Wednesday, April 29, 2009

A Quick Update: Thanks Brian

Thanks to a lovely Sir Brian, I was referred to this bloody brilliant documentary.  The guy's name is Edward Bernays and he possesses a frightening level of control over us, more than a decade after his freaking death.

So again, go Brian!  I'm currently watching this clip; anyone else interested?  The answer, by the way, is "yes"...


Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Shock Full o' Fear

On my way to and from my car, I had a lovely, dreadful idea.  Maybe it was walking through one too many spiderwebs, the light rain, or the red hair dye stains I still sport under my clothes, or the uncharacteristically pitch black street, or the fact I did this all barefoot and very much so uncomfortable, but I'd like to try something here.

What is it that scares you?  You don't even need to like horror movies to get in on this one: you're already overly qualified to respond, unless you don't feel fear.  But don't be a jerk, this isn't an online display of masculinity, okay?  In particular, I suppose I'd just like to get a collection going, of various fears that would truly make you uncomfortable on-screen. 

So to start, I'm scared (or my nerves get tangled)... 

  • ... of people, more-so than any of that supernatural crap.  
  • ... when the director deploys that shot that allows the audience to see that the pale face, or mask, or silhouette, of that monster/killer you've been avoiding all along has actually been watching and waiting patiently from the corner of the screen, shrouded in the darkness of your doorway all along--oh my God! how long have they been there?  That gets me every time.
  • ... for our Survivor, only when they aren't some lame stereotype and you start to feel for them; Paris Hilton, no matter how many horror movies she experiments with, will never garner my helpless voyeur-protection from over here in the audience.
  • ... when the Prey-character has to endure physical traumas, but not necessarily in a Knife-to-the-Face sense; when she's running around barefoot and accidently stomps on glass, or in Planet Terror, when Dr. Dakota Block, partially paralyzed, breaks her wrist trying to open the car door... those bone-crunching/blood-inducing gross-outs that are rooted from everyday nuisances make me feel terrible for our Underdog Hero, as their struggle becomes increasingly apparent. 
  • ... when, in zombie flicks, you realize: Oh my God, look at all those zombies!  And our heroes are certainly screwed.

Rebirth of the Birthday Girl

The only way I could possibly attain a higher level of euphoria is if someone spectacular gave me Banksy's phone number.  Or if, on a similar note, the police department gave back my $1600.  Yeah, I'm that happy.

I recently (successfully) survived the first hour of my twentieth year.  I'm 20.  Twenty.  Weird, it doesn't end in a "teen"... I need to absorb this.  I thought that estrogen-miscellaneous-cocktail mix of hormones would never end.

So today I went out for lunch at Chili's--a dreadfully fine establishment, I might add (now where's my endorsement cash at?)--, had an epiphany, splurged on fabric/literature/TRÉS awesome dorm junk/summer clothes, donated to a charity (because if it isn't pornography, my Tom would rather give me a present that involves giving something to someone else, bonded with all sorts of folks, rediscovered the summer-time bliss that is Weezer and Amanda Palmer, and all my holds at the library came through.  I'm in no position to complain.  

From Reverence To Rape is at the top of my pile of books to work through; typically, with any book on a relevant subject, there will still remain several chapters I can bypass--and thus, my waning youth is left in tact.  Unfortunately, such is not the case for this particular piece.  Ms. Molly Haskell, you are terribly cool, but I must protest against how perfectly suited your book is for my research.  For a link/etc on this one, check out the entry right before this one.  

Similarly, in the case of Something in the Way She Moves, I hadn't actually figured on the book having more than one or two chapters strike a nerve... but again, what the hell was I thinking?  I hadn't counted on the author, Ms. Wendy Buonaventura, striking up a socially conscious, feminist tone in her analyzation of dance as an art form.  It would be small-minded to dismiss her work as an attempt to coerce the reader into appreciating long-winded ballet more thoroughly with a touch of The Seven Veils dance, which one could say inspired burlesque, stripping, so on (which I, unfortunately, had initially done); in fact, she addresses sexuality in dance--which she says is inescapably linked to dance.  She goes on to theorize that men have been, as critics and helpless viewers, intimidated by these fearless displays and have thus turned forms of this erotic awakening into something shameful.  Later, however, she confronts the "Buysexuality" and limited marketing (only to those skinny and young, please!) of mainstream stripping--which seems to lower the quality of the dance form in her eyes... or at least this is what I'm getting from a glimpse.  This is a history of the sexuality of dance, and explores "a kaleidoscope of cultures, form the delicious tango of Buenos Aires... to Paris and the bawdy, leggy cancan dancers of the Moulin Rouge... to Chicago and New York, where African Americans cakewalked, Charlestoned, and shimmied into the public eye, creating 'jazz' dance."  We also get to learn about transvestitism, anorexia, and cosmetic surgery.  I can't wait.

Then in a more materialistic tone, let me switch gears and brag.  Lolita, eat your heart out--I stumbled across a cheap, cheap pair of heart-shaped glasses.  I need to go over the dark rims with some red nail polish, and we'll be all set!

I promise I did read the book, and oddly enough, a copy of the movie (unwatched) is waiting for me under my desk.  That cover is just too damn sexy, I must've slipped it down there in my usual, sleepy stupor.  

