Author

Matt O'Connell

Matt O'Connell has 3 articles published.

Matt O'Connell
Matt is a writer, pop culture historian and aspiring two-fisted adventurer. He has a degree in ancient Mediterranean history with a focus on Roman ritual violence, which is why he writes about monster movies and pro wrestling on the internet. He is the host of the I Hate Wrestling podcast, and he resides with his two cats and hot wife in the happiest place on Earth (Hoboken, NJ).

Prester John: The True Story of Medieval Europe’s Favorite Fake Emperor

People tend to think of urban legends as a fully modern phenomenon, inextricably linked to 20th century ephemera like highway hitchhiking or teens being menaced at Makeout Creek. In point of fact, the subject matter isn’t what makes an urban legend, it’s the way the stories spread. We’re talking about stories transmitted primarily by word-of-mouth, reinforced by the implied trustworthiness of friend-of-a-friend corroboration.  Your cousin’s friend’s boss totally found an entire cow eyeball in his Big Mac, why would he lie about that? And why would a hundred generations of Europeans lie about the existence of a mighty Christian utopia ruled by an immortal priest-king?  The answer is that it’s…

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Tract Star: Jack Chick’s Most Unhinged Religious Comics

The temptations of Satan and his demons surround us on all sides. He and his dark legions are waiting around every corner, ready to seduce us with tabletop RPGs, parties, and Mormonism. The only thing standing between our tender souls and utter damnation is the dearly departed, hyper-Christian cartoonist Jack Chick and his infamous Chick tracts. They’re roughly the size and format of a Tijuana Bible, only instead of containing drawings of Olive Oyl getting spit-roasted by Popeye and Bluto, they’re filled with shrill evangelism and tangible paranoia. Because we love you, dear reader, we have assembled some of Jack Chick’s greatest triumphs to share with you. I’ve also chosen…

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Living Through Horror: How Generational Trauma Shapes Our Monsters

A few weeks ago, Black Mirror creator Charlie Brooker announced that his show’s sixth season would be delayed in direct response to the impact of COVID-19. The thinking goes that the world doesn’t need any additional bleakness at the moment, which is a fair point. A more cynical observer might paraphrase Ron Swanson and ask why anyone would bother dramatizing the apocalypse when they could just go outside and stand in it. That makes sense on an intuitive level, but fails to take into account the fundamental nature of humanity. We call ourselves Homo sapiens, but we’re defined less by our wisdom than by our tendency — even instinct —…

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