The Just Dread-Full Poetry Corner: Mary Elizabeth Coleridge’s “The Witch”

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Preparation for the Witch’s Sabbath: D. Vivant-Denon

I’m not sure why it never occurred to me to analyze poetry on this blog, especially since one famous Edgar Allen Poe made macabre poetry so popular.  (By the way, stay tuned for an examination of some Poe poems to come this summer).  Still, I held fast to films, with the occasional graphic novel, short story review, or miscellaneous essay.  Then, one fateful Wednesday evening during my second semester of PhD course work, my Victorian literature professor assigned a thick chunk of lesser-known female poetry from the Victorian Era to read.  There is, to be sure, an entire world of often unacknowledged brilliance in my Victorian Women Poets anthology, but one work, about the depths of evil shrouded in complete innocence, struck me as particularly apropos for this blog.  We have Mary Elizabeth Coleridge, great grand-niece of renowned Romantic-era poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge, to thank for this subtle work of unnerving literature, an 1896 poem entitled “The Witch.” Continue reading “The Just Dread-Full Poetry Corner: Mary Elizabeth Coleridge’s “The Witch””

The Just Dread-Full Poetry Corner: Mary Elizabeth Coleridge’s “The Witch”

A Walk in the Woods: Disorientation and Pain in Blair Witch

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Photo Credit – Blair Witch

We’ve all, I’m sure, heard the cliché “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”  For example, for the fifth day in a row I hit the snooze button and expect to sleep an extra five minutes, when I know every time I use the snooze function on my cell phone I sleep for at least an extra half hour.  (As in, I click the button repeatedly every five minutes – for about a half hour – after the first snooze alarm goes off).  I naively think I can literally “snooze,” go back to sleep for five minutes, but to my frustrated chagrin, this is not the case.  Snoozing once inevitably leads to snoozing repeatedly, but every morning (or many mornings) I fool myself into thinking otherwise. Continue reading “A Walk in the Woods: Disorientation and Pain in Blair Witch”

A Walk in the Woods: Disorientation and Pain in Blair Witch

Now and Then: My Changing Perspective of The Blair Witch Project

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Photo Credit – The Blair Witch Project

I had to double-check the release date of the original Blair Witch Project.  Sometimes, my teen years seem like a jumbled haze.  I knew, only, that I was a teenager when I saw the film, and after googling its opening date, it appears I was a day shy of my fifteenth birthday when the movie came out.  As Michael pointed out more recently when we watched the film, The Blair Witch Project sits at the inception of the “found footage” phenomenon, a film-making trend which would be furthered by other films, like Cloverfield and the Paranormal Activity movies.  The decision to create a film that appeared to be shot by the characters as the events were occurring was indeed novel, and was probably the reason so much hype surrounded the Blair Witch Project.  Before re-watching the film, I recalled little of the film’s actual details, but what I did remember – still do remember, starkly – is the hype surrounding the film.  It may well have been the most hyped horror movie of my time, which means it was no small decision to hide the fact that the recently released The Woods was really a sequel to the film and would ultimately be titled Blair Witch. Continue reading “Now and Then: My Changing Perspective of The Blair Witch Project”

Now and Then: My Changing Perspective of The Blair Witch Project

The Witch is Back

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Photo Credit – A24 Films “The Witch”

I waited in anticipation for The Witch. I don’t know what to liken the anticipation to, except to say that it must be a milder version of the excitement I felt for major holidays when I was younger. Maybe I was almost as excited to see The Witch as I was for the second half of season six of The Walking Dead to arrive.   I mean, come on, a horror film that won “Best Director” at the Sundance film festival? How rare that someone manages to combine truly artistic, original filmmaking with the horror genre. And then there’s that trailer that appeared in the theaters and online, in which a girl is playing peek-a-boo with a baby, only to open her eyes and find that the baby has disappeared. Good film-making. Witches. Disappearing babies. What else could a self-avowed horror addict request? Continue reading “The Witch is Back”

The Witch is Back

Exploring Poe-tential Evil in “The Black Cat”

black catNot surprisingly, Poe mentions madness early in the story “The Black Cat.”  It’s kind of his shtick.  He starts where many horror writers start: at the end of the story, with a narrator recounting a tale of terror and travesty.  But unlike narrators in other stories, this narrator is damned by the events of the tale, and perhaps seeks solace in his retelling.  Also unlike narrators in other stories, he’s not sitting around a fireside, and so many horror stories (“The Monkey’s Paw,” “The Bodysnatchers,” “The Turn of the Screw,” to name a few) start by the fireside. Our narrator sits in a prison cell, but he does not expect your sympathy.  He is honest about his previous callousness.  Not only doesn’t he expect your sympathy; he doesn’t expect you to believe his story.  He proclaims: “For the most wild, yet most homely narrative which I am about to pen, I neither expect nor solicit belief.  Mad indeed would I be to expect it, in a case where my very senses reject their own evidence.”  Poe knows how to write an introduction.  Are you intrigued yet?  I was. Continue reading “Exploring Poe-tential Evil in “The Black Cat””

Exploring Poe-tential Evil in “The Black Cat”