Cultural Gutter: Into the Woods

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.

Alcohol Professor: Christmas with Nick and Nora

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.

Holiday Entertainment Extravaganza

I enjoy Christmas. And I’m not just talking about dark Pagan Yule. I’m talking the full-on materialistic “go see the windows at Saks” and listen to “The Little Drummer Boy” version of Christmas. This love of the holiday season manifests itself the same way most of my loves manifest themselves: with the obsessive assembly of a playlist.

Cultural Gutter: These Lonely, Haunted Places

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.

Evenings on a Farm Near Dikanka

Satan’s midwinter rascalry was combatted by various traditional characters. In The Ukraine, which these days is more concerned with contesting the antics of Vladimir the Bare-Chested Yuletide Goblin, the efforts of Ol’ Nick were foiled by a peasant in a big furry cap.