Thursday, 16 November 2017

'Little Heart'



Georgia Bruce - a writer new to me - contributes a remarkable story to the Impostor Syndrome anthology It's not easy to summarise. The first sentence is 'This woman liked to break things', and the theme of things being broken, and the damage caused by the debris, runs through the tale.

Anna's mother was a famous film actress in black and white cinema days, and her most famous performance was in a rather Gothic production. Shown the film as a little girl Anna struggles to reconcile the on-screen woman - 'the wrong mother' - with the mother she knows. On screen her mother shatters glass, cuts her feet walking on the shards. This image is central to Anna's development as an artist, and what may be her eventually mental breakdown.

A thread of confusion and doubt runs through a precisely-written story that has intensely cinematic qualities. The power of the projected image, the curious nature of mirrors, and the incursions of a terrifying bird-like entity almost cry out for screen adaptation. And yet the exploration of Anna's inner life would be impossible off the page. The author's prose is cool, but like a piece of broken glass in the hand it draws blood.

And that almost completes this running review. One more story to go!


Monday, 13 November 2017

Cabaret Sadako

It had to happen. The by-now rather tired horror movie trope of the long-hair Asian girl creeping about the place and pouncing on people has moved into mainstream showbiz.
Riana’s gimmick is definitely a reference to The Ring’s Sadako and similarly scary female spirits, with her long hair falling in front of her face and schoolgirl-like outfit, while her doll calls to mind Annabelle from The Conjuring. Her ability to totally stay in character while still lending her trick a touch humor (and keeping it creepy) shows The Sacred Riana is quite a talented performer.

The Sacred Riana did not appear out of thin air on the set of Asia’s Got Talent. Her real name is Marie Antoinette Riana Graharani and she’s been performing in Indonesia, at magic shows and in numerous TV performances, for a few years now. 

Marie Antoinette? This just gets better.




Friday, 10 November 2017

'The Wrong House'

Tracey Fahey's contribution to Impostor Syndrome is compact and straightforward, but still manages a cruel twist.

A man becomes convinced that his wife, daughter, and home are all spurious - this is not the family he remembers, not the home he used to wake up to. He goes to work, feeling relieved when he escapes 'the wrong house' - but when he gets to work it seems that he is on extended leave. Confusion. A colleague's remarks hint at something wrong, and a medical appointment leads to a revelation that cannot be borne.

 I found 'The Wrong House' moving, a story that is humane and decent while avoiding any sentimentality. In a way it's a tale of everyday horror, the stuff of news reports that we barely notice most of the time. Here there is no malice, only the terrible weight of the truth that so many of us struggle to bear.

Only two more stories to go in this review. Remember to check out the link above for details about the book!

The Sound of Horror

What is the sound of horror? 'Ker-thunk!'? 'Eeek!'? 'Squelchy-squelchy!'? Possibly. But it is also a radio show down in Brighton and Hove, where Tom Johnston discusses the genre and introduces readings by Thana Niveau. But let the blurb for the show tell you more...
The Sound of Horror. Local writer Tom Johnstone discusses the importance of sound in horror, drawing from radio, film and music he will examine his favourite subject for Halloween. As an example of radio-based horror fiction, we'll hear an extract from Thana Niveau's terrifying short story 'Two Five Seven', about numbers stations. if listeners want to find out what happens in the remainder of 'Two Five Seven', they'll need to buy a copy of The Eleventh Black Book of Horror from Mortbury Press...& More info about the author at thananiveau.com
We'll also hear one of Tom's supernatural stories, 'The Apotheosis of Jenny Swallow'
More info at tomjohnstone.wordpress.com US editor Ellen Datlow has tipped him as a 'name to watch' in contemporary horror fiction.
Music from Scott Walker, David Bowie, John Carpenter, The Kinks, Grinderman and more. Listen and learn
First broadcast on Bhcr.org.uk
Some pretty good music, there, and of course the Carpenter movie themes create the ideal ambience. Great stuff. Follow the link to listen - if you dare!

You probably dare. I was just being a bit rhetorical.