Tag Archives: horror

Bestselling horror author Paul Tremblay joins me on AEWCH 158!

3 Aug

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Thank you so, so much.

Buy Paul’s books, and all the books mentioned on/related to this episode via my booklist for AEWCH 158 on bookshop.org. Bookshop.org sources from independent bookstores in the US, not a big corporate shipping warehouse where the workers are treated like machines. Plus when you click through here to order, the show gets a small affiliate kickback!

Friends,

I’m so excited to share this episode about horror, free will, and compassion with novelist Paul Tremblay

Paul is the author of multiple bestselling horror novels – including The Cabin at the End of the World and Disappearance at Devil’s Rock which are my two favorites – two hardboiled detective novels, and a whole lot of short stories.

ON THIS EPISODE

  • Horror as a balance between free will and determinism
  • Horror as the withdrawal of love
  • The dreaded return to sociability
  • Kitchen table horror versus Irish Midlands horror
  • Slasher vs supernatural horror
  • Books that stand on the precipice of the supernatural
  • Does Paul believe in ghosts?
  • “What if there’s a God/Reader/Writer and he’s an asshole?”
  • The book you write has to be beyond you
  • The unreality of facts
  • Respecting violence in fiction and why bad art is worse than the content it portrays

SHOW NOTES

• For more on Paul, go to his website. Here’s a good interview with Paul at Gridmark Magazine, and another one in legendary horror magazine Cemetery Dance.

• One of my favorite episode of the show is AEWCH 93 with Sara Maria Griffin (and also, I was on Sara’s podcast, Juvenalia, talking about Clive Barker). And here are a few other horror-themed episodes of AEWCH: AEWCH 23 on postmodern horror with Brian Evenson, AEWCH 40 about horror and poetry with Zachary Schomburg, AEWCH 44 on the vampire as a theory with Kelly Link and Jordy Rosenberg, and AEWCH 58 on horror films with screenwriter (of The Invitation and Destroyer, among other things) Phil Hay.

• Paul and I both love Sara Gran’s absolutely scary novel of possession, Come Closer. And Sara was on AEWCH 61, talking Lacan and detective novels. It’s one of my favorite episodes.

• Paul mentions using George Saunders’s book on writing, A Swim in the Pond in the Rain. That said, the best writing book out there, I think, is a bit of a best-kept-secret thing. It’s Stuart Spencer’s The Playwright’s Guidebook.

• The (fun!) cellphone horror novel is Ghoster by Jason Arnopp.

• Weird Studies is one of the best podcasts around. Listen to it. The great quote from the cohost, JF Martel, is “The hope is that (art) saves us in reality by damming us in art.”

• “The Eighth Episode of Twin Peaks: The Return Is Horrifyingly Beautiful

Lake Mungo is a great horror movie. Here’s the trailer.

Until next time friends, hold each other close in the dark,
CH

(oh, and stop tormenting Grover)

Desires, dark and light. Carmen Maria Machado on AEWCH 149!

21 Apr

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FRIENDS: Do you find this podcast meaningful? Support it! This podcast is only possible because listeners like you support it. Do contribute to my mission by supporting Against Everyone With Conner Habib on Patreon Thank you so, so much.
Buy Carmen’s books and the books mentioned on/related to this episode via my booklist for AEWCH 149 on Bookshop.org. Bookshop.org sources from independent bookstores in the US, not a big corporate shipping warehouse where the workers are treated like machines. Plus when you click through here to order, the show gets a small affiliate kickback!

Friends,

The French psychoanalyst and philosopher Jacques Lacan once said, “there is no other good than the one that can pay the price of the access to desire.”

There’s a lot about this statement, which is, like a lot of what Lacan said, a riddle – but one thing in it – paying the price of access – so our desires are not accessible? So we must lose something, give something to meet them? To see them? To talk about them?

To discuss all of this, I spoke with Carmen Maria Machado, author of the memoir In The Dream House, the collection of strange tales Her Body And Other Parties, and the graphic novel The Low, Low Woods.

I think what’s really interesting to both of us, and this comes up quite a bit – is how desire functions, how it is somehow always ahead of us, appearing and disappearing like a friend or an enemy on the path in a fairy tale. Sometimes it gives something to us that is useful later on. A key, a sacred object, a weapon. Sometimes it gives us a gift that leads us to being stuck. Like the fairy market where someone accepts the gift of an apple from the goblin, eats it, and wakes up 100 years later, if they wake up at all. Sometimes it has a strange shape, it frightens us.

Why should desires be like this? How do they know us, in a way, before we know ourselves?

