For an Independent Seminar on horror and monstrosity, I sat down (again) to watch the very classic and very canonical The Blair Witch Project, a film, not surprisingly, about witches, and one situated at the inception of the found footage trend in filmmaking (a trend I address in other posts). Of course, I’ve written about this film before, some time ago, but I really only scratched the surface of its depth and what it has to offer us, as both a piece of criticism and a manifestation – a cultural artifact signaling the historical location of the late 90’s and what questions that location raised. Needing, I thought, to narrow my focus for this film (and, perhaps, for all the texts I’ll encounter this week that deal with witches) I started with what I thought was a very important question: What is “the witch,” so called? What surrounds her, perhaps, and what does she tell us? I think putting a variety of texts about witches in conversation with one another could yield rather interesting answers to this question, but I’ll start with The Blair Witch Project, which offers us a turn-of-the-century glimpse – based off, in the film, age-old lore – of what “witchiness” is, how the witch reveals herself, and what she’s (frighteningly) capable of. Continue reading “What is the Witch? — Part One: The Blair Witch Project”
I adore almost all genres of film. I will bore anyone that will listen about film noir, westerns, gangster flicks, French new wave, indie movies, sci-fi, superhero films, and Star Wars (yes, I’m placing the galaxy far, far away in a category all of its own). One genre that I never could quite warm to was horror movies. I suspect this was because of poor choices in initial viewing; that plus the fact that I am a world-renowned scaredy-cat. I go faint and squeamish at the sight of all that blood. I go weak at the knees at the sound of a drill warming up. With trusted online companions such as Michael and Kalie though, I gradually realised that I was missing out on the nuances of the genre with my blanket ban. I decided that I was going to go on a journey this summer through the thrills and spills of the horror section. Continue reading “It Follows – A Journey to Maturity?”
Whoa, I’m doing it. I’m actually writing a post for my blog. According to, well, this website, I haven’t written a post since June 20th, which means it’s been almost a month. To be honest, it’s not a feeling I enjoy, but I have two part time jobs, and I have to start reading like a maverick for my PhD candidacy exam in late August (I mean, I’ve been reading for it, assiduously, but now I have to start reading like a maverick). With more books to read (at least, in an ideal world) than I’m feasibly going to get done before exam time, I couldn’t justify spending time writing these posts. But, seven minutes ago I turned 33, so I treated myself to a pre-birthday movie with Michael, and now I’m enjoying some birthday blogging. I plan on being wildly self-indulgent for the next twenty-four hours (which, for me, means something like a nice walk at the peninsula and a turkey sausage breakfast sandwich at Panera), so I shall write freely, with no thought of the theory text I’m reading or the works of Nathaniel Hawthorne (which are the two things I’m supposed to be focusing on). Continue reading “When You Wish Upon A….Box of Doom”
It’s interesting to think, as a culture, what we deem scary. We have a diverse collection of nightmarish creatures with which we’re fascinated. They star in our favorite horror movies, and gentler versions of their faces get stuck to the windows of suburban houses the entire month of October in celebration of Halloween. Plucking these beings – ghosts, vampires, werewolves and the like – from various cultures and myths, we embrace them and re-invent them as our own, simultaneously fearing and worshipping horror creations that may be remarkably different from the original version of the entity in question. It’s a bizarre practice, if you think about it, and one that may not be as prominent in other cultures. It might make us wonder: What is horror? What can we learn about ourselves through the monsters we create? Continue reading “A Tale of Two Mummies: The Mummy in 1932 and 1999”
Amidst rapt excitement about the incredibly unique albeit troubling film Alien Covenant, I neglected all of the film’s predecessors – which was fine, for awhile. But now that I’ve rambled incessantly about why I think the recently released Alien Covenant is such an excellent movie, perhaps it’s time to return to the film’s roots and take a look at the original Alien, and the one after that, and the one after that, and so on, and so forth. Frankly, I’ve been meaning to write about the original Alien for a long time, but every time I’m faced with a highly-respected genre classic that’s stood (at least some) test of time, I get a wee bit intimidated, and this is especially true when we move into Science Fiction territory, which is far from my area of expertise. But a couple of days ago, Michael and I hunkered down to watch Alien and Aliens, and I was mesmerized all over again (since I’ve seen them both before). One wonderful thing about being me is that I have a horrible memory, especially for a lot of film. While this could be detrimental to my performance on the imminent PhD candidacy test I keep writing about (for which I have to read and recall over 100 books) it really comes in handy when I re-watch a film. More often than not, I’m surprised by certain plot twists and character actions all over again! It’s fantastic! With that in mind, I think it’s time to pay homage to Ridley Scott’s classic Alien and discuss why the film is so freakin’ fantastic. Continue reading “An Alien Franchise Tribute, Part One: The Genre-Defining Original”
With Michael Miller
So yesterday, Michael and I spent a fair bit of time flexing our creative muscles and writing a The Shining Meets the Ghostbusters, a mashup that mixes the relatively dark Kubrick version of King’s canonical horror story with the beyond famous, original Ghostbusters franchise (although the new female Ghostbusters gang will likely be featured in later series installments). In other words, the blog has a new feature: genre mash-up fan fiction. Our version of The Shining, with the intervention of The Ghostbusters, has a bit more levity than the original. And Michael’s masterful knowledge of The Ghostbusters, creativity, and quick wit helped animate and bring them to life. We hope you enjoy. We had a lot of fun with this, so there’s likely more fan fiction to come….
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”