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You Had Me At ‘Psycho-Sexual Unravelling’ RAW: Feminist Horror Movie

10 Oct

by Madeline Iva

There’s nothing like a good feminist horror movie to get you in the mood for Halloween.  And such is our society that for the first thirty minutes of Julie Ducournau’s feminist allegorical film RAW, she doesn’t even have to go out of her way to create horror–she just turns the camera on all the normal, yet utter bullls**t young women typically go through in the world, simply by virtue of being young women.

THE BEGINNING:

A young woman named Justine (get it? JUSTine?) leaves her vegetarian parents to go off to medical college and become a vet.  She goes through an initiation everyone must go through, in which she’s covered in blood and made to eat raw meat (she’s a vegetarian too.) But the initiation goes on for weeks–that’s just the beginning of it all.

Are you getting the sense of moral violation on this still shot? Good.

La-la-la! You know, for the first half hour she goes through horrible stuff.  The whole point of these initiation rituals is a kind of semi-compulsive, semi-voluntarily trial of humiliation and degradation. Justine tries to get through it all while she’s being pushed and pummeled on all sides (literally, at one point, when she’s at a party.)

As we move through this set up the first scene of actual horror comes.  She’s been accused of cheating because she and another student (who is also her roommate) have the same answers on a test. Clearly he copied from her, but the professor wants her to confess SHE cheated because she’s a smarty-pants know it all, and it’s clear that this man just enjoys bashing bright, young women.  Afterwards, there’s a scene that’s analogous to purging.  But make no mistake–this is not a film about eating disorders. It’s allegorical. It’s about the f**ked-upness of our world.  First of all  it’s not food she’s purging. (No spoilers here!)  Second of all, when Justine emerges from the toilet cubical having purged, the response of another young woman at the sink is this: “It’s easier if you stick two fingers down your throat.” Thus invoking a kind of sisterhood of eating disorders! Yes, that’s messed up—and THAT’s what the entire film is like.  The horror of how twisted real life is with the volume dial turned up a little higher and then a little higher still.

The next special moment of horror in the film devoted to Brazilian waxing.

Let me pause here: imagine a movie in which women are tortured by having patches of hair ripped from the most private part of their body–and somewhat to the detriment of our own health (we’re talking micro tears of the va-jay-jay that lead to an increase in infections, etc.) —that’s a pure horror movie concept right there.

But wait! In this horror movie — the tortured women are somehow convinced to volunteer for this torture again and again. Moreover, to crank the horror up another notch–they start putting pressure on their friends and daughters to torture themselves the same way.  It’s eventually revealed to the audience that the evil people who started this whole thing have actually gotten the women to pay for their own torture.  The final scene answer the question of why would women ever do this to themselves in this way is that they’ve somehow they’ve been convinced in some nebulous, undefined way that men like it—men like women to be smooth down there like little pre-pubescent girls–as if all the men were pedophiles or something. (Insert scream of terror.)

I mean, — why hasn’t someone made a horror movie yet about popular grooming trends in modern life?????

THE MIDDLE:

Watching the film, I start to get the idea we’re witnessnessing a “pyscho-sexual” unraveling.

Goody!

Like in BLACK SWAN.(Why have I never done a blog post on Black Swan?) Like in that classic French film REPULSION. (So good!)

The truth about sexual bullying in college is revealed here clear as a bell.  There’s one of those variants of college heteronormative, de-virginizing activities–certainly familiar to all U.S. college students as well–where two people are basically told “You git on in there and boink or else.”

sex with strangers

The pressure to loose your virginity to a stranger in college — it’s own unique horror.

The situation with the Justine’s gay roommate/study mate is also interesting – REALLY interesting. Like there’s so much I want to say but it’d be spoilers left and right. So I won’t.

Except…He’s hot. She likes him, and at one point –

Ah! I can’t go any further…you’ll have to watch the film yourself.

I will say this:

It’s fascinating, and I also, since I’m writing this blog post as I’m watching it—I’ll confess I have no idea where it’s going.

THE END:

There’s a clear indication that the movie is allegorical. It’s not about vegetarianism at all. It’s really saying something about the initiation of young women into the world.  About the swift egregious violations of one’s own moral code just to get along.  And then what? How can you use your own moral compass when you’ve already been compelled by social pressures to smash it?

Raw, feminist horror film

Hate to break it to you, but this film is NOT about vegetarianism…

The movie definitely points out how those who are oppressed in turn victimize and oppress others.

Yeah, it’s like that. Justine turns upon someone weaker than her –and wants to inflict damage. Not only does she want to do that–she also instinctively blames the weaker person for the violation. Towards the end of the film, Justine yells at a victim in remorse: “How come you didn’t fight back? You should have hit me!”

If I had to guess, I’d say this movie is about how societal institutions (like a competitive college for vets) bully and harass us into becoming aggressive, compulsive consumers (in this case of flesh). The only other choice in this false dichotomy, is to become a victim yourself.

What I’m saying, of course, is that the movie is brilliant. It’s on Netflix right now. Perfect Halloween date night horror movie–if you’re a twisted, feminist vegan—like me. ; >

Hey! Check out this HALLOWEEN ROMANCE page on Facebook   Wednesday night, Oct 11th, the page is having an event where we’re watching PRACTICAL MAGIC at 9:30 EST. On Thursday, October 12th, I’ll be doing a take over and hosting some fun posts and giveaways.

And! Don’t forget if you live within reach of Charlottesville, VA I’m going to do a panel and book signing for the QUEENS OF THE DAMNED event at Barnes & Nobel. (See Our FB Event Page and let us know you’re going). It’s on Saturday, October 28th from noon to 3.  Here’s the postcard:

 

Thanks to women, the horror genre is changing and growing–come to this event and hear more!

Madeline Iva is the twisted sister you always wish you had.  She’s also the author of the fantasy romance Wicked Apprentice.  Check out her other Lady Smut postsJoin her newsletter or follow her on Facebook, twitter, and Pinterest.

I Vote October Sexiest Month of the Year

3 Oct

by Madeline Iva

I’m just orgasmic when it comes to October.  I wish it was three months long.  Seriously.  October is the perfect time to dive into a hot, paranormal romance or to enfold oneself in an elegant, gothic thrillfest.  It’s the home of fantastical fantasies–whether they take place on other worlds or with paranormal sexy beasts.

The season delights my senses. Between leaves crunching, the low angle of afternoon sunlight or the smell of apple cider on the stove, one is in an orgy of sensual delights.  Wool sweaters come out. Your thinking turns all crispy with the cold.  But more importantly, this is the time that we touch fingers with the otherworld.  This is the time to let sensual urges begin to bubble, toil, and cause you trouble.  The time to let primal passions ripen.  The time to welcome an unexpected knock on the door.  No one knows what you do in the dark; in October darkness begins to engulf daylight.  Witches, vampires, along with other things unseen and only grasped in the shadows tease and taunt you to come out and play.  Aren’t you already shivering with delight?

