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As a literary figure, Edgar Allan Poe works have been a popular source for film adaptations for nearly a century, but what about films about the man himself? Raven’s Hollow, which landed last week on Shudder, attempts to mine a part of Edgar Allan Poe’s biography for a fantasy horror film.

Does this Shudder Original evoke the master of suspense and horror, or does it end up lacking?

Raven's Hollow (2022) key art from Shudder

Raven’s Hollow (2022)

The 2022 horror thriller, Raven’s Hollow, follows a group of West Point cadets, including a young Edgar Allan Poe, who find a dying man lashed up in a field during a routine training exercise, leading them to the secretive and dready community of Raven’s Hollow. Soon they will find themselves involved in a mystery that threatens to take out every cadet.

Raven’s Hollow is the directorial effort of Christopher Hatton who co-wrote the story with Chuck Reeves, loosely adapted from Edgar Allan Poe’s The Raven and elements of Poe’s biography. The film stars William Mosely as Poe, with Melanie Zanetti, David Hayman, Kate Dickie, and Oberon K.A. Adjepong.

A still from 'Raven's Hollow' (2022) - depicting West Point cadets encountering a dying man.
A grim discovery on the road promises a mystery that does not deliver.

What Worked with Raven’s Hollow

The film in concept seemed interesting, but the execution was lacking. The idea of a young Edgar Allan Poe as a West Point cadet engaged in some mystery that resulted in his being thrown out of the army is an interesting one, but the film didn’t quite stick the landing. With that said, there are a couple of bright spots.

While the cast as a whole is fine, the real standouts are Kate Dickie (Game of Thrones) who plays Elizabet Ingram and Oberon K.A. Adjepong (The Many Saints of Newark) as Usher. They have the more interesting roles as the secondary cast and their performances feel appropriately grounded for the situation. I should also mention the rather over-the-top characterisation of Dr. Garret, as played by David Hayman. Hayman plays Garret as a broader figure, but it suits the tone, reminding me of the tone of Tim Burton’s Sleepy Hollow.


What About Poe, Though?

As for the lead, William Mosely (The Royals), I found him effective. I suppose. The Edgar Allan Poe of this film has no real character beyond that of protagonist. He doesn’t have much to work with, and the fact he keeps getting called Poe, when historically his army surname was Perry, indicates the film is trying to brute-force the idea he is Edgar Allan Poe into viewer’s minds without showing the traits that actually made the man who he was. It also didn’t help that the West Point cadets as a whole kind of ran together and at times I lost track of who was who as a few of them have striking similarity to one another in looks and about one personality stretched across four men.

Visually, some of the scenery of Latvia, where most of the location shoot took place, can be quite nice, and I found most of Michael Rizzi’s cinematography to be good. It’s just a shame that the color grading and lighting just made everything look flat, cold, and grey.

A still from 'Raven's Hollow' (2022) - Edgar Allan Poe (William Moseley) in a cart
A young cadent Poe catches a ride.

What Didn’t Work

I have a number of problems with the film that can probably be classified into three camps: accuracy, aesthetics, and storytelling, and I found significant issues in all three areas.

Raven’s Hollow is a fantasy film that tries to forge an event in the life of it’s version of Poe that would inspire him to take up the pen later in life. I don’t have an issue with that, either. It can be a fun storytelling conceit, but the films tone doesn’t really evoke Poes writings at all, and there are some elements of his biography that go ignored to service the story. Such references grow doubly-insulting when the film’s references to his eventual canon are ham-handed.

The film is also dreary to look at. For something gothic that would make sense, but this film is so grey and flatly lit that it is visually exhausting. The film’s best, most colorful moment comes from a splash of blood on a glass window that actually provides some thematic color to a scene. That was the only time this happened, however leaving the majority of the runtime a tiring grey and black screen. Poe can be visually interesting… look at any of Vincent Price‘s Poe films.

Lastly, the story is a mess. The central mystery is non-sensical and doesn’t offer many shocks as people are picked off in a creepy village that exists solely to whittle down the cast. The legend that comprises the entity at the center of the film also has seemingly nonsensical and the resolution is dramatically inert.

A still from 'Raven's Hollow' (2022) - a still depicting a funeral
When your whole aesthetic evokes the feeling of a funeral, the funeral fails to stand out.

Final Impressions of Raven’s Hollow

Raven’s Hollow didn’t work for me for a few reasons, namely how little I cared for the story and the connections to the works of Edgar Allan Poe feel so cursory and lacking any depth. In truth, there seemed little connection to the West Point cadet of the film and the man who would come to write some of America’s greatest gothic literature. The film is also overly drab and offers a bizaar and nonsensical series of events it presents as a “mystery.”

