I have taken to watching a film most nights before I go to sleep. Not every night—but often—it serves as something to look forward to at the end of a work-filled day. I can indulge my passion and build my expertise in my genre of preference, horror, or I can stretch myself and watch something else. Either way, I find movie-watching a delightful way to end my day, and so I sat down two nights ago to re-watch Sam Raimi’s Evil Dead (1981) in preparation for Evil Dead Rise (2023) which Michael and I saw last night at the movie theater. In my estimation, Evil Dead (1981) is a riot. It’s just raunchy enough, conceptually uncomfortable, and weirdly hilarious. It lost me a little bit at the end as a lot of movies do (I think many movie endings feel drawn out, or maybe I just have a poor attention span), but in general, what fun to watch, and what a unique take on monstrosity; possession films aren’t usually among my favorites, but I really like the Evil Dead. So I guess I was expecting something with a similar tone when I saw Evil Dead Rise last night. What I got was something much more macabre, and, in my opinion, probably more captivating for its bleak vision.Continue reading “Point-Counterpoint: Divergent Takes on Evil Dead Rise”
“Take a sad song, and make it better:” My totally sporadic, barely thought-out, unapologetically random top ten Beatles songs list.
The best things in life may or may not be free, but certainly the best things in life resist classification, hyper-categorization, obsessive ranking, and bickering about whether “X” is somehow innately, objectively better than “Y. I say that because there is something tongue-in-cheek about what I’m endeavoring to do in this piece, based off the knowledge that most rank lists are subjective and sporadic phenomena that have become popular since we’ve become more interested, as a culture, in reading numbers and bullet points than we have in pages and paragraphs. For more reading about the random, subjective nature of rank lists (albeit in a Star Wars context) you can peruse this cool blog post by the Imperial Talker. Beyond his insight, I would add that if most of our thinking and speaking is a product of a uniquely Western metaphysical way of understanding and perceiving that we’re hardly aware of, then certainly the competitive, linear, numerical notion of a rank list both reflects and reinforces such tacit thought structures (In other words, the compulsion to rank is, I think, far from what anthropologists would call a human universal, or a cross-cultural constant across time and place—although I suppose this statement could be arguable). If ranking works of art isn’t a natural human impulse or something that has inherent meaning or validity, then rank lists are also a bit hackneyed in some analytical pop-culture contexts. So that’s the qualification I’ll write about what I’m doing, here.Continue reading ““Take a sad song, and make it better:” My totally sporadic, barely thought-out, unapologetically random top ten Beatles songs list. “
Fiction’s Fearless Females: Dana Scully
By: Nancy of Graphic Novelty²
In celebration of Women’s History Month, I have joined up with some other amazing bloggers to celebrate! This is the fifth year that I have participated in this series with Michael of My Comic Relief, Kalie of Just Dread-full, and Jeff of The Imperial Talker and this year I choose FBI Special Agent Dana Scully, MD, of The X-Files fame. This iconic role began in 1993 and spanned eleven seasons and two movies over the course of twenty-five years before ending (for good?) in 2018.
While most of my entries (Captain Kathryn Janeway, Lieutenant Nyota Uhura, Doctor Beverly Crusher and Counselor Deanna Troi) have revolved around Star Trek, this year I added Dana Scully to my roster, which also included Sarah Connor from the Terminator movies. All of these women are fearless in one way or another, but let’s dive into why Scully stands out!