My Halloween pleasures come in a variety pack:

Creepy, Kookie, Mysterious & Spooky:

Over on Facebook, I’m part of a new, fun Halloween Romance FB group.  Yesterday we were talking about what kind of Halloween movies we adore: Beetlejuice, The Adams Family (I like the old TV shows best), and all that other cute fun Halloween-y stuff.  It’s all about the embrace of ‘the other’ isn’t it?

I have a feeling as the days roll by we’ll be shuffling through the leaves and into hotter, more forbidden Halloween topics. ; >  But for now, I love the innocent, goofy “if-you’re-weird-and-ya-know-it-clap-your-hands” kind of vibe as much as I love anything else about Halloween.

We’re having a THE CRAFT movie watching party  on facebook Wednesday night, October 4th.  Join us! It’s at 8:30pm CDT.

Fantastical & Romantic:

October is the perfect time of year for one’s over-the-top urges, whether it’s dressing up, or more fully exploring your pagan side.   For me there are many movies & TV shows that are so flawed, and yet…they feature the kind of fantastical costuming & majestic vibe I lurv so hard.  Here are a few:

Bram Stoker’s Dracula (directed by Francis Ford Coppola) — This movie is flawed, but this side story where poor Lucy is mesmerized, ravished, and then succumbs to Dracula–and how her relationship plays out with her bestie Mina–is to me the most evocative and best part of the movie.

#sowrongsoright —
Lucy having erotic-no-holds-barred sex w dracula inmonster form. On one hand: ew. On the other hand, she’s clearly getting off big time.

Have I got a tale to tell you. Hands down best part of Bram Stoker’s Dracula was the homoerotic/innocent scenes between Lucy n Mina. Thus a thousand fan fic stories were born….

Lucy gets the best and worst of it, clearly. But her costumes were definitely the best part.

Penny Dreadful — I’ll confess I couldn’t make it through this TV show.  Slow pacing and just unorganized weirdness.  But on the other hand, I slobberingly adore Eva Green–esp in her “we’re all doomed” kind of mind-set.

Crimson Peak — didn’t care for the bloody slithering spooky parts of this film that tried to add a dash of horror in what otherwise was a perfect gothic set piece.  The costumes and the set were to die.  I worship it in this Lady Smut blog post and again talking about women in Gothic romances & movies.

What are those things hanging down from the ceiling? I wants them.

Sleepy Hollow —  Just watched this the other night.  There’s a complicated backstory that’s hard to follow–and we just don’t care.  There’s a complicated mystery that Johnny Depp must piece together, but it’s hard to stay focussed with all the over-the-top mayhem and Christopher Walken magnificently chewing the scenery.  The story just gets lost, people.  BUT — Christina Ricci (though her role is dumb) is so angelic and yummy and delicate you just want to strangle her to death.

A+ costumes for Sleepy Hollow!

Underworld — the styling of the first movie is as good as any of the rest of it.  The vamps are cool as f*ck.  Just sayin’.

A Sense of Wit & Humor:

If Halloween were a hero, he’d be the one quietly laughing at himself.  I love humor in all Halloween movies & TV shows. Have you seen all of these?

  • Crazy Head (British, TV)
  • Santa Clarita Diet (Netflix)
  • iZombie (TV)
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer (TV)
  • Warm Bodies (Movie, Romance)
  • Shawn of the Dead (Movie, Zombies, Satire)
  • Scream (Horror Movie)
  • Ghostbusters (Movie, Humor)
  • An American Werewolf in London (Old 80’s Horror Movie)

Gothic, Perverse, & Grotesque:

Something about fall gives me an almost manic sense of possibility.  A go-to-hell attitude that spurs my imagination, allowing me to uphold my true love for all things a wee bit twisted.  In fact, my Pinterest board Halloween Smexy is a document of my favorite Halloween cultural delights.

Today I’m fixated (again) on AMERICAN HORROR STORY: COVEN.  There’s such a dark-girl-power theme, I can’t f***ing get enough. Shivers.

Speaking of dark-girl-power! I’m going to be at this Barnes & Nobel event in Charlottesville, VA on Saturday October 28th, from 12 to 3pm. (singing) It’s gonna be freaking awesome…We’re talking about the world of genre fic — specifically the world of SFF–and ‘what it feels like for a girl‘ in this genre, whether we’re attending cons or being someone with a vagina amongst all the writer-men.
Queens of Damned postcard, Barnes & Nobel event

In summation, because of the ebullient change of seasons, the dark embrace of Halloween, and all it’s fantastical, twisted, grotesque excellence–I vote October sexiest month of the year.

But Wait! There’s More!!!!

Here are two other events I’ll be attending this season:

This Sunday, Oct 8th, 2017, I’ll be at the HEARTS TO YOU, WRW Luncheon for bloggers and readers.  You want to sign up? It’s not too late.  Click the link for the registration form.

Click on this photo to go to the registration page…

The other event on Nov 4th is at the LOUDEN COUNTY Library. I’ll be talking plot and how character is king! Click on the link:

BASICS OF THE ROMANCE FICTION GENRE

And if that’s not enough of me, you know you can always subscribe to my newsletter or find me on fb.

Witchy kisses & hugs to you! XOXO, Mads

 

You Talk Too Much, Mother: Skip Hemlock Grove

22 Jun

F*ck it! At least I was good in the show.

by Madeline Iva

“You talk too much, Mother.” This is the big culminating moment of the first season for Hemlock grove. Roman kills his mother by ripping out her tongue.  Oh, you want a spoiler alert? Here’s my spoiler alert: Hemlock Grove is misogynistic as f*ck.

Skip Hemlock Grove–here’s a few good reasons why:

1) TELLING WOMEN THEY TALK TOO MUCH

Man, that culminating moment did not sit well with me.  Don’t get me wrong: Roman’s mother is evil.  But she’s 3-D evil, and has a lot of interesting stuff going on with her.  But you see, Roman is evil too.  We’re ultimately rooting more for him, because we’ve seen more of his humanity, but we’ve seen a bit of her humanity as well.  Given the fact that they practically cancel each other out, can we really triumph in someone telling his mother to shut up, then killing her? Hmmmmmm.

It’s just the whole way it was done–like we were supposed to rejoice that she’s being ‘put in her place’.  No.  Having pretty much gulped the first season in three swallows, I was left to assess the damage of my cough ridden days spent binging on the sofa.

2) I sat through, like, FOUR WOMEN BEING CHEWED UP BY A WEREWOLF–VAGINA FIRST. 

3) I sat through Roman RAPING A GIRL AND THEN TELLING HER TO FORGET IT HAPPENED. (He has that power.)

4) THE DEAD GIRL BODY COUNT: 12 named female characters on the show.  Seven high school girls and five women.

SO! Who’s left at the end to be in season two? It’s a blood bath people. By the end one is left in town. (The one who was raped.) One has left town.  Ten are dead. (We think.)

There are 11 named male characters on the show.  All of the authority figures are male.  Who’s left at the end? Well, one moves away by the end of Season one.  One has his face scratched–but it will heal.  And one is dead.  The homeless guy.(Suicide.)