This is a conversation that finds proximity to creation, to danger, to repetition, to the abuse that Carmen writes about in her memoir In The Dream House,and to the abuse I wrote about in my essay ,”If You Ever Did Write Anything About Me, I’d Want It To Be About Love“.

How do we talk about the desire and the horror in abusive relationships while still holding the abuser accountable. How do we make the necessary move of accountability while not reducing the complicatedness of the encounter and the relationship?

Again and again, Carmen and I touch on desires and on storytelling – almost like we’re knocking on wood to allow ourselves to go forward in difficult conversation.

What do we sacrifice to know our desires?
What are the prices of following our desires
Of not giving way to them?
Of not giving ground to them?

If all that sounds dark and complex, well, it is. but this is also such a warm and friendly episode. With lots of laughter and curiosity and affinity. 

I’m so happy to share this episode with you.

ON THIS EPISODE

  • The way desire  knows itself before you know what it is
  • Why is the fox from Robin Hood so hot
  • Evading the temptation of metaphor when we read
  • The response to the subconscious is determines the genre of writing
  • Horror as spiritual narrative
  • H.P. Lovecraft’s mission of mercy
  • Sexuality as a genre
  • The imagination of the abusive partner after you’ve left them
  • The missing language of understanding for the person who has been abused
  • Why we need to talk about resilience 
  • The importance of meta-devices and melodrama
  • The Law & Order SVU-niverse

SHOW NOTES

• For more on Carmen go to her website (which has a badass picture of her in a chair). Here’s an interview with Carmen that goes horrifically wrong on Electric Lit. Here’s Carmen talking about haunted houses and horror movies on the American Hysteria podcast. And if you’d like to read one of her stories, here’s the early version one we reference the most, “The Husband Stitch“.

• My essay from 2010 “Looking at Men” describes the clouded shower glass incident.

• McArthur Award-winning writer Kelly Link comes up a lot on this episode. Have you listened to AEWCH 44 with Kelly, Jordy Rosenberg, and me? It’s awesome. Also, here’s Kelly’s essay about the “silent partner.

• Here’s an interview with the great Argentine writer, César Aira.

• It looks like Grant Morrison’s Seaguy is not available on bookshop.org, so here it is from that, uh, other place. 

• If you haven’t read Susan Sontag’s essay, “Against Interpretation,” read it, friends. And if you have read it, read it again. Same goes for H.P. Lovecraft’s essay, “Supernatural Horror in Literature“.

• And the Lovecraft quote is, ““The most merciful thing in the world, I think, is the inability of the human mind to correlate all its contents. We live on a placid island of ignorance in the midst of black seas of infinity, and it was not meant that we should voyage far. The sciences, each straining in its own direction, have hitherto harmed us little; but some day the piecing together of dissociated knowledge will open up such terrifying vistas of reality, and of our frightful position therein, that we shall either go mad from the revelation or flee from the light into the peace and safety of a new dark age.”

• Here’s my essay “If You Ever Did Write Anything About Me, I’d Want It To Be About Love” about the boyfriend who beat me up, which is mentioned at the end of Carmen’s memoir (and through which Carmen and I first communicated).

• I love author Sara Maria Griffin’s appearance on AEWCH 93. It remains one of my very favorite episodes.

• I have not yet read Jeannie Vanasco’s Things We Didn’t Talk About When I Was A Girl but I definitely will now. I also (forgive me, Father!) have not yet seen Fleabag. I will, I will, I will!

• Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s movie The Bitter Tears of Petra Van Kantis one of the best films ever made. And also watch Lars Von Trier’s Dogville for another sort of disorientation.

Until next time friends, follow your desires!
XO
CH

There are ghosts.

19 Jan

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This podcast is only possible because listeners like you support it. Do contribute to my mission by supporting Against Everyone With Conner Habib on Patreon!  Thank you so, so much.Want to buy the books mentioned on this ep? For Edward’s books, and other books mentioned on or related to this episode, please go to my booklist for AEWCH 138 on bookshop.org. It will  help support independent bookstores, and the show gets a small financial kickback, too.

Friends,
Why are we drawn to ghosts but frightened of them? Why do we feel compelled to take them seriously on some level, but on the other hand dismiss them? And why do some places just feel haunted?

In a time of the dead, in a time when dying is so present for so many, what new attitudes towards death and its spectres will arise?

I had a great time traversing this spooky territory with Edward Parnell, author of the haunted and excellent nonfiction travelogue-meets-literary-criticism-meets-memoir Ghostland: In Search of a Haunted Country, and the gothic novel The Listeners.

To give you a little indication of his style, I asked Edward to start the episode with a very brief reading from Ghostland, then we’re into the conversation.And I start with two ghost stories of my own to indicate different ways that ghosts can lead us down strange and mysterious paths both as individuals and culturally.

