HorrorAddicts.net Press Presents… Kill Switch, A Tech Horror Anthology

HorrorAddicts.net Press Presents…Kill Switch

FREE on Kindle
Father’s Day Weekend Only!

As technology takes over more of our lives, what will it mean to be human, and will we fear what we’ve created? What horrors will our technological hubris bring us in the future?

Join us as we walk the line between progressive convenience and the nightmares these advancements can breed. From faulty medical nanos and AI gone berserk to ghost-attracting audio-tech and one very ambitious Mow-Bot, we bring you tech horror that will keep you up at night. Will you reach the Kill Switch in time?

EDITED BY:
DAN SHAURETTE
& EMERIAN RICH

STORIES BY:
H.E. ROULO, TIM O’NEAL, JERRY J. DAVIS, EMERIAN RICH, BILL DAVIDSON,
DANA HAMMER, NACHING T. KASSA, GARRETT ROWLAN, DAPHNE STRASERT
PHILLIP T. STEVENS, LAUREL ANNE HILL, CHANTAL BOUDREAU, GARTH VON BUCHHOLZ

MOW-BOT / DANA HAMMER

Mike’s new Mow-Bot is the answer to his weekend chore dreams until the neighbor’s cat disappears.

REMS / TIM O’NEAL

A doctor eager for publication and fame unethically tests a wound debridement technology with disastrous results.

PHANTOM CALLER / NACHING T. KASSA

An elderly woman enlists the aid of two repairmen when her pest elimination program goes haywire and begins attracting ghosts.

SOULTAKER 2.0 / EMERIAN RICH

A game programmer in the final stages of launching a new version of the MMORPG “SoulTaker,” finds a bug even he can’t fix.

IN THE EYE OF THE BEHOLDER / DAPHNE STRASERT

Daemon is willing to do whatever it takes to get the girl of his dreams and if his Iriz eye implant can help him do that, he doesn’t care what else it does.

HAÜS / GARTH VON BUCHHOLZ

A five-year-old boy is left home alone while his parents travel overseas, but his smart-house will keep him safe, right?

TRAVELS / JERRY J. DAVIS

In a near future world where viewers are addicted to a television station featuring a hypnotically seductive sphere bouncing on an endless, surreal journey through unspoiled natural environments, Dodd is the only one who is “awake” enough to fight back.

GO GENTLY / GARRETT ROWLAN

In a future world where no one except fake grandparents live past the age of 65, Enid needs to land the job that will save her life, but a trip down memory lane may prove more difficult than she expects.

STRANGE MUSIC / CHANTAL BOUDREAU

An audio-sensitive college student is the only one who can hear the difference in a mechanical birdsong that attacks her little sister.

ANGELS DON’T FEAR HEIGHTS / H.E. ROULO

A man uses technology to control his daughter from beyond the grave, will she ever be free?

INTELLIGENIE / BILL DAVIDSON

A terminally ill woman discovers a frightening secret when she issues a deadly order to her personal robot.

13TH MAGGOT / LAUREL ANNE HILL

A scientist working with bioengineered medical maggots fails to document her obvious erroneous observation, only to later realize her horrific mistake.

SUBROUTINES / PHILLIP T. STEVENS

A computer programmer looking for his missing children in a legendary ghost house encounters a malevolent AI.

Available now on Amazon!

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HorrorAddicts.net Press Presents… Kill Switch on Kindle!

HorrorAddicts.net Press Presents…Kill Switch

NOW ON KINDLE!

As technology takes over more of our lives, what will it mean to be human, and will we fear what we’ve created? What horrors will our technological hubris bring us in the future?

Join us as we walk the line between progressive convenience and the nightmares these advancements can breed. From faulty medical nanos and AI gone berserk to ghost-attracting audio-tech and one very ambitious Mow-Bot, we bring you tech horror that will keep you up at night. Will you reach the Kill Switch in time?

EDITED BY:
DAN SHAURETTE
& EMERIAN RICH

STORIES BY:
H.E. ROULO, TIM O’NEAL, JERRY J. DAVIS, EMERIAN RICH, BILL DAVIDSON,
DANA HAMMER, NACHING T. KASSA, GARRETT ROWLAN, DAPHNE STRASERT
PHILLIP T. STEVENS, LAUREL ANNE HILL, CHANTAL BOUDREAU, GARTH VON BUCHHOLZ

MOW-BOT / DANA HAMMER

Mike’s new Mow-Bot is the answer to his weekend chore dreams until the neighbor’s cat disappears.