Ten women dead by the end of season one and one homeless guy.

5) VIRGIN/WHORE TROPES — WITHOUT IRONY. Slut shaming is so 1980’s, people.

The show has a good mother and an evil mother. The good mother gets far less on-air time, and doesn’t actually DO anything. You have a somewhat clueless virgin and a lot of ‘popular girl’ werewolf bait. The sluttiness is played down a bit, and not really judged—but we know how this goes.  The cheerleader, the slut, the mean girls. They all wind up screaming and then the blood splatters…it’s just so old. SO OLD.

I was the interesting weird girl. I could have been a leading character. You could have done so much with me to redeem yourselves! And you didn’t! Agggggh!

I wrestle with the fact that I love gothic-suspense-y twisted and perverted stuff. And this is suspense.  This is twisted and perverted stuff. But wait.  Usually the point of all this gothic mayhem is that we see it from the point of view of a young female character.  What’s revealed to her is the unfair twisted horrors that she never suspected lay beneath the place that at first did not appear all that bad.

But wait! This is exactly the experience I had with this show!  Yet I don’t *think* that’s the experience the show creators wanted to convey.  The world is a sinister, creepy place where ten women die (and two get raped) for every one male death. Gah! I already knew this, but thought we’d seriously left this crap behind us.

6) WE WANT NEW SKOOL GOTH NOT OLD SKOOL MISOGYNY: There’s so many other twisted, perverted, and gothic stuff that can involve getting out of the old school male trenches. Gay people doing twisty stuff. Men getting raped instead of women. (but not the gay men, please.) Monsters (the physical kind) having love affairs. Gorgeous a-sexuals. Disabled heroes. Jewish heroines. (The place is near Pittsburgh, for god’s sake.)

On this show women are 99% grotesque, evil, or werewolf bait/victims while the very few who aren’t spend most of their time on the sidelines, are passive, unless, you know, they’re being supportive–of the men. What is this? 1955?

There’s one fairly important character on the show who is a person of color.  And that’s it.  She winds up flayed, and suffocated.  So she’s dead. (We think.) One person who is disabled.  Shot twice with a shotgun–dead. (We think.) Nobody included in the show at all who is over the age of 50–except–wait for it–a Hispanic maid.

At this point, I should just KNOW when I see some guys sucking on cigars that whatever it is, it isn’t for me. I’d be far more interested if they were sucking each other’s dicks.

7) WOMEN ARE THE ‘OTHER’ REALLY? REALLY?? I’m scratching my head thinking “Who wrote this?” Young Hollywood guys or old school white writer guys? Or some mix of both? Bleh. Because by the end I’m convinced that these writers/producers/directors don’t find women very interesting or multi-dimensional.  Okay, so maybe all these women aren’t *really* dead.  Like dead for good. But the way women are treated in general–I don’t even want to know what they have to go through in season two.

I give the old guys a pass assuming they grew up in the Mad Men era or took the 80’s to heart and haven’t evolved with the times. They’re dinosaurs. So be it. However, I have a hard time not making all sorts of disturbing assumptions about younger men writing this stuff. Like maybe they’re bro-culture rape-y types. I could see them saying “Hey! We included lots of women in the show.” Yeah, like you deserve a medal.  That’s not the point.  How can you be in your twenties, thirties, or forties in America and not have a clue about women? How can you still see women – who are all around you, no matter where you are – as the “other”. Still????? Something must be wrong with you.

So as hot as poor Roman is – that’s it for Hemlock Grove for me.  The show moves on–and one hopes, learns from its earlier mistakes.  But I’m not alone–obviously.  For more excellent Hemlock Grove hating check out Yo Heart Frijole’s astute blog post.

And follow us at Lady Smut.  Where we’re upbeat and positive–unless you’re being a total asshat and get us really angry.

Madeline Iva writes fantasy and paranormal romance.  Her fantasy romance, WICKED APPRENTICE, featuring a magic geek heroine, is available on AmazonBarnes & NobleKobo, and through iTunes.  Sign up for Madeline Iva news & give aways.

 

 

Red As Blood: Women & Gothic Romance

1 Jun

Lovely readers — I attended a panel at #WisCon that made me cry out with perverse desire.  It was called Red As Blood — a panel on women and the Gothic genre.  Loosely organized, it revolved around the interesting desires and situations that comprise Gothic joy and perversity.

“A young woman meets an interesting, mysterious man in a giant, lonely house.  It turns out he may have bad intentions.  Sometimes she wants him to have bad intentions.”–Emily Cataneo.

What I liked about this panel was that everyone on the panel–authors and fans alike, really obsessed over what I obsessed over, and had exactly the same attitudes that I had. Everyone on the panel was raving over Crimson Peak–especially Tom Hiddleston, especially the house and clothes — AND

Spoiler Alert!

…especially the end where two women fight it out with knives in bloody nightgowns.

Everyone didn’t care if there was no logical reasoning behind certain events in their favorite Gothic novels or movies.  Our love of Gothic is not about reason.

Then what is it about? It’s about a feeling of creeping doom, of impending horror.  But no ACTUAL horror, mind you.  If horror is that moment of curdling screams and blood splatter on the wall, then the gothic genre is about hearing that scream from a far distance and discovering the blood splatter on the wall by prying open a secret passage.  (Preferably 5 to 20 years after it got there.)

The gothic genre is about secrets.  About dread.  About creeping horror — yes! But it’s a psychological horror.

Notorious is supremely logical–but the sense of oppression is still intense.

Now let’s talk romance in these novels.  For my joys I hit the Goodreads best Gothic romances page. There you will find not only the old classic authors like Anne Radcliffe and Victoria Holt but also Gay Gothic Romances, and Gothic romances with witches!!!!

Now, when we turn to Gothic film, the problem is that they are often horror films and take things just a leeeetle too far for my taste. Sigh.  Here’s what Wikipedia has to say about gothic romantic films:

The Gothic romance film is a Gothic film with feminine appeal. Diane Waldman wrote in Cinema Journal that Gothic films in general “permitted the articulation of feminine fear, anger, and distrust of the patriarchal order” and that such films during World War II and afterward “place an unusual emphasis on the affirmation of feminine perception, interpretation, and lived experience”. Between 1940 and 1948, the Gothic romance film was prevalent in Hollywood, being produced by well-known directors and actors. The best-known films of the era were Rebecca (1940), Suspicion (1941), and Gaslight (1944). Less well-known films were Undercurrent (1946) and Sleep, My Love (1948). Waldman describes these films’ Gothic rubric: “A young inexperienced woman meets a handsome older man to whom she is alternately attracted and repelled.”[1] Other films from the decade include The Enchanted Cottage (1945) and The Heiress (1949).[2]

The Gothic romance films from the 1940s often contain the “Bluebeard motif”, meaning that in the typical setting of the house, a certain part is either forbidden to be used or even closed off entirely.[3] In the films, the forbidden room is a metaphor for the heroine’s repressed experience, and opening the room is a cathartic moment in the film.[4] In addition, the layout of the house in such films (as well as Gothic novels) creates “spatial disorientation [that] causes fear and an uncanny restlessness”.[5]

In 2015, director Guillermo del Toro released the Gothic romance film Crimson Peak. He said past films had been “brilliantly written by women and then rendered into films by male directors who reduce the potency of the female characters”. For Crimson Peak, he sought to reverse this cinematic trope.[6]

And did he EVER! If you adored Crimson Peak then here are some treats for you.  Here’s my fun review of Crimson Peak for one, along with some other movie recommendations below.  First of all, I highly recommend Suspicion–a Cinderella story in which we and the heroine are gradually brought to realize that a) she’s no Cinderella and b) this is not a happily ever after.

