Television

American Horror Story: Roanoke

American Horror Story is a horror television series created and produced by Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuck and broadcast on the cable channel FX in the United States.

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I remember getting instantly hooked by the very first episode back in 2011. I’ve always like horror in books and movies, but I had never seen it in the form of a tv series, and that spiked my curiosity, but since I was used to the genre, I thought I couldn’t get that spooked. Boy, was I wrong. I made the mistake of starting the first episode one summer night when I was alone in my room plunged in the dark. I’m not usually easily creeped out but I can promise you I was that night, so much that I stopped watching in the middle of the episode and could only bring myself to finish it once the sun was shining the next day. That was the beginning of my love story with the show.

Since then, I have religiously watched every season as it was broadcasted. Let’s be honest though, I haven’t loved all of them like I loved the first one, Murder House. What’s particular in American Horror Story, other than the genre, is the fact that each season can be seen as a stand-alone miniseries, with completely different plots, settings and characters (although the cast stays approximately the same throughout). It can be a blessing, always bringing a fresh storyline and new characters on the table, but it can also be a curse: if the plot isn’t interesting, then the whole season is just… meh.

 

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Me after Coven

 

That’s actually what happened to me. I loved season 1 (Murder House). Season 2 (Asylum) brought in a different story, but the spookiness that I absolutely loved in the first season was still there. Then came season 3, Coven, with its witches and magical and powerful characters. Although that season wasn’t as creepy, being an absolute fan of magic and witchcraft, I found the plot really interesting. That said, the horror label was coming off a little bit. Season 4, Freak Show, furthered my feeling of watching something else entirely, and I was completely lost by season 5, Hotel. Although Lady Gaga gave an outstanding performance in that one, I thought that was the only good thing about the whole show, and I was extremely disappointed. I had to push myself to watch the whole thing. Needless to say, it took me a while to finally start season 6, Roanoke. But I knew at the end of the first episode that AHS was back in my heart.

The season starts with Shelby and Matt, a couple, and Matt’s sister Lee, who appear in a documentary called “My Roanoke Nightmare” recounting the horrible and supernatural events that occurred in the house they had just moved into. Turns out the house was built on the land where the famous Roanoke Colony had moved to after their mysterious disappearance. What’s interesting this season is that “tv show within a tv show” concept. Throughout the 10 episodes, we follow the main characters AND the actors that play them in the documentary, as they go back to the haunted house, through a series of fixed cameras or body-cams. It’s creepy as it should be (although perhaps a little gore) and the cast is simply amazing!

 

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Shout out to Evan Peters

 

All in all, Roanoke is one of the best seasons of American Horror Story, if not THE best, and it has definitely revived my love for the show. Next season will revolve around the 2016 US Election and I truly have high hopes for it. I hope it won’t let me down!

Have you watched American Horror Story? What’s your favorite season?

Literature

Let’s talk about… FANFICTION

For my second post on this newborn blog, I thought I would introduce a segment called “Let’s talk about…” in which I will dig deeper into one particular topic that may or may not be controversial or infamous.

I chose fanfiction as my first topic for the simple reason that I am deeply involved in it, both as an avid reader and as a writer, and I know for a fact that this world, although mainly well-known by the internet community, is often looked down on and under-appreciated.

But… what is fanfiction?

According to my good friend Wikipedia, a fanfiction (or fan fiction, fanfic or fic) is “fiction about characters or settings from an original work of fiction, created by fans of that work rather than by its creator”. It’s been around for a very long time, as early as the 1960’s and 70’s when Star Trek fanzines contained this kind of work. That said, fanfiction has really become popular since the advent of the Internet.

Star Trek
YAY for the Internet!

Millions of people now share their writings from diverse fandoms, in all sorts of literary genres, from romance to horror or fantasy. You can pretty much find fanfictions for whatever floats your boat: Harry Potter and other famous books? Check. Your favorite TV Show? Check. You can even find fanfictions about your favorite bands, musicians, actors. Some even go as far as to combine different fandoms into one work: One Direction becoming wizards and going to Hogwarts? Check. Miley Cyrus going on an adventure with the Doctor? Check! That is called a Crossover. There is literally no limit to your imagination in the fanfiction world!

There is controversy, however, in the legality of such works. If most well-known authors and creators gave their blessings or even encouraged fanfiction writers (including J.K. Rowling), some have battled against it and even asked for all fanfiction related to their work to be removed from famous fanfiction websites. Without going into much detail, I personally think that as long as no profit is made, fanfiction should be authorized.

Where can I find fanfictions?

There are all kinds of fanfiction communities on the internet. Here are the ones I’m most familiar with.