Ah yes, the epiphany!  Judging many of my books simply by their cover (primarily The Way She Moves), I had a flighty moment of nervousness over the relevance of some of these books.  But after a wave of confidence drowned me after flipping through that particular book, I realized that quite honestly, so what if this book didn't mirror my own intentions?  The truth is, any book, any conversation, any anything I can stumble into that discusses sexuality is just what I need.  This book won't be the end-all be-all of all my topics' discussions in one dense, dull text.  God, what a thought!  I'm combining informative articles, interviews, blurbs, timelines, and more mixed medias with concise summaries and preludes that call about a plan of action, as well as interjections of opinion.  What I want more than anything right now--aside, like I said, Banksy's contact info!--is a collective of words.  Not mine, not yet.  But yours.  All of yours!  Gimmie!

Oh yes, speaking of Gimmie! and Getting once more, I'll let you loves in on my solution for my lack-of-purse at the moment:


me, but with a new purse, and very, very happy.

'50s Americana.  It's ironic.

Now I'm off to eat some Kraft mac n' cheese, watch two back-to-back takes on the "When a Stranger Calls" concept, and cash all my product placement checks.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

'Tis the Season for Receiving

What a week.

Let's have a moment of silence to commemorate exactly how cool it is that I can sit on my ass long enough to say that!

Alright, loves.  I drove up to Vermont last week to visit (I cannot believe I'm saying this!) my campus.  And I am so unbelievably excited about this place.  Honestly, you will be too.  What blows my mind in particular is: 1. I will be cold... all the time... which is ideal for my polar-bear self; and 2. Similar to Hampshire College and Bennington, etc, seniors are expected to complete, essentially, a dissertation, alongside a two hour oral presentation of their final project.  Any ideas what my project will be?

Hard to believe it, but I think I can work college in a way to prevent school from conflicting with the book.  Score.

So I visited the school, I got to walk around and eat crappy food like a real college kid.  And it was divine.  It also gave me a bit of a break from this little whirlwind.  My birthday is coming up in less than a week--it still blows my mind that I only have 5 days remaining to be an awful teenager--and so I may spend the next few days teetering on the edge of staying on the grid and falling back out of sight again.  Rest assured, dears, I'll be back...

I've gotten some amazing interviews back from various people, and I'm currently working on one for Ms. Sarah of Fatally Yours which is, by the way, a wicked cool site.  And if she's reading this, rest assured, I haven't forgotten about getting it out... you just do too much!  That's something I've come to realize about all these wicked awesome ladies in horror.  So many of them have a million projects, a million deadlines, a million everythings to balance... and they never fail to deliver.  A special challenge has come in the form of interviewing women in interview for a living.  I, personally, love flipping the tables on them and putting them on the spot.  Journalists--surprise, surprise--are clearly thought-driven creatures; so it's always a delight to get their responses in.  I digress in my accidental flattery.

I'm waiting on a few books to come in, all of which I'm terribly excited over.  'Tis the season for receiving--it's my birthday, I'll be spoiled if I wannaaa--and these are some books I'm excited to receive:
  •  From Reverence to Rape: The Treatment of Women in the Movies written by Molly Haskell
This particular book comes closest in nature to remaining on (current)
topic with my subject matter: women in (horror) film.  I've already gone
through Recreational Terror and Men, Women, and Chainsaws --both of
which were essential reads--but this book takes an interesting turn,
in that it doesn't deal exclusively with horror, and that rape may be discussed
in greater depth.  How morbid am I for loving that?
  • Ad Women: How They Impact What We Need, Want, and Buy written by Juliann Sivulka

I know, I know: we don't have to say it out loud, but I went right
ahead and went off topic.  Forgive me.  For those who don't know,
this entire book will not focus solely on horror movies: as of now,
my research topics have been divided, quite simply, into 
later on in my research frenzy, I plan on addressing sexuality
and gender as addressed by marketing teams.  More pictures will
come in time--I'm ranting as it is--but my main focus originated with
Dov Charney (American Apparel) and Terry Richardson (freelance
fashion-sleaze photographer).  With this book, as with the next few to be
listed, my focus is slipping over to how women impact the scene.
Because we'd all be lying to ourselves if we didn't give due
credit to the ladies.  Remember the ladies, okay?
  • Something in the Way She Moves: Dancing Women from Salome to Madonna written by Wendy Buonaventura 

I am... not entirely sure what it is this book will be in response to,
as far as my project goes.  Let's see how I can link this into my research...
How about this:
I will discuss porn culture, along with sex work in general, so 
stripping (and how, of all the sex professions, this one in particular has become
so DIY, so integrated into both bedroom and social cultures alike) will surely
come up, and from there, I wanted to look into Burlesque.  What is the difference
between Burlesque and Simply-Stripping?  If it's a matter of art,
of humor, or self-awareness on behalf of Burlesque, then I'd like to look
further into dance as a sexual--and not necessarily literal SEX-centric--
art form.  The art of tease, as it were.  Since dance is really so focused
on the body as it is, so certainly it could be liked to gender and self-
expression of sexuality.
There.  Told ya I could do it!

