A Tribute to The Shining: Let’s Not Overlook Anything – Part One

the-shining-twinsIt’s Saturday night, the lights are dim, and slow jazz begins to emanate through the coffee shop I frequent as I scrunch my body over Daniel Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe and try to focus on the book’s merits (I mean, it’s okay, but it’s not my favorite).  Michael has just left the coffee shop for karaoke, and I’ve elected to stay at the café, which closes at midnight, and study for a candidacy exam that takes place in late August.  Suffice it to say, I’m not a huge fan of bars.  But as I’m trying to get enmeshed in the heart-rending story of a stranded narrator’s self-constructed wall collapsing in a storm (really, the way I typed it sounds more exciting than the event does in the book) it occurs to me that the exam isn’t until August, and maybe if I read a little while longer I can rent…you guessed it…a horror movie.  Continue reading “A Tribute to The Shining: Let’s Not Overlook Anything – Part One”

A Tribute to The Shining: Let’s Not Overlook Anything – Part One

A Matter of Life and Death in the Belko Experiment

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Photo Credit-The Belko Experiment

Horror Blogger Confession:  While I usually drag Michael to see horror movies on opening night, a second viewing of Beauty and the Beast took precedence over a first viewing of The Belko Experiment this weekendI mean, the remake of Beauty and the Beast was soooo fantastic the first time, and I was seriously craving something uplifting.  Graduate school, after all, is stressful (this semester more so than last), our country’s being shit on by the most corrupt president and cabinet in U.S. history, and I’m kind of an anxiety head case as it is.  So I really needed to see Emma Watson affirm that she wants much more than this provincial life before she forms a healthy partnership with a lovable, furry CGI figure whose horns and stature make him look like Krampus’s gentler, non-demonic doppelganger.  I’m only human, and I love watching Lumiere, the talking Candelabra, sing about food.  So I put Belko on the back burner and all was well.

Continue reading “A Matter of Life and Death in the Belko Experiment”

A Matter of Life and Death in the Belko Experiment

Get Uncomfortable with Get Out

 

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Photo Credit – Get Out

I wasn’t sure exactly what to expect when entering the theater to watch the newly released Get Out.  On the one hand, the previews looked creepy enough.  And then there’s the intriguing prospect of a horror movie that considers the problem of racial injustice.  I thought that the movie had incredible potential – and was excited to see it – but I thought it could bust, too.  Happily, the film was strange and jarring but also excellent.  Get Out takes typical social discomfort and morphs it into unsettling suspense.  The film facilitates a lot of pathos from the viewer toward the characters and makes a bold statement about the unsolved problem of racial inequity in America.  Since the film has been out for a couple of weeks, and since it may be easier to discuss by referring to the ending, there may be spoilers in this review.  Beware!

Continue reading “Get Uncomfortable with Get Out”

Get Uncomfortable with Get Out

Surviving Horror When You’re Scared of EVERYTHING

Guest Writer: Michael J. Miller

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Photo Credit – Ghostbusters (1984)

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!

Continue reading “Surviving Horror When You’re Scared of EVERYTHING”

Surviving Horror When You’re Scared of EVERYTHING

A Cure for Wellness, A Cure for Ennui

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Photo Credit – A Cure for Wellness

So, I wrote about the sometimes-blasé nature of contemporary horror in a recent piece on The Bye Bye Man, a much hyped movie that turned out to be a dull, formulaic disappointment.  Shortly after, I embarked on a Shyamal-a-thon to mix things up; contrary to the flack he gets, I think M. Night makes a great, original movie with a unique vision.  But if you really want unique – and, that is, unique with a side of extra fucked-up (there’s no eloquent way to encapsulate the reality of this film) – look no further than Gore Verbinski’s A Cure For Wellness, which crawls under your skin like a festering amoeba and provokes distinct discomfort throughout what is, for horror, an epic-scale movie length: two and a half hours.  A Cure for Wellness is also a cure for boredom, for the common moviegoer and the volatile sadist alike.  But even as I write this, I find myself torn: do I spend a post emphasizing how uncomfortable and unconventional the film was, or do I explore some reasonably intelligent questions the film raises?  This, then, is my disclaimer: I have no idea how to begin to discuss this movie, so I can’t predict where this post will go.  I’ll try not to divulge the film’s big secret, but beyond that effort, I make no promises about anything.

Continue reading “A Cure for Wellness, A Cure for Ennui”

A Cure for Wellness, A Cure for Ennui

The Ring: Technophobia or Technophilia?

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Photo Credit – The Ring

I don’t remember the first time I saw The Ring, but it was probably in college over ten years ago.  Then there was a sequel that didn’t get much attention (I’ve never seen it).  Since a more advertised, more acclaimed sequel, Rings, came out yesterday (I intend to see it tonight and write about it thereafter) I thought it would be appropriate to dive into the American original, which is based off the utterly eerie Japanese Ringu.  Perhaps in part because its origin is Japanese – and thus beyond our cultural sphere – The Ring is a highly original horror and suspense classic, mixing an investigative mystery plot-line with sheer horror and eschewing a lot of horror film conventions for its own original storytelling.  But I intend to do more than sing The Ring’s praises in this piece – although I will, assuredly, do that.  I plan on looking at some binaries that construct the storytelling behind The Ring and examine what the film implies about our culture’s relationship to technology.  Continue reading “The Ring: Technophobia or Technophilia?”

The Ring: Technophobia or Technophilia?

Dismantling Shades of Gray: Sometimes there is a Distinct Difference Between Right and Wrong

we-the-peopleI 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”

Dismantling Shades of Gray: Sometimes there is a Distinct Difference Between Right and Wrong