Friday Night Video – Spotify Wrapped Edition, Songs 100-91

FNV (Friday Night Video) – Spotify Wrapped Edition 2022 Edition – Songs #91-100

My favorite time of year, music-wise, is always when Spotify Wrapped comes out.  I’m rarely surprised by the songs that are on my list, but I’m always excited to see what I’ve listened to the most.  This year, I decided to make my 2022 Wrapped Playlist into a regular installment on my blog by listing my top 100 songs, ten at a time, and explaining why I like them and what memories I associate with them (reasons that often overlap, since music, to me, is always a nostalgic medium). 

Today is an extra good day to write about my favorite songs**, because I’ve been home sick for three days now, and will probably be out for at least two more after today.  I rarely get physical illnesses, so I hardly know what it’s like to get the flu, or something like it.  But the past few days, my eyes have been constantly secreting disgusting substances, I’ve had a fever, and my throat has been incredibly painful, even after taking Ibuprofen. 

Nobody likes to be sick.  On the flip side, I can’t remember the last time I’ve had five days to myself to quarantine inside my house and decide how to divide my time all day.*** It’s resulted in a lot of organizing, when I have energy, and some intermittent sessions of online Monopoly with my friend Asma and her two oldest kids, who live out of town.  And it’s also resulting in this…another blog post.  Last time I posted (a couple weeks ago) I vowed to do so more regularly, and now I can fulfill that goal by talking about one of my favorite things on this planet, music.  So, here are my 91st – 100th favorite songs from last year, in order from 100 to 91.

Continue reading “Friday Night Video – Spotify Wrapped Edition, Songs 100-91”
Friday Night Video – Spotify Wrapped Edition, Songs 100-91

We Are All Dead in a Parallel Universe

“There was a time when I thought you wouldn’t come back,” my mom told me one day, years after a series of major psychotic episodes that I had in my twenties.  “I started to believe that you would probably just never be the same again,” she said.  I think I cringed when I heard this.  I can’t tell you exactly why I hate these conversations, but I do, and I have ever since I (mostly) regained my sanity.  My college years were bumpy, but according to my personal timeline, I went completely mad for the first time toward the end of my second year of teaching, when I was 24 years old.  I am 38, now.

Continue reading “We Are All Dead in a Parallel Universe”

We Are All Dead in a Parallel Universe

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.”
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!

Soho 1

                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””

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”

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”
AHS In Context: American Horror Story Asylum and the Slasher Phenomenon

Saturday “Slash-back”: Resonant Violation and My Young Obession with Scream (1996).

Scream One

I don’t remember how many horror movies I’d seen when Scream first came out in theaters, but I’d probably watched at least Kubrick’s The Shining and Coppola’s Bram Stoker’s Dracula – the first two horror movies I recall seeing – in the tiny t.v. room of my family’s old house on East Gore Road before settling down in the theater to see Wes Craven’s post-modern masterpiece.  The original Scream came out in 1996, when I was twelve years old.  I don’t remember the “build-up” to the film the way I remember the anticipation preceding, say, the 1999 film The Blair Witch Project (and my concomitant let-down when I was less than scared by the film), but I definitely remember the general reaction to the shockingly grotesque introduction that the film provides.

Continue reading “Saturday “Slash-back”: Resonant Violation and My Young Obession with Scream (1996).”

Saturday “Slash-back”: Resonant Violation and My Young Obession with Scream (1996).

No Sweet Dreams about Nightmare Alley

nightmare-alley-2

      I am writing about the unsettling new Guillermo Del Toro film at 5:22 a.m. on Christmas morning because after an eight-month hiatus, it’s the only time I’ve been able to set aside for any reasonable amount of “extra” writing or “pleasure” writing.  I haven’t slept all night, because for the first time in a long time, I’m setting the day aside (Christmas) to do whatever I’d like to do, among and between zoom calls and visits with people and things of that nature.  It is a fitting reflection of my life, I think, that I plan on writing about deceit, manipulation, murder, and our innate fascination with “difference,” vaguely signified, at 5:30 a.m. on Christmas morning.  Indeed, if I had a definable brand, I think this post would reflect it quite clearly.

Continue reading “No Sweet Dreams about Nightmare Alley”
No Sweet Dreams about Nightmare Alley

Gilgamesh, Humbaba, and the Monster/Monster Hunter Relationship

Gilgamesh and Humbaba at the Cedar Forest

One thing I love about studying monsters is that stories have quite literally always contained them. There is arguably something universal, or near-universal, about imagining these unique, often antagonistic beings and situating them among their non-monstrous counterparts. The Epic of Gilgamesh, for example, is the first story we know of that was written down instead of transmitted orally.  Etched first in a language called Akkadian (and then in other languages), on stones that have become faded and smooth so that some parts of the story are now indecipherable, the tale of Gilgamesh (technically a poem) tells us about a warrior, Gilgamesh, and the difficulty he experiences when losing his friend Enkidu and facing the reality of his own mortality – a difficulty that at some point in our lives, we’ve probably all been able to understand. After all, the thought of dying is scary.

On Gilgamesh’s initial journey with his bestie, Enkidu, one of his goals is to slay the forest monster Humbaba – a task that is framed in different lights, depending on which version of the story you read.  I find it fascinating that both the monster and the monster hunter exist in the world’s earliest written story, and this complicated binary persists through the ages, up to both early and contemporary horror films. It is interesting, I think, to consider what we can learn from monsters, monster hunters, and the relationship between the two beings. Various monster theorists take up the subject of the monster and the monster hunter, but the topic is not central to most Monster Theory.  To be honest, it’s not a relationship that’s proven central to my work so far – part of the reason why I want to give it some attention tonight. I argue in this piece that the role between the monster and the monster hunter is rarely simple, and that we have much to learn from their relationship, and how it transforms through space and time.

Continue reading “Gilgamesh, Humbaba, and the Monster/Monster Hunter Relationship”
Gilgamesh, Humbaba, and the Monster/Monster Hunter Relationship

Dalek and Us: Grey Areas, Otherization, and Monstrosity

Not all monsters are evil, to be sure. But we often assume they are. My dissertation, and thus my primary work of scholarship right now, focuses on monstrosity, but monstrosity and evil often correlate in pop culture representations.  Shortly after I started my blog, when I was a neophyte blogger and had not yet entered a PhD program, I had a profound interest in cultural manifestations of evil: who do we call evil, who gets to make that decision, what are the consequences of the word “evil,” and how do we navigate the fine line between excusing evil and seeking to understand it? Nurse Jude, played by Jessica Lange, says with her usual self-assurance in Season Two of American Horror Story, “All monsters are human.”  At the same time, writer Stephen T. Asma, in his book On Monsters, highlights the precarious nature of assuming a correlation between monstrosity and innate evil with his concept of “accidental monstrosity,” a phrase he uses to describe those who, after a slip and a slide in the wrong direction, become monsters without meaning to.  Monstrosity and evil, in any case, have one thing in common: both are massive umbrella terms that encompass multiple gradations and examples within their denotations. 

Continue reading “Dalek and Us: Grey Areas, Otherization, and Monstrosity”
Dalek and Us: Grey Areas, Otherization, and Monstrosity