But if you want to get your gothic horror movie on–here’s a list from Indiewire to check out.  Some of them are fabulous.  Rosemary’s Baby is excellent.  Picnic at Hanging Rock is really mysterious. It’s like the missing girls floated off into some alternative realm after enough feminine corset squeezing and hair braiding to last a lifetime.  Gaslight is excellent.  As I mentioned above, Suspicion is one of my all time favorites.  The Shining is fabulous — but something I’d put on while doing another task so I could walk away as needed…(I’d put the premise of The Shining this way: What’s the scariest monster of the 70’s? The absent dad figure suddenly returned to be a ‘part of the family’.  Shiver. Ugggggggh!) Les Diaboliques was good, Notorius is sublime.  This list also made me want to see The Haunted with Kate Beckinsale as well as The Tomb of Ligeia…

THE GOTHIC ANTI-HERO OF ALL TIME? It’s gotta be Micheal Fassbender.  As I’ve commented before, Fassy seems to be all alone in his films.  That alone-ness is exactly what we want in a gothic anything. In the latest-greatest remake of Jane Eyre, he is utterly riveting.  At once flesh and blood with his long mutton chop whiskers, he seems like a Victorian that doesn’t wash everyday, that sweats, that chews his food. There is something very real and authentic about him–especially when it comes to his presence around women. Nevertheless, for all that he still seems like a very quietly haunted man who will NEVER be happy.  What I realized watching his performance is that Jane Eyre is a tale of warning: don’t fall for the man you work for.  Don’t let him seduce you.  Don’t succumb to the temptations he leads you towards breadcrumb of attention by breadcrumb of attention.  He has bad intentions and nothing good for you will result.  Fassy’s breathtaking performance is a seduction: rather slow and tender, but also deliberate enough to make one realize how wrong it all is.  His inscrutable mind is clicking behind the command of his words, looks, and touches the entire time.

Tom Hiddleston is an incredibly close second for my all time fav goth anti-hero.  His charismatic flavor however, connotes the possibility of a happier ending. If Fassy is the haunted man in his giant spooky house at the beginning of the movie, then Hiddles represents that peek of sunshine, that thin slice of spring — expressed only by a few blades of grass and one lone daffodil at the end of the movie.  There is something a little softer and more pliant about Hiddles the lover. He represents hope and escape from psychological hell into some sunnier, more mild and quietly happy place.  Tom seems like a man who needs an other to pair with him.  While Fassy, a more coporeal lover in the moment of temptation, perhaps–seems to stand alone in his blank emptiness to the bitter end.

I see Tom as more of an HEA guy–even if the HEA is with his sister.

What do you think, readers? Sound out below in the comments section — and I’m all ears for good contemporary gothic romance reading rec’s.

Madeline Iva writes fantasy and paranormal romance.  Her fantasy romance, WICKED APPRENTICE, featuring a magic geek heroine, is available on AmazonBarnes & NobleKobo, and through iTunes.  Sign up for Madeline Iva news & give aways.

Fantasizing About The Hot Villain: Women as Hunters

20 Apr

by Madeline Iva

Who here sees a movie and winds up fantasizing later on about the hot villain? Raising my hand. WHY is my question. Why aren’t we fantasizing about the hot hero? (I mean, maybe we are. Sometimes.) Last week I talked about the hot villain being redeemed all the way into becoming an anti-hero. Here is another post about how we are bitten by the compulsion to use a hot villain as fantasy fodder.

How many Harry Potter fans found Snape a bit more interesting than all the other characters? Raising hand again. Of course, Malfoy fan fic is popular all across this great land. (Bonus points for those who add a queer element.)  But cold snobbiness is not so obviously a turn on–so what is?

THE VILLAIN AS ROMANTIC CHALLENGE:

Some women are hunters.

I loathe shopping, but I believe that some women shop as a form of hunting. They hunt down a bargain, they trap their sale item, and display their trophy at home. Myself, I love capturing a shy person at a party.  If I can get a shy guy or woman to crack open and talk about themselves, then I am so happy lapping at all that hidden goodness within.  Here’s my theory: if you are more comfortable at a party when you have something to do vs. just hanging out, I’m guessing you like to hunt a potential mate who presents some kind of challenge.

On the other hand, we need to respect the fact that some women like hunting men as an attention game for the sheer sport of it, whether they’re also looking for sex, romance, or a husband.  The idea of women hunting after men often used to have a really negative connotation.  But let’s face it, women really are socially very powerful.  For instance, there’s a Georgette Heyer book called AN INFAMOUS ARMY in which the heroine ‘Babs’ is in a mood, so she decides draw a man clear across the room to her with just one look.  She’s that kind of vixen.  Later on, she’s almost undone when she finally lands a guy she actually likes, because the vixen thing only works well when you don’t care, and by that point she cares a lot more than she wants to.

Spike is love’s bitch, and he’s man enough to admit it.

I decided to try a Babs-ian moment at one point in my life.  People were dancing and I was having some kind of crazy hormonal surge that left me feeling ridiculously full of confidence.  I spotted this guy on the other side of the dance floor–a blonde–and just BAM! Gave him one look.  It worked.  I watched with a bit of amused disbelief as he came across the crowded dance floor.  He turned out to be mega-cool and by the end of the night we had a thing going on.  (He dumped me a few months later.) On the other end of the spectrum, luring my Sweetie into a relationship was a much more subtle and drawn out process.  In those moments where I would entice him to yet another fun social event where we could bond, I was like a different person.  Kinda hunter-y, though that’s not how I’d put it at the time.  But definitely confident, goal-oriented, and–um–compelling.  Of course, I was an insecure mess the rest of the time, obsessed and anxious, desperate and yet still hoping.

My point is: the heart you have to conquer is the heart you’ve earned.  And when it comes to villains, they’re just not easy to conquer. Maybe they’re selfish, or mis-trusting.  Your above-average intellectual villain wouldn’t fall for you just because of your looks.  He’s probably more discriminating.

THE VILLAIN WHO HAS A HEART–though it’s “small and tiny, and he can’t remember the last time he used it.”

Your ideal hot villain cares for only one or two people–if that.  So in the fantasy, the villain who only has the capacity to love in the low single digits–loves you. You get to be within that circle of protection. You get to be one of the chosen few.

Even better–villains are often virgins of the heart when it comes to romantic feels.  He’s having new feelings he’s never had before, and this makes your encounter all the more scrumptious.

