I am a huge baby. I don’t try to hide this. When Kalie and I began dating two years ago I’d only seen one or two horror movies. Why? I don’t like being scared so I didn’t like them. However, apparently part of being in a relationship is sharing each other’s interests soooo now I spend a lot of time watching horror movies. Aaaagggh!!! As I’ve embarked on this frightful foray into the world of horror (beginning with Annabelle and most recently A Cure For Wellness) I’ve come to appreciate and even enjoy the genre in my own way. I’ve also developed a series of coping mechanisms so I can survive watching these films. So, if you’re like me and you’re forced to watch you enjoy horror movies but are TERRIFIED while watching them, try these tricks!
I read an article today that really pissed me off. I’ll just start there. I read an article today that really pissed me off, and, in the midst of the start of my second semester as a PhD student, I haven’t been as politically involved as would be ideal in a time of such horror and upheaval. I marched in one protest in my hometown and I’ve shared some articles online and I try to keep up with the news, but I think it’s time to offer my own voice. I read an article that really pissed me off, and emphasized that what I’d already conjectured was important had to be put into practice: my beloved horror blog, Just Dread-full, has to be turned into a partial political platform. Don’t get me wrong; I’ll still make an intense effort during a busy semester to churn out content on all things sinister and macabre, but after all, what’s more sinister and macabre than the Trump administration? Political articles will appear on this site from time to time – and maybe regularly – because the climate of the times dictates it. As I’ve said three times now, I read something today that really pissed me off, so I’m putting down the 250 pages more of reading I have to do between now and Tuesday, casting my GA work aside for the moment, and taking some time to assert what I came to believe during Trump’s campaign and which has only become more true as he’s enacted terrifying, discriminatory policies: not all opinions are equally valid in a debate over Trump’s presidency. If we discard ethical relativism – the belief that we can’t follow any one specific ethical paradigm – then we have to yield that Trump’s policies so far have been egregiously wrong. It is dangerous to justify and legitimate his thinking. Continue reading “Dismantling Shades of Gray: Sometimes there is a Distinct Difference Between Right and Wrong”→
So…it’s been a week huh? I was planning on writing a fun post about how much I’m loving The Totally Awesome Hulk today but I can’t get my head around it. Reading the news for the last five days has taken me on an emotional journey. I’ve been spending much time in thought and conversation with loved ones about where our country is heading. I’ve been struggling to understand, let alone find my place in the events that are unfolding. As I do this, I keep thinking of something Bruce Springsteen said during a concert in Western Australia last Sunday.
With the most unstable U.S. president to date having been sworn in today, I feel it more than apropos that I’m reviewing a story about a character who is, well, relatively unstable himself. But rather than serve as a political statement, M. Night Shyamalan’s Split is an immersion into a morbidly formidable world that will transport the viewer – for about two hours – notably away from our chaotic political climate and the imminent danger that our country may face, and into the world of a man with DID – Dissociative Identity Disorder –a man who has multiple personalities, including a few rogue personalities bent on causing harm and destruction. This review contains minor spoilers, but since the film is so new I won’t reveal the ending; as always, Shyamalan hits us with a barrage of surprises. Continue reading “Split Lives Up to Great Expectations”→
Michael and I have been talking lately about the phenomenon of hating. Of course, hate is prevalent in all sects of life, and more problematic in some sects than others. But when it comes to the arts, and films specifically, people love to hate. Witness the new female-driven Ghostbusters film: it’s brilliant and funny and original, but people get this weird high off slamming it on the internet. The same goes for the Star Wars prequels: any attempt to re-visit the highly successful plot of the first three films was certain to be met with some contempt, because our proclivity to love has an opposite proclivity to hate. And I think the same observation could be made with M. Night Shyamalan. Continue reading “Sensing Brilliance in the Sixth Sense”→
Over a year ago, when I started Just Dread-full, I wrote an extensive piece about a film I’d seen recently that had more or less captivated me. The film – a low budget, atypical, but indisputably creepy horror flick – was called It Follows, and Michael and I saw the film four times in theaters when it came out. There were myriad elements of this film that made it exceptional – its deeper characters, its unique treatment of setting and theme, its distinctly unsettling, creepy ambiance – but I couldn’t pinpoint exactly what it was, about this film that made me want to see it over, and over, and over again. Unsurprisingly, I purchased the film, and one December eve not so long ago, when I needed to take a break from course work, I watched it again. And it occurred to me, after re-processing one of my all-time favorites, that It Follows, more than your typical horror movie, deals, both directly and symbolically, with our near-universal and immanent fear of death’s imminence, its inescapable closeness and the insidious fact that it could consume us, any time, without warning. Don’t get me wrong: most horror movies use the possibility of death as a vehicle for frightening us. But It Follows does so in ways that are careful, intentional, and cut to the core of our fear that just as the devil chases down rock n’ roll stars (at least, according to some of their lyrics) death is always following us, snapping at our Achilles tendon in hopes that we’ll bleed out completely and wink out from life on this earth. And wouldn’t that be terrible. But that is the beauty and terror of a film that is modest, subtle and independent, but remarkably genre bending and genre defining. Continue reading “It Follows, or Death Embodied”→
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”→