Posts

Showing posts from July, 2013

Short Story Showcase: Keeping House by Michael Blumlein

Image
Writer and physician Michael Blumlein once said "There's a detachment that happens as a physician when you're dealing with frightening, horrifying, or sad events, that you maintain an objectivity that's required, and I do that also when I write." This is certainly true of his 1990 short story Keeping House, which tells of the psychological unravelling of a young housewife whose husband and child have fled, leaving her to fester in their new home and obsess over its cleanliness. She believes an evil presence dwells in the empty adjoining house; it seems to seep through the walls, leaving traces of damp, mould and other nastiness which she must tackle daily. She perpetually cleans but can never seem to rid her own abode of the manifestations of the dank presence from next door. It malingers about the place like a putrid fog only she seems aware of. Is this a real haunting? A spectral manifestation of familial strife? Guilt? Or an unreliable narrator sinking deeper…

Maniac

Image
2012
Dir. Franck Khalfoun

Just a steel town girl on a Saturday night 
Looking for the fight of her life 
In the real time world, no one sees her at all 
They all say she's crazy 

She's a maniac, maniac on the floor 
And she's dancing like she's never danced before!

Sorry! Wrong Maniac. The Maniac I’m actually referring to is Franck Khalfoun’s remake/reimagining/reconceptualisation of William Lustig’s 1980 ‘video nasty’ of the same name.

Despite its higher budget, slick production values and the presence of a star name in the titles, this update - co-written by Alex (Switchblade Romance/Haute Tension) Aja - is every bit as unsettling, extreme and confrontational as its predecessor. And it's all shot from the perspective of the killer.

While aesthetically far removed from Lustig’s grot-fest, Khalfoun’s slickly lensed take on the tale of a young man who hunts, scalps and murderlises women on the cruel, grimy streets of downtown LA, Maniac is one of the most vicious and uns…

The Daylight Gate

Image
Written by Jeanette Winterson

Based on the most notorious of English witch-trials, Jeanette Winterson’s latest book, The Daylight Gate, is a tale of magic, superstition, conscience and ruthless murder. It is set in a time when politics and religion were closely intertwined; when, following the Gunpowder Plot of 1605, every Catholic conspirator fled to a wild and untamed place far from the reach of London law.

This is Lancashire. This is Pendle. This is witch country.

Lurking in deepest, darkest north England, Pendle is a place brimming with bleak moors and dark forests. The events of 1612 are now an established part of English folklore and Pendle is still synonymous with witchcraft and diabolism to this day. Winterson tells of the plight of a group of Pendle women accused of witchcraft and cavorting with the Dark Lord, and the tortures and atrocities they endured at the hands of the law before they were put to death. Reality swirls with augmented fancy. Are these women real witches or…