Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Most Gothic Place Names in the United States--New York

[For previous entries, click the "Most Gothic Place Names" label under Features in the right sidebar.]

To no surprise, New York teems with terrific names, such as Medusa (must be saturated with statues), Kill Buck (the last place ex-Yankees manager Showalter will visit), Pumpkin Hollow (the jack-o'-lantern-carving capital of the Macabre Republic), Suicide Corners (leads straight into Gravesville), Barkertown (the local library is filled with Books of Blood), Lynch Tract (talk about a bully pulpit), Rough and Ready (where everyone runs with a tough crowd), Great Kills (homicide supreme), and Snufftown (the summer film festival must be something else).  Nonetheless, the Empire State's most glorious
place name belongs to...

Gothicville.  Grant Wood meets Larry McMurtry.  If ever there were a place that perfectly exemplified American Gothic (the dark side of everyday life in Anytown, U.S.A.), this would be it.  The mayor here probably hands out silver pitchforks rather than golden keys to the city.  

Monday, May 30, 2011

Beelzebub Tweets

BLZ, Bub

[For previous tweets, click here.]

Supposedly this is a day for remembering fallen soldiers, so go ahead and light a black candle for all my brethren in Pandemonium.
--15 minutes ago

For all the beachgoers grousing that it's hot as hell today: an open invite to lounge on Acheron's shores.  You'll never hyperbolize again.
--1:06 P.M., May 29th

Summertime just makes me nostalgic for '77.  Man, I really miss talking to (barking at) Berkowitz.
--9:19 A.M., May 28th

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Countdown: The Top 20 American Horror Movie Posters--#11

[For the previous entry, click here.]

#11. Wrong Turn

This poster has a helluva lot going for it.  The tagline ("It's the last one you'll ever take.") forms a perfect counterpart to the film title.  The imagery provides a quintessential contrast between beauty (can Eliza Dushku look any hotter in that tank top?) and beastliness.  Also, the woods tunneling away down the center give the scene some mythic overtones--the suggestion that we as viewers are being steered toward the Bad Place.  For me, though, the eeriest part of this poster is the shadow branches falling across Dushku's arm and torso like lash marks.  They have a creeping, tentacular quality, and portend a terrible entanglement.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Universal Monsters in Our Midst

Diamond Select Toys: Creature From the Black Lagoon Action Figure

Ladies, if you happen to find yourself hit on by some sleazy guys at the beach this Memorial Day weekend, just remember that there are always worse experiences.  Such as finding yourself the object of a Gill-Man crush (this guy is as horny as he is scaly).  Just ask Julie Adams: a Creature in heat is enough to send chills up a female sunbather's spine.

This finely-detailed "action" figure (the first in Diamond Select Toys' Universal Monsters line) is the work of Rudy Garcia, while the diorama base was sculpted by Jean St. Jean.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

The Gothicism of American Gothic: "Damned If You Don't"

[For the previous entry, click here.]

In this fourth episode (with a fatalistic title pointing to the no-win situations that Sheriff Buck presents to the townspeople of Trinity), American Gothic once again proves that is well aware of its literary heritage.  The episode introduces "Wash Sutpen," whose first and last names hearken back to the characters of Wash Jones and Thomas Sutpen in Absalom, Absalom!.  The echoing of Faulkner's novel continues with the revelation that Wash Sutpen murdered the "fellow who was taking liberties" with his teenage daughter--recalling Wash Jones's scything of Thomas Sutpen after the latter insults the honor of Jones's daughter Milly.  Actually, though, Wash Sutpen has gunned down the wrong man; the real culprit was his employee Carter Bowen, who takes over Sutpen's junkyard business when the latter is sent to jail (how's that for small-town intrigue?).  At the time of Wash Sutpen's violent outburst, Sheriff Buck helped cover up Carter's lechery; now he expects a favor in return (he wants to hire Carter's sexy 15-year-old daughter as a personal assistant).  When Carter refuses, the Machiavellian Buck reintroduces (the allegedly paroled) Wash Sutpen to Carter's family.

The Bowen junkyard is like an automotive graveyard, with rusted hulks (including, fittingly, a hearse) littering the grounds.  While visiting the place, Gail Emory stumbles upon the Gothic ruin once driven by her late parents.  Ever since returning to Trinity, Gail--a reporter by trade--has been determined to look into the circumstances surrounding her folks' deaths years earlier, and when she proceeds here to search the abandoned vehicle, she discovers a mysterious key inside a magnetized box adhered beneath the glove compartment.