REMS / TIM O’NEAL

A doctor eager for publication and fame unethically tests a wound debridement technology with disastrous results.

PHANTOM CALLER / NACHING T. KASSA

An elderly woman enlists the aid of two repairmen when her pest elimination program goes haywire and begins attracting ghosts.

SOULTAKER 2.0 / EMERIAN RICH

A game programmer in the final stages of launching a new version of the MMORPG “SoulTaker,” finds a bug even he can’t fix.

IN THE EYE OF THE BEHOLDER / DAPHNE STRASERT

Daemon is willing to do whatever it takes to get the girl of his dreams and if his Iriz eye implant can help him do that, he doesn’t care what else it does.

HAÜS / GARTH VON BUCHHOLZ

A five-year-old boy is left home alone while his parents travel overseas, but his smart-house will keep him safe, right?

TRAVELS / JERRY J. DAVIS

In a near future world where viewers are addicted to a television station featuring a hypnotically seductive sphere bouncing on an endless, surreal journey through unspoiled natural environments, Dodd is the only one who is “awake” enough to fight back.

GO GENTLY / GARRETT ROWLAN

In a future world where no one except fake grandparents live past the age of 65, Enid needs to land the job that will save her life, but a trip down memory lane may prove more difficult than she expects.

STRANGE MUSIC / CHANTAL BOUDREAU

An audio-sensitive college student is the only one who can hear the difference in a mechanical birdsong that attacks her little sister.

ANGELS DON’T FEAR HEIGHTS / H.E. ROULO

A man uses technology to control his daughter from beyond the grave, will she ever be free?

INTELLIGENIE / BILL DAVIDSON

A terminally ill woman discovers a frightening secret when she issues a deadly order to her personal robot.

13TH MAGGOT / LAUREL ANNE HILL

A scientist working with bioengineered medical maggots fails to document her obvious erroneous observation, only to later realize her horrific mistake.

SUBROUTINES / PHILLIP T. STEVENS

A computer programmer looking for his missing children in a legendary ghost house encounters a malevolent AI.

Available now on Amazon!

#KillSwitch Blog Tour and Events

Interested in Tech Horror?
Join us as we tour the web and host live events.
#KillSwitch
Read the excerpts and get a taste of what you will find in our book.
Come listen to our authors read at events.
Join us as we geek out tech horror-style.

