Category Archives: Horror

Jack

Halloween is my favorite holiday!  I hope you enjoy this little dark tale! Great Pumpkin indeed, Charlie…


Jack
by Angela Caperton
Copyright 2010

Out in the middle of Elder’s pumpkin patch, Gracie knew that coming out here with Jack had been the right move. She’d hardly known him a week and already she’d kissed him open-mouthed and let him touch her tits. She really wanted to fuck Jack before Susie or any of the others got to him first, and right here was her opportunity to brand him hers.

The crisp air laced her skin with her jeans barely on and his fingers in her pussy. She held onto his cock, fingers teasing and made him ask to put it in her.

The dirt clods crumbled under her butt as he drove into her, just as rough and strong as she knew he’d be, cock, lips, and fingers expert, fast the first time and real slow the second. Out here in the country, she let herself scream when she came.

A full moon lit them where they lay naked among the pumpkins, her hand resting on the warm ripples of his abs.

“You know what I heard one time about this pumpkin field?” he asked her. 

“No, what?”

“Well I heard that a few years back some of them boys from over in Blackwater would come out here to have some fun.”

Blackwater was a notorious den of degeneracy and yet they always fielded the best football team in the county. “What kind of fun?”

“Well, some say Elder’s pumpkins are the fullest ones grown anywhere ‘round here, full and firm. Them Blackwater boys thought they’d be wicked and picked a young one.  They warmed it up a little, then they cut a hole in it and took turns fucking it.”

“I heard of boys fucking watermelons,” she agreed.

“These pumpkins are supposed to be even better. But that ain’t the story. What happened a year later, when the field was full again, and them boys came back is the interesting part. Seems like they had messed around with the wrong pumpkin and, I don’t know, offended some kind of pumpkin spirit.”

She giggled. “Just like Charlie Brown?” Not far away, something rustled among the vines and she stopped laughing. That Great Pumpkin would be some pretty scary shit if it was real. She moved closer to Jack and listened.

“When they came back, something was waiting for them, something big and fast and strong and, one-by-one it knocked all three of them boys down and cornholed them, and they never come back after that. They say it’s still out here in this field on fall nights when the pumpkins are ripe and ready for picking.”

Silly, she thought, but there were sounds in the field around them, shuffling and rustling and something that might’ve been footsteps. The moon passed abruptly behind a cloud and darkness fell like a gunny sack over her head.

“You know what else I heard?” Jack asked her.

She could hardly speak, her throat dry as the dirt in the field. His rippled abs felt hard and cold under her fingers, like the waxy, pimply skin of a sun-ripe pumpkin. 

She dreaded the moment when the moon would reappear.

“I heard it likes girls even more than it liked them Blackwater boys.”

© 2010 Angela Caperton. All rights reserved. Content may not be copied or used in whole or part without written permission from the author.

Return to the Dark Century – 2010 – Let Me In

2010 continued our collective journey through the financial crisis, and while our politicians ratcheted up the rhetoric and demonstrated a shortage of leadership, the American people tried to rise out of the muck and remake themselves.  It only seems fitting that horror movies also seemed to find meaning in remakes.  Breck Eisner took on the George Romero classic The Crazies, Samuel Bayer raided Wes Craven’s closet and remade Nightmare on Elm Street, Joe Johnson cast Benicio Del Toro as The Wolfman, and Steven Monroe remade Meir Zarchi’s I Spit on Your Grave.  Besides being noted for the remakes, 2010 gave us Cropsey, a creepy documentary by two filmmakers exploring the urban legend of their youth, Splice fed our need for a genetics-gone-wrong story, and Paul Bettany played a sexy fallen angel trying to prevent the End of Days in Legion.

But it was the remake of the amazing Swedish horror film Let the Right One In that hands down won our 2010 race for best horror film.


