Monthly Archives: October 2016

Happy Halloween from My Horrific Life

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Boris Karloff in The Mummy (1932)

We want to wish all of our friends and readers a safe and happy Halloween. Our favorite holiday may be drawing to a close, but we will keep it alive all year with coverage of all things dark and horrific.

November is a big month for us, as Dr. Todd Fleischer and I will be recording our first podcast, topic to be announced soon. In the meantime, be sure to check out the latest episode of Todd’s psychology-oriented podcast, KitchenShrinks, in which he and Dr. Jerry Bockoven interview my dear friend and one of my favorite professors, Dr. Carole Levin.

On the blog, I will be introducing two new monthly features: Disturbed Divination Day and Scary Scholarly Saturday. In celebration of Boris Karloff’s birthday on November 23, I’ll honor his memory with posts about lesser-knows aspects of his life and work. And, maybe, because this election season is horrific, I’ll cover a few books and films that are appropriate for the occasion.

 

 

Coming soon: The My Horrific Life Podcast!

I have some exciting news. For the last two years, My Horrific Life has served as my personal blog and hub for posting news about my upcoming publications.

But as of November, my friend Dr. Todd Fleischer and I will be hosting the My Horrific Life podcast. We will be discussing everything we love about the horror genre, and will dissect our favorite films, books, and graphic novels from psychological and feminist perspectives.

Stay tuned for more updates!

Review: The Halloween Tarot

As the first of a series of Tarot and oracle card reviews, it seemed appropriate to kick things off with The Halloween Tarot, a Rider-Waite-inspired deck with a holiday twist. Aside from renaming the suits–Imps (Wands), Bats (Swords), Ghosts (Cups), and Pumpkins (Pentacles)–the symbolism is quite in keeping with the Rider-Waite deck, and therefore easy to read for anyone versed in that imagery. Despite the spooky themes, The Halloween Tarot is not at all threatening, but rather in the spirit of fun. Even the Death and The Devil cards are oddly good-natured and even sweet. This deck is perfect for anyone who loves Halloween, but dislikes gruesome or threatening images (though we will explore those decks in the future).

The Dead Zone is getting an audiobook release, and the original timing was sick

No blog about horror in daily life would be complete without at least one discussion of politics, and that’s especially true this election cycle. Not only do both candidates have historically low scores of trustworthiness, the lunatic fringes of society tend to endorse violence as a solution to real or perceived government corruption. This isn’t unique to this election. In 2010, the Tea Party movement received negative coverage for rallies in which at least one protestor carried a sign captioned, “we vote with bullets.” Also consider the screenshot below, posted by a gun-rights extremist:

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This is the stuff that pushes the limits of free speech and causes headaches for threat management professionals.

What seems unique in this election cycle is that one candidate seems to be openly courting extremists and promoting violent rhetoric. Of course, I am referring to Donald Trump’s tacit encouragement of violence against protestors at his rallies, and ominous suggestions that perhaps “2nd Amendment people” could “take care of” Hillary if she wins the presidential election. I suspect that Trump’s rhetoric that the election process itself is rigged would play into extremist ideology supporting domestic terrorism and assassination of political candidates and leaders.

This brings me to The Dead Zone, an early Stephen King novel that, well, kind of does promote the assassination of candidates, if only under the rare circumstances that one has infallible psychic abilities and knows that said candidate will start a nuclear war if elected. The Dead Zone was one of very few Stephen King novels to languish for decades without an audiobook edition. But seemingly in keeping with the zeitgeist of this election season, the folks at Simon and Schuster finally recorded an audio edition, originally to be released on October 25, 2016. Just early enough to complete a listen of the recording before Election Day. Hrmmm…

Some executive must have realized the faux pas just in time, or felt that the current political rhetoric was too heated, because the audiobook release has now been rescheduled for April 4, 2017.

This new release schedule is certainly less controversial and in better taste, and I respect the publisher’s decision to not feed into the current election craziness, but I admit that I’m a bit disappointed in the delay. I was eager to revisit The Dead Zone not because of the assassination subplot, but because the novel’s portrayal of politics was so prescient and appropriate given current events. The Dead Zone‘s villainous candidate, Greg Stillson, is a rather Trumpian character, and even Stephen King himself has acknowledged the similarities via his Twitter. Stillson is a brash, larger-than-life, yet charismatic populist candidate who relies heavily on fear-based rhetoric. He’s also an emotionally unstable narcissist who is destined to obliterate a large part of the human race in a nuclear war. Given Donald Trump’s cavalier remarks about the use of nuclear weapons, it’s easy to make comparisons to King’s character.

In the novel and the film adaptation, there ultimately is no assassination, because Stillson creates his own demise through actions so terrible that he cannot recover as a viable candidate. Only time will tell, but perhaps Trump has finally created his own “Dead Zone Moment” though his “pussygate” remarks to Billy Bush and any number of other offensive televised comments.

Despite the delay in the release, you can still pre-order a copy of The Dead Zone through Audible or Amazon.

These American Horror Story-Themed Dresses Completed Me

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Meeting Piper Laurie at Horrorhound

For a long time, I sensed a void in my life. Everything thing seemed meaningless and without purpose. Just as I had given up hope, a ray of sunlight struck the window of the local Hot Topic and what I saw gave me a reason to live. There was a hole in my soul shaped like an American Horror Story-inspired party dress covered in surgical tool print.

As it turns out, Midnight Hour created five dresses for Hot Topic, each dress inspired by each season of American Horror Story. I nabbed the Asylum Doctor dress (above) and the Freak Show dress (below).

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Freak Show dress as shown on the Hot Topic website.

Other clothes in the series include a Murder House maid dress, a Hotel bellhop dress, and a Coven dress coat. All of these are still currently available on the Hot Topic website.

Review: The Beauty of Horror Coloring Book

Adult coloring books have been all the rage for some time now, with adherents claiming that coloring helps with stress relief, creativity, or reminds them of the simple nostalgia for childhood coloring activities. I’ve tried a few coloring books and found them more stress-inducing, because the tiny, intricate patterns are maddening, or because I’m not sure which colors to use.

But finally, I’ve found a coloring book that satisfies my aesthetic preferences AND takes the guesswork out of my color palette, because one only needs various hues of red, brown, and gray. Alan Robert’s The Beauty of Horror: A GOREgeous Coloring Book¬†is definitely an adult coloring book given its intricate illustrations of decomposing corpses, sea monsters, homicidal clowns, torture, and labyrinths of entrails.

One of my colored pages is pictured below. There is something truly soothing about coloring in blood stains!

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Podcast appearance: KitchenShrinks

I am pleased to announce that I’ve recently completed my first podcast appearance as a guest on KitchenShrinks. In this episode, “Women in Horror,” Dr. Todd Fleischer, Dr. Jerry Bockoven, and I discuss the portrayal of women in horror films and why horror films have become so popular with young female viewers.

Also check out this replay of a classic KitchenShrinks episode, “Why We Like to be Scared.”

Stay tuned, because I have an exciting update about future podcast appearances!

KitchenShrinks Podcast

KitchenShrinks Podcast