The X-Files became a breakout science-fiction hit on the Fox Network. The show became must-watch tv for a legion of fans before shows were on demand and could be watched whenever you wanted. I distinctly remember watching the first season while I was in college, crowded into a room with my friends. I found this young professional woman an inspiration as I was on the cusp of entering the workforce myself.Continue reading “Fiction’s Fearless Females: Dana Scully”
Red’s Retaliation: The Untethering of a Subterranean Revolutionary – Fiction’s Fearless Females
Dear readers, gather around the campfire—okay, or the computer screen—as I regale you with a story. Throughout time, we’ve been entertained with tales of heroes—the Mighty Achilles, Sir Gawain, Beowulf…Spiderman, Superman, Antman, Xena the Warrior Princess…and the list goes on. I’m here today, however, to discuss a different hero—a single woman who, at a young age, was relegated to a cold, imprisoning underground lair not by any evil villain, but by her own image, staring back at her in a funhouse mirror. For years, the subterranean woman lived among her subterranean people, a group of have-nots who were tethered to those in the world above, who “lived the lives” of those above ground, albeit without all the artifacts and accoutrements associated with living. Angry at her fate, this young woman grew up and devised a plan, inspired by the image on a t-shirt, that could be executed with a mere lighter and a few pairs of scissors. The woman planned not just to take over a city, a state, or a nation, but, with the help of the others who lived with her underground, to take over the world, to re-populate the world above ground with her enslaved, tethered people. She did not want fame, power, or fortune—merely justice and the warm light of the sun, for herself and those she lived among. Thus, with nothing but cunning brilliance, a few dull sheers, an eccentric family, and some kickass dance moves, a young woman and her family entered the “ordinary world,” intent on inhabiting it by dominating it.Continue reading “Red’s Retaliation: The Untethering of a Subterranean Revolutionary – Fiction’s Fearless Females”
Xena the Warrior Princess: Fiction’s Fearless Females
By Michael J. Miller of My Comic Relief
It’s Tuesday March 8th – International Women’s Day 2023! Once again I’ve teamed with other bloggers – Kalie of Just Dread-full, Nancy of Graphic Novelty2 , and Jeff of The Imperial Talker – to celebrate some of our favorite female characters in all of fiction. In a wave of ‘90s nostalgia I decided to write about Xena this year. How has it taken me five years of doing this series to get to Xena?!!? Xena: Warrior Princess ran for 134 episodes over six seasons from 1995 through 2001. Starring Lucy Lawless as Xena and Renee O’Connor as her best friend Gabrielle, the show took hold of pop culture in a way few things have in my lifetime. It left a lasting impression, too. As I told everyone who I was writing about this year I kept getting the best responses. “Ahh! I loved that show!” “She was my hero!” “I loved Xena!” “I watched her show all the time!” With Xena: Warrior Princess premiering when I was in seventh grade, Xena wasn’t just an iconic character for me; she was also archetypal. In many ways, Xena formed my understanding of a “fearless female hero.” She was my first fully fleshed out example. She wasn’t part of an ensemble cast. She wasn’t guest starring in another male hero’s show. Xena rode alone (well, with Gabrielle of course!) and there was nothing she couldn’t do.
So I invite you, dear reader, to wander down this road of memories with me as I celebrate one of the most iconic and important heroes I’ve ever met. (And if you wanna let out your best rendition of Xena’s famous warrior yell as we go, feel free! I won’t tell anyone ;D. I’ve been doing it again for weeks now, too.)
Continue reading “Xena the Warrior Princess: Fiction’s Fearless Females”
Skinamarink: There’s No Place Like Home (The Spoiler-Filled Account of a Horror Phenomenon).
For some horror fans, Skinamarink was a bust—a waste of one hour and forty minutes on this beautiful, mysterious earth. The same security guard stood outside the theater both times Michael and I saw it, and he was aghast that we saw it twice. Certainly, some of the theatergoers liked the film, based on post-movie conversations, but others responded with a resounding, “it sucked,” and moved on with their lives. As for me, well, I can’t seem to get that monster out of my mind, to echo the title of a Joan Didion essay (although to be honest, I don’t remember what that essay was about). Indeed, the “monster” in the film is a diabolical force that takes over a family’s household. And it’s a diabolical force that’s incredibly well-conveyed—so much so that I have concluded this is one of the scariest movies I’ve ever seen. Given, however, that the whole movie is a sequence of fuzzy camera stills, I’m quite interested in considering why I found it so scary. That is, at least, (part) of what this blog post is about. I haven’t written casually about horror in a while, but my most frequent horror-writing tendency has always been to highlight the main things I have to say about a film (even when they’re disconnected) and discuss them in my blog posts. That is, then, what I will do here. To that end, here are my thoughts on Skinamarink, a landmark horror film that I would situate as a genre-bending classic.Continue reading “Skinamarink: There’s No Place Like Home (The Spoiler-Filled Account of a Horror Phenomenon).”
Brooding Men and Unholy Births: Parthenogenesis and the inter-generational transmission of abuse in The Brood and Men.
I sat on Michael’s couch for a while tonight, next to his wise, oversized unicorn, Justin, biting my worn-down acrylic French tips and oscillating between potential writing projects. I settled on a blog post, since it’s been quite some time since I wrote on my blog, and I decided to put a classic 1979 Cronenberg horror movie (The Brood) in conversation with the recently released horror film Men because they were both on my mind, and I couldn’t decide which one to write about. I’m finishing up my section on The Brood for chapter two of my dissertation, and I went to see Men with Michael, Jaelyn, and Ryan a few weeks ago, a riveting film that we followed up with a long conversation outside the theater in the cool Erie late-May weather about what it all means and how it—Men—re-enacts contemporary phenomenon.Continue reading “Brooding Men and Unholy Births: Parthenogenesis and the inter-generational transmission of abuse in The Brood and Men.”
