July 31, 2021


It'll be August in about two hours. I got a little bit of a jump on this year's list by watching Willy's Wonderland today with a friend. Which. Wow. The commitment to the concept absolutely made that movie. A lone, unspeaking drifter (Nic Cage, chewing on scenery) in a fancy sports car is driving through a small town when he hits some severe tire damage spikes that just happen to have been left in the road. The tow truck/repair guy doesn't just want to charge him extra, he only accepts cash... and there aren't any ATMs. But he knows a guy who'll let him work it off. By cleaning an abandoned animatronic kids' restaurant that the owner is definitely gonna open again, and doing so overnight. The Janitor, as he's solely known, is locked in, the doors chained shut after him. A local gang of teens sets out to set the place ablaze, because they already know about the murderous animatronics – turns out the whole town does – but their ringleader Liv makes them stop when they realize the Janitor is still alive – and cleaning – inside.

Seriously, go watch the trailer. You can predict like 90% of the movie, beat by beat, from watching that trailer, if you know your horror tropes. That doesn't make it bad! On the contrary, its absolute commitment to those tropes, and to nailing them, every time, is what make it good. That, and the one running gag that you can't predict from the trailer, and which I won't give away.

This is comedy about horror, and about horror tropes. I was expecting a movie so bad it was funny, and what I got was one that did the humor very well indeed.

So that's one down. Here's the rest of the list I'm picking from this year:

The Toll
Mr Jones
Ghost in the Graveyard
Prince of Darkness
Attack the Block
The Host
Devil’s Backbone
the House of the Devil
The Woods
Berberian Sound Studio - Sam?
What we do in the Shadows
Noroi: The u
Spell (2019)
The Vast of Night
Synchronic - Sam
Willy's Wonderland - Sam
Baba Yaga: Terror of the Dark Forest - monsters class
The Vigil
The Omen - Sam
Rosemary's Baby
Lake Mungo - Bast
Dark City

The Haunting of Bly Manor
the rest of Lovecraft Country

Lazy Masquerade?
Bedtime Stories

My Wife and I Bought a Ranch

MR James
Dreams from the Witch House, edited by Lynne Jamneck
Hammers On Bone by Cassandra Khaw
The Picnic by Gerald Durrell
Joplin's Ghost by Tananarive Due
Lockwood and Co by Jonathan Stroud
The Valancourt Book of World Horror
Tinfoil Dossier series by Caitlin R Kiernan
Sky by John Langan
The Lamb Will Slaughter the Lion by Margaret Killjoy
The Barrow Will Send What It May by Margeret Killjoy

The Ghosts on this Road podcast

Rusty Lake
Gone Home
Night in the Woods
Scarlet Hollow
Deep Lake

In other news, the insomnia is hitting hard this year, and this August may be worse than last year. We shall see. I'm planning to dig deeper into the horror, too, by streaming different movies with online friends, to help keep me going.

The author of couple of novellas on my to-read list are going to get a special mention here: Margaret Killjoy, in addition to writing horror, is the founder of an "Appalachian feminist atmospheric black metal collective" band called Feminazgul, which recently put out a short album called A Mallacht... and one version of the title track includes keening. It's fucking gorgeous. And creepy. And I love it.

Tomorrow, August 1st, is Nova Aedes Iani's eighth Calendae, this one dedicated to Hecate. For it, I will be walking people through my own Deipnon ritual. Which is nerve-wracking. Not because it's so different from the advice I give people, just because it includes a few very personal touches.