The fantasy about the villain is he can be so awful to others, but stops being simply awful to you.  He just can’t.  He may even be frustrated and unhappy that he can’t.  Being unable to act like an utter sh** the way he does to everyone else becomes proof that whether he wants to or not, he’s got the feels for you, and he’s got it bad.

THE VILLAIN AS COLD, ISOLATED MAN:

Fassy as Magnito in the Xmen franchise might as well be singing “Allllll by mysellllf”.   He’s an iceberg and you want to thaw him out. 

THE VILLAIN YOU PRACTICE YOUR SUPER-POWERS UPON, AKA THE PLOT OF EVERY DARK ROMANCE EVER WRITTEN:

 I love a Villain who does some bad stuff but also some good stuff and shows real anti-hero potential. In Dark Romance the villain/hero does a lot of bad stuff–even to the heroine.  Yet the heroine holds out a kind of hope:

  • if we can bond,
  • if I can show him I trust him,
  • if become one of the very few HE TRUSTS

…then I’ll be safe via some combo of my looks/personality/vulnerability/wits/social powers, and gift of persuasion…

…and therefore I survive and therefore I WIN.

Yeah—call this Stockholm Syndrome–sure, go ahead.

But Stockholm syndrome had a negative connotation of a kind of victim-hood, whereas what I’m talking about is slaying your skulking hottie villain with love-bonding.

This is less about being a victim and more about working raw survival skills when you’re at a complete disadvantage using only your powers of attraction and persuasion – which can feel like a sort of triumph and conquest. It’s like killing someone with one tiny piece of string.

SO WHY ARE WE LIKE THIS?

Why are we attracted to men with limited or negative qualities? Why aren’t we just wired to dive onto that sunny, friendly, honest good guy and not let go?  Welp.  I think it has something to do with The Warrior Gene problem.

THE WARRIOR GENE

There actually is a genetic variant that some humans (men) have which they call the warrior gene.  With this genetic variant you can get empathy, but it’s rather limited.  For instance, you can have soldiers who are efficient killing machines in battle, but still display love and caring for their family and children. This gene shows a middle ground between ‘normal’ people who really don’t like to hurt others, and sociopaths who have a hard time caring for anyone but themselves.

Okay, so here’s my whack theory: I hypothesize that there’s a counterpart to the Warrior Guy gene.

THE WARRIOR MATE GENE

Let’s call it the Warrior Mate gene.  The Warrior Mate gene (if it exists) would be a genetic variant that makes women highly attracted to Warrior Guys–even if Warrior Guy is sometimes a dick. I mean, in terms of evolution, Warrior Guy is the perfect mate waaaaaay back in the day, right? He won’t attack and abuse the children or you, but–and this is key–he will protect the family against ruthless, violent attacks. His lack of emotions in the moment of battle will give him an edge and he will be competent and unhesitating when it comes to killing.  Of course you’d be wired to look for this guy and to be attracted to him and draw him in close.

Further whack theory: this is why we women have evolved to process relationships to a much greater degree than men. (There’s science to back this up.) We need to sort through all the good and the bad when it comes to guys–sifting fine nuances in behavior–because sometimes the bad can work in our favor. I mean, look, if the Huns are on our doorstep we can’t go fight them all if we’ve got three knee-biters to look after. Right?

Do you revel in a good villain? Let me know in the comments section below.  Speaking of reveling:

We’re only two weeks away from our big event at RT.  Join LadySmut bloggers at the RT Booklovers Convention May 3-7, especially at our super special reader event – Never Have You Ever, Ever, Ever. Win crowns, fetish toys, books and more! Goodybags to first 100 people in line! Wednesday, May 3 at 1:30.

Madeline Iva writes fantasy and paranormal romance.  Her fantasy romance, WICKED APPRENTICE, featuring a magic geek heroine, is available on AmazonBarnes & NobleKobo, and through iTunes.  Sign up for Madeline Iva news & give aways.

Bang-able Villains

12 Apr

Hello Lovely Readers! Elizabeth Shore is away today. Instead, we have a happily edgy post from the amazing and kick-ass Saranna DeWylde here.  I asked Saranna to do a guest post after I saw this exchange on facebook:

Yes! Exactly!

So I asked Saranna to talk to us about why we women are sometimes (often?) a bit more interested in a really good villain than they are the hero.

I absolutely love a well-constructed villain. I don’t mean an anti-hero, I like them, but this post is all about the E-ville. Is that a misspelling? Not at all. Say it out loud, roll it around in your mouth. You’re not a good villain unless you have the mustache-twirling pronunciation. Maybe even a bit of goatee stroking. You know what I mean?

No, I didn’t. 

When I first think about favorite villains, Hannibal Lecter comes to mind, but he’s not really a villain anymore, is he? In the television show, he’s more of an anti-hero.

 

Is he??? I haven’t seen this show, but I’ve heard so much about it…Check out the preview above.

What especially interests me about villains and their bangability is societal reaction and what we deem acceptably attractive in people. No one thinks anything about me saying I’d like give Darth Vader a run for his money except to say that maybe his parts don’t work in that suit. I maintain he could probably give really great orgasms with The Force. A little breath play, and pretty much whatever else he wanted you to feel. (Is it getting hot in here, or is just me?)

Old Darth does it for Saranna, Kylo Ren is all tortured and interesting to a new generation.

If I say I thought Paul Spector was hot from The Fall, I’d be one of those twisted girls into serial killers. But I know real serial killers. I was a prison guard. I hung out with them for eight hours a day, sometimes sixteen. None of them look like Jamie Dornan. And none of them were ever the least bit attractive to me.

Which is not to suggest that because someone is physically handsome in real life he’s NOT a serial killer….Tiago Henrique Gomes da Rocha

(Incidentally, I didn’t crush on Jamie Dornan until The Fall.)

Fictional evil is attractive. There’s a nod to everything that’s not the ideal. That’s not a princess. That’s not perfect. And part of us wants them to win because that means we can too. A charismatic villain makes so much easier to acknowledge our own sins, see our own dark places, and we can empathize with him in fiction, because we don’t have to own our massive flaws for real.

I find when a hero holds up his virtues it’s much harder for me to say, yes…that’s me too. The writers of Luther posited through show dialogue that women specifically were attracted to evil men because we were able to claim some of their power for our own. There might be something to that.

While we’re at it, I kind of have a type. The Devil. Almost anyone can play The Devil, and that’s an insta-girl boner. Hell, this could probably comprise most of my list. Apologies to Tom Ellis in Lucifer, though. He’s hot, but he started out an antihero so he doesn’t make my list. So pretty, though.

Tom Ellis as Lucifer

With that said, let’s open our Slam Books to

Top Eleven Villains I’d Bang.

Not ten, because I’m being contrary in honor of our villains. (After, you better share yours, too, or I’m not going to share my slap bracelets.)

In no particular order:

Darth Vader– As I said before, he could do some crazy shit with The Force. I just keep thinking about that choke hold. Amirite?