MAY #KillSwitch Blog Tour and Events
13 #KillSwitch Press Release / horroraddicts.net
14 #KillSwitch BLOG TOUR begins / horroraddicts.net
15 “Intelligenie” sneak peek at: / www.billdavidsonwriting.com
16 #KillSwitch on Emzbox / http://www.emzbox.com
17 “Subroutines” sneak peek at: / https://ptstephens.com
18 “Phantom Caller” sneak peek at: / https://frightenme.weebly.com/frighten-me-blog
19 #KillSwitch Origins Dan Shaurette / horroraddicts.net
20 Interview Phillip T. Stevens / horroraddicts.net
21 Interview Laurel Anne Hill / horroraddicts.net
22 Interview Bill Davidson / horroraddicts.net
23 Interview HE Roulo / horroraddicts.net
23 Twitter Scavenger Hunt / https://twitter.com/horroraddicts13
24 Interview Chantal Boudreau / horroraddicts.net
25 Interview Garrett Rowlan / horroraddicts.net
26 Interview Jerry J Davis / horroraddicts.net
27 Interview Garth von Buchholz / horroraddicts.net
27 Announce FACEBOOK LIVE EVENT / horroraddicts.net
28 Interview Daph, Emz, Naching / horroraddicts.net
29 “SoulTaker 2.0” sneak peek at: / http://www.emzbox.com
30 “Haüs” sneak peek at: / http://DarkEyeGlances.com
30 Twitter Scavenger Hunt / https://twitter.com/horroraddicts13
31 FB LIVE Event with EMZ / https://www.facebook.com/emzbox
JUNE
1 #KillSwitch Kindle announcement / horroraddicts.net
2 “REMs” sneak peek at: / https://davemstrom.wordpress.com/
3 “In the Eye of the Beholder” sneak peek at: / http://www.ellderet.com/blog
4 Announce Twitter Terminator Tues / horroraddicts.net
5 “Mow-Bot” sneak peek at: / http://www.emzbox.com
6 Twitter Scavenger Hunt / https://twitter.com/horroraddicts13
7 Announce FB takeover party / horroraddicts.net
8 “13th Maggot” sneak peek at: / http://selahjanel.wordpress.com/
9 #KillSwitch Origins / horroraddicts.net
10 Interview Tim O’Neal / horroraddicts.net
11 Interview Dana Hammer / horroraddicts.net
11 Twitter Terminator Tuesday / https://twitter.com/horroraddicts13
12 TBA Chat
13 “Travels” sneak peek at: / www.SumikoSaulson.com
13 Twitter Scavenger Hunt / https://twitter.com/horroraddicts13
14 FB Release Party / https://www.facebook.com/events/421059278473352
15 “Angels Don’t Fear Heights” sneak peek at: / https://www.hauntjaunts.net/blog/
16 Dad’s day promo! / horroraddicts.net
17 Loren interviews Emz / lorenrhoads.com
18 “Strange Music” sneak peek at: / Michele-roger.com
19 “Go Gently” sneak peek at: / stephanieellis.org
20 Twitter Scavenger Hunt / https://twitter.com/horroraddicts13
21 Overview of #KillSwitch / horroraddicts.net
22 HorrorAddicts.net #168 Kill Switch Cast / horroraddicts.net
TBA Second Life Party

HorrorAddicts.net Press Presents… Kill Switch, A Tech Horror Anthology

HorrorAddicts.net Press Presents…Kill Switch

As technology takes over more of our lives, what will it mean to be human, and will we fear what we’ve created? What horrors will our technological hubris bring us in the future?

Join us as we walk the line between progressive convenience and the nightmares these advancements can breed. From faulty medical nanos and AI gone berserk to ghost-attracting audio-tech and one very ambitious Mow-Bot, we bring you tech horror that will keep you up at night. Will you reach the Kill Switch in time?

EDITED BY:
DAN SHAURETTE
& EMERIAN RICH

STORIES BY:
H.E. ROULO, TIM O’NEAL, JERRY J. DAVIS, EMERIAN RICH, BILL DAVIDSON,
DANA HAMMER, NACHING T. KASSA, GARRETT ROWLAN, DAPHNE STRASERT
PHILLIP T. STEPHENS, LAUREL ANNE HILL, CHANTAL BOUDREAU, GARTH VON BUCHHOLZ

MOW-BOT / DANA HAMMER

Mike’s new Mow-Bot is the answer to his weekend chore dreams until the neighbor’s cat disappears.

REMS / TIM O’NEAL

A doctor eager for publication and fame unethically tests a wound debridement technology with disastrous results.

PHANTOM CALLER / NACHING T. KASSA

An elderly woman enlists the aid of two repairmen when her pest elimination program goes haywire and begins attracting ghosts.

SOULTAKER 2.0 / EMERIAN RICH

A game programmer in the final stages of launching a new version of the MMORPG “SoulTaker,” finds a bug even he can’t fix.

IN THE EYE OF THE BEHOLDER / DAPHNE STRASERT

Daemon is willing to do whatever it takes to get the girl of his dreams and if his Iriz eye implant can help him do that, he doesn’t care what else it does.

HAÜS / GARTH VON BUCHHOLZ

A five-year-old boy is left home alone while his parents travel overseas, but his smart-house will keep him safe, right?

TRAVELS / JERRY J. DAVIS

In a near future world where viewers are addicted to a television station featuring a hypnotically seductive sphere bouncing on an endless, surreal journey through unspoiled natural environments, Dodd is the only one who is “awake” enough to fight back.

GO GENTLY / GARRETT ROWLAN

In a future world where no one except fake grandparents live past the age of 65, Enid needs to land the job that will save her life, but a trip down memory lane may prove more difficult than she expects.

