I have a half-finished draft about the races I ran over the past two months and grappling with disability as Covid boosters have limited availability—but I have not been able to finish it. If I’ve learned anything from getting an MFA, visiting authors, and participating in workshops, the block means I should flex my creativity in another way and return to the piece later. Perhaps it belongs in a longer form, pitched and submitted for payment. Anyway, call me if you are a literary agent.
Instead, I’ll write about my pandemic hobby: watching horror films. Even though I once wrote in a poem that I watch documentaries instead of horror films, I have always had a soft spot for them. Horror isn’t an escape. Horror is fear at the front of the brain. The dream where you know you are dreaming, but your consciousness is stuck in quicksand.
Or maybe it’s because of memory. My mom and I watched Buffy the Vampire Slayer from the start together as I grew up. I have a special tradition with some friends to pick a horror film the night before a memorial 5k. Whatever the cause, even when I’m uncomfortable, I’m generally comforted by the genre.
In no particular order, I listed all the horror films I have watched since March 2020. Some have annotations, if I was moved to do so. I’m always looking for more, especially filling in the queer cannon, so please recommend any in the comments. Friends and the Internet “best of” lists helped build this.
Us (2019): OH MY GOD. AND THEN THE DANCING WITH THE STARS DANCE THIS YEAR?
Ginger Snaps (2000): This had the vibes I wanted Teeth to have.
Parasite (2019): Horror and commentary perfection.
The Hills Have Eyes (2006)
The Neon Demon (2016)
Prom Night (2008)
We Summon the Darkness (2020)
Jennifer’s Body (2009): How did no one sit me down to watch this before???
The Evil Dead (1981): Practical effects freak me out more than CGI.
Hellraiser (1987): See above.
The Covenant (2006)
Sorry to Bother You (2018): Hulu told me it was horror! Isn’t any movie about capitalism?
Raw (2016): I don’t do gore. This wasn’t even that gory, but wowowow the intensity nearly had me hurling. I still loved the pacing of the film. It’s one of those “where is the horror in this” type of film.
The Babysitter (2017): I dug the camp.
The Blackcoat’s Daughter (2015)
Zombieland: Double Tap (2019)
The Invitation (2015)
The Strangers (2008): I will literally talk to anyone about why this film was a shift in the horror genre.
Girl on the Third Floor (2019): I wanted to see a professional wrestler star in a horror film.
Black Christmas (2019): Way better than I expected!
Promising Young Woman (2020): I couldn’t watch a movie for weeks after this. It’s everything I wanted from a revenge film. Carmen Maria Machado wrote about it perfectly in How “Promising Young Woman” Refigures the Rape-Revenge Movie.
Books I’m thinking about/recently read:
–The Glass Hotel, Emily St. John Mandel (this would be a great atmospheric, slightly spooky film)
Stay sweaty and glittery. Black Lives Matter.