I cannot recommend Shudder‘s Raven’s Hollow at all, even for the very few interesting moments that pop up in the film’s 1 hour 38 minute runtime. 1.5 out of 5 stars (1.5 / 5)

Want A Better Slice of Poe? (Sponsored)

If you are looking for a better Edgar Allan Poe experience overall, might we suggest a copy of 1961’s The Pit and the Pendulum with Vincent Price? it’s a wonderful adaptation of Poe’s story directed by Roger Corman. Snatch a blu-ray for yourself and use our sponsored link to help support Haunted MTL.

David Davis is a writer, cartoonist, and educator in Southern California with an M.A. in literature and writing studies.

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Movies n TV

Wheel of Time, What Might Be



Episode three of Wheel of Time was easily my favorite so far. It’s dramatic, dark, and speaks to the growing concerns about evil invading the world.

Let’s discuss.

The Story

Let’s begin with Nynaeve. After showing little to no progress, Liandrin thinks she’s ready to go through the Trial of The Arches. This is an initiation that all Aes Sedai have to go through to become a sister. It’s dangerous, not totally understood, and doesn’t have a great survival rate.

One would think some cooler heads would prevail and not let the very new person do this so early. Especially since Nynaeve seems to have some issues with impulse control.


But she goes into the trial, seeing first a scene from her childhood where her parents are attacked. 

The point is to walk back through the arches, leaving her family behind. This she does, but doesn’t look very happy about it. Her second trial involves finding herself back in Two Rivers, where a horrible plague has ripped through the people. Again, she has to walk away from the people that she cares about and come back to reality.

Zoe Robins in Wheel of Time

The third test is a little more tricky. It appears that Nynaeve comes back covered in blood, with no memories of what happened. 

Terrified, she runs from the castle only to find Lan waiting for her. 

In the real world, where Liandrin and the others are waiting for her, she simply never returns. 

This shakes Liandrin. She decides she’s done holding Mat against his will, and lets him leave. Excited, but also smelling a trap, he takes Min with him. 


Still not sure why she had him to start with, but I guess it’s cool that she let him go.

Meanwhile, Rand is working with a familiar face at his hospital. It’s Logain, who we might remember as the false dragon from season one. 

Rand would love some advice about channeling as a man. But it appears that Logain might really have lost his mind.

What worked

My favorite scene in the episode was the one involving Perrin and Lady Suroth. This scene was perfect. 

First off, the character design for Lady Suroth was just perfect. Without moving more than a hand and the crook of her mouth, she manages to be terrifying. 


The massively scary nails help, as does the headdress that is both beautiful and reminiscent of an insect. The sort of insect that seems likely to bite and lay eggs under the skin of a victim. 

Her absolute authority was terrifying. Uno certainly learned that. 

What was more scary, of course, was who was standing next to her. Does she think she’s the one in charge? Or is she perfectly clear on where stands?

What didn’t work

One thing that I don’t love about this season is, unfortunately, not likely to change. It’s true in the books, and it’s true in the show.

Daniel Henney in Wheel of Time

The ensemble cast structure doesn’t work for me. 

It fractures the story in too many directions. It’s too busy, there’s too much going on. At the same time, there isn’t enough going on with individual characters for me to establish an interest in all of them. 


I care what’s happening with Egwene and Nynaeve. I care what’s happening with Perrin.

I don’t care as much about Rand right now. And she wasn’t as involved in this episode, but I don’t care about what Moiraine is going through either.

That could be because the world is coming to an end and they’re refusing to be team players. But maybe that’s just me. 

Overall, this was a fun episode. It feels like pieces are being put into place. The characters are getting ready for something big. Something that we can only see the beginnings of. 

Something that they clearly don’t think they’re ready for. 

3.5 out of 5 stars (3.5 / 5)

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Movies n TV

American Horror Story Delicate, Multiply Thy Pain



American Horror Story Delicate began last night, Killer Queens. And it was, well, a complicated episode. This makes sense because this season is about a complicated topic.

Just in case you didn’t know, this whole season is based on the novel Delicate Condition by Danielle Valentine. If you haven’t read it yet, you should. 

The Story

Anna Victoria Alcott is an actress who just got her big break. She was in a horror movie that no one can stop talking about.

Emma Roberts in American Horror Story Delicate

Except Anna herself. Because this career success couldn’t have come at a worse time. She and her husband Dex are in the middle of the difficult IVF process. It’s expensive, time-consuming and painful. Ironically, so is trying to win an Oscar.

But Anna has other things to worry about. Someone is messing with her. Several women are watching her in public. Worse, someone appears to be getting into her home, slashing notes she leaves for Dex, and removing her vital IVF medication from the fridge so it spoils. Her calendar is hacked to move her doctor appointments around so she misses them. Worst of all, someone broke into her home and crawled into bed with her.


Of course, no one takes any of these concerns seriously. Her agent, Siobhan, is focusing on getting her an Oscar. Her husband, Dex, doesn’t seem to give a shit about her except for when it comes to having a baby. He’s frequently dismissive of her concerns and only seems to want her around when it’s convenient for him. He goes so far as to kick her out of his show opening because she’s on edge.