STRANGE MUSIC / CHANTAL BOUDREAU

An audio-sensitive college student is the only one who can hear the difference in a mechanical birdsong that attacks her little sister.

ANGELS DON’T FEAR HEIGHTS / H.E. ROULO

A man uses technology to control his daughter from beyond the grave, will she ever be free?

INTELLIGENIE / BILL DAVIDSON

A terminally ill woman discovers a frightening secret when she issues a deadly order to her personal robot.

13TH MAGGOT / LAUREL ANNE HILL

A scientist working with bioengineered medical maggots fails to document her obvious erroneous observation, only to later realize her horrific mistake.

SUBROUTINES / PHILLIP T. STEPHENS

A computer programmer looking for his missing children in a legendary ghost house encounters a malevolent AI.

Available now on Amazon!

Movie Review: Tales From the Hood 2

Tales from the Hood 2
by James Goodridge

Tales from the Hood 2 (TFTH2) is the long-awaited sequel to Rusty Cundieff’s original movie which was a milestone in the sub-genre of Black Horror. Films such as Son of Ingagi and Abby preceded it. Produced in association with Universal, Spike Lee’s 40 Mule Company, and Netflix, it was showcased on Netflix in 2018.

TFTH2 is an anthology broken up into five stories.

“Good Golly” directed by Cundieff is what I would call a cautionary tale aimed at millennials to not forget the past within context. Audrey (Alexandra De Berry) is in mindless rapture in a hunt for a gollywog—a jet black stereotyped image of—a doll. In England, these things even found their way onto television as a kids show. Bringing back fond memories for her of the one Grandma use to let her play with, Audrey tries to work the mysterious curator of the “Museum of Negrosity” into selling the doll. Rebuffed her, her friend Zoe (Jasmine Akakpoo) who as a young black woman is totally devoid of or has rescinded what little black consciousness she has, returns later at night to steal the doll with the help of her boyfriend Phillip (Andy Cohen). All hell breaks loose when Zoe and Phillip engage in a little slave master/slave, joking around, enraging an evil force in the museum, which in this writer’s opinion you can’t blame it. Not to give the punch line or ending away for those who haven’t seen it, all I can say is otherworldly bulk cases of Similac are to be had. A nice Easter egg is a doll from the original TFTH can be seen at times.

“The Medium” directed by Darin Scott takes aim (in a supernatural way) the struggle to rise above the negatives by doing the right thing. Redemption. Three would be thugs kidnap a reformed pimp, Cliff Bettis (Creighton Thomas), demanding he turn over his fortune, which he pleads is going to go back into the community. Killing the tenacious Bettis, the crew come up with a plan B which is to kidnap television psychic, John Lloyd (Byan Batt), a knock off of John Edwards. The end game is a séance scene that’s funny yet creepy.

“Date Night” also directed by Scott is predictable, you see the end coming half way through. Quick paced, it’s like the old horror 800 numbers from the 80’s you would (I’m showing my age) dial to listen to a flash fiction story.

“The Sacrifice” directed by Cundieff is—I confess the first time—a horror movie that brought tears to my eyes. Mainly B-horror movies are like comfort food for me but this short pulled at my heart. A combination of horror and the horror of the American experience for Black folks historically is what Cundieff had the fortitude to film. I give him a nod and a fist bump. Henry Bradley (Kendrick Cross), a black Republican of means in a red state throws his support behind a white populist mayor William Cotton (Cotton Yancey), who’s making a run for the state house and looking like KFC’s Col. Sanders which is a little over the top. Interpose this with flashbacks to the night Emmit Till (Chirstopher Paul Horne) was murdered. Creepy and visceral are how I feel towards Horne in that he reminds me of my youngest son in looks. Till’s haunting is taking a toll on Bradley’s pregnant white wife Emily (Jillian Batherson) and throwing Bradley into an alternate reality. The climax has Till, the four little girl victims of the 16th Street church bombing in ’63, Medger Evers, Chaney, Goodman & Schwerner, and Dr. King confront Bradley with a choice.

“Robo Hell” which opens and closes the movie, segwaying the stories, has Portifoy Simms (the iconic Keith David) locking horns with tycoon and MAGA 45 wannabe Dumas Beach (Bill Martin Willaims). Dumas’s company has invented a Robo Cop type robot.

