Posts by Haydn Crowe

Wrestling with the Fallen Angel: Midnight Mass as Catholic Horror

Two men—a priest and a recovering alcoholic— sit in a church rec center on folding chairs discussing the nature of God and the paradox of evil. It could be a scene out of Dostoevsky, but it’s a centerpiece of the Netflix limited series, Midnight Mass, an arrestingly strange and deeply affecting exploration of faith, sin, guilt, addiction, and grief. It’s a passion project for writer/director, Mike Flanagan, a highly-regarded horror auteur known for hit Netflix series, The Haunting of Hill House. Horror, for Flanagan, is a genre suited to themes of guilt and sin, faith and free will, buried secrets
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Archive81 and Cosmic Horror

Archive81 proved a surprise Netflix hit, a slowburn horror series that wears a number of influences on its sleeve: Rosemary’s Baby, The Shining, The Ring, The Twilight Zone, Alex Garland, David Lynch and Mike Flanagan. Never less than engaging (thanks primarily to superb lead performances and polished production values) the cumulative effect over eight episodes is like playing a game of genre Bingo: witches, haunted houses, cult rituals, cursed recordings, spooky corridors, snuff films, evil tomes, seances and sacrifices, possibly mad and unreliable narrators, and ancient evil deities. The last ingredient, readers may recognize, marks the series’ most conspicuous influence:
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The Genius of Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell

“Two magicians shall appear in England…” I tend to catch the tail-end of trends, like an enthusiastic gate-crasher at a party long since broken-up. When friends and family suggest—nay, insist—that I must, I absolutely must watch such-and-such a movie, listen to such-and-such a CD, or read such-and-such a book … well, I generally accept the generously proffered item with a nod of thanks, only to let the item gather dust on my desk or else serve as an improvised coaster. Passionate readers are a persistent bunch, however, so eventually I was browbeaten into picking up the bestselling fantasy novel by
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