Patrick Bateman (Christian Bale), American Psycho– That might actually be bad sex. I’m not so much down for the coat hanger and he’s so arrogant, he’s probably terrible in bed. I think I really just want to pet his shoulders and his hair after we eat at Dorsia.

Paul Spector (Jamie Dornan), The Fall– Well, I mean. C’mon.

Paul Spector in The Fall, aka Jamie Dornan

Santanico Pandemonium (Salma Hayek), From Dusk Till Dawn– Everyone wants to let her bite them. Everyone. She’s single-minded in her approach to food and any other pleasures. I support this wholeheartedly.

Jordan Belfort (Leonardo DiCaprio), The Wolf of Wall Street– I’m not sure if it’s the part where he says, “the book, motherfucker) or if it’s because he’s unrepentant about what a piece of shit he is, and I don’t know if I’d think the real JB was attractive, because he did actually hurt people. But his characterization? Yeah, I’d hit that.

Lizzie Borden (Christian Ricci) Lizzie Borden series– Here’s a woman who isn’t taking shit from anyone. She knows what she wants, and isn’t afraid to take it. Whatever the cost.

Viggo Mortenson, The Prophecy– His portrayal of the Big D is one of the best ever. He’s not meant to be attractive, yet, somehow still is. He’s horrible, and awful and I love every second of it. “Little Tommy Daggett. How I loved listening to your sweet prayers every night. And then you would jump into bed, so afraid that I was under there. And I was!” Really, do you promise? Please?

Gabriel Byrne, End of Days– Gimme. (I also dug him as the priest in Stigmata, but he was sort of a hero there. Kinda. It doesn’t count.)

Mark Pellegrino, Supernatural– He’s almost an anti-hero. But not quite. Just enough… I love his character so much.

Sam Neil, The Omen Part 6400-I don’t know. I just can’t help myself.

Bradley James, The Omen TV series-He doesn’t want to be bad, he just is. And when he finally owns it? Boo yeah. Bring it, handsome!

Anyway, those are my eleven for the moment. My list is ever-changing, but I’d love to know which villains you’d like to lock in your bedroom. Tell me in the comments below.

Want more Saranna? Check her out on facebook, or sign up for her newsletter at her website. Tomorrow I’m responding more to Saranna’s post — check it out!

And follow us at Lady Smut where we’ll happily explore your dark side all night long.

Madeline Iva writes fantasy and paranormal romance.  Her fantasy romance, WICKED APPRENTICE, featuring a magic geek heroine, is available on AmazonBarnes & NobleKobo, and through iTunes.  Sign up for Madeline Iva news & give aways.

One Hot Zombie Husband, Please!–And Other Lustful Zombie Stuff

2 Feb
santaclaritadiet

Let that repressed manic side out, Timothy Olyphant.

by Madeline Iva

On Friday night I’m watching a new show called THE SANTA CLARITA DIET on Netflix. Why? Two words: Timothy Olyphant. The guy has a kind of restrained mayhem vibe that makes women purr. He’s good when he’s a bad boy, and I like it when he does the humor thing, but really underplays it. Let’s hope he gets to do both in this new TV show.

What’s unusual is for Olyphant to be part of a duo, for he often plays the lone wolf.  Yet he’s a supportive husband (awwww) as his wife’s body goes undead and her twisted feral id coming to life. (Peeps, this could be my own marriage we’re talking about—esp. when I’m on deadline.)

As for the rest of the show–we shall see.  I lurv Drew Barrymore and early reviews say the supporting cast is excellent.  The creator is Victor Fresco who did the short lived but great (!) show BETTER OFF TED, which walked the line of absurdism and also had a supportive, understanding, and munch-a-licious lead.

But hey, let me be your zombie pimp and recommend some other zombie joy you may have overlooked. My preference is for zombie comedy/satire. Take R in WARM BODIES.  So cute and so protective in his own teenage, shuffling, groan-y way.

Click to buy the DVD

Click to buy the DVD

 

There’s also a wonderful funny little book call BREATHERS.  Subversive and with a sexy element that I quite enjoyed.

Click to buy.

Click to buy.

Have you seen the movie SEAN OF THE DEAD? It’s a bit like The Office meets zombies. Quite surprisingly daffy and satiric all the way through.

Imagine The Office as a zombie flick. Click to buy the DVD...

Imagine The Office as a zombie flick. Click to buy the DVD…

Meanwhile, let us not forget some serious Zombie smut, like what you’ll find with our own Isabelle Drake’s SERVANT OF THE UNDEAD along with Daisy Harris’ mix of not-quite-human stuff.  I lurved Hariss’ “Steins” and sex bots.  In BUILT FOR IT Harris discovered M/M erotic romance and never looked back. (Can you even get these books anymore Daisy?)

 

557e4e368babb5e201b7f2d2b531d8cbOnce upon a time, Lexi waxed philosophical on the ethics of sex with an undead body. I, dear readers, completely understand.  Who really wants to kiss decaying flesh?  On the other hand, a zombie is nothing if not a metaphor.  Give me your metaphors–satiric, comedic or full of pathos and killed by societal excess and ennui.  Sometimes we all seem a little rotten to the core.  Zombies get to wear their decay on the outside where it’s all embarrassing and visible.  Ultimately, they’re monsters and I dearly love a monster-hero, even if his heart is dead and cold.

That’s not to say that one can’t enjoy zombie horror.  Lexi has traced the path of an end-of-the-world romance on the Walking Dead that I’ve followed probably with more enjoyment that I took in watching the actual show.  Check out her posts:

LIFE AMONG THE DEAD: IS MICHONNE READY TO LOVE AGAIN?

THE DEAD DELIVER: IS THIS THE SEASON FOR RICHONNE? 

DEAD ON! REJOICING FOR RICHONNE

If you do like your zombies with a lot of blood splatter, there’s a movie coming out called THE GIRL WITH ALL THE GIFTS.

You'll slurp it up if you like post-apocalyptic action/adventure. Click to buy.

You’ll slurp it up if you like post-apocalyptic action/adventure. Click to buy.

The book was gripping–I stayed up all night reading it.  I’m sure the movie will be excellent too, but check out the book first. It’s post apocalyptic, British, and I liked how the balance of characters in the book were female.  They seemed to have deliberately switched around the race of the characters in the movie.  Hmmmmmm.

There’s also World War Z — not your typical zombie genre book.  It’s totally different and only about a thousand times better than the movie. (Sorry Brad Pitt.)

Another book I've read in one sitting. Click to buy.

Another book I’ve read in one sitting. Click to buy.

Well, time for me to do some groaning and shuffling myself as I sign off to go jog, shower, and write. Follow us at Lady Smut.  We give you reasons to live.

wickedapprenticefinal-fjm_high_res_1800x2700Madeline Iva writes fantasy and paranormal romance.  Her fantasy romance, WICKED APPRENTICE, featuring a magic geek heroine, is available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, and through iTunes.  Sign up for Madeline Iva news & give aways.

