Shades of Grey: Seeking Justice in “Valdivia”

Valdivia 1
Valdivia, Chile

What is justice?  What makes right actions right?  Is it ever right, under any circumstances, to take a life?  How do we treat the folksy mantra, “an eye for an eye?”  These are all questions that Eli Roth’s short story “Valdivia” raised when I finished it, a story from Jason Blum’s Blumhouse Book of Nightmares. 

My “relationship” with Eli Roth’s work is an interesting one.  I find myself fascinated by his films and the uncomfortable ground he’s willing to tread, though I’m often prone to critiquing seemingly problematic elements of his work.  At least, such was the case after I saw The Green Inferno, and then again when I saw Knock Knock.  I can’t really see myself being best buds with him but I’m always excited to see what he’ll do next.  Even if my thinking tends to differ from his, he has an alluringly creative mind.  From the vantage point of a horror fan, the dude’s seriously twisted, but in a good way.  Which is why when I opened The Blumhouse Book of Nightmares last night I was immediately attracted to Roth’s name, next to the title of a 15-page short story called “Valdivia.”  Continue reading “Shades of Grey: Seeking Justice in “Valdivia””

Shades of Grey: Seeking Justice in “Valdivia”

Knock Knock. “Who’s there?” Another. “Another Who?” Another Lustful Man Down for the Count.

knock knock threeMen.  Let me tell you.  When it comes to instinctual animal pleasure, they just can’t control themselves.  In fact, they’ll quickly forfeit home and hearth for the wiles of any given anonymous temptress.  And don’t even get me started about women, man’s downfall, those brazen homewreckers who are quick to “break a boy just because [they] can,” as Fiona Apple sang in her 90’s hit, Criminal.  Humanity.  (Sigh).  What a contestable, corrupt, lowly lot we are.  We may as well abandon our attempts at monogamy, send our worst beings on a mission to Mars, and breed another world of insatiable, pleasure-seeking, polygamous – or cheating – inhabitants.  At least, maybe, Earth can look comparatively moral. Continue reading “Knock Knock. “Who’s there?” Another. “Another Who?” Another Lustful Man Down for the Count.”

Knock Knock. “Who’s there?” Another. “Another Who?” Another Lustful Man Down for the Count.

The Natives Will Eat You: Cannabalism, Ancient Indian Burial Grounds, and the Insidious “Other” in Horror Films

green inferno twoThe 1980’s was a decade for crazes.  There was hair metal.  There were leggings.  There was crimped hair and the arrival of Saved by the Bell, which would reach its peak in the 90’s but aired its first episode in 1989.  There were sweat bands, hammer pants, early rap, both bangle bracelets and The Bangles, who were always burning their eternal flames while they told us to walk like an Egyptian.  But Egypt was not the only culture that interested us in the 80’s.  In the horror genre, which often borrows from non-Western culture to create its evil deities — writers became fascinated by the Ancient Indian Burial ground.  The Ancient Indian burial became something of a default-fallback.  Want to depict evil?  Need to attribute evil to something?  Why not say it was an Ancient Indian Burial ground?  You know, those crazy natives, they’re always stirring up trouble. Continue reading “The Natives Will Eat You: Cannabalism, Ancient Indian Burial Grounds, and the Insidious “Other” in Horror Films”

The Natives Will Eat You: Cannabalism, Ancient Indian Burial Grounds, and the Insidious “Other” in Horror Films