Directed by Scott Cooper and produced by Guillermo del Toro, Antlers delves into supernatural folklore horror and a tale of trauma, grief and horror taking place in a small Oregon town.
An adaptation of Nick Antosca’s short story “The Quiet Boy”, the film incorporates a variety of elements that are in many contemporary horror films. The trauma and bad family dynamics are conspicuous since the beginning, following a community where poverty and neglect are rampant. The film opens with a spine-chilling quote, letting the audience a glimpse of the malovelent spirit at hand:
Rock star Judas Coyne with a taste for the macabre decides to buy a ghost off the internet. It sounds gnarly, stupid and a waste of time – but he eventually wishes it wasonly that.
[Content warning and spoiler: assault, gore, violence, death, mental, physical and sexual abuse]
This novel follows a rock star, Judas Coyne (Jude), who loves collecting obscure and freakish objects. With his creepy collection that includes everything from a noose to a snuff film, nothing seems extreme to him. So when he becomes the highest bidder for a ghost on sale from a website, he merely thinks it’s a scam. But then, the ghost arrives in the form of a dead man’s suit, in a heart-shaped box. What then ensues is completely unexpected and reveals more of Jude’s past and relationships.
Heart-Shaped Box sounds like it has a bit of a goofy premise, and I was initially skeptical of it because combining technology with the supernatural has always been difficult to pull off, I find – it either comes across as cringe-worthy or trying too hard, unless it’s intentionally comedic.
Imagine living on a secluded snowy mountain in the middle of nowhere. You’ve been living with your husband, a monster, for 12 years – only to discover that there’s a new one lurking in the woods. How are you going to survive and escape both of them?
[Content Warning: SA, Abuse]
Christina Henry’s Near the Bone explores the horrors that the main character – Mattie – has to endure in an abusive relationship with her husband, William. While the premise does make it seem like the book mainly explores the strange supernatural-like entity living on the mountain, it actually focuses more on the abuse that Mattie endures which I don’t mind, the blurb is just a bit misleading. Mattie and William both have been residing on a mountain, almost completely secluded from the outside world. After years of being trapped and not having seen a single soul, it’s clear that William is not who claims to be and has tried to instill the idea that Mattie’s life revolves entirely around him. Her discovery of a horrifying yet intelligent creature called the “cryptid” alarms her and shows that there’s something else she should be afraid of, which also becomes the catalyst of her realisation that she could try to escape.