“To Serve in Heaven or Reign in Hell”: The Will to Power in Alien Covenant

covenant 3
Photo Credit – Alien Covenant

Existentialist philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche (you know, that German philosopher with one hell of a curly mustache) once theorized that all of life and human activity rests on the will to power.  Though I am no expert on Nietzsche, this seems to suggest that each individual’s desire to hold power, feel a sense of power, etc. – in a variety of contexts – governs much human activity.  Moreover, we can look at, say, a movie, and understand character actions and motivations at least partially through this context.  Famous theorist Michel Foucault suggests much the same thing when he says that “power is everywhere, diffused and embodied in discourse, knowledge, and regimes of truth.”  While Foucault examines power on a more sociological level, his viewpoints converge with Nietzsche on the influence and the prevalence – indeed, the omnipresence – of power.  And while there are many elements of Alien Covenant to discuss (I saw it tonight) power seems of critical importance. Continue reading ““To Serve in Heaven or Reign in Hell”: The Will to Power in Alien Covenant”

“To Serve in Heaven or Reign in Hell”: The Will to Power in Alien Covenant

Phoenix Forgotten and the Found Footage Phenomenon

phoenix forgotten oneWhen it comes to the found footage genre, it seems like everyone has an opinion, and they’re not all favorable.  Personally, I love the genre’s faux-authenticity (how’s that for an oxymoron?) and I don’t hold films that fall under the found footage umbrella up to unreasonable expectations.  CGI’d specters and ostentatious sound effects are necessarily off-limits, forcing the filmmaker to work within certain parameters.  What’s trickier, still, is any attempt to work within the found footage genre while somehow also making the film seem unique and original.  It’s hard to emulate The Blair Witch Project, for example, and still deviate from it enough to produce something that critics will deem “innovative.”  With those observations in mind, I’m going to give the recently released Phoenix Forgotten my seal of approval.  It has been, and will continue to be, lambasted for not being scary enough (and perhaps too imitative of similar predecessors), but as I’ll suggest below, that’s a fairly shallow bit of criticism that doesn’t take into account both how intriguing the film is and how chillingly it concludes.  Continue reading “Phoenix Forgotten and the Found Footage Phenomenon”

Phoenix Forgotten and the Found Footage Phenomenon

The Appeal of Horror

haunted houseIn his essay, “Why We Crave Horror,” Stephen King posits that we’re drawn to horror movies because they make us feel normal, essentially.  When we compare ourselves to the debauchery of horror movies, we don’t feel so frighteningly different from others.  We are not evil spirits or sociopathic serial killers, so we’re doing okay, and we’re not very unlike those around us.  King’s theory makes sense; nobody wants to be the victim of “terminal uniqueness” – the state of feeling inherently and vastly different from others.  But I think the theory is simplistic; it doesn’t fully embrace the multi-dimensional intrigue of the horror genre.  The theory seems to imply that horror fans see themselves as quirky outcasts who crave the feeling of being like others.  This is probably partially true.  I’m a little strange, and there have been times in my life where I’ve felt both strange and estranged.  But I think such a theory – without any supplementary reasoning – lends itself to a sort of “hasty generalization” of horror fans.  It assumes that, first, all fans of the genre feel “less than normal,” and second, that they all desire a feeling of normalcy.  I think King’s theory explains part of horror’s appeal, but it leaves room for further analysis. Continue reading “The Appeal of Horror”

The Appeal of Horror