You know, maybe because she’s clearly being stalked by someone who is trying to keep her from having a baby. 

What worked

AHS Asylum had a lot of dark and important things to say about mental health care in America. AHS Coven had a lot of dark and important things to say about race and gender relationships.

Last season, AHS NYC wasn’t so subtle. Yes, there was a killer. But the real historical horror of the AIDs epidemic in the 80s was the focus of the season. And that worked very well.

This season, the story is clearly about female body autonomy. Anna is a woman struggling with so many issues that modern women face. The balance between our careers and our families. Feeling like growing old is the most unforgivable thing a woman can do. And of course, the fact that our bodies often feel like they don’t belong to us. 


I was also pleased to see some AHS alumni. Denis O’Hare as Dr. Hill was delightful. Leslie Grossman and Billie Lourd will be involved soon, and they never bring anything less than their A-game.

This episode also did something I never thought could happen. It managed to scare me with a calendar notification. That was a special moment for me as a horror fan and calendar-obsessed person.

What didn’t work

Here are some things I didn’t love. First off, the main character Anna is a pushover. She can’t say no to Dex, Talia, Dr. Hill, or Siobhan. No one gets a no from this woman!

Anna didn’t act like that in the book. She stood up to everyone all the time, it was great. She wasn’t getting any support, but she was advocating for herself! That was such an important part of her character, and I’m sad to see that she’s lost that here. 

I also hate the changes made to Siobhan and Talia. Now, please understand that this isn’t me complaining that the book was different. That’s not my point. Siobhan was a kind, loving woman who supported her best friend even while dying of cancer. Talia was a smart, business-oriented woman who was still kind. She was trying to start a family with her transgender husband, and bonded with Anna over their IVF journeys. These were vital characters in the story.

Juliana Canfield in American Horror Story Delicate

I feel like they’ve been railroaded. 

All that being said, this was a decent start to AHS Delicate. It’s not the best start of a season we’ve had. But it’s okay. I’m looking forward to seeing what the rest of the season is going to bring.  4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)

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Movies n TV

Wheel of Time, Strangers and Friends



Episode two of Wheel of Time, widened the divide between the show and the books. Things are happening out of order, people are acting out of character. Whether this is to the detriment of the show, however, has yet to be determined. 

The story

One character missing from episode one was Rand. You know, our main character. But we finally catch up with him now. 

He’s living in a city with a woman named Selene. They don’t have what I’d call a super healthy relationship. She spends a bit too much time talking about her ex. 

Yes, for those of you who didn’t read the books, this is going to be important.


Rand is also working at an insane asylum. He’s kind and patent with his charges, but not all of his fellow caregivers are. 

Josha Stradowski in The Wheel of Time

Meanwhile, Lan and Moiraine are recovering form their Fade attack from last episode. Rather than taking the time to actually heal, Moiraine decides to head out to find Rand. Her team comes with her, which seems to really bother her. 

While that little hissy fit is taking place, Nynaeve is causing issues. Not by anything she’s doing, but by what she’s not doing. As none of the regular novice teacher have been able to get her to use the One Power, Liandrin offers to try. No one, including me, is thrilled with this. But, the Aes Sedai are desperate. They know that The Dark One is around, and they need Nynaeve to be ready. So, they let the person who’s driven other students to their deaths and actively committed multiple hate crimes take over. 

What could go wrong?

What worked

The special effects in this episode were really well done. I especially liked the dead fade nailed to the wall.

I was also pleased with the introduction of Elayne. Ceara Coveney is playing her, and doing a fine job. She’s warm, kind and sweet. I am thrilled that she’s around. 


One of the greatest things about Wheel of Time is the friendships between the characters. Rand, Perrin, Mat, Nynaeve and Egwene legitimately care about each other. Elayne seems to care for Egwene right away. I really love that. 

What didn’t work

One thing that bothered me in this episode, and frankly the last episode, was Liandrin keeping Mat in prison. I feel like this wasn’t adequately explained. Why does she have him? How did she trap him? What in the hell is she trying to get from him? Perhaps I simply missed something, and please let me know in the comments if this is the case. But it feels like some poor writing to me. 

I also don’t love how Moiraine is portrayed in this episode. Really, in this season so far.

I get that she’s never exactly been a warm person. She’s not personable, open, or kind. Some (most) fans of the book would likely agree that she’s kind of a bitch.

But she’s not a bitch for no reason. She certainly isn’t the sort to lash out at the people who love her because she’s in pain. And that’s what she’s doing through this episode. She’s taking her pain out on Lan. And that’s just out of character for her. 

Dónal Finn in The Wheel of Time.

It feels very much like a lot is being skipped over from the Wheel of Time books. But, so far at least, I don’t feel like anything vital has been missed. It feels more like the story is being streamlined. 

Yes, I understand how this might go horribly wrong. I think we’ve all seen that. But as of right now, the changes make sense for the switch in mediums. 

Now, let’s see if it stays that way. 

3 out of 5 stars (3 / 5)

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