All in all TFTH2 is watchable and let’s hope it’s not cursed as the urban legend tale making rounds, happened to the original Tales from the Hood.


aiuthor pix 3Born and raised in the Bronx, New York James is new to writing speculative fiction. After ten years as an artist representative and paralegal, James decided in 2013 to make a better commitment to writing. Currently writing a series of short Twilight Zone-inspired stories from the world of art (An occult detective short story, The E.E. Just Affair) with the goal of producing compelling stories. His work has appeared in BlackSciencefictionSociety.com, Genesis Winter 2015 Issue, AfroPhantoms.com, Horroraddicts.net, and a non-fiction essay in Apairy Magazine #8 2016 a Metro Philadelphia arts and literature magazine. You can also hear an interview with Mr. Goodridge on Genesis Science Fiction Radio air date 12/2/16 on YouTube.

BHH: Maman Dragonne

Maman Dragonne
by James Goodridge

I’m on a journey as a writer of Speculative Fiction’s sub-genre, Occult Detectives. So, I’ve made it my business to make a study of authors to bolster my knowledge.

Venturing deeper into the occult literary traditions, led me to the work of Seabury Quinn (1889-1969), creator of his character Dr. De Grandin. A reading of Quinn’s short story “Pledged to the Dead”—which was published in the October issue of Weird Tales — gave me immense interest in Quinn’s depiction of “Maman Dragonne.”

Dragonne would be considered in fiction a “flat character” because she really doesn’t appear in the first quarter of the story (at least in human form), but becomes increasingly important to the plot even though she has little in the way of dialogue. The story begins with a frantic young lady’s urgent need to see Dr. De Grandin, barging into his just-concluded dinner party. A guest, Dr. Trowbridge, is a somewhat of a Dr. Watson type sidekick. Dr. Trowbridge’s other job is to move the narrative along. It seems the lady’s fiancé, Ned Minton, has got himself into paranormal intrigue during a visit to New Orleans. One moonlit night as Minton walked pass St. Denis Cemetery, then onto Bienville St a japonica is dropped from a balcony, in front of his feet. Julie d’ Ayen is guilty of the aerial flirt. Her searching for an eternal love takes a bizarre turn, with Minton being stalked by a three-foot cottonmouth snake “Grand ‘tante” as Quinn wrote,

“Protector of Julie d’ Ayena mulatress aged black magic ‘conjon’ woman in turban and cambric apron, Maman Dragonne is not to be trifled with. Practitioner of Obeah from the Congo. Julie should have many loves but her body should not know corruption nor her spirit rest until she could find one to keep his promise and return to her with word of love upon his lips. Those who failed her should die horribly, but he who kept his pledge would bring her rest and peace spoke Maman Dragonne.”

Julie d’ Ayen and Maman Dragonne aka Grand ‘tante roam St. Denis Cemetery. Now, I don’t want to give the rest of the story away for “Pledged to The Dead” can be found in the public domain. 1937 was not an exactly a time in any medium for positive depictions of people of color as characters (in the story you’ll find the use of the word “darkie”) and I don’t know in depth about what Quinn’s views on race were during his lifetime but in a roundabout way, Quinn transforms Dragonne from a flat to round character and gives her strength as a person of color. Evil? Yes, but strong none the less. She is splendid in her silence which elevates the horror in the story.

**Sources: The Project Gutenberg www.gutenberg.net, http://www.pgdp.net


 

aiuthor pix 3Born and raised in the Bronx, New York James is new to writing speculative fiction. After ten years as an artist representative and paralegal, James decided in 2013 to make a better commitment to writing. Currently writing a series of short Twilight Zone-inspired stories from the world of art (An occult detective short story, The E.E. Just Affair) with the goal of producing compelling stories. His work has appeared in BlackSciencefictionSociety.com, Genesis Winter 2015 Issue, AfroPhantoms.com, Horroraddicts.net, and a non-fiction essay in Apairy Magazine #8 2016 a Metro Philadelphia arts and literature magazine. You can also hear an interview with Mr. Goodridge on Genesis Science Fiction Radio air date 12/2/16 on YouTube.

