Posted by Jess Dimond on Feb 21, 2013 in Apex Publications Blog: Matters of SF, Fantasy, and Horror, Women of Horror | 2 comments
I recently went to the Experience Music Project’s horror exhibit, Can’t Look Away: The Lure of Horror Film. It was, to use the academic term, totally boss. There was a sign there that explained the difference between fear and horror; I’m paraphrasing, but the sign more or less said that fear is the dread that something terrible might happen, and horror is the realization that it already did.
To quote the illustrious Chazz Michael Michaels, “Yikes.”
In honor ofWomen of Horror Month, here are four women whose creations bring me fear, and then horror, and then admiration for their wonderful, terrible skill.
M. Alice LeGrow: Bizenghast tells the story of Dinah Wherever, a teenager whose soul is bound in service to a mausoleum. With companions Vincent and Edaniel, Dinah must free the troubled souls there or face dire consequences. Every time I picked up a new installment of this series, LeGrow’s plot twists left me thinking, “No, she wouldn’t. She can’t. *gasp* She did!” The black-and-white, Gothic artistic design and the constant threat of death looming over each and every character make for an emotionally intense, horrific read.
Denise Levertov: There are lots of powerful facets of Denise Levertov’s poetry; one of my favorite aspects of her work is her ability to scare the everloving snot out of me just by describing the world around her. Levertov could have written devastating speculative fiction (check out the post-apocalyptic undertones of poems like “Obsessions” and “The Dead”), yet her handling of the real and the mundane is plenty scary. Try reading To the Snake without shuddering. I dare you.
Susan Galasso, frontwoman of Sprklfck: Sprklfck, whose name is pronounced just as NSFW-ly as you might suspect, will mess with your head. Why? Because they lay down chipper, upbeat numbers like Murder Castle that make you wanna dance and sing along with Galasso’s trained and fierce vocals. Then you realize that Galasso is singing as H. H. Holmes, a serial murderer who hunted victims at Chicago’s World’s Fair, and she sounds awfully happy to tell you, “Welcome to the White City, where there’s something ugly just beneath the skin.” You’re left wondering what in the holy heck is wrong with you for liking the song, but dang it, you’re not gonna stop tapping your foot to the beat.
Rat City Rollergirls’ Grave Danger: Okay, so Grave Danger isn’t one woman; roller derby team rosters can hold up to twenty skaters. My bad. However, I do think there’s an argument to be made that what makes Grave Danger (tagline: “Your Worst Nightmare!”) so terrifyingly talented is their singularity of purpose. When they’re on the track, they skate like one mind in five bodies, shutting down the competition and elevating derby to an art form while making the whole thing look easy. It’s thrilling to cheer them on from the stands, but if I had to play against them, I would be truly horrified.
Jess Dimond is an intern with Apex Publications. She is pursuing her Editing Certificate at the University of Washington. In her spare time, she writes poetry and fiction and a deeply derpy roller derby blog, The Pain Is A Lie. She lives in Seattle with her husband and their three cats.