The Horror Honeys

Honey Wine & Horror: A New Interview with Food Designer Janice Poon

All photos courtesy of their individual owners
A Horror Honeys Interview from Classics Honey Samantha McLaren

For fans of Neil Gaiman, Bryan Fuller, or weird television in general, this Sunday’s TV schedule felt oddly empty. It was, after all, the first Sunday since the American Gods season finale.

Years in the making, the hotly anticipated adaptation of Gaiman’s Hugo, Nebula, and Bram Stoker award-winning novel did not disappoint. Oozing with hallucinogenic visuals and decadently off-kilter sound design, the series was a gory head trip into spiritual delirium, opening enough veins along the way to keep even the most demanding god satiated in blood sacrifices until the second season rolls around. Better yet, it vastly expanded the roles of some of the book’s fascinating female characters (like man-eating love goddess Bilquis and “dead wife” Laura Moon), and features one of the most achingly beautiful gay sex scenes ever shown on TV.

Food designer Janice Poon
And really, we expected nothing less with co-showrunner Bryan Fuller steering the ship toward the Promised Land. As an added treat for those who’ve followed Fuller’s work, American Gods’ cast and crew were a who’s who of the man’s regular collaborators, including Pushing Daisies’ Kristin Chenoweth and Hannibal’s Gillian Anderson, Jonathan Tucker, and Demore Barnes.

But one of the creatives whose return we were most excited about works behind the camera, creating the elaborate feasts that helped make Hannibal so visually delicious. We are, of course, talking about incomparable food stylist, illustrator, and writer, Janice Poon. For Gods, she fed the multitude of deities far more than fish and loaves, with dishes ranging from humble Russian cabbage rolls for Czernobog and the Zorya sisters to wash down with vodka, to cheeky stigmata cookies that would make the many Jesuses weep. The finale even offered up adorable roasted rabbits leaping over a colorful Easter banquet, displaying the morbid humor and charm in unexpected places that make Poon and Fuller’s collaboration such a blessing.

Despite her extensive dabblings in (fictional) cannibalism at Hannibal Lecter’s dinner table, Poon is remarkably kind, thoughtful, and approachable. I caught up with her after her recent appearance at Split Screens Festival’s Hannibal panel in New York, which also featured actor Raul Esparza (Frederick Chilton), several creatives within the Fannibal community, and creator Bryan Fuller himself via Skype (resplendent in a flower crown and fan-created t-shirt of Lecter and protagonist Will Graham sharing an intimate moment). It didn’t take three glasses of honey wine to seal the deal; Poon graciously agreed to share a few sacred words with The Horror Honeys about hungry Gods and even hungrier Fannibals.

Stop Rewarding Mediocre White Dudes - A Head Honey Rant

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A State of Hollywood Rant with Head Honey Linnie

Once upon a time, a man (yes, man... let's not operate under any delusions going forward) had to work his ass off to get a big-budget feature gig in Hollywood. Cinematic Master William Wyler, despite being related to Universal Studio's head Carl Laemmle, had to toil away on shorts and westerns before establishing himself as a respected director. John Ford, while himself part of a 'Hollywood dynasty,' made dozens of silent short films, and even filmed while serving in the Navy during World War II, until he was trusted with the caliber of Westerns that would make him an icon. A man used to have to work in Hollywood to be respected.

John Ford: When men were men, and women... were probably getting the coffee
Now, all a man needs is one low-budget indie, a charming smile, and a producer (almost always also in possession of a penis) to say, "Hey! That dude deserves a break! He's worked hard enough!"

Dead Boys: A Hollywood Fringe Festival Review

A Hollywood Fringe Festival Review with Horror TV Honey Kat Wells

Photos courtesy of Matthew Scott Montgomery
For the last four years, actor and writer Matthew Scott Montgomery has been surprising L.A. theatergoers with his specific brand of Kevin Williamson-esque whip-smart drama with a sprinkling of gut-wrenching terror thrown in for good measure. His Spook Night event has sold out every October that it’s been in production, and despite occasional forays outside of the spooky (the holiday-themed Merry Christmas, Bitch and Fuck Valentine’s Day were personal favorites of mine), Montgomery always works his way back to darker themes. In Dead Boys, his offering to the Hollywood Fringe Festival this June, the personal horrors his characters grapple with are rivaled by literal monsters at the door in a play that is an eye-of-the-storm meditation on forgiveness, race, sexuality, and religion.

