October is a chilly season for science fiction. The sleek surfaces of spaceship chrome and bright glow of laser-blades don’t lend themselves to the shadows we crowd around at a time of year we celebrate the nostalgic darkness and lurking mysteries of a bygone age when we knew a lot less than we do now.
The secret satisfaction of the horror genre is that, while we have no idea what will happen next, we fear most that nothing ever will, and in horror, whether better or worse, the other boot comes down.
“The Blood Brothers present…Raw Feed,” an anthology evening of eight short plays and a framing sequence in a Night Gallery/EC Comics mold (staged at a Brooklyn hole-in-the-bricks and running uncoincidentally through Oct. 13, with one play by Tor.com’s own Danny Bowes), strikes a kind of Freddy vs. Jason balance between tech and terror.
Proceeding from the inarguable premise that every innovation that promises an advance for humanity will go right into a race for the bottom, and six feet under that, Raw Feed gives us a shambling pageant of smartphone stalkers, obsessively-updating serial killers, porn-site-addicted perv evangelists, and others either magnifying their personality or contracting their world through the looking glass of the smallest screens.
This is all moderated by the title-branded Blood Brothers, midnight monster-rerun ghouls who pop up between parables to deliver the mocking morals that all good trendsploitation horror-schlock (and cautionary sci-fi) masks itself in.
The night’s most rewardingly viewed live clips come from the playwright Nat Cassidy, with the sung-not-spoken-word “TALLHOTBLOND,” an ambient uploaded murder-ballad of assumed identities and online romance gone irreversibly wrong, and “Joy Junction,” about the kind of preschool-show host never to leave your kids alone in front of the TV with.
Across these two plays Stephanie Willing gives a compelling choreographic performance first as a larger-than-life simulated siren and then a life-size, soulless ventriloquist doll.
Our phantoms roam free in programmed replicas, and Raw Feed suggests that, as per the fear that indeed permeated even classic science-fiction movies, computers did take over the world – and that, as per the greatest fear of real life, it’s a world we don’t want anyway.
Adam McGovern’s dad taught comics to college classes and served as a project manager in the U.S. government’s UFO-investigating operation in the 1950s; the rest is made up. There is material proof, however, that Adam has written comic books for Image (The Next issue Project), Trip City.com, the acclaimed indie broadsheet POOD, and GG Studios, and blogs regularly at HiLoBrow.com and ComicCritique. He lectures on pop culture in forums like The New York Comics & Picture-story Symposium and interviewed time-traveling author Glen Gold at the back of his novel Sunnyside (and at this link). Adam proofreads graphic novels for First Second, has official dabblings in produced plays, recorded songs and published poetry, and is available for commitment ceremonies and intergalactic resistance movements. His future self will be back to correct egregious typos and word substitutions in this bio any minute now. And then he’ll kill Hitler, he promises.