Lost in the Woods

Hello, Weirdlings,

Although aches and pains still abound, I'm happy to report that my fractured elbows are healing well. It's been an interesting process as I have come up against limitations that I'm not accustomed to — and I'm finding myself measuring my actions by the level of pain that action evokes. Fortunately for me, my work is such that I am mostly back to normal (with a few exceptions).  

This week in the weird, we are pleased to offer video nasties, arachnophobia, eerie forests, and a look at the new golden age of horror.


Movies

Eye-Gouging Must Go (Letterboxd)

Isaac Feldberg interviews Prano Bailey-Bond, co-writer and director of Censor, about video nasties — low-budget horror films that sparked moral panic and mass hysteria in the U.K. — and how they inspired her new film Censor.

“The film is about format,” explains Bailey-Bond, who shot mostly on 35mm and wanted Censor to eventually resemble a video nasty in its increasing throbs of gore, color and static. It was especially important to capture the faded look of video nasties that had been circulating underground for years. “Fans were getting hold of nasties and creating next-generation copies, so the image was degrading slightly with each VHS.” Viewers rewinding and rewatching the scary bits only degraded tapes further, she recalls. “People would talk about their experiences in that sense, knowing something really horrible was coming up because the picture got more fuzzy.”

The 20 Best Genre-Hybrid Movies of The 21st Century (Taste of Cinema)

Kevin Ding explores the films that criss-cross genres in ways that subvert and exaggerate genre tropes and conventions and form a new, unique whole.


Games

A Game About Playing as a Spider Also Has an Excellent Arachnophobia Mode (VICE)

Webbed, the adorable platformer in which players control an itty-bitty spider, has a sweet arachnophobia mode — not to frighten those with spider phobia, but to open the game up for them to enjoy it.


Life & Lore

9 Creepy Forests Around the World Plagued by Terrifying Legends (Matador)

As Noelle Alejandra Salmi notes, "There is something spine-tingling about entering a dark, creepy forest." The nine forests she highlights here have been the site of murder and other terrifying events, around which legends and tales have been shaped.


Literature

Chapter and Curse: Is the Horror Novel Entering a Golden Age? (The Guardian)

Alison Flood spoke with a number of current authors about the state of horror, revealing that the genre seems to be booming.

[British-American author Catriona Ward] believes that all good writing contains horror. “There’s always that little core of horror at the heart of human existence,” she says. “We’re not supposed to be afraid really, as grownups. We’re not allowed.
“Only children are afraid of things in the dark and things under the bed or have that kind of inchoate fear that doesn’t have any particular form; it’s the shadows in the back of the cave. Horror is a way for us to be able to engage with that fear as adults. I don’t think as a genre it gets enough credit for this, actually – it is a kind of healing thing; you walk through the darkness to the other side.”

The Trees are Closer Today: Horror in the Woods (Book Riot)

Jessica Avery shares three books that feature beautiful and disquieting woods as integral to their tale.  


Short of the Week

"Wild," is a brutally terrifying horror film from writer-director Jan Verdijk, in which a family vacation turns into a Hellish nightmare. (Found via Short of the Week.)

Andrea Blythe
Andrea Blythe writes speculative poetry and fiction. She is the author of three poetry chapbooks, including Twelve: Poems Inspired by the Brothers Grimm Fairy Tale (Interstellar Flight Press, 2020).