I read Stephen King’s Misery earlier this summer for my comprehensive exams. Then, I let the book rest for a while and didn’t do much with it. It juxtaposes fascinatingly with the film, which depicts an Annie Wilkes who’s incredibly true to King’s story, courtesy of the monumentally talented Kathy Bates. And, like the film, it explores concepts like female madness, and madness depicted as monstrosity, but in more depth than the film does. Wilkes is at least a somewhat complex character who King—and his protagonist, Paul Sheldon—come close to virtually humanizing at times, despite her atrocious actions. But the fact remains: Annie Wilkes is a madwoman, and she’s depicted as a monstrous madwoman. I thought I’d use this post to look at more of Annie’s personality, and what the madwoman—and the monster woman—is, if we take Annie as an example of both. So, let’s do this. Continue reading “Objects of Abjection: The Mad Monster in Stephen King’s Misery”
A few nights ago, I decided to enjoy a little casual viewing of a horror classic. Christine, the story of the monster car, is a horror staple that, with a well-written script and believable characters, delivers ample entertainment without ever really terrifying the viewer—at least, if the viewer is me. Because Christine doesn’t situate itself in the realm of the typical horror movie, rife with ghouls and vampires and traditional monsters of all sorts. Christine – if you don’t know this, and you probably do – is about a vicious, killer car with unusual superpowers. I chose the film, as I’ve insinuated, because I think it’s a fun watch for a low-key night – nothing as scary, say, as watching Sinister. And unsurprisingly, as I watched the film, a few thoughts came to mind that made me ponder. Continue reading “Cruisin’ With Christine: Attack of the Monster Car”
I can’t say I read many books about the writing process these days. To be sure, I have no vendetta against them – especially not when they’re written by accomplished authors. I remember, years ago, reading Anne Lamott’s Bird By Bird, in which she talks about taking life, and taking writing, step by step, the way her brother had to take a science project “bird by bird” when he stayed up to do it at the last minute. And in my early 20’s, I was obsessed with Mary Pipher’s Writing to Change the World. Pipher is the author of Reviving Ophelia: Saving the Selves of Adolescent Girls, and along with formulating the renowned theory that our society is taking something away from its girls during the transition from childhood to adulthood, she also sought to give people advice on how to write – especially on how to write in a way that would change things, that would make a difference. That was a fair undertaking, because Reviving Ophelia had made waves, and its theory still has resonance today, years later. Continue reading “Reading About Writing: Stephen King’s “On Writing””
If it’s not obvious from the different analysis I publish on this site, I’m a huge fan of The Shining. In fact, I’m reading Stephen King’s On Writing right now, and I’m a bit torn, because I know he hates Kubrick’s version of his story, but I happen to love it. Still no matter what version of the classic tale you favor, we can all agree that the idea of being snowed into a haunted hotel with a mentally unstable, alcoholic, misogynist, self-interested writer and schoolteacher (how Kubrick, though not King, presents Jack) is a precarious situation, especially when you have son with exceptional capabilities but a penchant for blacking out and losing his sentience. Well, since I live in the freezing Erie, PA, a city that repeatedly makes winter headlines for its record amounts of Lake Effect snow, I’ve gotten, over the past few days, to get a sense of what it feels like to be completely snowed in. As such, I thought I’d write a post about the experience of being “snowed in” for three days, and the cabin fever that ensues from such an experience – you know, in the service of exploring different territory for my blog. Continue reading “Snowed-In: A Cabin Fever Story”
In the beginning of Place: An Introduction, Tim Cresswell describes the significance of placing a specific art exhibit, one foregrounding Bollywood movies, in an elite Swedish town where only the 1% tend to visit, in part because it’s difficult to get there. Cresswell includes the following quote in his introduction: “ ‘It’s difficult to get to,’ Mr. Wakefield added, ‘but because of that, it also demands a different kind of attention. You discover the art through the place and the place through the art.’ The exhibition at Gstaad reflects a wider interest in how art and place interact on the part of both the artists and art theorists” (2). This got me thinking that it might be intriguing to examine The Shining not just from a few lenses but – perhaps – from the intersection of a few lenses: Space or place, as its conveyed in the film, the cultural space in which the film is produced, and the current cultural space in which I, the viewer, am watching the film. This move, I think, is necessarily spectral, or turns the art under examination into a specter that disrupts linear time, since I become sort of engaged in this spectral moment, where I’m looking at the art forward, backward, etc – and this is especially true of The Shining, which situates its primary space, The Overlook Hotel, as a place that’s both mad and spectral, that consistently – if not constantly – manifests itself as a presence in the spectral moment by embodying both the past and the present – and, to the contemporary viewer, the more recent past (1921, 1980, 2017, but arranged as 2017 encompassing a film that shifts back and forth between 1921 and 1980, that begins by emphasizing 1980 but ends by emphasizing 1921). As a “cautionary note,” I found, as I was watching, that it was challenging to thread the entirety of this analysis throughout my interpretation of the film, especially for a blog post, but that’s the general angle I’m coming from when I look at the film. (As a sidenote, I wonder the extent to which we could deduce that all art is “spectral” – or maybe that’s what I’m getting at, but that seems like a sweeping argument for a later time). Continue reading “The Shining: A Spacial and Temporal Examination of a Spectral Narrative”
With Michael Miller
So yesterday, Michael and I spent a fair bit of time flexing our creative muscles and writing a The Shining Meets the Ghostbusters, a mashup that mixes the relatively dark Kubrick version of King’s canonical horror story with the beyond famous, original Ghostbusters franchise (although the new female Ghostbusters gang will likely be featured in later series installments). In other words, the blog has a new feature: genre mash-up fan fiction. Our version of The Shining, with the intervention of The Ghostbusters, has a bit more levity than the original. And Michael’s masterful knowledge of The Ghostbusters, creativity, and quick wit helped animate and bring them to life. We hope you enjoy. We had a lot of fun with this, so there’s likely more fan fiction to come….
So…final papers continue to be imminent, and I continue to break for a frequent, intense, scene by scene examination of The Shining, my all-time favorite horror film directed by the one and only Stanley Kubrick. My intent, when I started writing, was to write a couple posts. But, this is segment number four in the series, and Jack isn’t even (completely) crazy yet. As such, I think I’ll continue. If you’d like to read my first three blog posts, which cover about the first half hour of the movie, you can check out the first, second, or third!
After a three-week writing hiatus, apparently, I need to make up for lost time. Despite writing a considerably long piece on key scenes from The Shining last night, I feel pressed to continue my analysis tonight, at the expense of working on final papers. I should mention, right now, when it comes to grad school, I’m operating under the dangerous dictum that “it always gets done, eventually,” which I’m hoping doesn’t backfire horrendously. And anyway, my Thursday afternoon class is cancelled, which means that tonight is practically a weekend for me – the perfect time to write about horror. I can’t explain why I enjoy looking so carefully at the most unsettling – albeit sometimes most unrealistic – elements of life, only that I do. And in that vein, I’ll pick up where I left off yesterday, and continue to compile a sort of cinematic, scene-by-scene “close reading,” of Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining, my favorite horror movie of all time, and one of my favorite movies of all time, period. (Ironically, it’s competing with The Sound of Music and Goodwill Hunting for that title). If you haven’t read the first or second segment of my analysis, consider doing so before you read on. Continue reading “A Tribute to The Shining: Let’s Not Overlook Anything – Part 3”
A few weeks ago, I had the insatiable urge to pick apart Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining, which is probably my all-time favorite horror movie. And so I did some examination, and I had a lot to say. I stopped the post rather abruptly while analyzing an early film scene, and then life happened: the semester picked up, I got a part time job at Torrid, a store that brings fashion to women who wear a variety of sizes (a mission I’m totally on board with), and I kept meaning to write, but it didn’t happen. I don’t like to separate my blog posts out by three week increments – I decided when I started my doctoral program that I would try to post at least every two weeks – but such is life. Continue reading “A Tribute to The Shining: Let’s Not Overlook Anything, Part 2”
It’s Saturday night, the lights are dim, and slow jazz begins to emanate through the coffee shop I frequent as I scrunch my body over Daniel Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe and try to focus on the book’s merits (I mean, it’s okay, but it’s not my favorite). Michael has just left the coffee shop for karaoke, and I’ve elected to stay at the café, which closes at midnight, and study for a candidacy exam that takes place in late August. Suffice it to say, I’m not a huge fan of bars. But as I’m trying to get enmeshed in the heart-rending story of a stranded narrator’s self-constructed wall collapsing in a storm (really, the way I typed it sounds more exciting than the event does in the book) it occurs to me that the exam isn’t until August, and maybe if I read a little while longer I can rent…you guessed it…a horror movie. Continue reading “A Tribute to The Shining: Let’s Not Overlook Anything – Part One”