Darkest Hours – Cinematic Mood Board
When JournalStone accepted my debut short story collection Darkest Hours for publication in an expanded re-release, I asked if they would be interested in including a section of my horror film criticism. This seemed like an intuitive choice to me, given that the book is, among other things, an extended tribute to horror cinema (especially the genre’s “golden age” of American and Italian releases from the 1970s-1980s). Indeed, we made a point of honouring the book’s filmic qualities throughout. This expanded edition features brand-new author notes for every story, which detail not only my literary influences, but also my cinematic reference points. When relaying cover concepts to Mikio Murakami, I provided a combination of 1980s heavy metal album covers and horror film posters from the 1970s and 1980s.
As I did with Shelter for the Damned, I have created here a list of titles that provide a kind of cinematic “mood board” for Darkest Hours. I included the films I reviewed in the expanded edition’s Criticism section, as well as the films that had overt or indirect impact on the stories. During the time I wrote Darkest Hours, I was completing my M.A. in English literature at the University of Calgary, where I wrote my thesis on John Carpenter’s Prince of Darkness. I was invigorated and creatively hungry, and I felt motivated to try my hand at as many horror subgenres as possible. “Hair” draws on the body horror elements of David Cronenberg, John Carpenter, and Clive Barker. “Mictian Diabolus” is indebted to the slasher tradition (especially the Nightmare on Elm Street series). “Satanic Panic” draws on the overlap between 1980s metal and horror fandom, mutually condemned by the titular social panic. “The Auteur” remembers video store cultures and environments, taking tonal cues from Ruggero Deodato, Kiyoshi Kurosawa, Lucio Fulci, and others. The book is soaked with my lifelong love for horror cinema, and this list seeks to trace as many of the influences as possible.
Happy viewing, happier reading, and happiest nightmares.
See the Darkest Hours cinematic mood board list. Cinematic Mood Board
Between the covers of Darkest Hours, you will find academics in distress; humans abusing monsters; demons terrorizing people; ghostly reminiscences; resurrected trauma; and occult filmmaking. Ranging from satirical to dreadful, these sixteen stories share a distinct voice: urgent, sardonic, and brutal.
This expanded edition includes a new foreword by Sadie Hartmann (Mother Horror) and author notes for every story describing Thorn’s process, influences, and more. This updated release also features seventeen of Thorn’s essays on horror cinema, which cover films by Tobe Hooper, George A. Romero, Rob Zombie, M. Night Shyamalan, Wes Craven, and Dario Argento, among others.
Mike Thorn is the author of the novel Shelter for the Damned and the short story collection Darkest Hours. His fiction has appeared in numerous magazines, anthologies and podcasts, including Vastarien, Dark Moon Digest, The NoSleep Podcast, and Tales to Terrify. His film criticism has been published in MUBI Notebook, The Film Stage, and In Review Online. Visit his website (www.mikethornwrites.com) or connect with him on Twitter (@MikeThornWrites).