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Field Notes From Hell: It begins...
My first dispatch details why I started Deep Cuts in the first place, new horror I've watched, and this week's movie, TV, and book recommendations.
Field Notes From Hell is a weekly ‘dispatch’ email containing capsule reviews of genre films I’ve watched. I share weekly movie, TV, and book recos too.
Writing the horror
Let your characters write the horror. But then again, maybe don’t let your characters write horror.
In Lake Mungo, a grieving brother engineers an elaborate lie about her dead sister’s apparitions. It emboldens his mother to seek communication with her daughter, only to determine the terrifying truth about her death. In A Classic Horror Story, a group of Italian carpoolers ends up deep into an uncharted clearing, where a triumvirate of punishers set out to gouge their eyes, slice their ears, and cut out their tongues.
The former, though flawed, is an interesting rumination of grief. It gets proper scary towards the end, where a metaphysical possibility concerning one’s death will plague you with a haunted feeling long after the credits roll.
The latter is kind of a mess. Good on paper, the film’s ideas are simply executed poorly, with obnoxious characters that are better off getting the chop. It’s devoid of any form of suspense; the danger it diegetically cues with blaring sounds and blood-red headlights, as if to say “this is where you’re supposed to feel uneasy”. Of course, it doesn’t achieve that.
Why a newsletter?
I’ve created Deep Cuts to give my horror writings a home. My personal website is kind of single-purpose; I use it to get work as a copywriter (my trade). Unreel isn’t ideal, either, for editorial reasons.
I plan on sharing my horror-related pieces here. But since this is a newsletter, I figure it would be nice for subscribers to have something to look forward to. This isn’t a set-in-stone promise, but Field Notes From Hell will be that ‘something’. Regarding the cadence, I can’t commit to one just yet, but know that I will write to you in this format quite regularly.
The name is inspired by those cute (hella expensive) pocket jotters authors, journalists, and artists supposedly use. The ‘From Hell’ part makes it right on brand, a strong implication that these are dispatches from a genre nut comme moi.
This week’s recos
Ready for some horror? Check out this week’s recommendations:
The Final Girl Support Group by Grady Hendrix— Queued in my reading list. Just started The Southern Book Club's Guide to Slaying Vampires and it’s pretty good!
The Nowhere Inn — Absolutely bonkers meta-horror on St. Vincent as things go nightmarishly wrong with her documentary.