Thursday, February 13, 2020

Cecilia Abate and Horror Scholar Journal Vol 2.: Hannibal

Cecilia Abate AKA Horror Scholar created a brand and magazine to make horror academia accessible, fun, and engaging. On her Facebook group, her values/methods are:

1) Media does not exist in a void.
2) Horror deserves scholarship.
3) Critical analysis is not censorship, not is it inherently negative.
4) Creators and consumers strengthen the genre through examination and discussion.
5) Horror is a community that should support and protect its own and strive for progress in terms of diversity, awareness, and inclusion
6) Both horror and scholarship are for everyone. Gatekeeping hurts the community.

Abate commits to inclusivity on all levels and opens up horror scholarship with paid work for writers and an always free magazine for readers. The magazine is an indie production completely designed and created by her. 

The first edition focused on American Horror Story and the second focused on Hannibal, which she generously offered to me in advance for review. The Hannibal magazine features 6 in-depth articles on aspects of the books, movies, and TV shows of Thomas Harris' stories (Red Dragon, The Silence of the Lambs, Hannibal, etc.). All of them brought unique perspectives to each media. 

Queerness and the Supernatural in Hannibal by Sasha Rivera focuses on the wendigo and stag figures as well as the relationship between Hannibal Lecter and Will Graham in the show Hannibal and compares them to Carmilla and The Picture of Dorian Gray. Gender and Adaptation by Mason Hawthorne tackles characters outside of gender norms in Harris' work and how they adapted in different media. While I thought they brought up valid points in terms of the portrayal of Margot Verger in Hannibal and Jame Gumb in the film Silence of the Lambs, I thought their assessment of Clarice in the latter movie reduced Jodie Foster's work and focused on one aspect of it (her physical difference to men in her field) rather than the strength and success she had. 

Abigail Hobbes and Fan Reproduction of the Victim/Survivor/Perpetratory Trichotomy by Lorraine Rumson shows how fans focus on Abigail role as victim and survivor rather than her less palatable, more complex role as both alongside perpetrator of violence. This was my favorite of the articles because women are complex and don't always fit in the boxes they are shoved into. One status doesn't cancel the others out and it's disengenuous to chalk up all of her actions to being "brainwashed by Hannibal." Abigail is one of my favorite characters and this article truly articulated why she is much more complex than most give her credit for. 

Clothing Symbolism in Hannibal by Megan McAllister focuses on Hannibal's literal tailored suits, their colors, and possible meanings as well as his person suit to put people at ease and escape notice. Gourmet Cannibalism: The Appeal of Hannibal Lecter by Ciara Ruane discusses the change of cannibalism from something base and savage (as portrayed historically, particularly towards indigenous people) to something bourgeois and motivated by his unique code of ethics where rudeness is deserving of death. Jonathan Demme's Use of Music in The Silence of the Lambs by Eric J. Lawrence was another article I loved. It analyzes not only Howard Shore's Score, but the incidental music, sounds, and silence in the film. 

The journal as a whole is amazing with a sleek design, informative articles, and a glossary in the back to define terms. Cecilia Abate truly makes these articles accessible to all and I look forward to more issues of the magazine. 

Women in Horror 2020

It's almost halfway into the month of February but I want to honor women in horror in front of the camera, behind the camera, and in the literature world as much as I can. I haven't written in a while due to work and other life stuff, so I hope to revitalize it this month and in the foreseeable future. Wish me luck!