Shanannigan’s First Fright: “In a Dark, Dark Wood…”

As part of a fantastic Christmas gift, Michael tracked down some contributors to my “My First Fright Series,” a series on my blog which I happen to love.  In this series, for which I started by writing about two of my earliest childhood fears, I ask other people to write about their earliest memories of feeling afraid.  The results tend to be an interesting, surprising, eclectic group of terrors.  I decided to save this one for the month of Halloween, since it has a really creepy vibe!  So, before delving into my Christmas Gift “My First Fright,” I’d like to extend a tremendous thank-you to my boyfriend, Michael, at My Comic Relief and today’s contributor, Shanannigan’s,for a fantastic re-telling of a first fright. Continue reading “Shanannigan’s First Fright: “In a Dark, Dark Wood…””

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Shanannigan’s First Fright: “In a Dark, Dark Wood…”

In the Jaws of a Classic: An analysis of Steven Spielberg’s Jaws

Jaws 2When I was thirteen, my family and I took a trip to Florida.  I certainly wasn’t too old to love Disney World (I’m still not) but I was most excited to visit Universal Studios.  After all, commercials for Universal Studious basically consumed cable tv stations in the mid 90’s, and my imagination took flight when I saw the commercial for the Jaws ride.  Out of the depths of murky nothingness, a giant shark rises beside passengers in a boat, its face partially distorted by the flamboyant, spasmodic flashing lights that eclipse its visage and make the shark look more than a little surreal, and infinitely menacing.  I was simultaneously horrified and titillated by the prospect of actually riding the Jaws ride and experiencing the enormous, foreboding shark for myself. Continue reading “In the Jaws of a Classic: An analysis of Steven Spielberg’s Jaws”

In the Jaws of a Classic: An analysis of Steven Spielberg’s Jaws

Monstrous Undertakings in The Eyes of My Mother

The Eyes of My MotherAfter watching Hereditary – which I never blogged about, in part because of a perceived inability to say anything unique about it – I thought I’d seen it all.  Hereditary is one of the most disturbing horror films I’ve seen in some time, a sickening romp through the cackling, bloody underworld of death, grief, and witchcraft combined.  Nonetheless, Michael and I watched The Eyes of My Mother yesterday, a movie I decided to put on my list for comprehensive exams when I heard about it at a pop culture conference.  Let me tell you: it was disturbing.  Nonetheless, it was a fascinating film that said a lot about certain types of madness and (perhaps) about how such madness evolves.  I’ll be including, in my piece, Michael’s take on the main character, along with my reaction to his opinion and some observations about the film in general.  As a warning, this film is not for the faint of heart, and it may sit with you for awhile after you watch it.  That said, let’s talk about, perhaps, the general experience of watching The Eyes of My Mother along with some of the questions it raises. Continue reading “Monstrous Undertakings in The Eyes of My Mother”

Monstrous Undertakings in The Eyes of My Mother

F.N.V. Reminiscences: Music of My Early 20’s

 

Houston Skyline during late afternoon looking east

On my blog, Just Dread-Full, I’m adamantly open and enthusiastic about my love for all things (or most things) horror.  Indeed, this passion is foregrounded so much that it often eclipses my other loves in life – a reason why I started another blog a few years ago, one I didn’t have time to follow through with and for which I ultimately stopped writing.  One of those passions that I don’t frequently share on the horror-centered Just Dread-full is my love for music – and my interest in what I would consider a wide variety of music.

Continue reading “F.N.V. Reminiscences: Music of My Early 20’s”

F.N.V. Reminiscences: Music of My Early 20’s

“Baby I was Born That Way”: Depicting Marjorie Diehl-Armstrong in “Evil Genius” as Bad-Since-Birth.

Diehl Armstrong 2Well, like I said in my last post, yesterday, Michael and I started watching Netflix’s “Evil Genius” series about the bizarre pizza bomber case in Erie, PA.  And, riveted as we were to the story, Michael and I finished the series already.  In my last post, I predicted that Marjorie-Diehl Armstrong would be humanized by the documentary during the second half.  And while the documentary interviews people who saw a human side of Marjorie in the courtroom of her trial, I would argue that the documentary, itself, didn’t do much to humanize her.  In fact, I think the interview clips that were pieced together did a lot to suggest that Diehl-Armstrong was innately bad, and that maybe she’d always had at least a strong proclivity to be that way.  This really interests me, because it flies in the face of what I think I know about human beings, and the existence of evil in the world.  It’s also just a dangerous road to travel down: what can we do to someone when we label them “evil from birth?”  These are some questions this post will consider. Continue reading ““Baby I was Born That Way”: Depicting Marjorie Diehl-Armstrong in “Evil Genius” as Bad-Since-Birth.”

“Baby I was Born That Way”: Depicting Marjorie Diehl-Armstrong in “Evil Genius” as Bad-Since-Birth.

How We Construct the Monster: Thoughts on Evil Genius, Parts One and Two

Evil Genius OneWhoa.  I’m writing for my blog.  Gasp.  What a strange phenomenon this is—something I haven’t had time to do for months.  I almost forget how.  How do I start?  What do I say?  Gahhhh!!! The pressure weighs on me so.  (Searching brain for an apt metaphor to describe this feeling – coming up with nothing).  This blog-writing business is, indeed, a weird sensation, after such a long hiatus.  It is, loosely stated, my summer vacation, and so I have time to write again.  But having not written recreationally in quite some time, the task seems a little daunting.  Of course, I write papers all the time, but blog-writing is a different beast, all together.  Still, like I said, it’s my sorta-summer vacation (I still have lots to do) and Michael and I sat down earlier today to watch the first two episodes of Evil Genius.  The show got me to thinking… … …so I decided to take a break after the first two episodes to write about it.  Continue reading “How We Construct the Monster: Thoughts on Evil Genius, Parts One and Two”

How We Construct the Monster: Thoughts on Evil Genius, Parts One and Two

Evil is as Evil Does: Five of Horror’s Vilest Villains

Deadpool Freddy TwoIn a rare turn of events, I got off work early today (woo-hoo!) and had to decide how to occupy my time.  I was thinking about a post I could write without re-reading anything, or re-watching anything – so I could just start writing for the sake of writing, and get a post up today before my plans tonight.  And it occurred to me that while I’ve talked about evil a lot on this blog, there is a rich pantheon of evil horror characters I’ve never discussed.

One thing is for certain: not all villains are made alike, and not all behave similarly.  I thought about this when considering the difference, in Star Wars, between a Vader and a Palpatine.  Vader becomes pure evil, but he becomes evil because he falls; the prequels tell us that he was once the promising Jedi, Annakin Skywalker.  And ultimately, Vader is redeemed.  Palpatine, on the other hand, is more or less bad to the bone, as the cliché song goes.  So I started thinking about all the evil horror characters who are insane, who are sympathetic, who have at least strands of humanity that sometimes surmount the darkness and show themselves a bit.  And then, I thought of the horror characters that don’t have any of that – no really human tendencies, no back story, few redeeming qualities.  For the purposes of this post, these are the characters I’ll label “truly evil,” and I’ve chosen five of them.  I couldn’t put these five characters in order, because they’re all pretty damn malicious, but here’s the list, nonetheless, with my explanation: My five favorite truly evil horror characters: Continue reading “Evil is as Evil Does: Five of Horror’s Vilest Villains”

Evil is as Evil Does: Five of Horror’s Vilest Villains