There is a strange sort of titillation that comes with watching Penny Dreadful – for the first time, to be sure, but also for the second, third, or fourth time, or any time thereafter. The show’s introduction foregrounds a juxtaposition of unusual images that mean little to the new viewer but that accrue significance as one becomes more familiar with the series. A mosquito spasms and jilts to a stop, a crimson, blood-like liquid flows over the edges of a quaint, antique tea-cup, and the viewer is, upon seeing these images, quickly catapulted into the mid-late 19th century –into a world rife with class divisions and scientific positivism, ornate dresses and ostentatious houses – into a world with decorum, colonialism, and, best of all, naked, green-blue, thick-skinned, bloodsucking vampires. Continue reading “Just Dreadfull Talks Penny Dreadful: Season One, Episode 1”
When I sat down to write my very first post for Just Dread-full (an event that took place over two years ago), I wrote about the first episode of American Horror Story: Haunted Hotel. Of course, I’d intended, at least perhaps, to watch more episodes than the first, but I found (as is often the case for me) that I was so excited to write, that I wrote my blog post after episode one had aired. Now, over two years later, another American Horror Story blog post is born from similar circumstances. I’m watching a variety of films and T.V. shows for my Independent Seminar, and after watching the first couple selections, the urge struck me. I thought: I should watch more shows on the list before writing my weekly response, but, I really want to write. And so, this post is born, and it should give me some ideas or preparation for my imminent writing assignment. I watched the 1959 film Suddenly Last Summer today, along with the first two episodes of American Horror Story: Asylum. Now it’s time to consider how madness is spatialized in this film. Some related questions might consider how space is organized in terms of “madness,” so-called, and what space reflects about our conceptions of madness. Continue reading “A (Perhaps) Unlikely Comparison: Suddenly Last Summer (1959) Meets American Horror Story Asylum (Episodes 1 & 2)”
Guest Writer: Michael J. Miller
As I’ve been re-binge watching Star Wars: The Clone Wars to prepare for my new elective course on the theological and mythological dimensions of the Star Wars Saga (yes, I’m being serious…life is good!) I noticed something I didn’t catch before. There is a story arc in Season Two that revolves around the Second Battle of Geonosis and the episodes masterfully employ some classic horror tropes along the way. While not as outright terrifying as say The Shining, they are certainly creepy in their own right. These episodes of The Clone Wars can serve simultaneously as a child’s introduction to the horror genre as well as a loving homage an adult fan can appreciate. Continue reading “Oh, The Horror (Light) of the Clone Wars”
If I were having a romantic conversation with The Walking Dead, I’d probably coo, “You had me at ‘bathing in zombie guts.’” Remember that early episode of The Walking Dead in which the characters rub zombie guts all over their bodies to mask their human scent and navigate through the ravenous packs of undead? Well, I’m not really saying that’s the moment I fell in love with the show, but it’s the moment that I realized – along with a compelling storyline – that The Walking Dead was willing to cover uncomfortable, even nauseating terrain that most horror – on the Big Screen or the TV – never considers touching. Watching the zombie-guts, season one episode of The Walking Dead is in fact a fond memory. Michael and I sat eagerly in front of the television, ready to binge watch the first five and a half seasons of the show to prepare for the second half of season six, which was set to air in the spring. When the characters lathered themselves in zombie guts like they were taking a shower and basking in aromatic, sudsy soap, Michael started to gag, and gag, and gag. “Honey, shut your eyes!” I exclaimed. “I am,” he yelled, “but I can still hear them!” “Well then, leave the room,” I told him, because I really thought he was going to vomit, and if he vomited on me, well, that might just send me over the edge, and then we’d have a mess on our hands. But he didn’t (leave the room or vomit). And so, we enthusiastically enmeshed ourselves in six more seasons of drama, violence, and unpredictable, unchecked bloodshed. Ahhhh, memories. Continue reading “WTF TWD?: AMC’s Hit Series Takes a Dark(er) Turn”
Guest Writer: Michael J. Miller
As a fan of AMC’s The Walking Dead, I spent the past week re-watching Season Six to get ready for this Sunday’s impending Season Seven premiere. So much of the undercurrent of last season was devoted to slowly building the tension (and anxiety!) surrounding the Saviors and the introduction of their boss, Negan. In the final moments of “Last Day On Earth” we finally meet The Walking Dead‘s ultimate villain. This profanity spewing, motorcycle jacket wearing, bat swinging, vision of dread certainly radiates menace. And, from what I understand, he’s to be the Joker to Rick’s Batman. But, if I’m being honest, he’s not the character who scared me the most last season, nor is he the one I fear the most going forward. Continue reading “Walking through The Walking Dead (Season Six): Who’s the Real Villain Here?”
It’s no surprise that I’m studying literature (though I’ll probably be forever impoverished for the decision) because I just love a good story. There is, in a book – or a good movie or television show – the plot, a chain of events driven by character actions, and then there’s the more subliminal but often pervasive mood created through all elements of work, including scenery and word choice. But, my point in this post is not really to be technical. My point is to proclaim, happily, that through the suggestion of one of Michael’s friends, we stumbled upon a phenomenal, intricate story thanks to the popular Showtime series, Penny Dreadful. Penny Dreadful’s third season aired this spring, but Michael and I, in our infinite fandom, have been busy re-watching the first two seasons to “fully prepare” before we settle down and view the third. This post, then, is my introductory post: I will likely write more on specific questions the show raises in future posts. After all, Penny Dreadful is complex and intelligent, and many facets of the show could be explored. In this post, I aim to discuss why I love the show through an exploration of the main characters. And, bonus, if you haven’t seen Season Three yet, neither have I, so there will be no Season Three spoilers! In fact, there are no major plot spoilers in this piece, so read away, without fear of any undesired revelations.
Well, it’s official. I’ve written an uneven 73 posts on Just Dread-Full since the blog’s inception in late October of 2015. Now, before I continue, I had a different introduction written in this piece, but the ghost of Miss Jessel is apparently bitter about how I depicted her in my piece on The Innocents, because she’s crawled out of the movie and consumed my laptop. Really. Michael and I lost my laptop in the transition from his parents’ house to his house (one of us was carrying the bag). We, and his parents, have searched every conceivable place, and it’s simply disappeared. As such, I’m typing from his laptop, and I have to start this piece over again.