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.
On December 5, 1933, the United States ended Prohibition. A scant six months later, in May of 1934, MGM released The Thin Man, the first in a series of comedic mystery films based on a novel by Dashiell Hammett and starring William Powell and Myrna Loy as a couple of high-living socialites who solve the occasional murder.
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.
Ancient sacred sites and secret government installations benefit from remote settings for a number of reasons. Suddenly the ancient English countryside is a patchwork of chain link fences, barbed wire, “No Trespassing” signs, mysterious aerials and satellite dishes and armed guards at checkpoints.
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.
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.