You Can’t Look Away from 'NORMAL'

Photos courtesy of The Vagrancy
Photos by Wes Marsala
A Hollywood Fringe Festival Review with Musical Horror Honey Brittany Mosley

NORMAL (2017)

Walking into the theatre for the Hollywood Fringe Festival’s production and West Coast Premiere of NORMAL, carnival music is quietly playing and a man stands upstage facing away from the audience. A mannequin lies against the wall. A creepy porcelain doll sits on a shelf. The lighting is almost flickering. Before the show even begins, the audience shifts uncomfortably, wondering what they’ve just gotten themselves into.

It only gets more disturbing from there.

Shakespearean Interpretation Shines in 'Ritual'

Photos courtesy of the Hollywood Fringe Festival

A Hollywood Fringe Festival Review with Musical Horror Honey Brittany Mosley

Ritual (2017)

Ritual, currently playing at the Hollywood Fringe Festival, is billed as a “movement-based exploration of rituals [including] death and dying, transference of power, communication, and marriage.” Utilizing excerpts from Shakespearean works, both well-known and not, the Full Circle Players perform sonnets and scenes to convey the powerful emotions surrounding society’s rituals. Some of these scenes were more successful than others, however, as a whole, Ritual has a hard time conveying all of the messages it hopes to share.

'Robot Monster The Musical' Almost Blasts Off

Photos courtesy of Ken Werther PR

A Hollywood Fringe Festival Review with Musical Horror Honey Brittany Mosley

Robot Monster The Musical (2017)

The film-based campy horror musical canon continues to grow at an exponential rate. From Little Shop of Horrors to Evil Dead: The Musical, these shows are raunchy, funny, and full of dramatic hyperbole. Robot Monster The Musical, receiving its world premiere this year at the Hollywood Fringe Festival, aims to join the ranks of these fun titles. While it’s an admirable start and has the potential to be very fun, it seems to need a little more work.

Drowning Would Be More Fun Than Watching '47 Meters Down'

A New Release Review with Musical Horror Honey Brittany Mosley

47 Meters Down (2017)

47 Meters Down is a great film…. If you are twelve, regularly watch the Freeform channel, and are on your very first date with the boy or girl you’ve been too afraid to talk to in the hall for weeks but want an excuse to get close to.

If you do not meet all of the above requirements, have any regard for science, or like to be scared, then there is absolutely no point in wasting almost-90 minutes of your life.

SLASHED! The Musical: A Hollywood Fringe Festival Review

A Theatre Review with Horror TV Honey Kat Wells

Really good slasher films are already kind of like musicals: there’s a lot of buildup between the musical numbers (or gratuitous death scenes), and when you get there, there’s a much-anticipated explosion of emotion that bursts out of characters in song form (or, you know, blood and guts, spurting veins, and machetes through the face). The horror musical is nothing new, but it’s an absolute delight to see the 80s camp slasher fully exploited in this capacity. SLASHED! THE MUSICAL does this, and with the wink and nod that the subgenre deserves.

Monster Honey Unwraps Alex Kurtzman's 'The Mummy'

All photos courtesy of Universal

A New Release Review with Monster Honey Sarah Miles

The Mummy (2017)

When news broke that Universal would be remaking its classic movie monsters as part of a shared cinematic universe, now called the Dark Universe, the response was generally skeptical, and not just because of the general distrust of Hollywood’s culture of constant remakes. By launching this series, they would be remaking classic icons of not only horror but cinema itself. From the 1920s to the 1950s, the Universal monster movies highlighted character and atmosphere over today’s "one jumpscare per ten minutes of runtime" quota. Even if people haven’t seen them, you only need show them a picture of Boris Karloff as Frankenstein or Bela Lugosi as Dracula and they are instantly recognizable because they are such a big part of popular culture consciousness.

Why Aren’t You Watching Dimension 404?

A Horror TV Honey Web Exclusive Series Review with Kat Wells

Dimension 404 (2017-)

Dimension 404 is certified Family Friendly
for horror fans!

“In the darkest depths of cyberspace, there is another world. A lost dimension, home to wonders unseen, terrors unspeakable, and stories unlike any ever told. Do not click back. Do not reload. You have reconnected... to Dimension 404.”

Dimension 404, the new science fiction anthology series streaming on Hulu, is the latest offering from Freddie Wong’s production company RocketJump (of Video Game High School fame). A millennial Twilight Zone/Outer Limits that “explores the wonders – and terrors – of our digital age,” the first season (and dear GOD let there be a season 2) is alternately frightening, touching, and hilarious, always clever, and most important of all: it’s fun. 

Packed with fantastic guest stars (including some comedy and horror royalty), this show explores the darker side of how technology interacts with humanity, without the soul-crushing bleakness of Black Mirror. What’s more: whether you grew up on The Twilight Zone, Tales From the Darkside, Amazing Stories, or Goosebumps, you will find something to connect to in this series. Oh, and it’s narrated by Mark Hamill. Squee to the 404th power.