This, now, leads me to me latest revelation: Valerie Steele is kinda amazing.  Whether or not shoes or pretty clothes hold you mesmerized as they do she, you'd be out of your mind to deny her contribution to the fashion world, and the analytical, feminist one, at that.  She seems downright brilliant, and when fashion isn't off topic, I can't wait to read up on her work more.  In the meantime, here are some of her selected books, that I will shamelessly sneak peaks into, in between scenes of slaughter and Michael Bay remakes.
  • The Corset: A Cultural History written by Valerie Steele
The punk in me is showing.  And what about that cover isn't 
The book opens with: 
"The corset is probably the most controversial garment in the entire
history of fashion,"
and that, right there, sold me.  If I'm looking to address the sexual
provocation in fashion advertising, wouldn't it narrow-
minded to avoid the complete opposite: the uber-restrictiveness
of that garment we love to hate/hate to love--the Corset?
  • The Red Dress written by Valerie Steele

This particular book discusses the topic of Red in actual fashion pieces
as well as what the color, as a color, means.  Even if I can't fit this book into
my research, I'm curious to read this one.
  • The History of Underclothes written by C. Willet Cunnington

Again, I don't necessarily hold out any serious hopes that this book will
severely change the course of my own book, but the synopsis
did make mention of some little-known (to me, at least) fashion curiosities,
like an early prototype for a men's corset.  Hopefully I can find
some little snippets of info like that to plug in to the fashion section.
Who knows!
  • Fashion Cultures: Theories, Explorations and Analysis/Fashion and Its Social Agendas: Class, Gender, and Identity in Clothing
These I group together, not because I'm lazy or they're really
a dime-a-dozen quality, but because they run alongside
the same theme.  How that theme comes into play here...
fuck it, I'm too lazy to get into it.

This is everything, for now.  

Thursday, April 16, 2009

A Delay and the Aging Process

A few simple notes:

To any lovelies who are waiting on an interview from me this week, I do apologize, but my schedule has been through a bit off kilter; tomorrow afternoon, my decade-old Honda-baby and I are making a run for it. We're crossing the Jersey border and heading up to Vermont (college visit). I am more terrified for my car than I am for my emotional well-being every time I put on an independent French horror movie. It's scary as hell.

Also, these are my last few days as a teenager, and I am somewhat bummed out. April 28 is my 20th... and what a pointless year this one promises to be. I treated myself to some zombie literature tonight, and for those who know me well enough, I know what I really truly want for my birthday. Aside from a secretary, a personal assistant, and a makeover for my car, get me this.

There, now. I'll be back soon, and please don't hesitate to wish me luck!

Monday, April 13, 2009

mini movie marathon with my lovely...

It all started with Children of the Corn at work last night.

With my weekend off from Work, I will spend every waking moment, when not prepping or waiting for an interview, frying my brain with a marathon of horrors.  Like the good old days when I was a carefree, disturbed middle schooler.  Why write these reviews?  I like to procrastinate, maybe I'm avoiding inevitable work (like dyeing my hair again, God, I hate doing that).  I think, more likely, with my brain always going in a million different directions, none of which bypassing this blog, I'd like to leave some traces of these thoughts on here.  Most likely of all, I suppose, is to let you know a little more about me as an interviewer/writer.  

In my "SlasHERS" interviews, I'd like to remain unbiased.  But with all of my interviewees having been so obliging in sharing their own likes, dislikes, opinions and fears, I recognize that they're entrusting me with a lot.  Without knowing much about me and my own leanings, in return.  Granted, part of why I'm conducting all these interviews is because of my indecision; hell, at this point, I can hardly make up my mind on all the particulars that I'm researching.  Hopefully over time, with snippets of film reviews and self-imposed questionnaires, more incoming interviews, and research, the answers will start to present themselves.  


Midnight Movie was... a delightful surprise.  I laughed.  I cried.  I... didn't cry, but I certainly laughed.  And jumped.  And verbed all over the place!  It was just as a horror movie experience should be.  A bit on the light side, but still plenty scary.  Easing off my giddy high, Midnight followed your typical cast of the maternal, level-headed (if not a little damaged) lead girl, her devoted-down-to-a-T boyfriend, her slutty friend, said friend's asshole boyfriend, and in the tradition of Scream, that guy who no one quite likes, but still knows and loves more about horror than you, the viewer.  Mix in equal parts biker boy and babe, lead girl's expendable coworkers at a failing movie theater, her little brother, and a killer who doesn't know to just stay in the movie.  Watching Midnight, I got the sense that when news came out a few years back that a film would incorporate slasher icons Freddy and Jason, Midnight writers Mark Garbett and Jack Messitt misinterpreted the plot; then when Freddy vs. Jason failed to please, they said in unison, "Well fuck that," and wrote about a killer with the rubber reality advantage of Freddy (skipping between our Reality and, in this case, the movie screen in front of us) with the unstoppable killer complex of Jason.  Though please don't mistaken my comparison as a literal read of this killer: he was his own man.  Though I can't recall any particular scenes that traumatized me with fear, that wasn't the point of Midnight Movie.  If anything, it was a reminder that slashers can be fun.  And with the majority of generic, slick productions we're force-fed nowadays, isn't that a pleasant and surprising reminder?