 

Crimson Peak: More Bloody Than a Tampon–And I Relished it

18 Feb
Got a sinister hero? Then you've got my interest.

Got a sinister hero? Then you’ve got my interest.

by Madeline Iva

I was attracted to the preview for Crimson Peak, and even more attracted to Tom Hiddleston, who stars in it. Yet I couldn’t tell from the preview if the movie was a horror film or romantic suspense.  Not loving horror films, I waited to watch it on video where I could fast forward through the scream-y parts if need be.

I shouldn’t have worried. Crimson Peak is a Gothic Romantic Suspense movie—capital G, emphasis on the ick.

Gothic? Horror? Gothic-horror? What’s the difference, you’re wondering. Some say it’s not horror if there’s no blood splatter on the wall. Oh, Crimson Peak has blood splatter a-plenty. Not just on the walls, but also the carpet, the snow, the clothes, the skin. Never since Carrie has a movie audience been so drenched in red dyed corn-syrup.

But a Gothic sensibility is all about the build up. We revel in the hints of secrets, and spend a lot of suspenseful time wondering what—what chilling secret could be in the creepy investigator’s file? In the locked rooms of the ancient hall, in the gooey red brick pits in the basement, in the locked luggage next to the gooey pits…

We’re looking for twisted hidden secrets. We want them revealed and brought out into the light of day–or at least twilight if that’s all there is to be had in the gloomy climate of Northern England. The dangerous horror part is only a small component of the whole.  We’re much more involved in the building psychological strain and suspense. (What could it beeeeee in that bedroom?)

Excellent Gothic stories always ends with a goodly amount of implosion. We want the mansion destroyed by fire, we want the mad-woman jumping off the roof–only to drown in the pond.  We want the carriage plunging over a cliff. (Bonus points for managing such a feat without harming the horses.)

In this way, CRIMSON PEAK is most definitely a gothic movie. I was worried about horror elements, when in fact (SPOILER ALERT!)

what we have here is merely……really ugly ghosts, trying to deliver helpful messages.

What the movie doesn’t deliver in horror, it delivers in gothic architecture and gowns. Is there any better satisfaction for the Gothic enthusiast than a once-gorgeous house pocked with decay like swiss cheese? Better yet is the house that delivers some weird and extravagant folly. Fluttering moths on the walls? Check.  Mine shaft in the basement? Check. (Yes, I’m not kidding, there really is!)

HouseCrimson Peak’s also got gothic quatrafoil bannisters, fan vault trim, and oculus glass up the wazoo. Spindle carvings drips from beamed ceilings panels, and gingerbread sprawls across the stairwells. It’s like being in heaven for those who know they really belong in hell.

Gowns billow in haunted breezes, Nightgowns hug the neck like a confining clasp of a strangler.  Robes of silk outline heaving breasts, and glorious hip length locks run in a dark river across the neck and down the ribs. Do I sound orgasmic? I was. I still am, a little.

TomTom Hiddleston is the anti-hero who stands in the center of all this wanton glory. Is there any better man to play a twisted romantic hero? I think not.

Tom…Tom…let me count the ways.

His intelligent sensitivity, his understated sensuality…his ice blue eyes that nevertheless melt with innate sympathy, yet tragic acceptance that no…there’s no help for you.

I get ovary spasms just from listening to the way he explains what Gothic romance is on Charlie Rose and how repressed sexuality bursts forth in ghosts, mayhem and horror —

Jessica Chastain, meanwhile, plays his evil sister in a repressed matronly way worthy of Mrs. Danvers (The nasty housekeeper in REBECCA). We’re not quite so interested in her while Tom is on screen–how could we be?  But at the same time, yeah, she’s workin it.

Frankly, I would have been just as happy if they decided to change the tale to that of a twisted incestuous couple who rid themselves of the shallow American heiress so they can live in lecherous macabre delight—an alternative HEA. (What’s that I hear?—It’s the sound of a thousand fan fiction posts launching on Wattpad.)

JessicaBut Crimson Peak is not a perfect movie for us Gothic fans. Alas, there are bad American accents, cheesy overdone bloody effects.  I like over the top as the much as anybody, and didn’t mind the costumes and sets (who doesn’t like a mind shaft in a basement? Or leaves and snow falling gently through the gaping hole in the ceiling?) But the blood-like clay seeping from the walls? Okay…a leetle bit over done. Actually WAY overdone. Why Guillermo? Why? The writer/director crossed the line a few times, and in doing so seemed to aim his movie towards a less refined audience. Sad.

However I respect any movie in which two women, heroine and villainess, battle it out at the end. I warn those of you who couldn’t hack the Psycho shower scene to quickly avert your eyes during their epic throw down. Talk about death by a thousand cuts—and in billowing bloodstained nightgowns!

Back to our Gothic Rules of Attraction. I like it that the heroine loves the bad guy, Tom Hiddleston (again a favorite trope) even after she discovers his dark secrets. Does he loves her? Agh! We sit and wonder. And! If he does love her–can they get out of that house alive together before it tumbles down and sinks into the oozing clay, a la The House of Usher?*Gown

That’s the question that kept me going all the way through the gory ending.

Alas, this movie was a little watered down for my taste. A little more lowbrow than it needed to be. I liked chewing on parts of it, but the best of gothic suspense tradition is not about hack and slash, it’s all about the revealing twitch of an eyebrow, the moment the locked door creaks open and our heroine will never again be innocent again.

*I’ve always wanted to own a house that comes with a black tarn.

Thanks for tuning in, readers! And follow us at Lady Smut, where we devote ourselves to bringing you shivery, sexy fun.

Madeline Ivaimgres writes fantasy, paranormal, and contemporary romance.  Her novella ‘Sexsomnia’ is available in our LadySmut anthology HERE, and her fantasy romance, WICKED APPRENTICE, will be out Spring, 2016.

Gimme Some Ichabod: Thank God It’s October!

3 Oct
Crane

Sleepy Hollow has a great horseman, and a great Ichabod. Too bad it’s really kinda stupid. 😦

By Madeline Iva

It’s October already.  I think October is becoming my favorite month of the year.

Blog List for October:

-Loving Monsters

-Masquerade

-Does Zombie Lust Count as Necrophilia?

Meanwhile, gimme some of that Ichabod Crane guy.  The actor is Tom Milson and he is a long tall drink of water. I could stare at him all day, but tell me honestly readers–do you like the TV show? Not to be a hater or anything, but I can’t STAND it!

Bill...wait! You're not Bill...Stephen Moyer playing in ANOTHER vamp/synthetic blood TV show.

Bill…wait! You’re not Bill…Stephen Moyer playing in ANOTHER vamp/synthetic blood TV show.

There’s another show you could watch instead.  A show that’s about vampires, with Stephen Moyer, vampires and a synthetic blood plot line.  No, astonishingly, it’s not TRUE BLOOD–it came out years before True Blood.  It’s a British show called ULTRA VIOLET cancelled after six measly episodes.  It had a young (hot!) Stephen Moyer in it and was like True Blood meets X Files.

