Objects of Abjection: The Mad Monster in Stephen King’s Misery

Misery book 1I read Stephen King’s Misery earlier this summer for my comprehensive exams.  Then, I let the book rest for a while and didn’t do much with it.  It juxtaposes fascinatingly with the film, which depicts an Annie Wilkes who’s incredibly true to King’s story, courtesy of the monumentally talented Kathy Bates.  And, like the film, it explores concepts like female madness, and madness depicted as monstrosity, but in more depth than the film does.  Wilkes is at least a somewhat complex character who King—and his protagonist, Paul Sheldon—come close to virtually humanizing at times, despite her atrocious actions.  But the fact remains: Annie Wilkes is a madwoman, and she’s depicted as a monstrous madwoman.  I thought I’d use this post to look at more of Annie’s personality, and what the madwoman—and the monster woman—is, if we take Annie as an example of both.  So, let’s do this. Continue reading “Objects of Abjection: The Mad Monster in Stephen King’s Misery”

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Objects of Abjection: The Mad Monster in Stephen King’s Misery

In the Jaws of a Classic: An analysis of Steven Spielberg’s Jaws

Jaws 2When I was thirteen, my family and I took a trip to Florida.  I certainly wasn’t too old to love Disney World (I’m still not) but I was most excited to visit Universal Studios.  After all, commercials for Universal Studious basically consumed cable tv stations in the mid 90’s, and my imagination took flight when I saw the commercial for the Jaws ride.  Out of the depths of murky nothingness, a giant shark rises beside passengers in a boat, its face partially distorted by the flamboyant, spasmodic flashing lights that eclipse its visage and make the shark look more than a little surreal, and infinitely menacing.  I was simultaneously horrified and titillated by the prospect of actually riding the Jaws ride and experiencing the enormous, foreboding shark for myself. Continue reading “In the Jaws of a Classic: An analysis of Steven Spielberg’s Jaws”

In the Jaws of a Classic: An analysis of Steven Spielberg’s Jaws

 Questions of Progress: Scary Sci-Fi Hits and the Sacrificial Human Body

dr who one
The Doctor and Madame de Pompadour

Well, it happened.  I finally sat down to watch an episode of Doctor Who –an episode that Michael promised me was horrific enough to write about for my blog.  And he was correct about that. The episode under examination, “The Girl in the Fireplace,” was at least moderately unnerving—I’ve seen scarier, of course, but it was pretty unsettling—but what excited me the most about the episode was the connection to other science fiction classics it provoked.  I have become interested, to that end, in a prevalent motif that I see in contemporary/semi-contemporary science fiction: the fear of sacrificial embodiment.  So what exactly do I mean by that?  In a lot of contemporary science fiction, we’re afraid that our physical bodies will be sacrificed as vehicles to further technological progress.  Underlying that fear, I think, is a perceived incongruence between the so-called “natural” body and the man-made technology that runs off it.  But, to further explain my point, let me delve into three science fiction works that elucidate it: Doctor Who’s “The Girl in the Fire Place,” the popular classic The Matrix, and Black Mirror’s “Fifteen Million Merits.”

Continue reading ” Questions of Progress: Scary Sci-Fi Hits and the Sacrificial Human Body”

 Questions of Progress: Scary Sci-Fi Hits and the Sacrificial Human Body

The Blue Man – Or, This is Not a Horror Story

True to the title of my piece, this is not a horror story.  Although, what I see now that I didn’t see when things like this happened was just how much my friend and I wanted it to be a horror story, how much we enacted the things that we read in our Fear Street books and our horror movies, and made the world of horror come alive, if, simultaneously, to our delight and our chagrin.  Again, this is not a horror story.  This is a childhood memory – a childhood memory I share on an overcast day in early November, when my frenetic, two-and-a-half-month mania has dwindled and I’ve suddenly fallen into this shifting state that fluctuates between focused, positive energy and complete depression and self-loathing.  This is not a horror story—at least, I hadn’t intended it to be so.  But, maybe it will turn out that way as I keep writing.  One never can predict the end of the story, after all—or, at least, I can’t—when one’s merely writing the beginning.  Continue reading “The Blue Man – Or, This is Not a Horror Story”

The Blue Man – Or, This is Not a Horror Story

Re-visiting the Grotesque: Another Look at John Carpenter’s The Thing

Thing OneAlmost two years ago on this blog, I watched and wrote about John Carpenter’s widely viewed and broadly acclaimed The Thing.  This year, for Halloween, I decided to re-visit this incredibly disgusting movie, which was, fortuitously, part of my coursework this week.  In my first post, I wrote about the rampant paranoia fostered by knowing there’s a hideous, murderous monster in at least one of the people around you, but not knowing who houses it – whose body hides the formidable “thing.”  I’m not really in the mood to look up my old post, re-read it, and make sure I’m writing something new, especially since it’s one of my least read posts on this blog.  So, we’ll have to trust that, two years and ample coursework later, I’m making some new observations about this sickening, human-beast amalgam as I write this post.  With that in mind, let’s dive into the uncomfortably unappealing (or, perhaps, the uncomfortably appealing – for whether “the thing” is appealing or unappealing is a question that remains to be grappled with, and perhaps will be grappled with in this post!) Continue reading “Re-visiting the Grotesque: Another Look at John Carpenter’s The Thing”

Re-visiting the Grotesque: Another Look at John Carpenter’s The Thing

Who Is the Witch (Part Two): I Don’t Know, I Don’t Know

witch poem 4It’s one of those nights where falling asleep to the usual evening playlist and temporarily entering oblivion sounds delightful, but since that particular pleasure does not appear, for me, to be in the cards right now, I thought I’d extend this mini-series on witchiness and continue to ask the question I raised a couple posts ago: What is “The Witch?”  You see, I’ve done some film-watching and some reading lately, and I have an eclectic barrage of notes scribbled on the cardboard backings of notebooks and in the inside covers of novels, and if I really wanted to, I could probably sit here and practice my use of complex theoretical terms to hash out some ideas that might be ridiculous but might also be interesting.  As I was watching Black Sunday after all – which I’ll probably write about at some point – I wrote down a lot of fancy words and ideas that I thought would be fun to share in a blog post.  I like, sometimes, to be unapologetically verbose and excessive when I write, even though, stylistically, doing so defies contemporary conventions.  But I think one always runs the risk of saying much while saying nothing at all – saying nothing really at least – and I wanted to address that possibility tonight.  Because as a woman, as a feminist, I have a special sort of relationship to “the witch,” as she’s been conceived, and made manifest through brutal, torturous punishment, across space and time.  And despite having scribbled a lot of thoughts that felt really insightful to me when I was writing them down, it occurred to me that perhaps, to a considerable degree, in contemplating the witch, I still don’t really understand her.  Why does this figure exist?  How do we reconcile contemporary horror movies with the needless decimation of subversive women and young girls in witch trials hundreds of years ago?  Why am I so drawn to this character?  And, most importantly, regardless of what I think I know, what don’t I know?  These questions are the ones that interest me tonight. Continue reading “Who Is the Witch (Part Two): I Don’t Know, I Don’t Know”

Who Is the Witch (Part Two): I Don’t Know, I Don’t Know

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