Guernica Magazine

Claire Cronin: Blue Light Hauntings

Horror writer Claire Cronin discusses her new book, the digital uncanny, and how obsession demands a sideways approach.

Claire Cronin is many things—writer, musician, academic, visual artist, poet—with a singular interest: horror films. Blue Light of the Screen, out this month, is an obsessive, flickering first work that combines several of Cronin’s talents (illustration, memoir, criticism, poetry) to approach horror films from every angle available to her.

Blue Light of the Screen, which Cronin wrote while completing an English PhD at the University of Georgia, is at once an investigation of Cronin’s familial beliefs, a compendium of film notes, and an academic treatise on technology, horror, and spirituality. Her taste in film is broad; she provides engaged notes on seemingly throwaway new releases, on classics like Don’t Look Now, and on highbrow Ari Aster features, which are also treated to understated summaries: “Headlessness in horror is rarely metaphoric.”

Cronin has always felt a deep pull towards horror, and specifically towards hauntings. Last year, she released , a Southern Gothic folk album similarly interested in spectres (though, with its wavering vocals and pared-down images, it sounds less like something for encountering ghosts and more like something ghosts would listen. As she puts it, “certain horror plots return me to a story my mind’s already been telling.” Cronin’s subheadings—some of the most poetic and haunting writing in the book—often highlight the persistent dedication of her interests: “Forebodings, age six to thirty-three.”

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