Sardonic Tales: “Haruspicate or Scry”

A few years ago, I did a thing where I picked a movie that would make a good double-feature with one of the stories in my then-newest collection, Painted Monsters. This year, for the Countdown to Halloween, I thought it might be fun to do the same thing, but with my now-newest collection, Guignol & Other Sardonic Tales.

This is another story with a really obvious analogue. I could just point you toward Rosemary’s Baby, the parallels to which are obvious for anyone who has read this story of unwanted pregnancy and Scrabble tiles. But while Rosemary and the Black Bramford are the most obvious places to look, they’re hardly the only places you’ll find suitable companion films for “Haruspicate or Scry.”


When I was writing about the seance scenes, I was thinking of Peter Medak’s remarkably grown-up 1980 ghost classic The Changeling, while the skeptic debunking ghost stories shows up nicely in the otherwise-kinda-disappointing 2017 anthology flick Ghost Stories. Meanwhile, the narrator was loosely inspired by my memories of Jessica Chastain’s performance in Andy Muschietti’s 2013 spook show Mama.

Finally, the three films that the narrator mentions seeing at the old revival theatre–LauraVertigo, and Forbidden Planet–weren’t selected at random.

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