Now, this was not my first time seeing Deathproof, though it was my apprehensive boyfriend's--and golly, was it pleasant seeing his crush on Zoe Bell festering before my eyes, just as mine had.  To the Grindhouse Double-Feature's credit, I did see both movies.  I'll also admit that the premise of Planet Terror was a little more my speed; I can count on just one hand how many zombie movies I didn't dig, and those were extreme cases.  Zombies, for the most part, are a-ok in my book.  This said, I had a much easier time enjoying Deathproof than Planet Terror.  In Grindhouse tradition, any lady with the guts to star in the camp-fest is essentially signing her body up for display; in Planet, Rose McGowan's entire body was at the director's disposal, with an endless strip-tease lasting the length of the credits, and so on.  And if anyone in that movie was going to dance, I'd rather see McGowan on stage than Bruce Willis.  Or worse yet, Quentin.  From this point forth, we follow our characters as they battle through a zombified apocalypse; hell, this movie even made Fergie shine.  But it was Deathproof, with Quentin's signature love of feet and ramble-y speeches from our dozens of protagonists, that seemed much more comfortable with happy, strong female leads.  Replacing a stripper's amputated leg with a machine gun: that's pretty nifty.  But Zoe Bell, on the hood of her dream car, kicking Stuntman Mike's machine of death, cursing in that adorable accent of hers, and then all three final girls having their way with the psychopathic stuntman... that's downright epic.  And where McGowan always seemed a little too cynical and one-dimensional to have the time of her life (with a fucking GUN as her LEG!), I think what I saw was true bliss, when Bell popped out of the grass after being tossed from the hood of a speeding car and chirping, "I'm okay!"  Because casting Bell was perhaps the most genius aspect of the movie.  Beating beautiful women to a pulp is exactly what Grindhouse movies do.  In that aspect, both movies passed with flying colors.  But what makes a good Grindhouse movie tolerable is when the girls are victorious, and through all the grit, we can still see them grinning.  Because being a badass is fun.


To balance out the grrrl fuckin power that happy little flick emanated, next stop was the French "torture porn" response to Hostel and Saw: Frontier(s).  If someone had asked if I wanted to subject myself to a non-stop gross-out ride where the French vernacular consisted of little more than "twat," "whore," "slut," or "bitch"... I may have rethought this decision.  To the movie's credit, it made me so uncomfortable I thought I would die.  From the moment the credits roll to the time they role once more, I was nauseous.  The social climate was taut with violence and misery no matter where pregnant Yasmine ended up.  Once the movie came to a close, it was only then that I could breathe--and only then that I actually began to enjoy myself.  Whilst watching our, by no other name, Final Girl duke it out with various members to the cultish family she was being brutalized by, I couldn't help wondering whether or not she WANTED to die.  I know I did.  I do understand the concept of these movies: they want you to feel uncomfortable, even dirty while watching them.  Now if you're wondering whether this is my idea of fun... no, not quite.  I can watch them sure, and part of me feels this impulse to do so.  The train-wreck that is Saw will never cease to attract my morbid curiosity; I may not shell out the $12 to see it the moment it hits theaters, but with my job at a video store, I don't mind picking up a copy... for free.  Hostel, as well, intrigued me.  A copy of the movie sat on my desk for days before I could muster the nerve to watch.  To avoid a showdown of that sort, I enlisted the aid of my boyfriend to help view Frontier(s).  He fell asleep part way through, so he may not have been the best choice; the point is, however, I did get through it, and having someone in the room with me made the viewing experience wholly different.  I could complain to relieve the building anxiety in my chest and throat without feeling crazy!  The special effects were perfect.  The camera work could have been improved on in scenes of tension; because honestly, there was enough sick stuff in the film to counteract any moments of "slowness."  In an early scene, my boyfriend remarked that the cameraman must've been instructed to follow every bullet in the shoot-out.  And the dizzying effect this produced was not a favorable one; at times, with detailed, drawn out sequences where Achilles tendons were being snipped out, or Yasmine was being bludgeoned in the head (even though she DID have a weapon with her!) in the midst of 1,000-shot-per-second chase sequences, the movie seemed a little confused with where it wanted us to be.  The movie never, believe it or not, seemed far-fetched.  There were true psychotics in the film, but the crazies didn't just live out in hostels/compounds in the middle of nowhere--they were in the rioting cities as well.  In hospitals.  In the streets.  Wherever our lead characters turned, there was insanity.  Even they, themselves, were no innocents.  And by the end of the film, any trace of innocence I had was conveniently stripped away.


Malevolence, Malevolence, Malevolence.  Oh, how I underestimated thee.  There really was so much going on in the story, and in retrospect, I'm seeing even more!  Little plot twists pop up all over the place in this modern throwback to classic slashers (my boyfriend got a little high from the soundtrack alone).  And really, this is one smart movie.  As one character gets what was coming to him/her (I shall not give anything away!) the camerawork gives homage to the shower scene in Psycho, while giving a nod to similar all-stab, no-skin cutaway shots from early slashers.  While a video box with no synopsis may deter many viewers, many a horror fan will get a kick out of this fun little film.  My boyfriend holds tight to his theory that this was a realistic flick.  Me, I just loved seeing a little girl kick ass with a softball bat.  Really, how often do we get to see that?


For such a dark film, Inside was really all about light.  The Christmas lights, the red and blue police lights, the strobe-like camera flash, or the lack of light altogether--the silhouette of that creepy lady.  If Hostel, Saw, or Frontier(s) had any willpower, they might be able to be Inside.  The gore is comparable to those better known horrors, but Inside definitely holds out more with tension.  And you've gotta love that.  (Well, my boyfriend doesn't, but I certainly do.)  I'm losing the ability to wax poetic on horrors at this point.  It's been hours, and my brain sorta aches.  I know I'm not supposed to have any nerve endings up there, but fuck that.  My brain hurts!


