New and Notable

As the haunting season grows near, we will be seeing a lot of new releases in the horror genre. Here are a few that you might find interesting:

Books

My Heart is a Chainsaw – This is the newest from Stephen Graham Jones. It sounds like it will be a combination of mystery and horror, with some slasher aspects to it. I am always impressed with this author’s work, and you can read my posts about a couple of his other books here: Mongrels and The Ones That Got Away.

Survive the Night – Riley Sager is one of my new favorites and his works always contain both thriller and horror elements. I’ve had this one on my list at the library for awhile now and am really looking forward to getting my hands on it! You can read my short review of one of his previous books here: Final Girls.

The Final Girl Support Group – Grady Hendrix is amazing at being able to blend dark humor into his horror works. This is his newest and I highly recommend him, so don’t be surprised if you see a review of it featured here in the near future. Also, be sure to check out his back catalog, including the wonderful Paperbacks from Hell.

Cunning Folk – Adam Nevill’s upcoming release is about the neighbors from hell. It releases October 25th – just in time for Halloween – but in the meantime you can check out some of his other works, such as the absolutely amazing The Ritual, which was also made into a movie. I think that Nevill is one of the best new folk horror writers out there!

TV Series

American Horror Story is back and it sounds like it will be a slightly different format this season with a split between two different storylines. I’ve watched the first few episodes and am loving it so far! It’s an FX series that is also available the next day on Hulu.

Shudder picked up Slasher for a new season. This show has always meant business, and this season is no different. So far there are lots of brutal kills with a masked slasher that is perfect for plague season. New episodes drop on Thursdays.

Movies

Candyman just released last week and I’m really looking forward to seeing what Nia DaCosta does with Clive Barker’s wonderful story.

Here are a few more that we have to look forward to:

Happy haunting everyone! I’ll be back in a couple weeks with a new review!

Dracul: The Terrifying Origins of a Horror Classic

DraculEven casual horror readers will likely be familiar with the fact that Bram Stoker’s Dracula is a foundational classic in the genre. Over the years, the vampire trope has spawned a multitude of variants from the more civilized ones in Anne Rice’s and Stephanie Meyers’s sprawling series, to the more brutish type found in the works of those by Brian Lumley, and Guillermo DelToro and Chuck Hogan.

In 2018, the great-grandnewphew of Bram Stoker co-wrote with J.D. Barker, Dracul, a prequel to the classic that claimed to draw on “scholarly research of the original, unedited version of Stoker’s 1897 tale of the undead count, as well as Stoker family legends.” The origin legend of the classic contends that the first 102 pages of the original manuscript for Dracula submitted by Stoker were cut, and that in those pages information was included to prove that the story was, in fact, not fiction. The publisher determined those pages too terrifying to include within the work – a thrilling concept and one that would seem destined to intrigue many modern day readers. Additional interesting information can be found regarding the historical aspect here.

The book crafted by Stoker and Barker is intriguing and immediately captured my attention due to the threat of impending kinder-trauma. We are introduced to a young Bram Stoker still living at home with his parents and siblings, and learn that Bram suffers from an unnamed disease that causes him to be extremely weak and in ill health, and which has kept him confined to his room for the majority of his short life. The family has hired a nanny, Ellen Crone, to help take care of the brood of children, and it is this mysterious nanny who is the focus of the book. Ellen has managed to revive Bram several times when he became so sick that it was feared he would die, but her methods are mysterious and extremely secretive, and seem to require her to disappear for several days afterwards. After saving him from one particularly disastrous episode of illness, Bram emerges a changed child. Suddenly he has energy and appetite, and he is able to easily leave his room and participate in lengthy and somewhat arduous investigative excursions with his sister as they delve ever more deeply into the secretive life of Ellen. It is a mystery that is destined to occupy them for many years of their lives, and one that eventually brings the siblings back together as young adults for a final confrontation with Ellen Crone and the dark secrets of her past.

I found many themes within the book that are common to those found in Dracula, and it seems to work well in establishing the behaviors and events that we find in the later classic as existing in part of a larger pattern that has been followed for centuries by the creator vampire. There were many interesting touches that I particularly enjoyed, such as the elusive nature of Ellen Crone’s looks – Bram’s sister finds it impossible to capture her likeness in a drawing, which seemed an interesting play on the idea of vampires not being visible in mirrors. The character development is engaging, descriptions of the settings and scenes are lush and detailed, and I often felt transported back in time as a witness to the frightening situations. 

This book is a great pick for any readers who enjoy period horror and the specific type of vampire created in the classic work. It also looks like it has been optioned for movie rights, so we may see an interpretation of it on the big screen some day.