Sunday, 13 December 2015

Reading Ghost Stories at Christmas...

'Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house 
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse... 

I recently stumbled upon this beautifully old-fashioned advice* on the proper way to consume ghost stories at Christmas:

"If during the Yule-tide you wish thoroughly to enter into the spirit of the season, procure a good tumblerful of creature-comfort, steaming, with a trifle of powdered nutmeg in it, some thin lemon peel, and a grain of sugar, place it on a small stand beside your old arm-chair, in which you will have comfortably deposited yourself, and well gently inhaling the Virginian fumes in the presence of a cheerful Yule-log fire commence reading the 'Ghost Stories of an Antiquary', by M.R. James… On rising to retire to bed, say, when the clock is striking the hour of midnight, you will be heartily glad of a brave companion, who will assist you in ascertaining that all bolts and bars are scrupulously fastened, that all doors are locked, that there are no weird arms coming out from behind any curtains."

*This advice was originally printed in the Special Collections’ edition of James's 'More Ghost Stories' in 1911. I read about it, and other spooky reading recommendations for Christmas, here.

Behind the Couch Turns 7 Years Old!

Behind the Couch turned seven years old this month.

Celebrations have been somewhat sedate though, as it’s been a pretty quiet year in terms of blogging. That said, looking back over the last twelve months, it looks like I enjoyed some damn fine slasher films and rejoiced in some new titles which were lauded as ‘future classics’.

Away from blogging, I reviewed DVDs aplenty for Exquisite Terror and was lucky enough to interview a couple of fantastic film composers for Paracinema: I chatted to Rich Vreeland (aka Disasterpiece) and Jonathan Snipes about their scores for It Follows and Starry Eyes, respectively. I also contributed essays to the likes of Eurohorror fanzine Fang of Joy and was nominated for a Rondo Hatton Award in the Best Article category. The article, 'Family Man' (a look at Tobe Hooper’s meaty representations of the family unit in all its deadly, dysfunctional and dynamic forms), was published in issue 20 of Diabolique Magazine in March/April, 2014. 

Things will continue to be fairly quiet around here as I’ve just started working on another book. I shan’t say too much about it now, except that it’s a monograph on a film I love dearly; a film that features many of my favourite things, including werewolves, fairy tales, gender issues and folklore…

To everyone who has dropped by over the last year - thank you! I hope you'll continue to do so.