Looking back over my adventures from the past day, I've come to the conclusion: do NOT fuck with women: whether they are pregnant, they were once pregnant, they'd rather show off their scars than their newest shade of lipstick, or they suck at softball.  In the end it's all the same: they're gonna kick your ass, and look good doing it!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Favorite Favorites

It's late. My judgement isn't sound. And I'm feeling vulnerable after a multi-hour horror fest; so to add in another shade to my character, I'd like to steal and repackage the self-directed questionnaire concept. I re-dyed my hair tonight, and whilst standing in the shower, drenched in dried-blood red running down the drain, staining my skin and everything in sight, ever-so Carrie-esque, I realized I couldn't escape the terror of everyday life. I'd say I need a vacation, but who would I be fooling? I know I'd spend the whole time watching more movies...

Favorite Horror Flicks... Feast, 28 Days Later, Malevolence, The Descent, Ginger Snaps, Hard Candy, Ms .45, Peeping Tom, Suicide Club, Nightmare on Elm Street 1 and 2, Inside

Favorite Fears... I'm a simple girl; Strangers, Malevolence, and Inside definitely played with this staging: you know that sudden tingling sensation you get at the back of your neck when you realize the pale face, or mask, or silhouette, of that monster/killer you've been avoiding all along has actually been watching patiently from the sidelines, shrouded in the darkness of your doorway all along? And that means... oh my God! how long have they been there? Yeah, that's bound to scare me every time.

Favorite Kill Sequence... Let's just go right ahead and check off everything that happened in the uber-sick Tokyo Gore Police, shall we? The fetish club prostitute whose torso was gunned in half, only to regrow an alligator head in place of her vagina/legs, who was in turn shot right in the 'gator by a gun held by his severed hand, the trigger of which was pulled by the his arm by tugging on a ligament/thus controlling his finger on the trigger thus... whew! Awesome, terrible, traumatizing, brilliant kill sequence.

Favorite Weapon...

Most Killer-Killer...


How I Like to Get My Fear On... I really couldn't decide between an audience of my obnoxious friends and just me and my cat. If I had to choose, though, because I know what a hard-ass of an interviewer I can be, I'd say I need alone-time with the heavier movies like Inside and Hard Candy ("I said shut up, atom!"); zombie flicks are best enjoyed with a brainless following of your own, as are torture porn flicks; because if I had to endure that stomach-flipping homage to Countess Elizabeth Báthory on my lonesome, I would've slit my own throat with a scythe. Was it the dead silence except for the muffled, animal-like squeals and slurping of blood or... no, I know what it was! That scraping sound of the rusted metal against the girl's throat and naked body... Ick, that was one hell of a scene. Gratuitous gore is one of those guilty pleasures I prefer with supervision, I suppose.

I am so sleepy, and so annoyed that I didn't finish this self-imposed interrogation in one sitting. Damn. Tomorrow I'll be sure to scrounge the horror section for inspiration!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

A Spoonful of Scary helps... Sweet Dreams

Though three years old, and judging by the hits, a "cult" classic in itself, I just found this delightful video; it simply verifies you can find the horror in just about anything.

Scary stuff.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Bad Ad, Rad Ad?

Today was my day off from work.  Work, for the record, is terrible.  It's what people like me do when they're saving up for a $40,000 a year education (FAFSA, though you did suck out my soul, I owe you a thumbs up for acknowledging the discounts my broke ass deserves).  It's zombie slave-wage work like handling cattle-esque customers at a video store.  With any luck, Netflix will go right ahead, sell out my already sell-out-y corporate video store, and thousands more people will be laid off with video stores world wide closing down.  Thanks, Netflix.  It's not like anyone wants to pay off student loans with a job they kick ass at.  This isn't the point of my rant.  

What I'm trying to say is that there is a difference between work and a job.  Work for me= crappy pay at a video store.  My job, as far as I'm concerned= watching movies (for free!), writing, not sleeping, with no pay.  So a day off from work really just means a day to get back to my job.

So what did I do on my day off?  I went to my video store and stared down the horror section, licking my lips, stalking my prey.  Something hit me, while this showdown took place:

While I intend on focusing predominantly on American horror cinema for my horror section, I would like to make it clear that I want to see Inside, and Frontier(s), and Tokyo Gore Police.  Because... they look fun.  My insistence upon remaining American isn't some oh-so-subtle subliminal shout-out that U-S-A is the only W-A-Y to go.  In fact, it was Australia's Wolf Creek that scared the hell out of me months back.  My boyfriend made it official during Haute Tension--or as it's called in the UK, Switchblade Romance (my favorite title, and I don't care if you disagree), or here in the states, High Tension--from France.  The original--and quite frankly, the all around better--Prom Night came from Canada.  And Mexican Guillermo Del Toro has certainly done his part in ushering scary movies into the "legit" Hollywood scene (or is it the other way around?).   