Fiction’s Fearless Females: Ellie and Sandie from “Last Night in Soho”
Every year a group of bloggers and I write about fearless fictional women to celebrate International Women’s Day. Each of these bloggers will be featured on my blog this year. The blog-a-thon started with Michael of My Comic Relief and, after my post, will go on to feature Nancy and Kathleen of Graphic Novelty2 and Jeff of The Imperial Talker. Here’s my contribution to the Blog-a-thon this year!
Edgar Wright’s Last Night in Soho opens in the warm home of a quaint British town, a home where main character Eloise basks in her vintage-inspired bedroom listening to music from the 60s. The opening scene is so reminiscent of life sixty years ago, in fact, that we may suspect that we are in 1961, not 2021, and because of Wright’s ability to establish a scene we may also feel like we’re temporarily inhabiting a much more idyllic time period than our own. Certainly, that is what Eloise/Ellie (Thomasin McKenzie) imagines, the main character who we meet in the film’s beginning. Ellie has just been accepted to fashion school, and we get the impression, based on her excitement, that a glittering life in Great Britain’s fashion hub looks just as perfect, just as idyllic, as the 1960s do in her eyes. But sometimes attractive surface appearances mask a more insidious lurking reality—a fact which may be true of Soho in general, and is definitely true of Soho in the 60s, a reality that Ellie will soon find out.
Continue reading “Fiction’s Fearless Females: Ellie and Sandie from “Last Night in Soho””
Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy – Fiction’s Fearless Females
By: Michael Miller at MyComicRelief.wordpress.com
JustDread-full’s Note: Every year, a handful of bloggers and I celebrate International Women’s Day by blogging about fearless women in fictional stories during the month of March. Traditionally, I’ve only featured my contribution to the blogathon on my blog, mostly because my blog tends to have a narrow focus. But, “tends to” is the operative phrase, here: I realized that I’ve posted about music, politics, and non-horror books in the past, so why not feature excellent, thoughtful, thematic content by other blogs on my own blog, even if the content isn’t directly related to the horror genre? So, this month, you’ll see a lot of posts from other bloggers about fearless women in fiction, starting with a post from an awesome writer, and one of my best friends, Michael Miller. Enjoy his post, and get ready for more features about fearless women throughout the month!
It’s International Women’s Day and for the fourth year in a row I’ve teamed up with some fellow bloggers – Kalie of Just Dread-full, Jeff of The Imperial Talker, and Nancy and Kathleen of Graphic Novelty2 – to celebrate some of our favorite female characters in all of fiction. This year I was having trouble deciding on who to write about. I wanted to rewatch Harley Quinn on HBO Max and read Tee Franklin’s Harley Quinn the Animated Series: The Eat. BANG! Kill. Tour but should I write about Harley Quinn or Poison Ivy? Then it hit me! The entire show (and comic which serves as Season 2.5) is anchored in their relationship. I would be hard pressed to write about one without writing about the other. Plus, for a series celebrating “fearlessness,” it’s within their friendship where Harley and Ivy find and demonstrate the most incredible courage. Standing beside each other, they (ultimately) own and face their greatest fears. So I’m writing about Harley and Ivy and the type of friendship we should all be so lucky to have.
Given the focus of this piece it’ll have major spoilers for S1&2 of Harley Quinn as well as light spoilers for Tee Franklin’s (as brilliant as it is beautiful) Harley Quinn the Animated Series: The Eat. BANG! Kill. Tour.
Continue reading “Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy – Fiction’s Fearless Females”
AHS In Context: American Horror Story Asylum and the Slasher Phenomenon
For my dissertation right now I’m writing a chapter on Psycho. I’ve written about Psycho on this blog, and I think it’s a fascinating work, but my study of the film led me yesterday to some interesting musings about American Horror Story Asylum: 2, a tv show that takes the slasher phenomenon head on and, arguably, indicts the lineage of violence that provoked it. Psycho and AHS Season 2 are remarkably and intriguingly different, and I will examine their differences more in this blog post.Continue reading “AHS In Context: American Horror Story Asylum and the Slasher Phenomenon”