Haunted Castles—A Neo-pagan Gothic Horrorfest by Ray Russell

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“Beneath the haunted castle lies the dungeon keep: the womb from whose darkness the ego first emerged, the tomb to which it knows it must return at last. Beneath the crumbling shell of paternal authority, lies the maternal blackness, imagined by the Gothic writer as a prison, a torture chamber—from which the cries of the kidnapped anima cannot even be heard. The upper and the lower levels of the ruined castle or abbey represent the contradictory fears at the heart of Gothic terror: the dread of the super-ego, whose splendid battlements have been battered but not quite cast down—and of the id, whose buried darkness abounds in dark visions no stormer of the castle had ever touched.”

Leslie A. Fielder, Love and Death in the American Novel

About the Penguin Horror Series

Penguin Horror is a collection of novels, stories, and poems (in the Poe volume) by masters of the genre, collected and Introduced by filmmaker and lifelong horror reader Guillermo del Toro.

More here…

https://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/series/BM8/penguin-horror


Guillermo Del Toro on Russell’s Haunted Castles from his Introduction to the Penguin Horror series…

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(Followed by More of Del Toro’s Introduction to the overall series…)

‘The case of Ray Russell offers us a chance to talk about one of the most peculiar horror writers. Russell links postpulp literature and the Grand Guignol tradition, with the modern sensibilities of America in the 1960s. Within him resides a neo-paganistic streak that is passed from Algernon Blackwood and Sax Rohmer to him and other writers of unusual proclivities, such as Bernard (aka. Bernhardt) J. Hurwood. A fascinating combination of the liberal and the heretic.

Russell was born in the early twentieth century and saw action during World War II. He held a variety of jobs and published in a variety of publications. He was part of the resurgence of fantastic literature in American letters. As executive fiction editor of Playboy in the magazine’s infancy (1954–1960), Russell probably knew his share of excess and power, but he utilized this power to provide refuge to a host of valuable genre writers, among them the brilliant Richard Matheson and the precious Charles Beaumont, but also heralded the birth of adult fantastic fiction by publishing also Vonnegut, Bradbury, Fredric Brown, and many others.

‘Russell authored numerous short stories and seven novels—including his most famous one, The Case Against Satan, which pioneers and outlines the plights of Rosemary’s Baby and The Exorcist. But, in spite of this and his continued collaborations with Playboy throughout the 1970s, Russell remains a forgotten writer. A sort of writer’s writer, an acquired taste. This in spite of being a recipient of both a World Fantasy Award and the Bram Stoker Award for Lifetime Achievement.

In fact, in the last few decades, so little has been published about Russell that the only quote, oft repeated, is Stephen King’s blurb, in which he enthrones Sardonicus as “perhaps the finest example of the modern gothic ever written.”

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What’s on the Tube?—Sacrifice, a Creepy Thriller Set in the Shetland Islands, Starring Rhada Mitchell & Rupert Graves ☠️☠️☠️☠️!

I loved this film. It’s based on a novel by UK author S. j. Bolton I read about 10 years ago. It was a great story them; and it’s still a great story.

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The 2016 film is based on the 2008 novel by award-winning author S. J. Bolton.

AN IFC MIDNIGHT RELEASE | IRELAND | APR 29TH, 2016 | 91 MINS | NR

Disturbing secrets lie buried in the bogs of a remote island in this spellbinding thriller. Shortly after surgeon Tora Hamilton (Radha Mitchell) moves with her husband (Rupert Graves) to the Shetland Islands—100 miles off the coast of Scotland—she makes an unnerving discovery: the body of a young woman with strange symbols carved into her flesh and her heart ripped out. When what at first appears to be the remains of a victim of an ancient ritual turns out to be a fresh corpse, Tora is plunged into a dangerous mystery that may be connected to the dark folklore that haunts the island’s past.

DIRECTOR: Peter A. Dowling
PRODUCERS: Peter Lewis, Tristan Lynch, Aoife O’Sullivan, Arnold Rifkin
SCREENWRITER: Peter A. Dowling (based on Sacrifice, a novel by S. j. Bolton)


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(IFC)

What’s on the Tube? Winchester—A Ghost Story Based on the Winchester Mystery House, Starring Helen Mirren ☠️☠️☠️

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There are other posters I liked (see below), but I really dig this one! The ghost stories are based on actual events. And the house is a real place you can visit (see Links below)! (IMDb)



The critics hemmed and hawed—but don’t they always? I liked this one! Mirren does a great job as Sarah Winchester heiress of the Winchester rifle fortune; and the rest of the cast worked well too, especially Jason Clarke. The sets were beautiful. There’s an interesting perspective on the period costuming (see the DVD’s “Special Features”). The characters could’ve been drawn more deeply; and, although there was a nice little general-type substory flowing underneath the plot, it could’ve been a more sophisticated one and woven a bit tighter to control the tension better. And a few of the ghost pop-ups—a little blasé. But I got the DVD and I’ll watch it again. Mirren is a masterpiece—she depicts the fin de siècle spiritualist widow perfectly and with a compassion and vulnerability that are touching and believable. 3 skulls! ☠️☠️☠️


 

Other Posters

Click thumbnails to enlarge…


Links

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Winchester Mystery House is a mansion in San Jose, California, that was once the personal residence of Sarah Winchester, the widow of firearm magnate William Wirt Winchester. Located at 525 South Winchester Blvd. in San Jose, the Queen Anne Style Victorian mansion is renowned for its size, its architectural curiosities, and its lack of any master building plan. It is a designated California historical landmark and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It is privately owned and serves as a tourist attraction….

Read more, here…

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Winchester_Mystery_House

Official Website…

https://www.winchestermysteryhouse.com/

Reviews

https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.rogerebert.com/reviews/amp/winchester-2018


Official Trailer

John Carpenter’s Halloween—Behind the Scenes, 1977

The Amityville, New York-DeFeo Family Murders—Behind the Scenes, November 12, 1974

The Exorcist—Behind the Scenes, 1977

 

Original vintage NBC-report footage at the location of the DeFeo Murders at “112” Ocean Avenue in Amityville, NY—the day after the killings: November 13, 1974…and then some…

When the murders took place, the house was worth $75,000 and was listed as 112 Ocean Ave. But after the killings, a later owner of the home worked with the post office to get the address changed to 108. (Richard Drew/ASSOCIATED PRESS)

The murders spawned a haunting incident endured by the Lutz family who, a few years after the murders took place, bought the Dutch-colonial on Ocean-Avenue for a steal, and moved in, only to be chased out of the house by a demonic presence and/or ghostly visitations. The ordeal has been referred to as “The Amityville Horror” since 1977, when author Jay Anson penned his best-selling nonfiction book by the same name. The book spawned a 1979 movie starring James Brolin and Margot Kidder (4 skulls). A second book, The Amityville Horror, Part II by John G. Jones was published in 1982. A series of sequel films followed during the 1980s (see images below), which I have never watched. In 2005, an official remake of the story was made starring Ryan Reynolds (3.75 skulls).

The story of The Amityville Horror was continued in a series of books by John G. Jones, with The Amityville Horror Part II (1982), Amityville: The Final Chapter (1985), Amityville: The Evil Escapes (1988) and Amityville: The Horror Returns (1989). In 1991, Amityville: The Nightmare Continues by Robin Karl was published. Famed ghost hunter, Hans Holzer, also wrote books relating the story, including Murder in Amityville, The Amityville Curse and The Secret of Amityville.

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