The battle between good and evil is one of the show's most overt themes, but American Gothic also makes its points in more subtle ways.  In the cleverly-arranged closing scene of "Damned If You Don't," Sheriff Buck stands in the junkyard orchestrating his latest devilish deal.  A derelict bus looms over his shoulder in the background, and the one-word sign above the back window makes clear the type of service this vehicle once provided.  This was once a "CHURCH" bus, but its days of transporting the faithful throughout Trinity have long since passed. 

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Jewish Hoops

I'm flushing the format today in order to call attention to a sports book just published by my good friend (and former NYU Intramural League running mate) Douglas Stark.  The SPHAS: The Life and Times of Basketball's Greatest Jewish Team chronicles the tribulations and triumphs (the latter including a dynastic run of championships in the American Basketball League) of the South Philadelphia Hebrew Association's basketball team (the "SPHAS").  Meticulously researched and engagingly narrated, the book does not just present the story of a single, ethnic-specific team but fills in a gap that had existed far too long in the annals of American sports history.

For more about this book--including a slideshow of vintage photos--check out the author's website at www.douglasstark.com.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Most Gothic Place Names in the United States--New Mexico

[For previous entries, click the "Most Gothic Place Names" label under Features in the right sidebar.]

Take a trip through New Mexico, and you'll find towns/cities such as Tingle (sends chills up the spine), Bloodgood Place (simply vampiric), Bates Place (Mother doesn't love visitors), Hext Place (where spells are cast via cell phone?), Romeroville (the Crazies have taken over), Rainsville (every night here is dark and stormy),
Alcatraz (the whole populace is in lockdown), and Derry (the fear of clowns abounds in this town, I'm betting).  The most American Gothic place name, though, that you'll come across is...

Double Crossing.  The backstabbing capital of the Macabre Republic.  A hotbed of New Mexico noir, where turnabout is foul play, and the dirty deed is a daily activity.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Countdown: The Top 20 American Horror Movie Posters--#12

[For previous entry, click here.]

#12. American Psycho

The tagline and the image work in tandem here to form a pointed double entendre (the reflection of the homicidal maniac's handsome visage in the knife blade is a great touch).  Also, the blacking out of Christian Bale's eyes works as a perfect symbol of his character's soullessness.  Even the presentation of the film title at the bottom of the poster--half shiny, half shadowy--underscores American Psycho's central theme of duplicity.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Apocalypse Not Now

Just in case you haven't noticed: Armageddon has been averted! The dreaded 
Judgment Day never took place.  Thanks for all your heroics, Arnold.  Hope you fare as well when trying to fend off the wrath of Maria Shriver.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Dark Passages: The Passage

For some reason, I've always been deeply resistant to hoopla.  In my senior yearbook, Public Enemy's "Don't Believe the Hype" is listed as my favorite song.  I never watched "The Sopranos" at first because I figured anything that acclaimed had to be overrated.  Perhaps that is also why I went almost a whole year before delving into Justin Cronin's ballyhooed novel The Passage (which Stephen King actually called in to fawn over while Cronin was being interviewed on Good Morning America).  It took me only a few pages, though, to realize what an utter fool I had been for waiting so long.

The book is phenomenal; even as I compulsively turned its pages, I found myself wishing that it would never end.  It reads like an incredible mix of The Stand and The Road, Salem's Lot and I Am Legend (and even The Lord of the Rings--surely it's no coincidence that one of the main characters is named "Peter Jaxon").  A quintessential epic, The Passage melds genres (science fiction, dark fantasy, the western), uses the entire country as its canvas, and takes the human condition as its ultimate subject.  The characters are so vividly rendered, their lives--and deaths--choke emotion from the reader (Cronin's prose is so good, it hurts).  Quite simply, this is one of the most masterful works of fiction I have ever read.