What it comes down to is this: entire books have been written solely on things like gender in modern horror.  Books have been written on the topic of directors (take, for instance, Maitland McDonagh's study on Dario Argento).  While it would be fascinating, covering the topic of HORROR, everything from ever, would be ridiculous.  I am a feminist.  I like horror.  I am a female.  What the hell?  That, right there, is my angle.  A thorough book to cover all-that-is-scary would be just short of all-that-is-suicidal.  For a more extensive list of topics, do please read the post just below this one.  And besides, I'm too spastic to settle for one direction.  My magazine-formatted book gives me the freedom to explore fractions of these issues; I am, of course, getting off topic.

And here is my topic: whoever decides which pretty pictures are going to represent their gross-out horror movies might need to castrate themselves to think Outside the Sexist Box.  But that's just my gut reaction.  

Grindhouse's Planet Terror was, all misogyny considered, a very cool movie.  Rosario Dawson and Rose McGowan are obviously both drop-dead, killer gorgeous.  But the PR team behind the Grindhouse movies may want to consider showcasing badass beauties in slightly less obvious (though eye-catching, I must give credit where it's due) light:
The, for many, long-since forgotten Captivity caused a stir of its own, way back when.
Of course, 2-D hype can only get you so far when the feature presentation is doomed to be mediocre. That's what Rent-A-Suicide-Girl is for!  With the main event of your pre-movie party looking like camera-conscious zombies--whose initial response to joining the legions of the undead is to tear off their clothing and dye their hair--pre-paid sexuality is clearly a top priority in your marketing scheme.

I get that for many women (and I, the skeptic, will gladly hop back in the boat once these waves of doubt have washed away... oh, that's lame) the world that horror films have established allows them to express their sexuality in an exciting fashion.  This is a world, after all, where women are allowed "female agency," and have the option of deploying violence.  This is a world that is just taboo and wild enough to mock the mainstream one we've all grown accustomed to.  This is a world where, the flashier and 
more captivating your performance is, the more tickets are sold.  This world is fun!  But why, I can't help but wonder, does sex appeal look the same as it does in that boring, non-bloody world?  

There are, my dears, a few notable exceptions to this law.  Scary-classy Shannon Lark, pictured here as Fangoria's Spooksmodel, burned the image of
 a blood-soaked, (red)-dress-sporting, chainsaw-wielding woman into our brains.  Or here:        , an image from the surprising P2, where our heroine, after tolerating her fair share of abuse from the anachronistic, Elvis-wanna-be security guard, snaps and becomes frighteningly resourceful.  Never mind the cleavage, despite being doused with water in her white dress/plunging neckline, she bypassed what could have easily been a sexed-up role, by traditional standards, in favor of simply kicking ass.

What I'm trying to get at, I suppose, is that it really is difficult to find women in the horror movie genre who don't make me cringe a little to be a woman watching a horror movie.  The ones who do exist, thank you.  And everyone else in marketing and screenwriting, honestly, think with your Big brain, and come up with more female-friendly imagery.  Please.

P.S. All this is coming from drowsy little me, at 4 in the morning.  Let's see if this post makes it past noon tomorrow.  *Today.  

Saturday, April 4, 2009

A Cheater's Guide to the Interview: slasHERS

I am currently accepting volunteers for interviews; and even if I didn't go out of my way to contact you, don't think your brainwaves aren't welcome.  I truly admire beautiful creatures with thought patterns.

This said, what, exactly, would an interview with me entail?  Lovely question, so relieved you asked!  

While the topics I've covering seem a little sporadic right now, I'm holding out hope they'll become more cohesive in a final draft.  Anyway, these are some of the topics I'm looking to cover:
_A Brief history on horror films, leading into why the genre is simultaneously so popular and so taboo (how films have mirrored cultural shifts, what the genre says about us as viewers/does it say anything?, what the current and future state of horrors look like...)
_Girls & Boys v. Death: *Gender in Horror *The History/context of a Final Girl *how boys v. girls are preyed upon as victims *how boys v. girls kill
_Technicalities (camerawork, conventions, "the norms of the abnormal"...)
_The Inescapable Sensuality of Death in Horror
_Exploring Artistic License: *namely, in rape revenge cinema (how much "should" be shown) *censorship in horror *overview of censorship in film
_How Controversial Ads Effect the Horror Experience
_Comedy in Horror
Side Story on: (MisSinEma- a brief on the history of women in Hollywood)
_Hair Die: How Color Effects Well-being
_Feminine Agency, Villainy, and Power: through shades of darkness (film noir, over-exposed Hollywood, and most importantly, horror)

As I mention with the actual interview, you are free to skip around the questions, answering whatever you feel most comfortable with.  If you cannot relate to a question, you are welcome to adjust the wording for your own interpretation, or bypass it completely.  The mood I'd like to convey with the questionnaire is one that allows the interviewee to engage in thought-provoking discourse without any pressure.  In that sense, as well, the interview is sent via e-mail, so you may take some time to familiarize yourself with the content and word your answers however you wish.  If any of the listed topics immediately strike you as something you'd rather stay away from, please let me know.  Otherwise, I can send everything, and you can pick from there.

If there are any projects/organizations you're involved in that you'd like for me to take into consideration, send me the information, and I can question you in accordance to your "resume," of sorts.  

The wording to a lot of the questions was designed for professionals in the field of horror and cinema.  So if anything seems odd to you, or you have some questions for me, I'm always delighted to hear from you at:

When it comes to interviews, I'm more flexible than my awesome, contortionist friend.

