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Horror films have long exploited this connection between being violently pierced and the penetrative act involved in sexual love, i.e., the knife wielding maniac of slasher films and the vampire’s fangs to name but two common examples. Sometimes this connection is a subtle connotation, but other times, as in Tobe Hooper’s Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974) and even more so in the sequel Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 (1986), subtlety is entirely disregarded in favor of obvious, sometimes vulgar, correlations between the phallus and Leatherface’s chainsaw (remember the scene in the sequel where Leatherface ex and death have always terrorizes the girl at the radio been comfortable in bed station, thrusting his chainsaw together. Considering the at her as she asks him how French interpretation of the or- good he is). gasm as “la petite mort,” or “little death,” the inference of The vampire generally and common ground between sex Dracula specifically connote im(love, procreation, and life) and ages of sexual love as fangs death cannot be dismissed. In- pierce the flesh of virginal charstruments of death being conacters. Hammer’s Horror of nected to sexual love have a Dracula (1958), marking Chrislong-standing topher Lee’s first turn as Bram tradition in reli- Stoker’s infamous vampire, gion and art; imagines the Count as decidedconsider the ly sexual in nature, depicting arrow, a weap- his attacks more as the advancon of death es of a seductive lover rather long associated than those of a vile monster. A with love. The less celebrated but no less inarrow as phal- teresting example of a strong lic symbol is not only associated correlation between sex and with Cupid, but a similarity ex- death within the vampire genre ists in the writings of the Chris- can be found in Vampyros Lestian mystic Teresa of Avila bos (1971), one of maybe four (1515-1582), wherein she is total films in Jess Franco’s expierced by the love of Christ in tensive oeuvre that isn’t comthe form of an angel wielding pletely unwatchable. There, the an arrow, or spear; in Bernini’s vampiric acts committed by famous 17th Century statue Ec- Soledad Miranda’s Countess are stasy of Saint Teresa, the saint pure, undisguised sexuality wears a visage of pure sexual (even more vulgar and obvious release at the prospect of being is Franco’s 1973 film Female “pierced by love.” Vampire, but, unfortunately,


that film falls into Franco’s unwatchable category). In recent years the French have been redefining the boundaries of this connection, especially in films such as Bustillo and Maury’s 2007 blood -fest Inside, and Alexandre Aja’s not-entirely-satisfying 2003 film High Tension. What does this connection between sex and death, especially a connection depicted so frequently in horror films, say about us culturally? Freud has much to say on this matter that cannot be given due diligence here, but, at least on a superficial level, it seems this continued cultural infatuation with the violent nature of sexuality speaks to an innate need to define an urge found in our collective unconscious wherein the line between life and death is always necessarily blurred. Perhaps it is because so many of them grant linguistic significance to something that lurks deep within the recesses of the unconscious mind that horror films make so many viewers uncomfortable, and others tingly with anticipation.










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True Love is hard to come by on screen in the horror scene. Budding romance is doomed from the start and relationships are just hard to hold on to. Really, who has time for candlelight dinners in the face of psycho killers, zombies, vampires and other beastly things? Simply falling for that special someone can be disastrous. The most extreme example is The Rule: whatever you do, don’t be part of the couple full of sexual chemistry - they are going to die, probably in a most unpleasant manner. A perfectly fine guy could be wandering along, then whammo!, in drops the girl of his dreams. After the chocolate and roses, they discover they are Natural Born Killers, like Mickey and Mallory or Chucky and Tiffany. The act of being in love works against innocent romantics, too. Take poor vampire Louis, for example. Had he not been pining after his lost love in a most suicidal fashion, Interview never could have happened. Heartache is hard enough in the real world. It takes on a life of its own in horror. Norman wanted to have a girl he could love; Mother wanted her little boy all to herself. Nobody fared well in that relationship. Dr. Lecter and Agent Starling have a convoluted albeit fascinating relationship to observe - from afar. The same can be said of the painful love of Detective and Mrs. Mills from Se7en (he for his work, she for him). Let’s face it, bad things just happen to people who hurt the tender hearts of such specimens as Carrie, Annie Wilkes (Misery), Francis Dolarhyde (Red Dragon/Manhunter) and Alex Forrest (Fatal Attraction). Really, even Freddy Krueger and Jason Voorhees were suffering lost love in their own twisted way. Would the death toll 18

have fallen if somebody had taken advantage of the poignant pause to offer a kind word to Michael Myers or Leatherface? Jigsaw needed so much grief counseling to work through his love issues he wouldn’t have been able to afford rent on his workspace, let alone the parts for his “games” afterward. Talk about a dry spell on the dating scene. Monsters are getting crushed left and right. King Kong, The Creature From the Black Lagoon, the Wolf Man and the Swamp Thing put everything on the line trying to find The One. Every one of them got shot down - sometimes literally. Poor Frankenstein’s monster! He had a bride custom made to order. The terrible fate of that marriage says a lot about love in horror. Romance can’t lose all the time, though. Love is too strong not to find a way. Love can be a fierce motivator when it comes to conquering adversity. What better reason shatter insurmountable odds than to get to the love of your life, waiting on the other side? Shaun (Of The Dead) found a new man inside himself in order to save Liz, just like Rob and Beth (Cloverfield) and Ripley and Newt (Aliens). That Couple in The Rule is always offset by The Other Couple; they develop a deep emotional attachment which motivates them to survive the crazed killer. At least, that’s the plan… When everything is going bad in a character’s life, sometimes they just need a good partner. Debra Morgan (Dexter) really deserved to be lucky in love, especially after watching brother Dex develop a (nearly) picture perfect marriage with sweet Rita. Deserving or not, characters like Deb are up against the ropes. Her life is full of all manner of psychopaths, who by definition have problems bonding. Rick (or Shane)