ON THIS EPISODE

  • What is the aesthetic of the ghost story?
  • The way the Satanic panic severed the connection to ghost stories in the US vs in the UK.
  • How the transparency of history creates the resonance of ghosts.
  • New horror stories reflecting the way spirituality permeates culture.
  • The many ways which we dismiss the existence of ghosts.
  • The presence of fairies in Ireland vs the ghost of ghosts in the UK.
  • The middle class resistance to ghosts.
  • Imperialism vs ghosts.
  • Why do we turn away from grief?
  • The creeping fear of UK short ghost/weird fiction.

SHOW NOTES

• For more on Ed, go to his website (where you can find, among other things, his essay on the fear of falling). And here he is talking about Stephen King’s Pet Semetary on The Constant Reader Podcast. And here’s a short interview with him on the Folk Horror Revival website.

• The PSA announcement “Lonely Water” is…no joke…pretty scary! You can watch it here. And here’s the main figure in it. Watch out kids, if you don’t drown, you’ll live in fear of drowning your entire life.

• Here’s a great list of all the “video nasties” Edward mentioned, including The Driller Killer.• There’s a great book on what was going on in philosophy around the same time as many of the writers mentioned in Ghostland, by Wolfram Eilenberger entitled Time of the Magicians: Wittgenstein, Benjamin, Cassirer, Heidegger, and the Decade That Reinvented Philosophy.

“Babes in the Woods” by Mary Black is kind of an eerie song!

• We mention Roger Clarke’s thesis about class and ghosts, which you can find in longer form in his book, Ghosts: A Natural History.

• Would you like to learn more about the bone crypt at Holy Trinity Church? Why of course you would.• For another AEWCH episode about changing attitudes towards the spiritual, check out AEWCH 98 with Thomas Waters on which we talk all about witchcraft (it’s one of my favorites).

• Finally, check out Ed’s photo of the rocking horse in author Lucy Boston‘s house. Why are rocking horses this scary? 

My novel, Hawk Mountain, out in 2021 from W.W. Norton in the US, and Penguin/Doubleday in Ireland and the UK.

17 Apr

Friends, some good news.
My (very dark) novel, Hawk Mountain, will be published by W.W. Norton in the US and Penguin/Doubleday in Ireland and the UK in summer of 2021.
I can barely believe it.
My whole life I’ve wanted to be a novelist.
I’m beaming, friends.
Hi.
Can’t wait to share my book with you.

HM

The Publishers Market entry

Can art contain evil? I explore mystery and murder with crime writer Sara Gran on AEWCH 61!

5 Mar

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I put out many hours of free content every month, please do support the show by donating to my Patreon today. For the price of a piece of cake or a bourgeoise donut in San Francisco or a delicious Yuengling lager in Pennsylvania, you can support the show in a major way and contribute to my mission to bring deep conversations to the world and inspire others to have them!

PATRONS GET ACCESS TO THE FULL YOUTUBE VERSION HERE

Friends,

When you follow a mystery, you see that’s it’s unending. And what better explorer of mysteries than acclaimed mystery writer Sara Gran, whose mystery and crime books rove through philosophy, the occult, and the hardboiled on their way to the murderer.

Sara is the author of mysteries and horror, from her acclaimed Claire DeWitt series (start with the excellent Claire Dewitt and the City of the Dead), to her shiveringly creepy demonic possession tale, Come Closer.

We talk about why detectives in fiction are always wounded, how criminals are materialists but detectives are spiritual, being an outsider, the philosopher she invented named Jacques Silette, the unknowingness of writing, how our creative projects becomes spells & become our friends, whether or not people actually succeed in Hollywood, the difference between real genre and mere spectacle, fairy tales, why political solutions don’t work, why the presence of the dead is healing, why people can’t accept the supernatural even in fiction, Suspiria vs Texas Chainsaw Massacre vs Hereditary, Play It As It Lays by Joan Didion, how art responds to and creates evil, and how psychoanalysis connects to the Western esoteric tradition and yoga.

Click HERE for show notes!

XO
CH

AEWCH61TitleCard

 

All about movies with DESTROYER screenwriter, PHIL HAY on AEWCH 58!