We approached Let Me In skeptically. As mentioned in our 2008 post, Let the Right One In left an indelible mark on our expectations not only for vampire films, but for horror films as a whole.  Combine that with our lack of faith that such a rich story could be transplanted without killing the roots, and we feared the worst.  Obviously, we were pleasantly surprised by this high profile production from the reborn Hammer studios.  Let Me In moved the story from Stockholm, Sweden to Los Alamos, New Mexico, but still did a wonderful job of making the girl vampire Abby, both sympathetic and terrifying.  The chemistry between actress Chloë Grace Moretz and actor Kodi Smit-McPhee rivaled that of their Swedish counterparts (Lina Leadnersson and Kåre Hedebrant) and gives this movie an amazing tension. Outcast and bullied Owen befriends Abby at night in a local playground, and eventually he learns her true nature. Let Me In reminds us that vampires are terrifying creatures, predators of the first order, and even though Abby appears as an “adolescent” and is in need of a guardian, she is a monster.  The relationship between Owen and Abby has a sexual charge, but it is subtle and sweet, and has more to do with mutual understanding and respect than sex.

Another surprise of Let Me In was Richard Jenkins as Father, Abby’s guardian, and in some ways, her prisoner.  His performance does an amazing job of portraying his devotion to Abby, but also his jealousy as Abby and Owen grow closer. His unwavering loyalty is tested and tortured as he tries to provide for his charge, and his inevitable end leaves Abby vulnerable.

Let Me In beat the odds by staying remarkably true to Let the Right One In, and it paid off.  This remake won several awards including Best Horror Film and Best Performance by a Younger Actor (Chloë Grace Moretz) from the Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror Films.  There is no doubt this film qualifies as a new classic horror film and redeems the vampire as an object of smart horror.

Return to the Dark Century – 2008 – The Burrowers

2008 was an election year, which made the year horrible enough all by itself. The US was dealing with potential economic collapse as well as the ongoing threat of terrorism and adjustment to the idea of a more multilateral future in the world. Maybe all that tension is what made it such a fantastic year for horror films.

Of the four years we will be considering, 2008 was by far the most challenging from which to pick a favorite. Apart from traditional movies or DTV productions, 2008 saw a boom in web-based horror with such efforts as Beyond the Rave, an online serial from the newly resurrected Hammer Studios. The burgeoning age of instant media also inspired Cloverfield, a truly innovative take on kaiju stories. From Sweden, Let the Right One In told a new kind of vampire story, and vampires were everywhere in 2008, so this was no mean feat. Zombies were pretty common too, though their numbers would increase in the following years, and no zombie tale was more innovative or entertaining than the Canadian Pontypool.

But our pick was a 100% American film, rooted in the country’s eternal fascination with the epic of westward expansion. “Post-colonial” in every sense of the word, respectful of Native American culture without dancing with wolves, and genuinely horrific, no other fright film in 2008 was quite as effective as The Burrowers.  Directed by rising star J.T. Petty, who may be the smartest horror director currently working, The Burrowers owes debts to John Ford and to countless monster movies from the last half of the 20th Century, while also managing to be spectacularly original. Whether viewed as allegory or as straightforward horror, The Burrowers is relentlessly entertaining, even when it’s hard to watch.

Like Ford’s The Searchers, Petty’s script tells the story of a band of white men in search of a stolen girl, and plays with all the familiar trappings of classic Westerns before turning them inside out like a gutted deer. Making the very best use of a small budget and full of great touches, The Burrowers may be the best horror film of the entire decade. All of Petty’s movies are worth seeking out. His 2001 debut, Soft for Digging, is probably the best horror movie ever made for less than $10,000 (no, that’s not a typo). He has a new film, Hellbenders, which should be out any day now.

Drake and I will be the ones at the head of the line.

Return to the Dark Century

Back in 2008, Drake and I chose our favorite horror movies, beginning with the very dawn of film and coming decade by decade to the present. We thought it would be fun to update that list by looking at the years since then. Our year-by-year list of recent favorites will appear here between now and Halloween.

In some ways, this list will be more of a challenge than the original one. Time gives one perspective and makes it easier to fit a movie into its era. A decade also offers a lot of choices, too many in some cases. Dealing with years as recent as 2008 and 2010 tends to be an exercise in tunnel vision; it is hard to know the characteristics of an age when you are still inside it.

