Dogbane Beetle

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The cover of a zine in an 8-page layout, which has “Oh, the HORRORS!” written near the top of the page with a subtitle underneath it saying “a zine on horror (wow) & all its forms” with the word ‘wow’ in parentheses. To the side of the title, there’s a drawing of a cat with its head twisted around and backward in a way it should not be able to move. The cat is edited to sit on a photo of a bookshelf filled with horror movie VHS tapes.

The first page reads “Everyone’s image of horror is a little bit different, and usually informed by what they fear (especially for people who don’t particularly like horror). Some people think of carnivorous bugs, some think of monsters, and some think of killers.” Along the right side of the page, there is a drawing of a wasp whose body is red, an alien head that shimmers green, blue, and purple, with a big forehead and eyes and a small mouth, and a scarab beetle that is colored teal. The second page reads “This is why so much horror media is incredibly fucked up! Species are inherently dangerous and evil, and are out to get you. Murderers are often portrayed as queer– proposed as confused about how they embody their sexuality and gender.” Across the middle of the page, there are two images that separate this first part of the text from the second. One photo is from a poster of the Rocky Horror Picture Show and depicts Frank-n-Furter and Riff Raff. The second is the title ‘Her Body and Other Parties,’ each word cut and pasted from the cover of the book. The text then continues: “Some media, like the Rocky Horror Picture Show, fights back against these narratives by allowing queerness to be simply powerful, and murder to be just part of the fun (fictionally, of course). Even more, modern horror like Her Body and Other Parties, which does even more work to allow space for fear, dreamlike yet utterly real feelings of being lost, and casual queerness.”

The third page reads “American horror (in the past, though patterns have changed with 21st century horror) often takes the shape of slasher films, sci-fi/horror fusions, and the ill-defined creature feature. Let’s zoom in a little on slasher films, because to me, this is a prime example of regional fears deciding how horror is formed. Usually focusing on suburban white America, these movies tend to follow the narrative of a small town being terrorized by a killer. Of course, this is not the fear of all America. In reality, POC (and especially Black) experience constant violence and countless murders from within their own communities and from the very people who are oathbound to protect them. But this is the fear of White America– that they could ever experience targeted violence, too, however less severe.” Along the bottom of the page, there is a drawing in superhero comic style of a white man in a suit seemingly dashing away from some sort of monster chasing him. The fourth page reads “In other regions, horror looks very different. Under the Shadow, for example, was made in Iran, and details the horrors of war and the evil & the ghosts that come with it. In many Indigenous cultures, horror stories take the shape of scary fucking forest monsters. I believe & fear those most, personally.” Near the top of the page is a screenshot from the movie Under the Shadow of a young girl, Dorsa, holding her doll and looking to the camera with a fearful or worried look. Along the right side of the page is a poster for the same movie in black and beige, depicting Dorsa and her mother, Shideh, cowering in a corner of a room, away from a window with a big ‘X’ taped across it.

The fifth page reads “These sorts of stories, about the wilderness and what it hides, are obviously most common in rural areas, with not many people there to incite fear. These always scare me most, mostly because stories are so consistent through generations and across all the world (though most cultures have their own unique creatures, too).” The text is evenly split between the top left and bottom right corners. In the top right corner, there is a gothic black and white sketch of a man in a tricorne hat & cloak on a horse pulling to a stop and looking down at a man who is cowering over his own seemingly dead horse. The ground is snowy, they are directly in front of a forest, and there are two winged creatures in the background. In the bottom left corner, there is a gothic black and white sketch of a man in a top hat riding his horse through a forest and cowering away from some sort of ghost hovering near and above him. The sixth page reads “In recent years, with the rise of the internet, horror has began to take even more forms. Creations like Creepypasta, The Magnus Archives, and more– while different– all embody a new approach to horror, where people get attached to characters and concepts just like they would with any fiction! Scary creatures are lovable and interesting,and even cute at times! Whether this reflects a change in approach to fear as a whole is debatable, but an interesting discussion nonetheless.” In the bottom right corner, there is a simple drawing of a black humanoid creature with wings, a round head with a beak, hands with claws, and big eyes. It is facing and creeping toward the left side of the page, and we can only see its profile.

The back cover reads “Horror can look a million different ways, and all of them are fascinating– at least to me, and hopefully to you, since I assume you read this whole zine if you’re reading this right now. Thank you for that, by the way! I hope you enjoyed it, and that you enjoy whatever horror media you consume next.” Below the text, there is a dashed line, and below that line is the text “by Xalli, may 9 2023.” Under that, there is the Instagram logo next to “desertfirelight,” the Tumblr logo next to “canineical,” and the the Neocities logo next to “tehuan.” Along the entire right side of the page is a drawing of a long, gray-yellow colored squid-shaped creature with bright, narrow yellow eyes. Instead of tentacles, its body fades into wispy sort of strings. Below that creature is a drawing of three magenta ants crawling around.