For an Independent Seminar on horror and monstrosity, I sat down (again) to watch the very classic and very canonical The Blair Witch Project, a film, not surprisingly, about witches, and one situated at the inception of the found footage trend in filmmaking (a trend I address in other posts). Of course, I’ve written about this film before, some time ago, but I really only scratched the surface of its depth and what it has to offer us, as both a piece of criticism and a manifestation – a cultural artifact signaling the historical location of the late 90’s and what questions that location raised. Needing, I thought, to narrow my focus for this film (and, perhaps, for all the texts I’ll encounter this week that deal with witches) I started with what I thought was a very important question: What is “the witch,” so called? What surrounds her, perhaps, and what does she tell us? I think putting a variety of texts about witches in conversation with one another could yield rather interesting answers to this question, but I’ll start with The Blair Witch Project, which offers us a turn-of-the-century glimpse – based off, in the film, age-old lore – of what “witchiness” is, how the witch reveals herself, and what she’s (frighteningly) capable of. Continue reading “What is the Witch? — Part One: The Blair Witch Project”
I was driving from Indiana PA to Erie one night not a few weeks ago, my mind enmeshed in rapid succession of thoughts. It was dark outside, and I noticed little except for fleeting, flickering glimpses of surreal roadside images, ambiguous shadow outlines in the night, as my car coasted across 422, and then across 1-79, headed north. My CD player has been broken for months, so I was flipping through the channels, trying to settle on a song even vaguely satisfying, a melody that didn’t wink out into a barrage of static thirty seconds after I found it. Reliable radio stations are difficult to come by in some parts of Western Pennsylvania.
This is a special post for a few reasons. First, as someone who’s loved reading comic books and delighting to the adventures of superheroes since 1986; Joe Hill, Gabriel Rodríguez, and Jay Fotos’ Locke & Key is THE FIRST REAL HORROR COMIC I’ve ever read. I broke brand new genre ground here and it was…an experience. Second, this series came highly recommended by Nancy (half of the awesome twosome Nancy & Kathleen who run the wonderfully geektastic comic blog Graphic Novelty²). Locke & Key is one of Nancy’s all-time favorites and she’s been urging me to read it for ages. I made a lot of excuses because, well I can be a baby with horror stuff sometimes :). But I did it! Lastly, this is special because regular readers will notice Kalie’s been super busy with her PhD work of late so, sadly, that means less time for her to write new content. I decided to write this guest post for her today in celebration of our three year anniversary. Yep, three years ago today was the day we first met! Awwww…let’s mark this special occasion by talking about the gruesome, macabre, and haunting tale of the Locke family shall we?? Continue reading “Locke & Key and Horror Comic Books”
I adore almost all genres of film. I will bore anyone that will listen about film noir, westerns, gangster flicks, French new wave, indie movies, sci-fi, superhero films, and Star Wars (yes, I’m placing the galaxy far, far away in a category all of its own). One genre that I never could quite warm to was horror movies. I suspect this was because of poor choices in initial viewing; that plus the fact that I am a world-renowned scaredy-cat. I go faint and squeamish at the sight of all that blood. I go weak at the knees at the sound of a drill warming up. With trusted online companions such as Michael and Kalie though, I gradually realised that I was missing out on the nuances of the genre with my blanket ban. I decided that I was going to go on a journey this summer through the thrills and spills of the horror section. Continue reading “It Follows – A Journey to Maturity?”
Occasionally, I stumble on an idea that really excites me. This would be a fortuitous occurrence to combat mid-day lethargy, but for better or worse, I’ve become perhaps irrevocably nocturnal. As such, it’s two in the morning, and re-reading sections of Paradise Lost for the upcoming candidacy exam has yielded a level of excitement about pondering the nature of evil – indeed, writing an essay completely committed to the topic of evil, which seems appropriate for a horror blog. And the excitement is difficult to contain. Really, I’m not exaggerating. I even thought maybe dissecting literary depictions of evil would be good fodder for a doctoral dissertation, which brought further almost uncomfortable fervor. So, I started pacing around frantically, then I decided to settle on the couch for a ten-minute meditation, to calm down and focus. I have learned, especially under the right circumstances, that I am a person who feels very strong emotions. In any case, the idea tonight is to harness those emotions into a writing product, one of my atypical miscellaneous essays for this blog, a piece of writing not tied to one particular work of art. Who knows – such meanderings may even help me shape the dissertation I need to start writing in about two years. As usual, then, I’m using whoever might be misguided enough to read my thoughts for my own academic purposes. To that end, thanks for your time. Continue reading “3 A.M. Thoughts on Evil”
Whoa, I’m doing it. I’m actually writing a post for my blog. According to, well, this website, I haven’t written a post since June 20th, which means it’s been almost a month. To be honest, it’s not a feeling I enjoy, but I have two part time jobs, and I have to start reading like a maverick for my PhD candidacy exam in late August (I mean, I’ve been reading for it, assiduously, but now I have to start reading like a maverick). With more books to read (at least, in an ideal world) than I’m feasibly going to get done before exam time, I couldn’t justify spending time writing these posts. But, seven minutes ago I turned 33, so I treated myself to a pre-birthday movie with Michael, and now I’m enjoying some birthday blogging. I plan on being wildly self-indulgent for the next twenty-four hours (which, for me, means something like a nice walk at the peninsula and a turkey sausage breakfast sandwich at Panera), so I shall write freely, with no thought of the theory text I’m reading or the works of Nathaniel Hawthorne (which are the two things I’m supposed to be focusing on). Continue reading “When You Wish Upon A….Box of Doom”
I wasn’t sure what to expect when I saw the previews for the most recently released version of The Mummy, starring Tom Cruise and Annabelle Wallis. Mummy movies are a genre staple, but all things considered, they’re not my favorite approach to horror. I mean, I appreciate them, I like them, I’m always willing to watch one, but as I indicated in an earlier post, I have yet to watch a mummy movie that truly scares me, that captivates me as much as I’d like it to. As it turns out, the most recently released version of the film, The Mummy, which came out about two weeks ago, is an intriguing approach to the horror subgenre, an approach which mashes up action and horror but has creepier overtones than the 1999 Brendan Frasier version of the film. The Mummy (2017) is the first installment in a series of darker films that fall under the bleak umbrella of Universal Studios’ Dark Universe. The film, and its broad appeal, is an apt indicator that Universal Studios has the potential to both combine horror and action, and make horror suitable for a wider age range of viewers – two challenges which, if approached rightly, have the potential to create an incredibly successful series of films. Continue reading “The Mummy (2017) and the Dawn of the Dark Universe”