Magic Realism and Film

Magic realism has never gone out of style, just out of sight every now and then, but the film industry uses it all the time and call it fantasy. Three truly magic realist cinematic greats, for me, are; Twin Peaks (1990) (Frost & Lynch 1990), the series and the movie; the movie Horns (Aja 2013), and the series American Gods (Fuller & Green 2019). Twin Peaks was/is a surrealist’s dream. Subtlety wasn’t something the directors were going for and it was the type of in your face magic realism that snaked its way into the mind. Three decades on Twin Peaks still thrills and excites the viewer and is a cult classic. It also has the ability to become a cult classic with a new audience.

Horns (2013) is based on the novel by Joe Hill (Hill 2019) Stephen King’s son. The protagonist, Danial Ratcliff plays the role of a grieving boyfriend and the only suspect in his girlfriend’s murder. It begins as realism and the introduction of the magic is so subtle that its unclear at first if it is reality or a dream. Having been accursed even by the preacher, the protagonist becomes the devil they believe him to be. With his new look, he could draw on magic powers, for lack of a better term.

The series American Gods (2019) is a surrealist’s dream, but like Twin Peaks, it isn’t for everyone. All the gods play a part; Bilquis, or Queen of Sheba; the Norse god, All father (Mr. Wednesday) and a variety of other gods. Their truth is played out and the series holds nothing back. One of the first episodes shows Bilquis devouring a man with her vaginal and birthed into the cosmos (Wigler 2017). It’s both disturbing and fascinating all at the same time. Each finds its place on the surrealist’s spectrum and perform as they were designed, uniquely.

The Gothic Guild Interview

The following is a PDF of my initial dissertation proposal about the Gothic Guild Interview process. It helps to provide a clearer understanding about the intention behind the story as it stands at this moment. I intend to continue adding to the story through both the The Gothic Guild and Jerrymanders websites. The story altered in the primary world, with the secondary remaining true to the initial understanding.

While elements of magic realism play a role in the website portion of the urban landscape, after researching magic realism, then speculative fiction, I chose urban fantasy as the final mode in the short story genre.


A secret fictional organization now known as The Gothic Guild (Eastland 2018) was established in 12 BCE and is occupied, and run by, twelve grandmasters. A seat on the Guild is for life and only becomes available when a grandmaster moves on. The same day they depart, a search begins to find a new grandmaster. To fill the vacancy, prospective candidates must vie for the position using only their crafts in a three-tiered interview process, though the opportunity presented is not all it appears. Grandmasters put forward their questions and like The Hunger Games (Collins 2008), the interview is a blood sport fought with words.

Six masqueraders (Interviewees) are selected, but only one interests the grandmasters. Their selection must survive the first two rounds, but those who failed the first round can attempt to steal the prize through the comment system. No masquerader knows what the prize will be.