Antiquarian Horror (January 2017 Literary Meeting)

By James McBryde -, Public Domain,




Welcome to the January 2017 Literary Meeting!

The most recent literary theme is Antiquarian Horror.

As always, I’ve made informal references in text, with full references listed at the end.

Aromatic Accompaniment: Flickering Fireside and Poplar & Pine by WoodWick.
Wine: Alchemist Noir Red Blend (2014) by Winc and Red Diamond Shiraz (2013).

If you were to describe a tale in which a stuffy academic discovers something frightening, chances are most people would assume it was by H.P. Lovecraft, but it was actually M.R. James that made this type of tale famous. James wrote around the turn of the 20th century, but his writing has an archaic quality about it that is as stuffy as its author.

James was an antiquary, which means he studied and collected old things, legends, ruins, and other oddities of the past. James also read his ghost stories to his academic friends every Christmastime, which makes him my personal hero. Continue reading

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I’m not optimistic about Rings (2016) [AKA The Ring 3]

Rings_(2016_film)_posterAfter the cinematographic disaster that was The Darkness I decided to take a look at the director, producers, and cinematographer of Rings to see if maybe my beloved franchise might be in for something delightfully unexpected.

Basically, no. It’s probably going to be awful.

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The Movements of H.P. Lovecraft (July 2016 Literary Meeting)

the_complete_fiction-lovecraftWelcome to the July 2016 Literary Meeting!

The theme this month was the Literary Movements of H.P. Lovecraft.

As always, I’ve made informal references in text, with full references listed at the end .

Aromatic Accompaniment: Black Birch by Chesapeake Bay Candle. (Sadly, this was the last meeting to be so accompanied, as the candle has finally given up the ghost.)

We’ve covered H.P. Lovecraft before here at the Spooky Society, but we decided that we want to cover H.P. Lovecraft for the majority of the fall, as one of our newer members has never been exposed to Lovecraft and wants to learn everything there is to know.

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Podcast Review: Tanis Bonus Episode #1—This is Tanis at its best, and it’s worth subscribing to get access

Recently, Pacific Northwest Stories started releasing bonus episodes of Tanis through Patreon.  This is becoming a pretty standard practice (Lore has been doing this for months).  I think it’s a good model, and it works particularly well for Tanis.

As I said in my original and subsequent reviews of Tanis, the show functions best when it is cataloging strange events that might theoretically be ascribed to the bizarre influence of Tanis (the concept).  I argued that the organizing theme of Tanis wasn’t working because it was too vague and unconnected (I adjusted my stance by mid season; we’ll see what I think in my end-of-season review when I post it), but that the storytelling of the “episodes” of Tanis were individually outstanding, and that I wanted more of those.

Well, these mini episodes seem to be exactly that!

The first one follows one Dr. Linda Burfield Hazzard, whose disturbing medical practice makes the jump from dangerous to disastrous upon her move to the Pacific Northwest.  The first bonus episode felt like an episode of Lore, and when I get time I plan to dig into it to see if it was inspired by anything true or whether it’s made up out of whole cloth.

In any event, these mini episodes are probably going to end up being one of the best sources of Spookypasta in the foreseeable future.  I plan on supporting Tanis on Patreon, and I recommend doing the same, if only to get these bonus episodes.  You also get a premium transcript, which would certainly be helpful for me as a reviewer, but they are planning on producing them like a digital magazine, which would make Tanis a fully multi-modal composition.  Plus, Tanis sounds like something that would work great as a digital magazine, so this looks like a win all around.

The pricing is a little steep (you have to do $10/month to get the mini episodes), but I think it’s probably worth it to pony up for the mini episodes and premium PDFs.  I’ll post an update here once I’ve committed and have looked at all the extra content.


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Movie Review: The Darkness (2016)—Toby Oliver’s abysmal cinematography renders this an unwatchable mess

Here’s the official marketing blurb: A family returns from a Grand Canyon vacation, haunted by an ancient supernatural entity they unknowingly awakened and engages them in a fight for their survival.

darkness2016Straight up, skip this movie.  I will address content, but first I need to talk about the cinematography.  A cinematographer or director of photography is “responsible for achieving artistic and technical decisions related to the image.” The man responsible for the cinematography in The Darkness (2016) is Toby Oliver, and it’s his fault this movie is awful.  Continue reading

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