BECAUSE HORROR is a collection of 13 essays (incl. one poem) that mixes critical writing and memoir to explore horror movies and how they haunt memory. Bringing the glee of fandom into cinema scholarship, BECAUSE HORROR promiscuously sways through titles like MESSIAH OF EVIL, PULSE, MANDY, DANTE'S COVE and SCRE4M, with prose that spreads sticky like louche gore over the history of a genre and its mutating sites of broadcast.
Written between August 1 and September 14, 2020, during the Covid-19 lockdown, the chapbook was an exercise in immediacy and a breakneck volley of ideas between Huston and Nordeen who live in San Francisco and Los Angeles, respectively. Huston’s chapters span The Brain that Wouldn’t Die, Tourist Trap, Curtis Harrington’s The Killing Kind, Mandy, Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s Kairo (Pulse) and its TIFF premiere on September 10 of 2001, and a survey of films that lead with the directive, Don’t… Nordeen’s essays broach Deathdream, Blood Diner, Play It As It Lays vs. Messiah of Evil, horror movie posters in the video rental market of the 1990s, what Scre4m looks like on ketamine and an original poem inspired by the gay supernatural soap opera Dante’s Cove. The chapbook features original artwork by Hedi El Kholti, who also penned an afterward, concerning hotel horror. Still lives by Abdi Taslimi.
For over a decade, Johnny Ray Huston was Arts and Entertainment Editor at the San Francisco Bay Guardian. As a writer, artist and curator he has read or shown work at venues including SFMOMA, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, SF Camerawork, Artists’ Television Access and [2nd Floor Projects]. A book of stories, published by Straight to Hell, is due in 2021.
Bradford Nordeen is a writer, curator and founder of the non-profit organization, Dirty Looks Inc. He has written for Frieze, Art in America and Butt Magazine, and is a recipient of the 2018 Creative Capital / Warhol Foundation Arts Writers Grant. His publications include FEVER PITCH, CHECK YOUR VERNACULAR and four issues of the Dirty Looks Volume series (editor).
Born in Rabat, Morocco, Hedi El Kholti moved to Los Angeles in 1992, where he has been a co-editor of Semiotext(e) since 2004, and created the publication Animal Shelter, an occasional journal of art, sex and literature. His work has been exhibited at the Kölnischer Kunstverein in Cologne, Reena Spaulings Fine Art, Los Angeles and the 2014 Whitney Biennial. Hesse Press published A Place in the Sun, a monograph of his writing and collages in 2017.
by Johnny Ray Huston + Bradford Nordeen
Afterword & artwork by Hedi El Kholti.
Softcover, 72 pages, 8.5" x 5", saddlestitched, 2020.
Published by Dirty Looks Press + Semiotext(e)