The sinking of the Titanic remains a fixture of horror in cultural memory, and as such, finding new ways to tell that story is a growing challenge. With The Deep, acclaimed author of 2018’s The Hunger, Alma Katsu, rises to and surpasses the challenge, weaving a page-turning, haunting tale that breathes fresh life into a tragic moment in time.
Almost a year on from falling deeply in love with M. Dressler’s compelling ghost story The Last to See Me, I was looking forward to reading the sequel, I See You So Close, but some doubts continued to ferment in the back of my mind. Was a sequel necessary? How could the story keep its compelling, taut conflict? Though I feel that the sequel lost some of the first book’s narrative immediacy, the tale stays with me as more of a cosy ghost story – one where a spirit has transcended the shackles of her own trauma in order to go on and seek to help others.
To say that Tobe Hooper’s The Texas Chain Saw Massacre is one of the cornerstones of modern horror is an understatement. What has been one of its enduring impacts, at least to me, is the sharp juxtaposition of what could be argued to be a family movie against almost casual brutality, tuning viewers in across the span of decades to a story of fear that feels timeless at its core.
Religion and horror on their own, separate terms can be deeply moving, if not outright life-changing. When the two intersect, something new, poignant and powerful emerges. Author Matt Cardin, who has his PhD in leadership and a master’s in religious studies, recently published theological horror fiction collection To Rouse Leviathan, and he understands the importance and beauty of this intersection better than most.
Following hot on the heels of the cosmic horror masters, from Chambers to Ligotti, To Rouse Leviathan, a collection of short fiction by Matt Cardin, is a solid contemporary entry into the corpus of cosmic horror, though it delivers moments of tonal inconsistency and some story entries that slightly weaken the structure of the work taken as a whole. Ligotti himself has praised this collection, writing “That the so-called reality we bump into on a daily basis should be seen as pure misconception is a fundamental assumption of Matt Cardin’s vision.”
Anyone who loves a good ghost story will tell you that we are haunted by the past. But what if the past sought to reach out, to make itself heard, to remind us that it – that those who populated that space – were as real and vibrant as you and I are now?