In keeping with a novel of such enormous stature, today's edition of Dark Passages delivers two separate excerpts.  The first showcases Cronin's ability to evoke the desolation of the post-apocalyptic landscape, while the second demonstrates that the author is just as adept at scripting scenes of action-packed, blood-chilling horror:

They marched.
The mountains fell away behind them; by half-day, they were deep in the open desert.  The roadway was little more than suggestion, but they could still follow its course, tracing the bulge it made in the hardpan, through a landscape of scattered boulders and strange, stunted trees, beneath a boiling sun and a limitless sky bleached of all color.  The breeze hadn't so much died as collapsed; the air was so motionless it seemed to hum, the heat vibrating around them like an insect's wings.  Everything in the landscape looked both close and far away, the sense of perspective distorted by the immeasurable horizon.  How easy it would be, Peter thought, to get turned around in such a place, to wander aimlessly until darkness fell.  Past the town of Mojave Junction--no town at all, just a few empty foundations and a name on the map--they crested a small rise to discover a long line of abandoned vehicles, two abreast, facing the direction they had come.  Most were passenger cars but there were some trucks as well, their rusted, sand-scoured chassis sunk in the drifting sand.  It felt as if they'd stumbled on an open grave, a grave of machines.  Many of the roofs had been peeled away, the doors torn off their hinges.  The interiors looked melted; if there had once been bodies inside, they were long gone, scattered to the desert winds.  Here and there in the undifferentiated debris, Peter detected a recognizable item of human scale: a pair of eyeglasses, an open suitcase, a child's plastic doll.  They passed in silence, not daring to speak.  Peter counted over a thousand vehicles before they ended in a final plume of wreckage, the indifferent desert sands resuming.   (509)


"Stop her!" someone yelled.  "Stop that woman!"
As Mausami felt the shot entering her upper thigh--a strangely trivial pain, like the sting of a bee--she realized she'd done it.  The flames were dying, guttering around the ring.  The crowd was suddenly backing away from the wires, everyone yelling, chaos erupting.  The viral had broken away from the last of the cattle, drawing itself erect--all throbbing light and eyes and claws and teeth, its smooth face and long neck and massive chest bibbed in blood.  Its body looked swollen, like a tick's.  It stood at least three meters, maybe more.  With a flick of its head it found Finn with its eyes, head cocking to the side, body tensing as it took aim, preparing to spring, and then it did; it seemed to cross the air between them at the speed of thought, invisible as a bullet was invisible, arriving all at once where Finn lay helpless.  What happened next Mausami did not see clearly and was glad she did not, it was so fast and terrible, like the cattle but vastly worse, because it was a man.  A splash of blood like something bursting, and part of Finn went one way, and part of him another.   (591)

Work Cited

Cronin, Justin.  The Passage.  New York: Ballantine Books, 2010.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Countdown: The Top 20 American Horror Movie Posters--#13

[For previous entry, click here.]

#13. Ravenous

What a brilliant tagline for this darkly-humorous film (in which Wendigo-haunted cannibals absorb the strength of those they dine upon).  I just love the gaping black hole of a mouth in the center, and the billowy burgundy background with its suggestion of faces (human and otherwise).  The imagery here might be blurry, but this poster is clearly effective.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

"The Gunman's Oxymorons" (poem)

Here's a little poem that my subconscious cooked up a few nights back.  When I awoke in the morning, the idea, title, and most of the lines soon came to me.  Funny how that works sometimes (and, boy, do I wish it could happen on a daily basis).

The Gunman's Oxymorons

By Joe Nazare

marital bliss
loving children

personal fulfillment
moderate drinking

sure bet
savings account

understanding supervisor
job security

workplace safety
innocent bystanders

pronounced silence

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

"Bash" Wednesday

Today I would just like to call attention to my short story "Bash," which appears in the just-released antho Fearology: Terrifying Tales of Phobias (Library of Horror Press).  Admittedly, the piece suffers from some formatting glitches (e.g., a handful of unindented paragraphs; inconsistency between italics and underlining) and questionable edits (e.g., formerly parenthetical thoughts spliced into the main narrative with hyphens; deleted words resulting in imbalanced sentences), and there are some lines here that I wish I had tweaked, but overall I am really fond of this story.  It involves an introverted young man named Charlie, whose terrible phobia about using public restrooms stems back to a traumatic childhood incident.  Charlie's worst fears are realized late one rainy night when he reluctantly enters the men's room at a highway rest stop--a fluorescent-lit chamber that contains some sinister secrets.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Most Gothic Place Names in the United States--New Jersey

[For previous entries, click the Most Gothic Place Names label under Features in the right sidebar.]

