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RUE MORGUE #10: Women With Guts

Launched in 1997 by Rodrigo Gudiño, RUE MORGUE is the world’s leading horror in culture and entertainment brand, spearheaded by its multiple award-winning magazine, RUE MORGUE and RUE MORGUE DIGITAL; RUE MORGUE TV specialty horror channel; RUE MORGUE LIBRARY book series; RUE MORGUE PRESENTS FRIGHTMARE IN THE FALLS horror expo and RUE MORGUE PRESENTS CINEMACABRE MOVIE NIGHTS monthly film series.

MARRS Media Inc.
6 Issues

in this issue

5 min

THE BEAUTIFUL THING ABOUT BEING A HORROR FAN IS THAT EVERYONE HAS A DIFFERENT ENTRY POINT TO THE GENRE. Sometimes that entry point is defined by a predilection for hardcore gore; others crave the irresistible thrill of suspense and tension; still others are drawn to style, pacing or aesthetics. And for many of us, all of these traits intersect to form our own personal swampy gumbo of horror fanaticism. It’s a lovely place to be. I spent a lot of my preteen and teen years sacked out on a couch in my parents’ basement in the dark, building the foundation of my horror education through books, TV shows and movies. I was irresistibly drawn to scary shit because of the many reasons listed above, and also because it protected and healed…

2 min
mothra : power of the protector

For Jetta Rae, my favourite incarnation of Mothra. WHEN I FIRST SAW MOTHRA, I WAS YOUNG. MY PARENTS DIVORCED WHEN I WAS TWO, AND IT WAS AT MY FATHER’S NEW HOUSE THAT I FIRST ENCOUNTERED THE QUEEN OF ALL MONSTERS IN THE 1964 FILM MOTHRA VS GODZILLA. In the fourth installment of the Godzilla series, the gigantic moth is summoned by her Shobijin (two tiny priestesses who communicate with her telepathically) to help save Japan from the monster’s rampage. Mothra is strong: with her poison powder, her claws, her wings creating powerful winds, and her ability to immobilize with her silk spray, she gave him a run for his money. While she ultimately dies in battle, her larvae emerge from her monster egg and wrap Godzilla up like a cocoon, and he…

5 min
the witch of north bennington

THE LATE 1940S ARE OFTEN CONSIDERED TO BE SOMETHING OF A PREGNANT PAUSE IN THE HORROR GENRE. Val Lewton, the decade’s most reliable producer of quality horror films, made his last genre title in 1946, and the ’50s-defining atomic-monster subgenre wouldn’t get underway in earnest until Godzilla emerged from the Pacific in 1954. Ray Bradbury’s 1947 horror collection Dark Carnival was barely a blip on the radar, Lovecraft was ten years dead by then, and the pulp industry was in sharp decline. So perhaps it’s not surprising that the decade’s most shocking piece of fiction appeared not behind a Weird Tales cover, but in the esteemed pages of The New Yorker. The story’s title, “The Lottery,” was unassuming enough, and so was its author: Shirley Jackson, a 31-year-old mother and…

4 min
the saturnine queen of british horror

WHEN IT COMES TO THE LEADING LADIES OF CLASSIC HORROR (AND BEYOND), FEW FACES ARE MORE ICONIC THAN THAT OF BARBARA STEELE. Whether being pierced with a spiked death mask in Mario Bava’s iconic 1960 debut horror feature Black Sunday or slyly appraising a dance partner beneath a shiny sheath of hair in Federico Fellini’s 1963 masterpiece 8½, her uncanny (and controlled) onscreen allure has always made an unforgettable impression. A highly trained actress in the British theatre, Steele has often struggled with the horror queen mantle, which after Black Sunday included memorable outings in films such as the Roger Corman-directed The Pit and the Pendulum (1961) and a personal favourite, the Boris Karloff vehicle The Crimson Cult (1968). The interview below encapsulates Steele’s ample intelligence and charm, and unpacks…

1 min
an angel for satan: the best of barbara steele

KATIA VAJDA/PRINCESS ASA VAJDA – BLACK SUNDAY (1960) In Steele’s most iconic role(s), she plays an all-powerful witch and the witch’s beautiful descendent, switching ably from vulpine wraith to alluring innocent. ELIZABETH – THE PIT AND THE PENDULUM (1961) Featuring yet another famous “rising-from-the-coffin” moment for Steele, this Roger Corman-directed, Richard Matheson-penned adaptation of the Edgar Allan Poe story is Steele’s only Hollywood film appearance (though her voice, as in all her Italian horror films, is once again dubbed). As the presumed-dead wife of Nicholas Medina (Vincent Price), Steele cuts a ghastly figure in one scene as she chases Nicholas down a dark hallway. HARRIET MONTEBRUNO/BELINDA – AN ANGEL FOR SATAN (1966) In this, her last “Italian gothic,” Steele plays a dual role of sorts, as Harriet/Belinda, a woman who is possessed by the spirit…

5 min
mother of tears, daughter of darkness

THERE IS A FASCINATING DYNAMIC THAT COMES INTO PLAY WHEN BRILLIANT AUTEURS INTEGRATE THEIR LOVERS AND FAMILY MEMBERS INTO THEIR FILMMAKING. Dario Argento, one of the great masters of the giallo, did it more than most: in addition to working with his father Salvatore and brother Claudio, he also had some brilliant (and, well, not-so-brilliant) collaborations with his long-time partner Daria Nicolodi and his daughter, Asia. One imagines it’s not easy surviving in a celebrity family, particularly while working in giallo, a genre often lacking strong roles for women. Both Nicolodi and her daughter have left indelible imprints within Argento’s own complex legacy, however, and have gone on to establish themselves as fascinating and complicated figures in horror and beyond. Nicolodi met Argento in 1974 when he was casting for his…