Still, there have been some terrific horror films in the last few years and it’s time to recognize them. In the mean time, I invite any of my readers who want to send any suggestions for movies to consider, just email me at muse @ angelacaperton (dot) com.  You may well steer me to films I don’t know and prizes are a possibility!
Come back on Sunday and see what Drake and I thought was the best of 2008!

Happy Halloween!

Forbidden Comic Books

Drake here. In retro publishing, this fall has turned out to be the season of the horror comic, with a veritable dark and stormy flood of books reprinting classics from the great era of horror comics in the early 1950s. Since I have a deep affection for this material, and since Angela is wonderfully indulgent of my vices, she is allowing me to occupy a few inches of her blog to review some of these books. This topic is timely too, because a modern horror comic has just become the basis for  hit TV series The Walking Dead.

Arguably the most important book ever written about comic books was the one that almost put an end to them. In 1954, psychiatrist Fredric Wertham published Seduction of the Innocent: the Influence of Comic Books on Today’s Youth. The book was the culmination of years of effort by the well-meaning doctor, who had spent years counseling severely troubled inner city youngsters and who had been, perhaps, driven into a kind of narrowly focused fanaticism by his work. Dr. Wertham blamed horror and crime comics for everything from juvenile crime to sexual fetishes.

In 1955, American comic book publishers were pretty much compelled to submit to a production code – similar to the Hay’s Code that cleaned up movies in the 30s. Among other things, the Comics Code Authority forbade the use of words like “horror” and “terror” in comic titles, banned vampires and werewolves, and ensured that good always triumphed over evil. For the next 15 years, comic would be paragons of innocence and goodness until cracks in the structure began to form around 1970. The Code still exists, but I doubt Dr. Wertham would be amused by some of the material published today with its approval.

Before 1955, there were dozens of companies producing horror and crime comics. The best known of the bunch was the Entertaining Comics company (EC), which imploded after the mid-50s to the single, massively popular Mad magazine. EC’s comics have been acclaimed for the literary ambitions of their writers and the quality of their art and are regarded as some of the best comic books anyone ever published. Widely reprinted in a variety of cheap and expensive formats (although the most recent attempt to archive them in classy hardcover editions ran into the churning blades of economic reality and seems to have ended), EC editions are easy to find for anyone willing to spend a little time on eBay.

But ECs were only the tip of a big, bloody iceberg and several book publishers this fall have begun to mine the vast, all but unknown, trove of scary comics produced before the advent of the Code, the very books that drove Dr. W to his crusade. Besides reprinting rare material, these retrospectives raise some interesting points about the nature of horror comics, their place in the times that produced them, and the importance of forbidden texts in an open society.

Next: Four Color Fear

A Century of Dark Imagination – Conclusion

So we come to the last days before Halloween, a holiday that, whatever its origins, exists now as a celebration of imagination, the frisson of the unknown that survives our childhoods and gives us so many pleasant shivers.
 
Here are the films Drake and I chose from each decade in one easy-to-read list. If you watch any of them, I would love to hear your reactions.

Keep in mind this is the time to check out your listings for Turner Classic Movies, American Movie Classics, Chiller, IFC (Independent Film Channel), and SciFi Network!  There are some great horror movie marathons coming up!

Introduction

1896 – 1910

Drake: The films of George Melies

1910 – 1919
Drake: The Student of Prague

1920 – 1929
Angela: Nosferatu
Drake: Haxan

1930 – 1939
Angela: The Hunchback of Notre Dame
Drake: The Mummy

1940 – 1949
Angela: The Picture of Dorian Gray
Drake: I Walked with a Zombie

1950 – 1959
Angela: I Married a Monster from Outer Space
Drake: Night of the Demon

1960 – 1969
Angela: The Haunting
Drake: Night of the Living Dead

1970 – 1979
Angela: Alien
Drake: Shivers

1980 – 1989
Angela: Poltergeist
Drake: The Howling

1990 – 1999
Angela: Army of Darkness
Drake: Audition

2000 – 2008
Angela: Ginger Snaps
Drake: Brotherhood of the Wolf

Have a happy and sexy Halloween!