The Garden State did not offer the most fertile ground, but I was able to pick such choice names as Voorhees Corner (which no doubt abuts Crystal Lake), Carneys Point (the peak of freakishness), Blackwood (for followers of Algernon?), Little Silver (but a lot of lycanthropes), Brass Castle (a citadel of impudence), Whippany (the residents are always ready to lash out), Haddonfield (where no one can find a babysitter on Halloween), Bound Brook (and then they gagged her), and Candlewood (a place just begging for conflagration).  Yet none of these names in my native state can hold a candle to...

Foul Rift.  Sounds like a community where the peace has been deeply disturbed.  Where hatred has festered between begrudging neighbors.  Where not even Richard Dawson could moderate the family feuds playing out daily.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Countdown: The Top 20 American Horror Movie Posters--#14

[For previous entry, click here.]

#14. Freaks

The tagline is sensational, to say the least, and the artwork of this poster perfectly captures the luridness of the film itself.  Also, the obtrusive film title--presented here in misshapen and unaligned red letters--cunningly matches signifier and signified.

Sunday, May 15, 2011


[For previous game, click here.]

Can you solve the following puzzle within 20 seconds, or are you going to choke?


"___   ___   ___   ___   ___   ___   K   ___"     

___   Y         ___   ___   U   ___   ___

___   P   ___   I   ___   G   ___   T   ___   ___   ___


HINT: "I saw her standin' on her front lawn just twirlin' her baton / Me and her went for a ride sir and ten innocent people died"

Answer appears in the Comments section of this post.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

"Griptide": The Corrected Text

The following 100-word piece of microfiction appears in the most recent issue of Necrotic Tissue.  Unfortunately, the editor of that magazine made certain changes to the final paragraph without telling me (not cool), changes that I feel compromised the story's meaning and rhythm.  So I am taking the opportunity here to present my original version of the story:


By Joe Nazare

Hapless schmuck.

Only he could wade in to relieve himself, and then find himself yanked out to sea as if the very hand of God girdled his waist.  Minutes of ungainly, involuntary bodysurfing, and now the shoreline has all the haziness of a mirage. 

Shrill cries behind him: startled, he twists around and sees, beneath an impromptu seagull halo, the island of jagged rock from which the Pacific is still draining.  That's just great; he's gonna be cracked piecemeal by those crags he's vectoring towards.  Then the squid-faced monstrosity lumbers into view, and he realizes he should be so lucky.

Book Review: The Woman

[Note: This review was first published this past Wednesday, but the post was lost when the Blogger server went down the following day.]

The Woman by Jack Ketchum and Lucky McKee (Dorchester Publishing, 2011)

The Woman is the third installment (following Off Season and Offspring) in the classic series of novels concerning modern-day cannibals, but actually reads more like the Ketchum books Right to Life and The Girl Next Door.  This time around, the titular predator--the last survivor of the animalistic clan that terrorized the town of Dead River, Maine in the previous novel--has been captured by a tyrannical, misogynistic lawyer.  Christopher Cleek (who is about as balanced as a one-legged table) chains the Woman in his fruit cellar, abuses and rapes her, and even involves his own family in the ostensible domestication of the wild creature.

Ketchum (I refer to him singularly, since it's hard to say how much of a hand Lucky McKee--the director of the film version of The Woman--had in writing the actual book) thus hearkens back to a familiar plot paradigm with this tale of sadistic imprisonment.  The novel is more of a slow-boiler, lacking the sense of urgency created by the compressed time frame in Off Season and Offspring
Transforming the Woman into an almost sympathetic character--and holding her in captivity for the bulk of the narrative--makes for a risky authorial decision, since it diffuses the frisson generated by this established menace.  Suspense suffers, because the reader fully expects the Woman to break free of her bonds by book's end and wreak havoc on her tormentors.  To his credit, though, Ketchum does throw his readers a wicked curve when he reveals the Cleeks' guiltiest secret, hitherto hidden away in the family barn (a situation that reinforces the American Gothicism of the Joe Jackson lyric--"In every dream home / A nightmare"--employed as an epigraph to the novel).

