of menace.

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We Wait by Megan Taylor review – prose so vivid it leaps off the page

Scandal, sex and secrets in a crumbling country pile await us in Megan Taylor’s latest dark novel, a coming-of-age tragedy packed with prose so vivid it leaps off the page.

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Mid-century horror, a reading list

In the past few years, there has been a great deal of focus in the horror community on the explosion of horror literature in the 70s and 80s, an interest partly generated by Grady Hendrix’s excellent book Paperbacks from Hell. Recently, though, I’ve been thinking about gothic and horror writing that was being published just prior to those years – the time when writers such as Shirley Jackson and Richard Matheson were flourishing. If “mid-century” often conjures up images of cocktails and cigarettes, McCarthyism and the atomic bomb, Freudian theories and existentialism, what horror novels and stories were highly reflective of those times? Below is a list of six books that partially embody the notion of mid-century horror.

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The Guest House by Abbie Frost review – a gothic murder mystery

For those of us who live in areas that boast below freezing temperatures in the winter, January is not a very fun month. It actually hurt my skin when I went outside today. Earlier this month, I learned what a squall was. Look it up, it’s not very fun. I bring up my winter blues because one of the precious few cold-weather activities that helps to allay this doldrum season is the joy of reading a horror novel set during a particularly stormy autumn while concealed beneath a heavy blanket and drinking a hefty mug of hot chocolate. This was my experience reading Abbie Frost’s thrilling debut novel The Guest House.

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