BHH: From Gagool to Akasha: Black Characters in Horror Fiction

From Gagool to Akasha: Black characters in Horror Fiction

by Sumiko Saulson

Black representation in horror fiction is about both characters and writers: we need more black authors, directors, screenwriters, and people behind the scenes to make sure that our communities are envisioned through our eyes. Yet, there is undeniable value to black heroes and villains envisioned by white and other non-black authors. The 2017 remake of Stephen King’s IT is a prime example of how betrayed black audiences feel when representation is diminished by erasing or minimizing the presence of an important black hero like Mike Hanlon. Outrage over whitewashing doesn’t disappear just because the character was written by someone who isn’t black. And anger about black actors portraying characters like Rue in The Hunger Games and Akasha in Queen of the Damned suggest overwhelmingly, racism among audiences. The success of Black Panther demonstrates both the need for black characters and the factual ability of black characters envisioned by white writers to be handed over to black production and writing teams.

Nisi Shawl and Cynthia Ward’s authoritative work on the subject is called writing the Other. It deals with the ins and outs of writing characters unlike oneself.  This is crucial as many of the black characters in Victorian fiction are hopelessly stereotyped characters of black witch doctors and high priestesses like Gagool, the evil old hag who advises the twisted dictator King Twala in the Alan Quartermain story King Solomon’s Mine by H. Rider Haggard. Haggard was one of the better known writers in the Lost Word genre. Modern takes on mysteriously hidden societies can be elevated, like the 2018 movie Black Panther’s take on Wakanda by black director Ryan Coogler and writer Joe Robert Cole, or feature terrifying evil white overlords against spunky black heroes, like Jordan Peele’s award-winning 2018 horror film Get Out.

That doesn’t mean we can easily get away from the vast number of old noble savage and evil mammy crone stereotypes that have historically plagued black heroes and villains in horror. No conversation on the subject would be complete without mentioning Stephen King, as sometimes he gets it right like in the Dark Tower or IT, but other times the obvious Uncle Tom stereotypes take over like in The Green Mile. His willingness to forge ahead and fill literature with black characters despite of criticism, and relatively thick-skinned response to black critics, is laudable, although it cannot replace black voices. It speaks volumes when compared to choices like the erasure of an Asian male character to insert a white female character in the 2016 Dr. Strange movie. The producers and directors copped out, saying they didn’t cast an Asian female in the gender-swapped role because they were afraid of a Dragon Lady stereotype. The writer’s inability to write a person of color who isn’t a one-dimensional trope should NEVER be an excuse for deleting POCs from movies.

Speaking of white washing, the Netflix Death Note movie’s predominately white cast marred the already lackluster film’s reputation so much that stand-out performances by Willem Dafoe as Ryuk and the hotness that is Lakeith Stanfield as L could not salvage it from its overall mediocrity. However, they did prevent it from being a complete train wreck like DragonBall Z: Evolution or Gods of Egypt, and elevated it above the snooze fest that was Iron Fist.

Like a lot of black people, I had mixed feelings about the obvious pandering involved in casting Lakeith Stanfield, who some may also recognize from his performances as one of the terrifying black abductees in Get Out.  Like Tilda Swinton in the role of Ancient One, Stanfield turned in an amazing performance in a less than amazing film and was forced to kowtow on behalf of its producers, making excuses for their whitewashing, in exchange. It is cringe-worthy, and the producers and directors of these films need to do a much better job. There should be a diversity of roles for older women, and black men, and no one should be forced in this kind of position in the first place.

Stephen King isn’t the only famous modern white author who has persisted in writing black characters despite criticism, and in the case of Anne Rice, who is notoriously thin-skinned and hates critics and editors, it is a labor of love forged from her connection to New Orleans. Once she told me that if I had been born in New Orleans, I would never have to suffer the lot of San Franciscans who treat me as though I am not a beautiful woman, because a girl who looks like me in NOLA would be damned near haughty about her mulatta looks. I laughed – Californian politics frown upon embracing one’s light-skinned privilege. The Feast of All Saints was the first book I read that had terms like quadroon and I was quite shocked and horrified when I read it as a young lady and found out everything about blood quantum, words like octoroon, the quadroon balls, and how interracial relationships were treated during and just post slavery that my politically correct African American mother and white Jewish father hid from. My parents just told me that mulatto was a slave word and we don’t talk about such things.