The author makes strong use of alternating viewpoints, juxtaposing the mindsets of the Cleek family members and the Woman and blurring the line between civilization and savagery.  But perhaps Ketchum's most impressive talent on display here is his ability to dramatize the ongoing power struggle between the sexes--between (mad)man and Woman, husband and wife, father and daughter, brother and sister.  In this novel, even a simple game of tetherball in the schoolyard resonates thematically, with males and females facing off in not-always-friendly competition.  Such well-crafted scenes help prove that Ketchum is no mere shock jock; his fiction is as sophisticated as it is blood-drenched.

If The Woman deviates from the formula of the first two books in the series, the bonus novella "Cow" returns readers to more familiar ground: savage attacks on unsuspecting sojourners into the wilderness, detailed descriptions of the (literal) butchery of murdered humans, bouts of gory gormandizing.  In this quintessential captivity narrative, the hapless Donald Fischer recounts a harrowing tale of forced assimilation into the Woman's new family unit.  Admittedly, I was thrown by the penultimate line of Donald's journal (a question of continuity: could a certain character have reached puberty already, if not even two years have passed since the events of The Woman?), but that bit of confusion did not spoil the novella's overall effect.

The Woman might not rank with Ketchum's greatest work, but it is still a highly enjoyable book.  Though certainly not for the weak of stomach, it will be relished by anyone with a taste for unflinching, emotionally-honest horror.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Happy Jason Day!

But remember, teenagers: no boozing, bong-hitting, or boinking...unless you want to make it a killer Friday the 13th.

Countdown: The Top 20 American Horror Movie Posters--#15

[For previous entry, click here.]

#15. The Strangers

The tagline ("We Tell Ourselves There's Nothing To Fear.  But Sometimes We Are Wrong.") is blunt yet ominous.  But what truly distinguishes this poster is its haunting image of home invasion.  I just love how the stance of the masked figure in the doorway mimics that of Liv Tyler, like some bizarre reflection in a dark mirror.  The domestic scene seems so neat and orderly here, but an eruption of chaos is no doubt imminent.

[Note: this post was scheduled for Thursday, but could not be published due to problems with the Blogger server.]

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Most Gothic Place Names in the United States--New Hampshire

[For previous entries, click the "Most Gothic Place Names" label under Features in the right sidebar.]

New Hampshire really surprised me with its wealth of Gothic place names.  There's Gilmanton (which no doubt circles a black lagoon), Savageville (where acting uncivilized is a civic duty), Salem Depot (witch-hunting items at wholesale prices!), Severance (the townspeople here have no problem hacking tourists), Camp Notre Dame (meeting ground for backpacking hunchbacks?), Loon Cove (shares the same mindset as Madbury), Coffins Mill (a real death factory), and Chase Village (where the angry mob gets plenty of outdoor exercise).  The state's stand-out appellation, though, belongs to...

Hell Hollow.  The name conjures the image of a sylvan setting ravaged by inferno.  Or a spot where the netherworld's denizens have spilled out onto the earth's surface.  A place so demonic, even the Headless Horseman shuns it.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Countdown: The Top 20 American Horror Movie Posters--#16

[For previous entry, click here.]

#16. Vacancy

There's so much to love about this poster: the sepia-toned seediness (reinforced by a tagline that evokes those old "Roach Motel" commercials); the film title in the form of a neon sign; the reflection of the motel sign in the window (looking like a shish kebab spearing Luke Wilson's chest).  For me, though, the poster's most effective aspect is the concerned/stunned/appalled (take your pick) look on the actors' faces--I can't help but wonder what exactly it is that they're observing.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

On the Road with Silver John: "On the Hills and Everywhere"

[For previous ballads about the balladeer, click the "On the Road with Silver John" label under Features in the right sidebar.]

"On the Hills and Everywhere"

At Christmastime, John tells his friends a story:
Not his usual kind about supernatural danger,
But rather the relief brought to two sore neighbors
And the healing touch of one miraculous stranger.

Manly Wade Wellman's short story "On the Hills and Everywhere" can be found in Owls Hoot in the Daytime & Other Omens.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Countdown: The Top 20 American Horror Movie Posters--#17

[For previous entry, click here.]

#17. The Blair Witch Project

This chiaroscuro poster does a terrific job of establishing the woods' overarching ominousness, not to mention the camera-facing perspective featured in the faux-documentary film.  The printed exposition (topped by that mysterious cruciform symbol) also works as a perfect hook.  Understated--much like The Blair Witch Project itself--the poster haunts by hinting at the dark fantastic.

