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 weekend. I 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.
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”
I’ve come to conclude that one of the richest elements of Stephen King’s Bazaar of Bad Dreams is the introduction he writes to each story. I’ve also come to conclude that the stories aren’t scary, per se, but that’s okay; I don’t think he intends to scare as much in this book as he does in some of his more frightening novels, despite what the somewhat misleading book title would suggest. What is particularly intriguing about The Bazaar of Bad Dreams is its rich variety. Each story is distinctly its own entity, written with a different style. I think variety in output is often the hallmark of true talent, though I need not make the argument that King is truly talented, because that seems like an understatement. The stories stand alone as good writing, but combine together to form an eclectic view not on the infinitely terrifying, but on the darker side of life. Continue reading “A Trip to the Bazaar: Stephen King’s “Premium Harmony” in The Bazaar of Bad Dreams”
Robert Louis Stevenson does horror supremely with “the Body-Snatchers.” After all, what better sustenance for horror than a story about the illicit collection of corpses for money? In life, we all face situations where we have to choose between right and wrong. Sometimes, the right action is obscured, but usually the choice is clear. Only, the right action is difficult to take, for various reason. Such a conundrum becomes the impetus for further action in “The Body-Snatchers.” “The Body-Snatchers” is a gruesome story about the domino effect that follows a blatantly wrong choice, and the chooser’s concomitant fall. Continue reading “Snatch a Dose of Horror with “The Body-Snatchers””
We all hope we’re going up to that spirit in the sky when we die. If you’re a cynical doubter like me, you just hope there is, indeed, a spirit in the sky – a gate with a St. Peter-esque figure, surrounded by some winged cherubs and signaling entrance into eternal, infinite bliss. But, hell, if that’s too much to ask for, I’ll take reincarnation, as long as I don’t have to come back as something lame like a flea or an earthworm. I mean, haven’t we all thought, “Damn, I hope there’s something?” I think even those with the strongest faith – and I don’t count myself among them – sometimes doubt the presence of an afterlife. In any case, it’s something we all think of, just not daily or compulsively. Continue reading “A Trip to the Bazaar: Exploring the Afterlife”