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”
with Michael Miller
Well, Michael and I sat down to write our second genre mash-up. Instead of placing the original Ghostbusters in The Shining’s Overlook Hotel, we chose to work with the hugely popular, always hilarious Deadpool and placed him in the dreams of Nancy Thompson, main character of Nightmare on Elm Street, to help banish the infamous Freddy Krueger. We have yet to determine what our third series installment will be, but since this was, again, very fun to write, we’re very much planning on creating more! If you’d like to check out our first genre mash-up on The Shining and The Ghosbusters, feel free!
I’ve always enjoyed titling pieces on this blog, but I don’t think I’ve ever come up with a more appropriate title for a movie. And I say that because when you walk into the theater to see It Comes at Night, I’d highly advise you to surrender all expectations. At a glance, this suggestion may come across as a criticism, which is not my intent. I actually really invested my attention and energy into this film as I watched it, and I commend its originality, especially in a sometimes murky sea of similarly constructed modern horror films. I have nothing scathing to say about it, but I think someone sitting in front of me and to my left said out loud as the credits were rolling, “What the fuck was that?” To be sure, the type of story you’re expecting from the fairly elusive trailer is not the story you’re likely to receive. Even the title of the movie seems crafted to intentionally deceive. At the end of the day, because I always like to define horror broadly, I’ll say that yes, I’d situate It Comes At Night in the horror genre, but in many ways I found it highly unlike the horror I’m used to. Bearing that in mind, I can’t help but talk about the film without giving away more than the trailer intends to reveal. I also have a tricky habit of just saying whatever I want about a film on this blog, which often entails including spoilers (sorry). So I’m not sure how much of the plot this post will ultimately reveal as I sit down to write, but know that by reading it you’re going to have information that the trailers don’t give you. I will give you more warning about major spoilers. With that in mind, continue if you dare. Continue reading “It Comes at Night – And You’ll See None of This Coming”
It’s interesting to think, as a culture, what we deem scary. We have a diverse collection of nightmarish creatures with which we’re fascinated. They star in our favorite horror movies, and gentler versions of their faces get stuck to the windows of suburban houses the entire month of October in celebration of Halloween. Plucking these beings – ghosts, vampires, werewolves and the like – from various cultures and myths, we embrace them and re-invent them as our own, simultaneously fearing and worshipping horror creations that may be remarkably different from the original version of the entity in question. It’s a bizarre practice, if you think about it, and one that may not be as prominent in other cultures. It might make us wonder: What is horror? What can we learn about ourselves through the monsters we create? Continue reading “A Tale of Two Mummies: The Mummy in 1932 and 1999”
I admit, it’s been a long time since I’ve talked about Poe on this blog. And while I’ve discussed two of his short stories (The Masque of the Red Death and The Black Cat), I’ve never dealt with his poetry on Just Dread-full before. In fact, I haven’t read his poetry (or, you know, his Poe-etry), in quite some time, and I certainly haven’t read it all. I was consulting my mental rolodex of Poe poems that I have read, with the aid of a little online research, but I wasn’t finding “the right one” to write about today. Then it occurred to me – something I always try to remember with this blog – that horror is an expansive category that includes many works of art that don’t mirror our contemporary definition of horror (for example, I’ve been wanting to explore some of the earliest Gothic novels for a while, but haven’t done so yet.) As such, I decided to write about Poe’s poem, “Dream Within a Dream.” This poem is fascinating because, if one really grapples with the implications and philosophical underpinnings of what Poe suggests, the prospect is, indeed, terrifying. On the other hand, the poem has a rich, sonorous voice and is mesmerizingly beautiful. To me, such a combination is both a phenomenal achievement and a hallmark of much of Poe’s poetry: The ability to leave us remarkably unsettled (and often sad) while producing a poem that is unusually aesthetically appealing. Continue reading “The Just Dread-Full Poetry Corner: The Understated Horror of “Dream Within A Dream””
Amidst rapt excitement about the incredibly unique albeit troubling film Alien Covenant, I neglected all of the film’s predecessors – which was fine, for awhile. But now that I’ve rambled incessantly about why I think the recently released Alien Covenant is such an excellent movie, perhaps it’s time to return to the film’s roots and take a look at the original Alien, and the one after that, and the one after that, and so on, and so forth. Frankly, I’ve been meaning to write about the original Alien for a long time, but every time I’m faced with a highly-respected genre classic that’s stood (at least some) test of time, I get a wee bit intimidated, and this is especially true when we move into Science Fiction territory, which is far from my area of expertise. But a couple of days ago, Michael and I hunkered down to watch Alien and Aliens, and I was mesmerized all over again (since I’ve seen them both before). One wonderful thing about being me is that I have a horrible memory, especially for a lot of film. While this could be detrimental to my performance on the imminent PhD candidacy test I keep writing about (for which I have to read and recall over 100 books) it really comes in handy when I re-watch a film. More often than not, I’m surprised by certain plot twists and character actions all over again! It’s fantastic! With that in mind, I think it’s time to pay homage to Ridley Scott’s classic Alien and discuss why the film is so freakin’ fantastic. Continue reading “An Alien Franchise Tribute, Part One: The Genre-Defining Original”
It’s finally happened: I’m writing about Star Wars on my horror blog. Given the alarmingly high degree of my boyfriend’s nerdiness, this installment was inevitable for some time, but the possibility has finally come to fruition two and a half years after I first met Michael. Now, don’t get me wrong: Michael has given Star Wars a horror twist on this blog before with his examination of horror tropes in the popular animated series The Clone Wars. But I guess because I prefer to be nestled safely in the typical renditions of my favorite genre, I’ve never branched out the same way. And then, it happened, one fateful night (which was really last night). Michael mentioned that a comic series bent toward the horror genre had been released. The Screaming Citadel series is a five-issue exploration of what happens when you merge Star Wars with the disturbing and the macabre. Michael generously purchased the first two series installments for me earlier this evening, which I have proceeded to read with considerable enjoyment. Continue reading ““The Screaming Citadel” Screams Star Wars at its Scariest — Issues 1 & 2″