One of my favorite quotes from Paulo Coelho’s The Alchemist (which is one of my all-time favorite books) goes like this: “One is loved because one is loved. No reason is needed for loving.” Coelho’s words are often wise – this quote is just one example – but they’re probably meant, in this case, to encapsulate human relationships. No matter: they can easily be applied to art, cinema, music, etc. One can offer much in-depth critical analysis of a piece of art, but in the end we “only have to let that soft animal of [our] body love what it loves” as Mary Oliver says in her poem, “Wild Geese.” Criticism, commentary, and speculation are all ancillary relatives of that fundamentally satisfying, sometimes calm and refreshing, sometimes frenzied and excited feeling that wells up inside a person when she finds what she loves – in literature or the fine arts, cinema or music, or, to be genre specific….in horror.
Michael and I watched Scream the other night, and I’ve integrated part of the film into a lesson plan on writing reviews with a group of students, so I know how many online reviews of Scream there are, and I’m not hubristic enough to think I could add much fresh insight to two decades of commentary. As such, I decided to keep this post really, really simple. Even if, according to Coelho, I don’t need a reason to love the film I love, I’m going to tell you, in list format, why I do. If you’ve seen it before but it’s been awhile, perhaps you’ll revisit it. If you missed this 90’s cornerstone of violence and postmodernity, let me try to tell you why I think you simply must give it a watch. I have no set number limit to adhere to, and I’m listing my reasons in no specific order (I’m not much in the mood for organizing and planning right now). So here’s my on-a-whim explanation of my love affair with West Craven’s Scream.Continue reading “20 Years of Gore and Glory: Why I Love Scream”→
For much of my life, I had no real urge to see John Carpenter’s The Thing. Just the name of the film seemed blasé. I mean, how scary could a so-called “thing” be in a supernatural realm of ghosts, vampires, and demons? However, my interest piqued, both as I got older and as I started thinking more broadly about the horror genre. I began to wonder: Okay, so what exactly is “the thing,” and what can it do compared to other dangerous entities? After all, I’d seen Halloween, so I knew John Carpenter was more than capable of making a compelling horror film. (And, well, I love Lauryn Hill’s 90’s hit, “That Thing.” That has to matter, right?) A few nights ago, then, with those thoughts in mind, I grabbed The Thing off the rack at our local Family Video (yes, Michael and I still support brick and mortar video lenders) and the two of us settled down for what turned out to be a lengthy, in-depth study of partly-explained infestation and unchecked paranoia.
I hadn’t realized the deficit until I saw the film, but it had been an astonishingly long while since I’d felt uneasy and mildly nauseated for almost two hours. You see, most American horror does wonders with jump scares and shock elements, but the Austrian-created Goodnight, Mommy starts by planting the bud of mild unease somewhere in your mind and in your gut, and then manages, assiduously throughout the film, to water and nourish that bud. By the end – at least, if you’re anything like me – you’re burying your head in your boyfriend’s shoulder (okay, a little pathetic, but in my defense, the film was very unsettling) and peeking up at the screen with a timid, wary eye. Continue reading “Goodnight Mommy: The Spoiler Free Review”→
Because it’s Halloween, a little Poe seemed apropos. To be honest, I was looking for a short number that I could read and write about quickly before enjoying the public viewing of Psycho accompanied by the Erie Orchestra’s rendition of the original score. And, my boyfriend, Michael, and I want to go out to dinner before the movie. So here’s something quick to chew on for Halloween: Edgar Allen Poe’s “The Masque of the Red Death” heightens the terrifyingly unknown nature of death by sticking death in what we can essentially call a “non-place” and inverting biblical references. Continue reading “A Room for Dying: Space and Place in “The Masque of the Red Death””→