It wouldn’t be until years later, during college, that I was re-introduced to the same subject by African American authors like Toni Morrison, Zora Neale Hurston, and Alice Walker.

The Anne Rice villain Akasha was someone that I and my mother both related to, my mother more so than I. She tapped into the deep well of African American identification with Egyptian culture, and although some Anne Rice fans throw a fit about black identification with the character and the casting of Aaliyah, I am of the firm opinion that Aaliyah and the soundtrack are the only redeeming qualities of a train wreck that infuriated Anne Rice so much that fans are asked to please refrain from mentioning That Movie on her Facebook page.

Anyone who has read Prince Lestat knows that Anne Rice isn’t personally unhappy about black folks relating to Akasha. In the book, her son Seth is a peaceful science-loving Egyptian intellectual who goes way, way out of his way to maintain his dark skin despite the pallor that descends upon vampires. His love of his ethnic background and his pride in his dark skin are a symbolic love note to all of the black readers who nearly fainted when they read about the beautiful, wicked and cruel Queen of the Damned, Akasha.

Black folks love Akasha like we love Candyman. Sometimes black villains have more autonomy than black heroes do. We love Killmonger because he has the freedom to lash out against oppression in a way that the tight-laced T’Challa cannot. Being a good person concerned with all of mankind means turning a blind eye to injustice all too often. That’s why so many of us get a kick out of identifying with characters that have completely lost it and gone on a rampage. We are sick to death of the Allan Quartermains of the world and don’t want to play nice, turn the other cheek, and be like Martin Luther King, Jr. anymore. We want to rage and burn it all down like Killmonger in our secret heart of hearts. Because we are all so sick of that martyr Mother Abigail, John Coffey role we could scream.

It is the Noble Savage stereotype with an American twist that makes it so that so many black heroes in white literature are martyrs. Uncle Tom’s Cabin, the source of the term Uncle Tom, is about a black slave so faithful to a white Christian savior that he literally lets racist slavers beat him to death without fighting back. The evil surviving white slavers converted after they killed good old Uncle Tom. None of us really want to go out like Uncle Tom, so we start daydreaming about being like Killmonger, or Akasha, or Candyman.

Black heroes who aren’t martyrs are still present in white horror fiction. Michonne in The Walking Dead, the black L in the Netflix Death Note, Bonnie Bennett in the Vampire Diaries – but they are disconnected from black community. Michonne becomes a part of Richonne and Rick’s white kids replace her dead white son. Bonnie’s black grandma dies and she’s dating white boys and fading into the generally white-dominated and not particularly multicultural casts. The black audiences flee to The Originals, where New Orleans and Marcello make for steamy, black centered episodes, even when the improbable happens such as a white character switching into a black body.

The Originals was a truly multicultural program in a way that the Vampire Diaries never was. Truly multicultural programs have enough representation for each minority that there isn’t just the one black witch standing there at the end. The Originals had a Latina teen witch, Davina, who has relationships with other Latino community members even though she is Marcel’s adopted daughter. Black and Latino witches and warlocks populate the tale throughout, and not just one family line of them.

We have come a long way since King Twala and Gagool with characters like Shuri, Queen Ramonda, and T’Challa. Yet, we still have a long way to go. The twisted witch doctor in the video game Diablo III crawling on her knuckles like a subhuman; shades of Gagool. The mixed bag of horribly triggering content that plagues talented actresses like Gabourney Sidibe and Angela Bassett, shades of Gagool. We still haven’t gotten away from the tropes that haunt the black community and we cannot without vigilance on the part of every writer who tackles characters of color.


sumiko armband

Sumiko Saulson a horror, sci-fi and dark fantasy writer. Her novels include “Solitude,” “Warmth”, and “Happiness and Other Diseases.” She is the author of the Young Adult horror novella series “The Moon Cried Blood”, and short story anthology “Things That Go Bump in My Head.” Born to African-American and Russian-Jewish parents, she is a native Californian, and has spent most of her adult life in the Bay Area. She is a horror blogger and journalist