Into the Vortex: Charles Burns’ masterpiece Black Hole

Charles Burns’ graphic novel Black Hole sucks you in, true to its title, with irresistible momentum. Taking place in mid-1970s Seattle, the backdrop to Burns’ own adolescence, it chronicles the impact of a curious sexually transmitted disease that causes its teenage sufferers to physically mutate in a variety of wild ways. The story zeros in […]

Bathroom Horror

It’s my casual observation that the bathroom scene is a bit of an institution in horror films, probably ever since poor Janet Leigh famously bought it in Psycho. Off the top of my head: The Collector (1965); classic French chiller Les Diaboliques (1955, predating Psycho); Carrie (freaking out at menstruation and what she sees as a […]

Vampires in Santorini

With its dramatic volcanic landscape and pastel-toned architecture, Santorini is one of the most picturesque places on earth—a magnet for honeymooners and indeed tourists of all stripes.  But it was the rumour of vampires that attracted me to this fiercely sunny Aegean island some years ago. Before leaving on a four-month European trip, I’d read Raymond […]

The Lucid Zombie

Given the legions of zombies shambling through popular culture who follow Romero’s brain-dead, flesh-hungry prototype to the letter, a lucid zombie—one who is self-aware and able to articulate her predicament—might seem a contradiction in terms.  There are a few examples, however, which buck the trend, introducing depth and pathos to the stereotypical moaning ghoul.  Tim […]

Giant Corpse in Space

Another mysterious horror story has resurfaced in my memory, this time from the realm of science fiction.  It was a short story by a male author.  For a while, I thought Isaac Asimov might have been responsible, but since reading him as an adult, the tone of this particular story doesn’t seem quite consistent with the […]

Rabbit Bites Girl

Here’s a mystery for you… Somewhere between the ages of 10 and 13, I borrowed some seriously creepy young adult novels (all by the same author) from the library.  Fragments of story lines, as well as their generally twisted atmosphere, have stayed with me, but I can’t for the life of me remember who wrote them, […]