and Lori (Walking Dead) live and breathe survival against creatures who want to devour them. Oskar and Eli (Let Me In) are preteens with adolescence and vampirism on their plates and not a trustworthy role model in sight. No matter the outcome, love has been within reach for these road-weary warriors. The perfect horror romance has a little bit of everything. Dreadfully problematic relationships, heartache, violence, monsters, and ultimately romantic triumph of some variety. Two shining stars stand out. Sweeney Todd: Demon Barber of Fleet Street (the Tim Burton version is epic, though if you’ve missed the Broadway play with Angela Landsbury and George Hearn, go see it now) and Bram Stoker’s Dracula. Sweeney can’t let go of his Lucy, Mrs. Lovett can’t let go of Sweeney, they bring out the worst (or is it best?) in each other, monsters are everywhere, violence comes out in all shapes, sizes and subtleties, and one character’s pure love brings everything to an unforgettable climax. Don’t be fooled; musical does not mean lightweight. True-to-the-book Dracula is much the same. A very sympathetic bad guy meddling in other people’s love lives, so much heartache for so many characters, seduction, charm, grace, evil plots to do so many brutal things, and at-

tempts at redemption through love. Horror wouldn’t be nearly so horrifying if there weren’t some threat to our sense of safety and security, especially tender moments and love connections. Should true love’s survival seem too bleak, though, think on this heart-warming gem: Julie and R (Warm Bodies) proved True Love can cure the Zombie Apocalypse.


Touched By Darkness Sentinel Series Catherine Spangler

ling Sentinel or someone who can amplify and conduct his powers. Now if only he can convince Kara her cooperation is in everybody’s best interest… When she can no longer deny a Belian is on the loose, Kara must face the fact that Alex needs the kind of protection only a Sentinel can give him. And the best way Damien can help Alex is if Kara helps Damien, by acting as his conductor. Which means facing her past with another Sentinel, and the physical attraction inherent in the Sentinel/ conductor bond. The electrical charge between Damien and Kara is palpable. Emotional push and pull, steamy sex, and relationship dynamics keep the story moving forward. When the book was over, I was surprised to find myself wondering what would come next for the characters. Catherine Spangler’s Sentinel Series is worth keeping an eye on.

Atlantians walk among us. Superhuman, highly evolved beings, returned to Earth to enjoy the twentyfirst century advances in technology. Followers of the power-hungry, chaos-driven Belial seek only to honor him with excesses of fleshly pursuits, sacrifice and violence. Those who still believe in The One, The Light, The Power, come as Sentinels, charged with identifying and dispatching Belians and protecting the human race. Dr. Kara Cantrell has had enough of Belians and the Sentinel lifestyle. She and her young son Alex have been on the run after a personal tragedy seven - Sara Young years ago, and have finally settled in to a small town in Texas. Everything is normal again, Alex can be safe, life is good. Until Damien Morgan shows up, projecting Sentinel energy, drawn to young Alex, surprised by Kara’s reaction to him. He was only hunting a Belian murderer, not expecting a fledg-


Hunger Untamed A Feral Warriors Novel Pamela Palmer

raw a millennia later. Finding out she was alive, having the bond reconnected virtually against his will, Kougar was angry, betrayed, lost. Ariana knew she hurt him, doesn’t know if he could or should ever forgive her, and thinks things are best left as are. Now he needs the Queen of the Ilinas to save two of the Ferals. They’re going to have to work together, pain, mistrust, fear, and conflict aside, before time runs out. And to maintain the status quo they’re going to have to battle more than the dark forces at war with the Ferals and Ilinas. Hunger Untamed is full of raw emotional and sexual energy. The way the Warriors interact and work together makes one want to learn more about them. Excellent read for exploring the feelings of a strong man and the doings of a strong woman. Catch all the Feral Warriors novels from Avon Books, and keep an eye out for the latest, Wulfe Untamed, coming January 14, 2014!

The Feral Warriors are a race of immortal shape-shifters marked by animal spirits. Centered in Feral House, they venture out to turn back the Mage and prevent the return of Daemons. Hunger Untamed follows the story of Kougar. One thousand years ago, Kougar mated Ariana, Queen of the Ilinas, Beautiful and deadly, the Ilinas reach their home in the Crystal Realm (and sneak up on enemies, and surround and trap people, the possibilities are surprisingly ingenious) by turning to mist. Not everyone was happy about the pairing. -Sara Young Ariana’s second-in-command had a potion created to keep the mating bond from fully forming. In theory her plan was cruelly sound. In reality, the potion released a poison which spread through Ariana to her warriors, nearly eradicating the Ilina race before she was able to pull it back into herself. Desperate to save her beloved Kougar, she severed the bond, leaving him with a loss so deep and profound his grief was still





Darkfaery Subculture Magazine: February 2014