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.

The film to pair with “Dark and Deep” is, in fact, so obvious that I put a disclaimer in my author’s notes saying that I had actually written the story before Guillermo del Toro’s The Shape of Water ever came out. Still, there’s no denying that it would make a great companion piece to this elegiac little story about a mummified merman.

It’s true that I wrote the story long before Shape of Water, though, so I wasn’t thinking about that movie when I wrote it. I was thinking about the 2001 remake of Edward L. Cahn’s campy 1956 carnival sideshow The She-Creature, and about the sort of ur-boardwalk it-came-from-the-sea film, Curtis Harrington’s Night Tide.

For all that it definitely influenced this story, though, I couldn’t swear that I’ve actually seen all of the 2001 version of She Creature. I should rectify that soon, though. It obviously stuck with me.

MV5BOTJkNWNiMzUtNTFkOS00NDYzLWExN2EtMTNkZGJkMDhjM2E2XkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyMjUyNDk2ODc@._V1_SX1777_CR0,0,1777,999_AL_

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.”

19149335_10210849118398146_7836479155017108087_n

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.

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.

If “The Blue Light” was the hardest of these to choose a film to go along with, “The Well and the Wheel” was a close second. While I’m known as “the monster guy,” and that’s apt, I also have a fondness for serial killer stories. Not all serial killer stories, though. Only certain ones. The chilly, autumnal ones. The mythologizing ones, as much about obsession as they are about murder. Zodiac and Red Dragon and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.

If you like those kinds of movies, too, pick your favorite one, and dive in, and call that your companion piece to “The Well and the Wheel.” I know that there must be a perfect one out there, just as I know I must have seen it, but I also can’t quite think what it is.

So I’ll recommend something that will work, in its stead: The TV show version of Hannibal. Really, the whole series will do, but for the ideal apertif try the first season. There’s echoes of Abigail Hobbs in the protagonist of “The Well and the Wheel,” though I can’t swear that I had actually seen Hannibal before I wrote this story, and I know that I wasn’t thinking about it as I wrote.

MV5BOWRlYjg3MzItMDliMy00Mjc3LWExMzUtN2Q3YmYzNTAwOGI3XkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyOTc5MDI5NjE@._V1_SX1777_CR0,0,1777,962_AL_

Then there’s also that well, right? And its position as the fetishistic object at the heart of the story obviously owes something to The Ring and to the Japanese version that came before it. For my money, I prefer Gore Verbinski’s 2002 remake, but it’s been a few years since I saw the original…

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.

There’s a pretty obvious movie to tie in with “Programmed to Receive.” It was, after all, written in response to a call for stories inspired by Lovecraft’s “From Beyond” and by Stuart Gordon’s cinematic adaptation of same. And as much as I love Gordon’s take on the material, I’m going with a different companion piece for this one.

While From Beyond certainly left its slimy, sleazy thumbprints on “Programmed to Receive,” it wasn’t the only movie to do so. I also had the 2013 found footage horror flick Banshee Chapter, itself a sort of take on the same story, with the addition of numbers stations, conspiracy theories, and Ted Levine doing his best Hunter S. Thompson, in my mind as I was writing.

MV5BMTUxOTc5OTA2M15BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwMjgwODY2MDE@._V1_

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.

“A Circle That Ever Returneth In” is, above all else, my ode to the Fafhrd and Gray Mouser stories of Fritz Leiber, which remain my favorite sword-and-sorcery tales. But, in the course of trying to bring something new to them, and to the intersection of swords-and-sorcery and Lovecraftian Mythos tales, I pulled in elements from Poe and the King in Yellow, to name a few.

There are plenty of sword-and-sorcery movies out there, but most of them don’t manage to capture the rich weirdness of the actual stories. I could suggest something like Don Coscarelli’s Beastmaster, and was almost going to, when I remembered the existence of “El Bosque Negro,” aka “The Black Forest.”

el_bosque_negro_low_res

An early short film from director Paul Urkijo Alijo, whose Errementari is one of my favorite flicks of the last few years, “El Bosque Negro” brings a low-rent version of Errementari‘s signature aesthetic in front of the camera, and also echoes, to at least some extent, my story’s leitmotif of what Nietzsche called “the eternal return of the same.”

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 may have been the hardest one of these to pick a movie to go along with. I definitely didn’t have movies in mind when I was writing “The Blue Light,” a story that was penned to go into an anthology of fairy tales retold in a post-apocalyptic milieu. As far as I know, the anthology never happened, but I’m happy with the story. I like the weird setting with its ever-present dust, its decaying industrial aesthetic, and its perpetual war.

The fairy tale that I chose to retell was “The Tinderbox,” though it comes in a number of other variations. I picked it because it has good monsters–these giant dogs with saucer eyes that have haunted me ever since I first read the story as a kid. Besides the assorted versions of the fairy tale, and illustrations of same by the likes of H.J. Ford, Kay Nielsen, Harry Clarke, and others, I know that I was picturing a lot of the art of Jean Giraud, better known as Moebius, while writing this story.

2dad3f6e-9b46-4a7a-8478-c8172a209bc2

I wracked my brain trying to come up with the right movie to go along with “The Blue Light,” and I’m still not sure that I’ve done it. To capture the tone of the story, I imagine something like Hayao Miyazaki’s Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind. If that’s not horror-y enough for Halloween, though, the rusting industrial aesthetic of the City is pretty well represented in Christophe Gans’ Silent Hill.

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.

Originally written for a steampunk ghost story anthology that it (rightly) didn’t get into, “Shadders” is the first original story in Guignol & Other Sardonic Tales. It’s also another tough one to assign a movie to.

I didn’t really have films in mind when I was writing this story, which is essentially a retelling of “The White Wyrak” by Stefan Grabinski, though the titular “shadders” are inspired in part by the critters in Guillermo del Toro’s Pacific Rim, especially the baby Otachi.

themangleropening21

However, the story is more than its steampunk setting or its monsters. It is a story that is deeply suspicious of the Industrial Revolution and capitalism, similar to my story “Black Hill” from many years before. In that way, with its monsters that are formed from the misery caused by industrialism, it would probably make a good double-feature with the much-maligned Tobe Hooper/Stephen King killer laundry press movie, The Mangler, which I have always liked, no matter how goofy it may be.

(He says, as though “goofy” is not pretty much always a selling point for him.)