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Opinion: Let in some winter fright

Christmas and horror have a long tradition, going back to A Christmas Carol, which is a ghost story.
Blood Quantum
Blood Quantum is a 2019 Canadian horror movie that looks at a zombie apocalypse through an Indigenous lens.

During the darkest days of the year, the Christmas tree goes up and Ronda starts watching romantic Christmas movies daily.

For me, these dark nights, starting with Halloween, means it’s time to catch up on horror movies and reading. Christmas and horror have a long tradition, going back to A Christmas Carol, which is a ghost story.

A Christmas Carol is also thick with social commentary, another well-established horror institution. Recent horror has assertively examined issues of race, identity, gender, poverty, mental health, childhood trauma and addiction, offering some excellent insights into these complex social issues.

The 2019 Canadian horror movie Blood Quantum is a straight-up zombie apocalypse with one massive plot twist: everyone can become zombies except for Indigenous people. The Mi’kmaq people on the Red Crow reserve are desperately holding back the non-Indigenous hordes from invading their land while trying to combat internal mistrust and prejudices. Sound familiar?

The films Get Out and Us are both fresh looks at the American black experience, slavery, race relations and white supremacy while planted firmly within the horror tradition, using tropes like the cabin in the woods (Get Out) and the zombie apocalypse (Us).

Comic books also mix horror and social commentary with fantastic results.

The Dregs is set in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside, where the homeless and marginalized are harvested for fine dining. The story follows a longtime addict, also hooked on detective fiction, as he searches for his missing friend.

As a reader, you’ll feel the chill of Canadian winter from the very first page of Black Stars Above. The young but resourceful girl lost in the woods horror is as old as Little Red Riding Hood. Black Stars Above starts there and examines colonialism, poverty and identity within a brooding historical fiction.

Bone Parish and Moonshine are hard-boiled family crime noirs filled with psychological and graphic horror.

Killadelphia is a vampire thriller where John Adams, the second U.S. president, and his wife, Abigail, have returned to Philadelphia to stage the next American revolution. The only thing standing in their way are a veteran detective, his estranged beat cop son, the city’s young medical examiner and a streetwise vampire convert rebelling against Adams, all strong and confident black characters in heroic roles normally cast to whites.

The Low Low Woods features two queer teenagers of colour as they try to solve a terrifying mystery in their rural Pennsylvania hometown. This comic takes some hard looks at environmental devastation, poverty, rural life and exploitive masculinity run amok.

Finally, Infidel examines racism and hatred from a Muslim American perspective within the confines of a haunted house yarn.

When the weather outside is frightful, I like to leave the cold out and but let some of the fright in to keep the blood warm.