P.S. And yes, that was a Perfect Rainbow.  

Friday, April 3, 2009

B is for "buzz," "B List," and broken sentences

So so so.

I am completely buzzed.  And completely in love with making posts.

Then there's my ever-intimidating movie list.  Care to see?
  • Accused, The
  • American Psycho
  • American Psycho 2
  • April Fools Day (original + remake)
  • Bad Reputation
  • Baise Moi
  • Bare Behind Bars
  • Behind the Mask: the Rise of Leslie Vernon
  • Black Christmas (original + remake)
  • Blood Spattered Bride
  • Bloodsucking Freaks
  • Body Parts
  • Brave One, The
  • Burning, The
  • Cannibal Holocaust
  • Clockwork Orange, A
  • Copycat
  • Deliverance
  • Descent
  • Descent, The
  • Devil's Rejects, The
  • Experiment in Torture
  • Extremities 
  • Eye For An Eye
  • Eyes of a Stranger
  • Frenzy
  • Going to Pieces
  • Gore Gore Girls, The
  • Graduation Day
  • Graphic Sexual Horror
  • Grindhouse: Death Proof
  • Happy Birthday to Me
  • Hard Candy
  • He Knows You're Alone
  • High Tension (Switchblade Romance)
  • Hills Have Eyes, The (original + remake)
  • Hitcher, The (original + remake)
  • Hostel
  • Hostel 2
  • House of 1000 Corpses
  • House on Sorority Row, The (original + remake)
  • House of Wax (original + remake)
  • I Know What You Did Last Summer
  • I Spit On Your Corpse, I Piss On Your Grave
  • I Spit On Your Grave
  • Irreversible 
  • Kinky Killers
  • Kiss the Girls
  • Ladies' Club, The 
  • Lady Snowblood
  • Last House on the Left, The (original + remake)
  • Lipstick
  • Mother's Day
  • Ms .45
  • My Bloody Valentine (original + remake)
  • Naked Fear
  • Nurse, The
  • P2
  • Peeping Tom
  • Pervert!
  • Play Misty For Me
  • Pretty Bloody
  • Prom Night (original + remake)
  • Psycho
  • Pulp Fiction
  • Scream
  • Single White Female
  • Sleepaway Camp
  • Slumber Party Massacre
  • Snuff: a documentary about killing on camera
  • Stepfather, The
  • Stupid Teenagers Must Die
  • Teeth
  • Terror Train
  • Thelma and Louise
  • Thriller: A Cruel Picture
  • Urban Legend
  • Zombie Strippers

And... that's it.  If anyone out there caught on to the pattern there and has more to recommend, please pile it on!  I love intimidating lists.

So those movies have been swallowing up my life lately; and I still have aways to go.  I'm also still taking interviews on "slasHERS: the sensuality of a hot, steamy bloodbath."  But I'm loving being this busy.

(*) There is a strange man outside my house, but I'd rather tell you a story (blog)

Here's a little vintage action for ya...

Last August, (and I'm about to throw the A-word around a lot, due to our "not guilty" plea) an "alleged" friend and I were "allegedly" caught "allegedly" spray-"alleged"-painting an "alleged" train.  Enough.  The point is, I was 4 months into being a legal adult, I had a short temper, and an underwear drawer-ful of spray paint (from an art project, I swear, Your Honor!).  Here's the blog post from way back when, which will explain why I sold my soul to work at a video store.  Which in turn, explains how I've been able to slowly accumulate the entire horror section from my local video store in my living room.

"I feel like I've said this before, but I know, I know.  You don't have to tell me,

"I feel like the negligent alcoholic mother who keeps her kids in the basement and keeps promising to let them out when she's sober, but then drops some acid and thinks it's Cinco De Mayo for, like, three weeks.  As is the case with updates on this issue.

"Pressure to take on more hours with my day job has been building, since my final court date is tomorrow.  As horrible and abusive the court system has been to me over the months, I don't hesitate to say that I'm amused (to say the least).  What feels like centuries ago, a friend and I were responding to some nasty misogynistic graffiti on an abandoned train car by... well, obviously covering it with some loving, pretty paint of our own.  Thank God the real vandals were caught: meaning us.  We were interrogated about some neo-Natzi skin-head bombings from earlier this year... and you guessed it... they didn't get those kids, but they did manage to catch the hippie girl with peace signs and the pink-haired feminist.  

"New Jersey: you may not unlock your doors and rest in peace.

"Well, aside from riding in a police car that had been blasting Z100's countdown of Usher's Greatest Contributions to the Music World (surprisingly long, it turns out), getting dragged to more court dates than necessary, then being tagged with a fine of over $1800, this whole situation is really quite funny.  For one thing, there was a **public outcry** about the train vandals, or GRAFFITI GIRLS, as we were being called.  Granted, this mob was made up of about 5 crotchety old pricks, but they still got under my skin when they responded to what I considered a 'feminist' act with ignorant, sexist comments.  The bulk of them ran along the lines of telling the "girlies" to give up a life of crime for nail polish and boys like the "good old days."  What that means entirely, I don't know.

"Luckily, while this entire mess has yet to invoke anything less than rage from my end of things, I'm still somewhat amused that all this is going on around the same time as this issue.  Before being tried as a tagger, I was already interested in covering graffiti artists and the thin line between political/artistic protest and censorship.  

