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Manor Vellum

By James Reinhardt

Images of rusty bridges, ketchup bottles, and football seem to come to mind when people think of Pittsburgh, PA. While we certainly are proud to be home to Heinz Ketchup and love our Steelers here in the Steel City, we’re also working hard to leave our rust belt image behind us. The city of Pittsburgh has become a small tech hub, and the healthcare industry has replaced the steel industry as the main jobs provider. Football is something that seems to be forever here in Pittsburgh, and you’re likely to see many people around town wearing t-shirts…

By Sara Century


These movies aren’t just about hauntings; they include references to murder, incest, child abuse, and other potentially triggering subjects.

Amityville films covered in Part 1: The Amityville Horror (1979), Amityville II: The Possession (1982), The Amityville Horror (2005), and The Amityville Murders (2018)

By Brian Keiper

In a 1982 interview with Alan Jones, Wes Craven noted, “They do say that you write about what you’re closest to and what you experienced first.” What Craven knew first was family turmoil, financial struggle, and a strict fundamentalist Christian upbringing. Craven often and openly dealt with the first two issues in his films, but rarely the third. Still, though he did not often deal directly with religion in his work, it is an undercurrent of much of it and a key to unlocking many of its depths.

Craven’s first memories were of his parents fighting. His…

By James Reinhardt

The Wicker Man (1973), The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974), The Hills Have Eyes (1977), Midsommar (2019)…

These films call to mind images of bloodthirsty cannibals chasing people through the American countryside and pagan cults celebrating human sacrifice. The antagonists in these films are groups of people who have slipped through the cracks of society and the influence of modern life. Though with these movies, the problem lies as much with the company the villains keep as it does with their geographical location. From the Sawyer Family to the people of Summerisle and the Harga cult, these characters…

By Chad Collins

There’s a concept known as hypnogogic hallucinations, a common symptom among those suffering from narcolepsy. Hypnagogic hallucinations occur in the consciousness state between waking and sleep, often causing confusion because it can be exceptionally difficult to distinguish the hallucination from reality. These waking dreams are characterized by intricate visual and audial stimuli that your mind distorts in unnatural ways; they are waking dreams, yes, but they’re best described as waking nightmares.

Hard to Die (also known as Sorority House Massacre III) is, in perhaps the best way possible, something like a hypnogogic hallucination. Like the rest of…

By Sara Century

Credit: Vinegar Syndrome

It can be a bit of a trip to look back on movies and books of yesteryear that attempted to address gender and sexuality amid the significantly more repressed cultural norms of their respective eras. It’s true that they are not often wholly successful, yet they can still be strangely intriguing. Case in point, we have Prey (1977), a movie that is basically an adaptation of the novella The Fox (1923) but with a human-eating alien species thrown into the mix.

The Fox by D.H. Lawrence inspired its own film adaptation in 1967, which in turn apparently…

By Patrick Brennan

My mother was my first horror guru.

She was a huge fan of the genre in all its forms, be it literary (she worshipped at the altar of Stephen King) or cinematically (I can still see the VHS copies of A Nightmare on Elm Street, Halloween, and Night of the Living Dead peppering the floor of her bedroom). When I was little, she tried to shield me from horror but as I grew older my enthusiasm broke down her defenses, and she began to guide my budding love of all things weird and macabre. Mom was a…

By Taylor Hunsberger

The Cult chapter of the American Horror Story anthology series, released in 2017 as a response to the election of Donald Trump as president of the United States, is a look into how anyone could come to the point of joining a cult. The season follows Kai Anderson (Evan Peters) as he gains a following and ultimately forms a cult to carry out murders in a fictional Michigan suburb, where he ends up being elected to local office. This plot essentially mirrors the process that led to Trump’s election as president, attributing his followers to a cult…

By Brian Keiper

Credit: Jack C. Gregory

I have been a Star Wars fan for as long as I can remember. I grew up hooked on the original trilogy and stood in line for a midnight showing of the final prequel. I own more collectibles than I have room to display. I have built models of X-Wings and Star Destroyers and have several more still to be assembled. There was a meme traveling around Twitter a while back asking the question “what movie did you see the most in theaters?” To a bit of my embarrassment, my answer is The Phantom Menace (1999), the…

By James Reinhardt

Credit: The CRP Group via Scream Factory.

We’ve all seen it in movies before — a group of shallow, unlikeable teenagers decide to venture someplace that they shouldn’t for a weekend of debauchery. From the very beginning, the movie is telling us “Oh yeah, you’re gonna love watching these people get murdered.”

Will we though?

There’s a mode of thinking when making a horror film that the prospective group of victims should be as unlikable as possible so that we enjoy seeing them suffer a horrific fate later in the movie. This reasoning seemed to gain particular popularity in the 80s when slasher films…

Manor Vellum

A membrane of texts about the human condition within the horror genre. A MANOR feature. Email pitches and/or inquiries to

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