Film and Writing (M.A)
100K+ Reads on Vocal
Focus in Film: Adaptation from Literature, Horror Filmmaking Styles and Auteur Cinema
10 Great Crime Books I've Read in 2021 (so far!)
The Golden Age of Crime Novels is said to be between the 1930s and the 1960s, but actual dates tend to differ with Britain gaining its Golden Age by the time people like Graham Green and Agatha Christie walked on to the scene. Then, across the water in the USA - there were more films being made than literature in terms of fame with the noir culture peaking with Carol Reed's "The Third Man" (1949) - and its snazzy soundtrack.
Book Review: "Out" by Natsuo Kirino
The world of the Japanese mundane is something that is being explored more and more in the post-modern fiction that is now coming out of there. Alongside this mundane, there will always be another part of the story where the mundane is turned around and the people inhabiting the mundane are forced to come to terms with the fact that their lives are not exactly that ordinary after all. The authors of these works go all the way back to Yukio Mishima and then, move into our own day in which Yoko Ogawa inhabits the literary landscape of Japan. One of the books that I have read regarding the mundane by an author I have not heard of before this is “Out” by Natsuo Kirino. Told in frightening precision, there are a number of incidents and things that make the characters seem like they are a part of a world that is formed against them, to keep them in a loop of the rat-race, to keep them working like dogs until they die even though they cannot pay for very much anything. However, these characters are ultimately flung into another part of this very same world where they are all forced to become another person because now, they cannot go back to the way things were before.
Book Review: "The Hollows" by Mark Edwards
When it comes to folk horror, there are always a number of components you need for telling the story. These include: urban legends, folktales, pagan/satanic symbolism, cultish behaviour, animals and the supposed supernatural. These are the things that you need in order to make your folk horror novel engrossing. Naturally, books such as “Water Shall Refuse Them” by Lucie McKnight Hardy and “Salt Slow” by Julia Armfield are two great examples of this. In my essay “Women Writing Horror” there is a whole section how women are becoming bigger and more apparent in the folk horror genre. Apart from that though, we have films of folk horror that are making a comeback, almost like someone thought that “The Wicker Man” was a good film - someone apart from me. Ari Aster’s folk horror feasts “Hereditary” and “Midsummer” are intensely electrifying and disturbing films, alongside Jordan Peele’s inclusion of animals as folk symbols alongside the theories surrounding mass cultish behaviour in his films blend folk horror with the contemporary. And that I think, is the key to new the folk horror - blending it with the new and contemporary in our own age so that we, as readers, can relate better to it. Mark Edwards does just this in his book “The Hollows” which is a great experience to have if you read it.
Book Review: "Broken Monsters" by Lauren Beukes
I am one of those people that enjoys going through Reddit Forums. I like to look at books in particular to find out what kind of books people recommend for horror reading. Yes, we have the normal ones like “The Shining” by Stephen King, “The Haunting of Hill House” by Shirley Jackson and “House of Leaves” by Mark Z Danielewski - but I like to explore ones that maybe we haven’t been subjected to by the mainstream bestsellers of the genre. When I explore deeper into these types of books, I am stunned to find more obscure books, some of which I have gladly never heard of. Reddit has offered me a space to see what others have been reading, what they have thought of the books - and as the discussion replies are normally long and detailed - a short summary of what the book is about as well. This is where I found a book called “Broken Monsters” by Lauren Beukes. The person in question (whom I will not address by any name) called it “truly disturbing” without actually saying what it was really about. I had my theories when I found the book but a lot of my theories were just straight up wrong.
Book Review: "Fever Dream" by Samanta Schweblin
I was initially avoiding this book because I really was not sure about it at all. Samanta Schweblin’s books are normally those that touch on the slightly weird and freakish moments of human nature which are most likely unexplainable. Her books are usually well written and even though they may be a little far fetched, she doesn’t take it out too far. I remember when this book first came out and many people were conflicted about it. I had heard people say it was a brilliant book and then other people sad it was just a silly concept. I did not actually know what the book was about at this particular time, but there were far more people telling me it was going to be a waste of my time in comparison to people telling me that it was going to blow my mind. I would have read the book myself anyway if I could find it in a library. Unfortunately, the aspect of so many people telling me it was bad and then having to spend my own money on it made me realise that maybe, I should just skip this one instead. However, some years later, I have come to my senses and decided to read the book for myself. A character driven story, it is certainly not at all bad.
Book Review: "The Break Down" by B.A Paris
When I read a thriller, I like to see all of the key elements. There needs to be someone with a secret that they cannot tell anyone because it would ruin them. There needs to be someone having some sort of affair with someone else. There needs to be someone who is either injured or dying or on their last leg. There needs to be a person who is under a hell of a lot of pressure to do something and there needs to be, at the heart of it, something deeply unsettling and wrong. I personally love these kinds of books. I call them my ‘comfort books’ because you just know that you are going to feel a whole lot better after you come to a conclusion after reading the whole thing in one sitting. A coworker of mine used to think it was silly for someone ‘with a literature and film degree’ to be reading these kinds of books but I say read what you feel like. At the moment I have been reading more of these types of books because I just have not been feeling my usual classics lately, and that is okay. One day I will return to them again, just not now. For now, it is all about the thrillers, and the chick-flick thrillers at that.
A Filmmaker's Guide: "The Hands of Orlac" (1924)
In this chapter of ‘the filmmaker’s guide’ we’re actually going to be learning about literature and film together. I understand that many of you are sitting in university during difficult times and finding it increasingly hard to study and I understand that many of you who are not at university or not planning on it are possibly stuck of what to do, need a break or even need to catch up on learning film before you get to the next level. This guide will be brief but will also contain: new vocabulary, concepts and theories, films to watch and we will be exploring something taboo until now in the ‘filmmaker’s guide’ - academia (abyss opens). Each article will explore a different concept of film, philosophy, literature or bibliography/filmography etc. in order to give you something new to learn each time we see each other. You can use some of the words amongst family and friends to sound clever or you can get back to me (email in bio) and tell me how you’re doing. So, strap in and prepare for the filmmaker’s guide to film studies because it is going to be one wild ride.
Book Review: "The Au Pair" by Emma Rous
I remember when I was at work a few years back and I was in the midst of reading a book called “Luckiest Girl Alive” and I was really enjoying it. A woman, my coworker whom I will not name, came up to me and said that because I had studied literature and film for so long that I should be reading something more literary and classic and sophisticated than a chick-flick thriller. I am not going to lie to you, I felt kind of bad for reading it then. But after a while I realised something. As I have been studying literature and film for so long, I can pretty much read what I feel like and if I want to read, as she put it, a ‘chick-flick thriller’ then I am going to read a ‘chick-flick thriller’. Why? Well, because I felt like it. Do not ever let anyone make you feel bad about what you are reading. Reading should be for enjoyment not for the sake of making yourself look smarter than everyone else. And honestly, they are pretty good books - flicking from one perspective to another from one time to the next, revealing secrets and keeping you gripped unit the end. I don’t remember the last time Don Quixote did that since I read it when I was fifteen. Other times? Not so much.