I kind of like these shows that don’t go heavy on the special effects.  They rely more on character.  When they are successful they create a sense of impending doom — like this show does –and I just love it.  The impending doom of humanity’s future lurks just off screen, in the viewers imagination.  (Now that’s what I call successful TV!)

Another reason to watch is that the show stars Idris Alba.  You can find the show on Hulu.com.Ultra

But if you’re sick of TV and want some paranormal goodness in your life, might I suggest a little YA paranormal romance? I recently bought these three hot titles: VAMPIRE ACADEMY, FALLEN and DIVERGENT.

I have a bone to pick with Vampire Academy.  It’s pretty okay, but it reads like there was some book that came before it.  Major summation of back story.  Yawn! Annoying.  Whatever.

Vampire

Divergent meanwhile, is a Hunger Games wannabe.  DivergentAnd so my hopes are on Fallen.  Going to start it tonight.  Southern Goth(ic)–we’ll see.  Updates to come.Fallen

So how do you celebrate glorious October? Do you par-tay? Do you like scaring kids who come to your house for Halloween? (It’s so sad most kids don’t go trick or treating anymore.) Do you break out the dry ice to create a witch’s brew–or celebrate with a horror film fest for your friends and loved ones? (My favorite horror film is THE SHINING, followed by SCREAM and ROSEMARY’S BABY.)

Leave a comment–and pretty please follow our blog. 🙂

Dark Passions: Some Sexy Looking Horror

24 Jun
Skeeter was pretty hot in the campy movie SCREAM.

Skeeter was pretty hot in the campy movie SCREAM.

Do you like it when romance mixes with things that go bump in the night?

I love it when there’s a potentially untrustworthy yet smokin’ hot hero in the book I’m reading.  I adore that everything-seems-so-normal-so-why’s-it-kinda-spooky? vibe.

While full on horror isn’t my thing, tension tight enough to make a heroine spring into a guy’s lap is.  Campy horror is great because when a heroine’s scared and acts impulsively, she almost always immediately pauses to realize, Oh my! –the guy’s lap feels all muscle-y and good.  Soon enough she’s about to go further even when she knows she shouldn’t.

The book is great--the movie not so much.

The book is great–the movie not so much.

There’s something I really enjoy with watching a young female character slowly succumb to the funny feelings down there …I know it’s perverse, but I just love it when a good girl hates herself in the morning–if she lives that long. (Bwa-ha-ha!)

Quiet suspense is really good too.  I love it when sudden betrayal lurks just around the corner.  Ira Levin’s A KISS BEFORE DYING was good in that way…as are old scary Hitchcock movies, and the campy horror films SCREAM, etc.

I saw the premiere of that totally messed up TV show called BATES MOTEL, and it seemed to find tingly ways to swing from very suspenseful moments to sexual shame to sexual arousal and back again.  Did anyone one else see it? Or is it dead and gone already?
At Lady Smut we’ve been dabbling in a little shivery tension lately.

One sick puppy of a TV show.

One sick puppy of a TV show.

It’s fun–and there’s nothing like a hot summer night to get you in the mood for a little spookiness.  Not to mention what happens when you add in a touch of the uncanny.  So being in the mood for goosebumps, I was immediately drawn to these book covers from eKensington’s website.  They sounded rather…sexy.  My question is –just how much sex n romance do these horror stories contain?  Here are the books:

THE SORORITY: They are the envy of every young woman–and the fantasy of every young man. An elite sisterhood of Greenbriar University’s best and brightest, their members are the most powerful girls on campus–and the most feared. . .

Eve

She’s the perfect pledge. A sweet, innocent, golden-haired cheerleader, Eve has so much to gain by joining Gamma Eta Pi—almost anything she desires. But only a select few can enter the sorority’s inner circle—or submit to its code of blood, sacrifice, and sexual magic. Is Eve willing to pay the price?

Sorority

Print copy is cheaper than the e-book. What’s up with that?

Merilynn

Ever since childhood, Merilynn has had a sixth sense about things to come. She’s blessed with uncanny powers of perception–and cursed with unspeakable visions of unholy terror. Things that corrupt the souls of women, and crush the hearts of men. Things that can drive a girl to murder, suicide, or worse. . .

Samantha

Journalism major Sam Penrose is tough, tenacious–and too curious for her own good. She’s determined to unearth the truth about the sorority. But the only way to expose this twisted sisterhood is from within. . .

The review sez: “Tamara Thorne has an uncanny knack for combining the outrageous with the shuddery, making for wonderfully scary romps and fun reading.” –Chelsea Quinn Yarbro

Wow.  I like the sound of “sexual magic”.  Then I looked at the price: $12.39? For an e-book? The Amazon version is cheaper than the publishers version, (which is just so wrong) and the print version is cheaper (10.00) than the e-versions. I’m scratching my head over that one, but c’est la vie.

Another eKensington book I lust for is DARK PASSIONS–HOT BLOOD XIII.  The cover is to die.  Who can resist a crimson corset? How smexy do these ‘tales of sinister passion’ get? Well, check out the description…

Dark PassionsNot all love is innocent. Some desires swallow you whole…

There’s more than meets the eye to the twenty twisted pleasures collected here, with death and desire lying in wait behind every corner.

One goth girl finds the man whose love can make her beautiful and whose body can bring her ecstasy—if she can stomach the price…

A zombie apocalypse destroys a man’s family, but “til death do us part” is a vow his wife won’t forget—even if she’s now more on the undead side.

A vampire hunter wakes up the morning after and has to discover what forbidden pleasures he indulged in the night before—he suspects they might involve the drop-dead gorgeous bloodsucker next door…

These and many more tales of sinister passion lie inside—if you aren’t afraid of the dark….

Unknown

Is there such a thing as hipster horror?

Sounds pretty good, I say.  With words like ‘desire’ ‘twisted pleasures’, and phrases like ‘whose body can bring her ecstasy’, I would be rather surprised if there wasn’t some major boinking going on, at the very least.

But the uncertainty factor had me drifting back to Ellora’s Cave & Samhain.  They offer up some shivery horror too, and you can always count on the sex with these new-ish titles:

UNDONE BY THE UNDEAD by Isabelle Drake.  It’s a free read.  I read it and found it kinda cute, well written, and something of a prologue to her novel SERVICING THE UNDEAD.

FRANKENDOM by Robin L. Rotham  — I don’t know if this book is any good –and I kinda don’t care. Here’s some of the ‘product warning’ Samhain offers:

Cray-cray erotica--Yum!

Cray-cray erotica–Yum!

You should assume any Robin L. Rotham book contains BDSM elements, anal play, and every possible ménage à trois permutation. Additionally, FrankenDom contains mad scientists, real dungeons, whips, chains, spanking, a variety of taboo fantasies, electrical devices in uncomfortable places, humor, and an intimidating ratio of sadists to masochists.

Mad scientists, humor, and ‘every possible ménage à trois permutation’–all for the low price of $5.50. Now that’s what I’m looking for in a smexy horror novel. Love it!

What about you, dear reader?  What’s your sweet spot when it comes to books that makes you shiver?

 

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