Now as an adult, I turn to horror stories not to train myself to survive the world but to make sense of it. The world is horrible sometimes. Terrible things happen for no explicable reason, and the rules that run society can be unfair and cruel and horrid. But horror stories reframe the terrible things of the world. They hold a mirror up to the revolting so we can put it into some kind of taxonomy. They place wickedness and evil in a context that helps us see their limits and comforts us with the notion that darkness can be labeled, lit, and even survived. The work of the horror story is to define and demarcate the uncanny and the dark. But to be queer and to love horror stories is not always easy. Those stories are spun out of our culture and our societal norms, and the labels and definitions that come out of horror stories aren’t always inclusive or healthy. (Kindle edition, loc 60)

If you’re not familiar with the Destroy All Genres series, Lightspeed, Nightmare, and Fantasy magazines have held several series respective to their genres to highlight marginalized authors under the accusation that diversity (or “identity politics” or “political correctness”) is “destroying” the genres of sci-fi, horror, and fantasy. I first became aware of their “Women Destroy” series through Escape Artists, and for Halloween this year, I purchased a copy of “Queers Destroy Horror” special issue of Nightmare Magazine. Queers Destroy is one of the series, and so far there are also Women Destroy and POC Destroy Science Fiction, Horror, and Fantasy series, with Disabled People Destroy coming in Sept. 2018.

“Queers Destroy Horror” is broken up into several parts: Fiction, Poetry, Nonfiction, Art, and Interviews with the artists and the authors.

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mother-posterI didn’t end up seeing Mother!, especially not after reading Dahlia Grossman-Heinze’s article “I Saw ‘Mother!’ So You Don’t Have To” because I’m so sick of men writing work in which the violence men enact on the bodies of women, nonbinary folks, and femmes is used as OMG AN ALLEGORY I BET Y’ALL DIDN’T SEE THAT COMING. (Looking at you, My Absolute Darling, glad exploiting the abuse of women put money in a man’s pocket.)

Article contains major spoilers; quote below does not.

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For my teacher friends out there, Jane Dykema wrote an excellent essay on teaching Carmen Maria Machado’s “The Husband Stitch” and who gets believed.

When I teach Carmen Maria Machado’s story “The Husband Stitch,” the first in her collection Her Body and Other Partiesto my fiction workshops, it’s unlike teaching any other story.

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Today we have a guest post from Kathryn Hemmann, whom you may know from our collaborative panels on shôjo manga/anime, about the queer horror comic Nico’s Fortune.

The short stand-alone comic Nico’s Fortune is a collaboration between American writer Ryan King and Malaysian artist Daryl Toh. This is their second project together after the disturbing and eerie comic The Games We Played, which was published in October 2016. Nico’s Fortune is still plenty creepy, but the attention it devotes to the inner lives of its two protagonists serves to heighten its emotional impact while rendering its gruesome climax all the more shocking.

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After reading yesterday’s article, I found Wes Craven’s A New Nightmare on Netflix. I had actually seen some of it on TV in college, but never ended up watching the whole thing. This meta horror, as the author of “Choosing Monsters Over Women” writes, pre-dates the meta horror in Scream, which takes place in the late 90s with a group of teens who have seen 70s and 80s slasher movies.

In New Nightmare, Heather Lagencamp, the actress who played Nancy in A Nightmare on Elm Street and Dream Warriors, plays herself, with Wes Craven, Robert Englund, and Rob Saxon also playing themselves. Nancy and Wes have both been having nightmares about Freddy Krueger. Wes has been writing a screenplay and explains that Freddy is actually some ancient evil that gets trapped in narratives, which have to be kept alive to trap the monster. (If that’s not some franchise meta, I don’t know what is.) Nancy, however, isn’t just dreaming about Freddy—he is terrorizing and trying to murder her family.

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This favoritism of a monstrous child killer [Freddy Krueger] over a strong, well-rounded female protagonist says a lot about both our antipathy toward women and our glorification of violence toward women.

Here’s an article from Lady Geek Girl and Friends that takes a look at rooting for the monster over the female characters in a horror film:Sexualized Saturdays: Choosing Monsters Over Women.”

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3/14/2014 – New York, New York. Musical “Heathers” performing at New World Stages in New York. Photo by Chad Batka. Source: TIME

Shut up, Heather!

Sorry, Heather!

If dark comedy is more your flavor of horror/thriller than ghost stories, Heathers (1988) is on both Netflix and Hulu right now. I decided to revisit the movie after listening to the musical, which I found by chance on YouTube. Major spoilers for both the movie and musical.

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