5 Feb

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PATRONS GET ACCESS TO THE FULL YOUTUBE VERSION HERE
Friends, 
At the opening of 2019, I’m reviewing the state of something in 2019: what’s on the scene now and what to look for in the coming year! This week, it’s the State of Movies, 2019 and to that end I talk with the amazing screenwriter Phil Hay, whose most recent film, Destroyer, features Nicole Kidman as a messed up cop, seeking revenge, in what I think is her best performance ever.
He’s also one of the writers behind the amazing horror film The Invitation. Phil creates these incredible movies with his wife, the director Karyn Kusama*, and his writing partner, Matt Manfredi. Phil once said, “To me, the main thing that I believe qualifies you to be a writer is that you’re really interested in other people.” And for Phil, includes his characters, the audience, and other filmmakers past and present. I’m so excited to share this conversation with you.
Phil and I talk: how genre films and how they’re overtaking moviemaking in general, the challenge of making challenging movies; the importance of truly female characters rather than women playing male roles; why we need a reappraisal of Phil/Karyn/Matt’s excellent (yeah, I said it) sci-fi movie starring Charlize Theron, Aeon Flux; how going to the theater pre-internet, without knowing what was playing, created a different way of watching; liking the movies we don’t like; horror audiences as the ideal audiences; portrayals of processing grief; the problem and promise of the cult; why cult-like statements can be useful; patriarchy as a narrative that is so boring that we need to overturn it; and finally, why Destroyer is such an amazing movie; and finally, why Destroyer is such an amazing movie!
*PS, sorry for mispronouncing Karyn’s name at the top. It’s KAH-rin, not CARE-in. Duh, Conner.
AEWCH58 Title Card
Click here for SHOW NOTES with the movies and books we mention, as well as a few other fun links

The Horror of Everyday Life. Conner talks with postmodern horror and weird tale author, Brian Evenson!

13 Mar
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SHOW NOTES, including quotes from the show, what to listen to and read to go deeper, and more, are now for Patrons only, and you can find them here. For as little as $1/month, you can access the show notes! Please do support the show! Get show notes here!
So excited to welcome postmodern horror writer Brian Evenson to the show. A true honor. And the first fiction writer on the show! Brian is one of my favorite authors, and his stories are violent, unsettling, and profound.
We talk about horror fiction, the occult, David Lynch, metaphors, the horror of relationships extending into our lives, the concept of doubles, the meaninglessness or meaning of suffering, and revising everything we know. I also ask Brian how a character could get out of one of his stories unscathed.
Brian also reads the beginning of his story, “The Intricacies of Post-Shooting Etiquette” from his collection, The Wavering Knife.
Oh, and also, I ask about if Brian’s stories all stem from boner shame.
To get Brian’s book with Paul Tremblay, Another Way To Fall, go to Concord Free Press.
Enjoy!
gerricault

What Is the Occult? WATCH THE TRAILER: – My new online course on 3/12!

21 Feb

My new online course is coming! What Is the Occult? is an exploration of all that weird shit from 80s movies and Buffy and the creepy section at the library your parents told you to stay away from. It’s a look at why the occult is more important than ever, even if you’re a total atheist. How can the occult amplify your understanding of politics, science, art, and more?

The course is on 3/12 and only $15.00 for a standard ticket (with other ticket levels available)! If you can’t attend the day of, don’t worry! Your ticket gets you exclusive 90-day access to a recording of the whole thing! Watch the trailer and sign up!

More on the course:

It’s easy enough to talk about the occult. You know: wands, cauldrons, tarot cards, naked women in the woods and robed men in English libraries. It’s also not hard to point out the occult in history and politics; whether it’s the infamous UK magus Aleister Crowley, Ronald and Nancy Reagan’s interest in psychics and astrology, or the Salem witch trials.

But what is the occult? Is it a philosophy? A practice? A reservoir of power? Mumbo jumbo anti-science and delusion?

And why should you care, anyway?

In this live interactive course and Q&A, writer, teacher, and activist Conner Habib will conjure up a definition that outlines just how radical, exciting, and useful the occult is, especially in our dynamic and intense moment in history.

– How the occult can and does figure into your everyday life, even if you’re not a practitioner (or a believer!).

– Why the occult is so stigmatized in our culture, and how to puruse it without shame anyway.

– Differing philosophies of the occult across disciplines and practitioners.

– How the occult relates to politics, economics, and science.

– Whether or not this is all just a bunch of hocus-pocus bunk.

and much more!

Conner will guide you through the complex, fascinating, and sometimes just plain weird world of the occult in this live, online course. It’s for the beginner and the adept alike.

Register here, you sexy warlocks.

The Horror! (Comic)

23 May

My short graphic horror story, “Hex Change,” co-created with artist Amit Elan will be out later this year in the anthology Horror International.  I couldn’t be happier to be amongst the amazing contributors, including such luminaries as Diamanda Galas and Joe Lansdale!

I’ll be posting updates on the anthology as well as where you can get a copy as the publication date draws closer.  For now, here are a few sample panels and pages I co-created with Amit (some finished, some unfinished)

Looking forward!

CH

sketch no text p11

sketch with text p2sketch no text p7 (1)sketch no text p4