At its core there is something very British about folk horror, so tied is it to the landscape of rural and semi-rural England, the ancient Pagan rites and cultures that, because they did not write anything down, lend themselves so readily to mystery, interpretation, and myth-making. Eventually, however, as an American lad, I started thinking about American folk horror and, as is my way, the places where American folk horror and science fiction intersect.
Doing a most popular/least popular for the year is a statistical trick, since some articles have been around for the better part of a decade while others went up just last week. But I feel reasonable doing it anyway, since the new stuff tends to outrank the old stuff anyway. Plus, it’s not like the fate of the world hinges on accurately interpreting the metrics of Teleport City. And so it is with great fanfare played by a monkey with a squeeze box that I present to you the top and bottom ten most/least popular articles on the site during 2016.
Deep End is a film about the awkwardness of transition and the disillusionment that inevitably follows a time of idealism. It was released in 1970, when the dying days of the Summer of Love were giving way to the cynicism of the 1970s; when people swept up in the promise of revolution finally had to face the reality of promises not kept.
It’s that spooky time of year again, when Alcohol Professor lets me turn my pen to libations most macabre. This year, we’re taking a break from visiting haunted bars, and with Night of the Booooozy Tales I pair six famous horror authors, six stories, and six cocktails and/or liquors.
Over on the Alcohol Professor, I have a three-parter about the famed American Bar in London’s upscale Savoy Hotel. It also covers a history of cocktails themselves, the birth and evolution of hotel bars and cocktail culture in New York, the ties between the Savoy and the British intelligence service during WWII.
Mars Men kicks off with a little kid stumbling upon a hidden cave in which he finds a small statue of Yud Wud Jaeng. The kid insists on calling him “Hanamajin”, and the rest of the cast—following that kaiju movie rule that everybody has to follow the 10 year old’s lead—follows suit. Even Yuk Wud Jaeng, when he shows up, does this.
On The Cultural Gutter, I’m writing about Folk Horror for the Atomic Age. These Are the Damned is a curious film that effectively pulls off the difficult stunt of starting off as one type of story but ending up a very different type, equal parts crime melodrama, science fiction, and folk horror.
On Alcohol Professor, I have a four-parter called Martini and Myth about James Bond, the murky origin of the Martini, and how Ian Fleming ended up making them with vodka and ordering them shaken, not stirred. Everyone from tippling detective Nick Charles to the President from The West Wing has something to say.