  • fanfiction.net: Probably the most famous and easiest one to find. I don’t use it very often though, mainly because from what I can see, there is no category for fictions involving real life characters such as bands/musicians.
  • Archive of Our Own (AO3): “A fan-created, fan-run, non-profit, non-commercial archive for transformative fanworks, like fanfiction, fanart, fan videos, and podfic”, AO3 is an extensive library for all kinds of transformative fanworks, so not only stories!
  • Mibba – Creative Writing: Unlike the first two options, Mibba isn’t specific to fanfiction. You can find all sorts of creative works over there, be it poetry, original fiction, articles, tutorials, although for a smaller audience.
  • Wattpad: Last but not least, Wattpad is my favorite. You can also find all kinds of works there, not only fanfiction, but Wattpad as a very strong and active community that I love! It’s just as easy to read as it is to write over there and it’s available in different languages! Although I think some of the other options above are also available via their own app, the Wattpad app is, in my opinion, the easiest and user-friendly to use!

My story

I first heard about fanfiction when I was around 14 (which, believe it or not, was more than 10 years ago!) and started writing just as quickly, first in collaboration with my Internet friend, then slowly by myself.

I still write nowadays. In fact, I have my own Wattpad profile on which I regularly publish fanfiction works (mainly Twenty One Pilots for now, and you can find it here if interested).

Although a lot of people look down on fanfiction, I think it is as great a creative outlet as any other. Personally, it helped me develop a passion for writing that I might have not discovered otherwise, and it can ease beginners into a more complex writing: you don’t have to come up with original characters and settings and can focus on a plot at first, before starting to create your own later, which is the road I’m following now. I might publish original content when the time is right.

Did you know about fanfiction? Do you read/write fanfiction? Let me know what you think in the comments!

Literature

TOP 5: Stephen King

If you know me, it comes as no surprise. If you don’t, you will learn it soon enough: Stephen King is one of my all-time favorite authors in the whole world. I have been reading him for as long as I can remember, and yes, I was reading him when I was still a child, or barely a teen. Stephen King has played a major part in my love for literature in general, and for the horror genre in particular. To me, and to many, he is the master of this genre, and as I’m currently reading Finders Keepers, right after I devoured Mr. Mercedes, I thought a TOP 5 of my favorite King novels would be a perfect way to start this blog.

(NB: Although it is in my plans, I haven’t read ALL Stephen King novels yet, making this list susceptible to changes.)

5 | The Dark Tower

The Dark Tower

The Dark Tower is a series of eight books. Choosing one of them to rank in this top would be like asking me to choose my favorite Harry Potter book (answer: allofthem). Although it doesn’t properly fit the horror genre, as it is more of an epic-fantasy-Western story, it is King’s magnum opus (or masterpiece) and even incorporates and links together many of his other novels.

A movie is coming out this August, which is a very good excuse to re-read all the books, and if you haven’t read them yet, now is a good time to do so! Check out the trailer here.

4 | Misery

MiseryYou can imagine the worst monster ever, come up with the scariest, ugliest, most disgusting beast, but there will never be anything or anyone more frightening than a crazed fan that has just lost her mind.

I remember watching the movie as a kid, right before I read the book (don’t blame me, this is a childhood mistake I tend to avoid nowadays), and being completely speechless at the horror of that young woman, seemingly very nice, turning into a proper devil. Horror is scarier when it is that close to reality.

3 | Dreamcatcher

DreamcatcherI remember it clearly: my dad once bought me this book unexpectedly. He had just come home from work and had set the book on the table in front of me without saying anything. I was reading something else at the time – can’t remember what – but let me just say I quickly forgot about it. I already knew Stephen King was a master of his kind, and I couldn’t simply let this book waiting for me to finish another mediocre teenage novel, as good as it was. I needed to read this.

I spent the next few days reading as much as I could after school. My dad was reading it at the same time. In fact, he had started before me and couldn’t wait for me to read more so we could talk about it. I remember him urging me to continue because it was going to get “horribly disgusting”. He didn’t need to say anything else: once I read that certain point, I knew exactly what he was talking about.

See, Stephen King holds so much power in his words he’s capable of making you FEEL them – not only the fear and anxiety that seeps into all of his novels but much more than that. There’s a point in Dreamcatcher where King depicts an odor, a foul one, and let me tell you I could smell it through the words, it almost made me nauseous. So far, I have yet to find another author who is THAT good at descriptions. (This one has a movie as well!)

2 | The Shining

The ShiningWho doesn’t know The Shining? Whether you have read the book or seen the movie, everyone has heard about it, and I dare you to find me someone who hasn’t! I can’t even begin to explain what I feel when I think of this book. It has inspired me in so many ways, pushed the boundaries of what I like and what I fear and what I write. This book, in my opinion, encompasses the best of Stephen King’s talent and brings out all the feels in me.

 

 

 

1 | It

ItThere is absolutely nothing I could say to depict the horror, the anxiety, the fear that lies in that book. In fact, I don’t need to say anything: you’re already convinced that this is the book that has sparked an immeasurable fear of clowns in most of the kids on this planet. If you’re not convinced, read it, and you will be. And if this still doesn’t suffice, I dare you to watch the movies. Yes, movies, plural, because It is just that good that It has a remake now, coming out soon! (Watch the horrific trailer over here.)