Friday, May 6, 2011

The Killing

Don't be fooled by the prosaic title; The Killing (which airs Sunday nights at 10 on AMC) makes for riveting viewing.

I came late to this new series (credit to my boss Adrienne for calling my attention to the show), but soon caught up to date with the episodes.  The Killing centers on the shocking murder of Seattle high school student Rosie Larsen (whose battered, bound body is discovered in the trunk of a mayoral candidate's campaign car).  But the show isn't just some Twin Peaks knockoff.  If anything, it resembles Mystic River in its gritty urban setting and dark-crime plot (not to mention the mob ties of the victim's father).  The series also calls to mind The Lovely Bones via its attention to the terrible grief experienced by those who knew and loved Rosie.

Hauntingly filmed and expertly acted (Michelle Forbes and Brent Sexton are amazing in the roles of Rosie's devastated parents), The Killing has quickly staked a claim to the title of best crime drama on television.  And the tag line from the commercials--"The deeper you go, the darker it gets"--situates the series squarely within the realm of American Gothic.  Indeed, plenty of seediness will be dug up during the investigation of Rosie's murder, as a singular crime exposes the corruption pervading an entire community.

For more about The Killing, check out the show's website.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Countdown: The Top 20 American Horror Movie Posters--#18

[For previous entry, click here.]

#18. Sleepy Hollow

The shadowy, nocturnal scene and the blood-red film title (not to mention the tag line's ominous promise) signal that this isn't the Disneyfied version of the legendary Washington Irving tale.  My favorite aspect of this poster, though, is the way the bent tree matches the angle of the rearing horse, suggesting an uncanny connection.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Most Gothic Place Names in the United States--Nevada

[For previous entries, click the "Most Gothic Place Names" label under Features in the right sidebar.]

Nevada was a tad deserted, but my search did turn up place names such as Carver Park (butchery in a bucolic scene), Deep Hole (you'll soon find yourself in over your head), Black Camp (sounds like an 80's slasher film), Ripley (a community devoted to oddity), Strawberry Hill (Horace Walpole's home-away-from-castle?), and Sundown Town (where the undead enjoy the nightlife).  But the most Gothic name in the Silver State is mined from...

Manse.  Imagine a town where every last domicile was a creepy old home.  Or one where a single, sprawling mansion loomed over the rest of the community.  Either way, this name evokes a place that houses the mysterious and the macabre.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Countdown: The Top 20 American Horror Movie Posters--#19

[For previous entry, click here.]

#19. House on Haunted Hill

This colorfully macabre poster promises an assortment of horrors in store indoors.  Also, the angled perspective onto the image gives the titular mansion a terrific looming quality.  All that's missing here is a tag line flashing some Price-type mordant wit.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Celebrating Death

This photo (of an impromptu gathering in NYC last night following the President's announcement of Osama Bin Laden's death) bespeaks an enormous release of the psychic pressure that has built up in Americans--and New Yorkers in particular--over the past decade.  The image also forms an ironic counter to the scenes of celebration in the Muslim world on the day of the 9/11 attacks.

What kills me, though, is the ticker in the upper left-hand corner of the picture: the fact that the result of an ultimately meaningless NBA playoff game is scrolling right below one of the most significant announcements in American history!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Countdown: The Top 20 American Horror Movie Posters--#20

May 1st brings the start of a new countdown here at Macabre Republic.  This time I'll be listing my choices for the Top 20 American Horror Movie Posters of all time.  The posters have been chosen based on their tag line, their imagery, their colorfulness, and their overall effect (the quality of the film itself did not factor into my rankings).

The last countdown (of the Top 20 Stephen King Works of American Gothic Short Fiction) ran for several months, but the twenty posts
covering the selected posters will appear over the course of the next few weeks.  So stay tuned, and don't hesitate to let me know at the end of the countdown if you feel that I've overlooked any strong candidates (which I'm sure I did, given the size of the field I was surveying).


#20. Candyman

I just love the way this poster taps into the mythic (the hook-handed killer) and the phobic (the crawling insect).  The imagery here--highlighting the vulnerability of the human eye--never fails to make me cringe.