"This issue's gonna be fuuuuun..." 

Rest assured, suburban justice was served, and I got my due spark lit under me.  Really, what's the point in trying to write about something you don't Know?

You can take the girl outta the shower, but you can't take the horror out of being wet and naked

I think I'm letting my work get the better of me.

It's not secret I'm working on my horror film portion of the zine-book-abomination (*note to self: try a little harder to be a little more concise in describe what the hell this thing is), and it's equally true that I've been plowing through ridiculous numbers of horror (primarily slasher) films on a daily basis.  -How do I pull it off? (*)- There have been several studies to dis/prove the statement that abundant viewings of these video nasties can turn your Regular Josephina crazy, and I think I'm ready to put my two cents in here: MY BRAIN HAS FUCKING MELTED.  My personality... has always been a little on the quirky side, so any abnormalities I may have picked up from these movies are a lost cause in a sea of preexisting abnormalities.  I'm not a good lab rat for this experiment, I'm afraid.

What I can say, however, is that I've had an unusual number of nightmares lately.  In all my years, I can recall two prominent nightmares that truly chilled me, but my subconscious lately has been rather mean spirited.  NO, I'm not implying that horror films turn civilian folk in rapists, murderers, politicians, whatever.  I am saying, however, that my head is killing me and I've been perpetually foaming at the mouth for weeks now.

Maybe it isn't the violence, the rape scenes, or worse yet, the God-awful remakes I've been subjecting myself to.  It took a few tries before I could get through The Last House on the Left (the original, my dears, because it's way scarier) or Deliverance on my Sunday morning montage of rape scenes.  But I've found, as with sex work (once a close friend because a stripper, etc) my views have flip-flopped worse than a fish out of water.  I'm happy with some of the epiphanies I've had in the midst of blood baths and stalker shots, don't get me wrong.  And some of the people I've begun interviewing have been invaluable in their enthusiasm and support.  There may be little point in even bringing this up, but everyone ought to stop what they're doing and stop by .  

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Wishing You the Best of Luck + Shiniest of Sequins...

As any good story should, this one begins ONCE UPON A TIME...

There was a lovely, pink-haired girl.  And she was angry.  Now when I say angry, I don't mean, 'Golly gee, my boyfriend hasn't called me yet, and I slaved over a hot stove all day for dinner!' We're talking, 'That bastard cut me off to drive 30 under the speed limit?'-angry.  'I'm going to tear out his stomach and watch him eat it'-angry.  'I will follow him home and make him gargle with acid and rusty nails.'  But I digress.

This girl--Liouxsie (pronounced Loose-ee)-- wasn't satisfied, and that wasn't enough for her.  One day she pulled herself up by her fishnets, found an audience, and... well, she says 'Hi.'


For a little over a year, I edited a femme-zine called Danger! hole Zine.  In that time, I covered topics ranging from stereotyping to body image, sexual harassment to sexual health, etc.  And though I love my zine-baby to tiny, little pieces, I had to put her to sleep to awaken a new project.

Sex rules.  And it's always fascinated me.  I raised hell in my day, and was sent for a stint of therapy when I explained to my fellow fish-eyed first grade classmates how Sex should be done; I believe hand gestures were involved.  

But it's really not just Sex that's so compelling; it's what that word does to some people--what it means to others--and the power it really holds over everyone in between.  Sex has truly permeated the subconscious of the country.  We are simultaneously bombarded by sexy advertisements (the likes of which we buy into every damn day) and terrified by the concept of sex, itself, and sexuality.  As a feminist, I wanted to investigate how sex plays into art, pornography, and censorship in mainstream culture.  

With this project, I'm looking to do something I haven't seen yet.  Making this all the harder.  

For lack of a better term, this is my book.  And this book will incorporate all the formatting quirks and playfulness of a magazine layout (bringing in the aesthetically pleasing quality as well as the relevant and approachable interior... which is intended to draw a smile out of in-the-know zinesters who may recognize elements in an unusually stylized and sleek incarnation, as well as bring in readers from outside the underground-publishing circuit: the Untapped-into Majority... who may typically bypass a dingy little xeroxed, hand-made and hand-loved zine with grainy graphics and a shady address from the middle of nowhere, and dull word fest, but professionally published, feminist literature) and the thoroughness, sleekness, and various little throw-backs to professional, nonfiction feminist books.  

In fact, the actual design of this project is so major an element that I have a sub-folder stuffed with mad ramblings on the layout alone.  More to come on this later, I'm already getting so worked up I'm foaming at the mouth, getting my poor keyboard soaking wet.

What am I doing here?

I have no idea.

Perhaps this blog is a virtual manifestation of my brainwaves involved in the book.  Perhaps this is where I'll let all you confectionary sugar heart readers in on interviews, general progression, and updates to the book.  Perhaps this is where I'll sneak in subliminal tips on how to Increase the Size of Your Penis, Lose Inches of Stomach Fat Now, and Compare Your IQ to Obama's.  Perhaps this is my feeble attempt to apologize to the Rainforests of the world for running my zine for so long...   

I suppose you ought to know that I'm here now.  And with that said, let's all live happily ever after...

Until something pisses off another little girl (or boy) and pushes her to the brink of writing a book set out to save the world as we know it, too.