Hey there horror fans, I’m Jessica Avery and I’ll be delivering your weekly brief of all that’s ghastly and grim in the world of Horror. Whether you’re looking for a backlist book that will give you the willies, a terrifying new release, or the latest in horror community news, you’ll find it here in The Fright Stuff.
Coming to you direct from the depths of hell (but sadly not so deep that we’ve reached ice again), it is I, your friendly neighborhood horror fan. Who very desperately wishes it was fall, because the current temperature is: too damn hot degrees Farenheit. But thankfully summer isn’t forever, and before you know it we’ll be back in the time of crispy leaves and Halloween.
This week I’ve got some real goodies for you, including a new bookish crafting opportunity, a look into the science of horror, a cursed town full of witches and wolves, and a selection of recent and backlist titles that will have you double checking your supply of cold iron.
Cross Stitch Pattern – Skeleton with Book by LolaCrowCrossStitch
If you haven’t tried cross stitch before, I highly recommend it. Unlike its cousin, embroidery (CURSES), I’ve always found cross stitch to be a very soothing activity (your mileage may vary). Using pre-created cross stitch patterns, like this adorable book loving skeleton who just wants to read in peace, you will create a picture with thread and end up with an adorable end product that you can then frame and hang on your wall! $6
Nightmare Fuel: The Science of Horror Films by Nina Nesseth
I love reading books about horror just as much as I love reading horror itself, and Nina Nesseth’s Nightmare Fuel is a fantastic work of horror non-fiction. Exploring the science behind horror films and fear using both psychology and physiology, Nightmare Fuels spotlights some of the most popular and frightening films in the history of horror, and features interviews with film makers, composes, and horror academics. It’s a celebration of the genre that we all love, and a fascinating look at how horror manages to scare us and why we love it so much.
The Witchery by S. Isabelle
The Witchery is a great way to inject a little fall goodness into your late summer reading list. Between an ancient town curse, a school for witches, and dangerous wolves that rise from the swamp to feed on the local townsfolk, Haelsford, Florida is not exactly a witchtown you want to visit. Unless, of course, you’re Logan, a baby witch and the newest student at the Mesmortes Coven Academy, which doesn’t leave you much of a choice. (And she’s still pretty sure the town is actually a Hellmouth). When Logan falls in with a trio of powerful witches from the academy, she finds herself involved in a dangerous mission to break the curse on Haelsford, putting an end to the Haunting Season and the Wolves’ deadly feast.
For a more comprehensive list, check out our New Books newsletter!
They have a lot of names. The Fair Folk, the Gentry, the Good Neighbors, the Little People. Or, if you don’t mind running the risk of getting on their bad side and having you and/or your spouse, or child whisked away in the night, you could just call them fairies. Or faeries, if you prefer. Or just the fae. But make no mistake: if you cross the unnatural creatures on this list, your fate might (literally) go down in legend and song.
Not Good for Maidens by Tori Bovalino
When it comes to fae-themed horror, Tori Bovalino’s recent adaptation of Rossetti’s “The Goblin Market” is a must have. When Lou’s Aunt Neela is stolen away to the Goblin Market, it upends everything Lou thought she knew about superstitions or magic — namely, that they didn’t exist. The market is just a fictional place she’s read about. A forbidden place of magic and temptations, intended to lure and trap humans. But in order to save Neela, Lou will have to learn to embrace all the things she’s never believed in before she and her aunt become lost to the Market forever.
Under the Pendulum Sun by Jeannette Ng
Infusing faerie lore with a healthy dose of the Gothic, Jeannette Ng’s Under the Pendulum Sun is a dark, fantastical journey through a dangerous magical land know as Arcadia, ruled over by the Queen of the Fae and her twisted Court. Catherine Helstone’s brother, Laon, volunteered to be a missionary in Arcadia, trying to convert the Fae to Christianity. (Which… I mean I’m sorry, whose terrible idea was that?) Desperate to know what has become of her brother — despite his poor life choices — Catherine sets out for Arcadia to find him. Written in true Gothic fashion, with a bit of Goblin Market meets Tam Lin going on, expect surreal and beautiful world building, with a healthy dose of slow building, menacing dread.
But reader be duly warned: Like many of its Gothic predecessors, Under the Pendulum Sun does come with a content warning for incest.
The Twisted Ones by T. Kingfisher
Welcome to the horror genre, where nothing good ever comes out of the woods. Especially not the woods around Mouse’s dead grandmother’s house, which is home to a whole colony of strange, frightening creatures. Mouse agreed to help clean out the house after her grandmother’s death, thinking it would be an easy job, but instead finds herself faced with cleaning up a literal hoard of useless junk. Junk, and a set of strange, rambling journals that once belonged to her step grandfather and describe terrible creatures living in the trees beyond the house. All his ranting stories seem like delusional nonsense. Until the moment when Mouse herself comes face to face with the monsters in the woods.
Fresh From the Skeletons Mouth
Cornering the horror adaptation news market this week, Bloody Disgusting not only announced new additions to Netflix’s Fear Street universe (YAY!), but also that M. Night Shyamalan’s forthcoming horror film, Knock at the Cabin, is in fact an adaptation of Paul Tremblay’s much loved book The Cabin at the End of the World!
Nina Nesseth (Author of Nighmare Fuel) wrote an article for Tor about Friendship, Loss, and High School Horror that is both insightful and full of excellent horror recommendations.
The latest edition of Tor Nightfire’s Into the Night is now available on their blog, collecting all the best horror short fiction and poetry for June!