Bodily Reconfiguration

My Dear Weirdlings,

Events have transpired. Accidents have happened.

What I mean to say is, I fractured both of my elbows.

I would love to claim that this injury had been caused by some sort of wild adventure or horrific encounter — but nay. I was out jogging, tripped, and went down like a felled tree.

Weirdlings, do not worry about me. I have been in ouchie land, but I am healing well. I don't even need to wear a cast. Life and work, as it happens, go on.  

Welcome to this week’s roundup of the weird. We have many flavors of body horror, survival horror, ghost tours, Halloween traditions, and a multitude of monsters.


Movies

What Makes John Carpenter’s The Thing So Effing Scary? (Tor.com)

Why was The Thing — now considered a horror classic — critically panned upon its first release? Robert Repino believes the answer lies in that the film was just too scary and bleak. He explains how The Thing manages to be so successful in its scares.

"It hit all of the major pressure points of fear, tweaking the amygdala and triggering a response so palpable that many viewers could only look back with disgust. And if that were not enough, The Thing’s meditation on despair was simply too much for audiences and critics. Its bleak, uncertain ending, a harbinger of death on a scale both small and large, was too much to handle. I can’t think of another mainstream blockbuster that even attempted such a thing, before or since."

Transformation and Transcendence in 1980s Body Horror (Crime Reads)

Darryl Jones looks at 1980s body horror films and how they "figured, disfigured, and refigured the human body, focusing relentlessly on it as a site of pain, and anxiety and disgust, but also of transformation and transcendence, often with highly sophisticated philosophical and intellectual underpinnings."


Games

Before Resident Evil, There was Alone in the Dark (Medium)

Basile Lebret relates the development history of Alone in the Dark, quite possibly the first survival horror to ever terrify its players.

8 Standout Horror Game Demos From This Fall's Steam Next Fest (Tor Nightfire)

Sam Reader share spooky highlights from Next Fest, a special event hosted by PC game store Steam, in which indie developers showcase their upcoming games with a combination of livestreams and demos.


Life & Lore

Ghost Tours, Spooky Museums, and a Dark History make Salem the US’ Best Halloween Destination (Matador)

According to Eben Diskin, "Celebrating a Salem, Massachusetts Halloween is an experience you simply never get tired of, and it has the power to put you in a festive mood all year round."

7 Fascinating Halloween Traditions Around the World (Matador)

Alex Bresler notes, "Some places, like the Celtic nations and the Philippines, have integrated old customs into modern celebrations. Others have embraced American Halloween. One thing is true everywhere that celebrates Halloween, however: October 31 is always a party."


Literature

Craving Fictional Horror To Escape Real Horror (Book Riot)

Jamie Canaves explains how and why horror has helped her deal her feelings in the face of these seemingly apocalyptic times.

"Where do you place the feeling of terror when you can’t* do anything about the things that are terrorizing you? My brain’s answer appears to be to find fake things to terrorize yourself with. Why? I can’t control the outcome of a book, but I can put it down. I can put it in the freezer. I can skip a chapter. I can even imagine a part differently in my brain than how it’s written."

Monstrify Your Bookshelf With These Horror Books About Monsters (Book Riot)

"From the monster under the bed to monsters on the big screen, critics have long argued that monsters are reflections of society’s anxieties," notes Anne Mai Yee Jansen. "But monsters are also fun." Here she presents monster-filled books to make friends with — from zombies to changelings and more.


Short of the Week

Keeping with the body horror theme this week, we present "Coil," written and directed by Spencer Ryerson, in which a woman begins unraveling while trying to prepare for a friend's party. (Found via ALTER.)

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).