Had and still have my hands full repairing somebody's much-loved family heirloom aran sweater, which adds a physical obstacle to the frustration of Not Writing Anything. Stuck on trying to articulate thoughts on indigeneity and monstrosity for post on horror westerns, trying to remind myself it doesn't need to be a properly structured and supported essay. Keep imagining and reimagining scenes for fic and even massaging them into phrases but the prose invariably slips away when I try to record them in any way. Most of these scraps of inspiration are bits of funny (to me) dialogue without context. The rest are pretty much all UST build-up or the talky bits before the porn but I have no will to write the rest of the story, either plotty business connecting the ones that are part of larger narratives or the rest of the sex scene for the ones that lead on to that rather than leaving the characters lusting (and yes, I could publish those pieces on their own, but avoiding awkwardness with written fade-to-black can be tricky and if they get any comments at all on AO3 they'll be demands to continue, plus I have to actually write something before I can publish it). Feeling as thwarted in my creative pursuits as the characters are in their sexual/romantic ones.

This week's unplanned media kick has been horror movies in which children are threatened or threatening. I've watched Insidious 1-3, Sinister 1 & 2, and Silent Hill, and rewatched The Omen and The Babadook (and Splice, if you want to count that here, although I'd say despite its issues with reproduction and parenting it's not as much doing with children per se). Not many big thinky thoughts about this yet; only mentioning it as an excuse to say:

1. Silent Hill makes absolutely no sense and probably wouldn't even if I had known more about the games it's based on than "everything's foggy", "the one with Pyramid Head?", "something about a missing girl", and "bandage-mummy-faced Slutty Nurse cosplays", BUT it's interesting that all of the important decisions and actions are made and taken by women (the decisions and actions in question are almost universally stupid or nonsensical, but they're the only ones that matter). The stuff with Sean Bean and Kim Coates is ultimately irrelevent to the "plot" and the menfolk-townsfolk are generic henchy prop-people, almost perfect inversion of the sexy lamp test. Interesting also to look at the other films in the same light (womp womp): The Omen and Sinister films are pretty lampy in their treatment of adult women (not quite so simplistic as a binary division into evil or nagging shrews and fainting damsels but really not good, especially for the Sinister films appearing almost forty years after The Omen) while the Insidious trilogy are fairly balanced in terms of a gendered distribution of agency.
1a) Happy that Silent Hill features a hot butch motorcycle cop, sad that spoiler ). Would prefer story with no stupid ghost town where Radha Mitchell and her kid are actually on the run from Sean Bean and hot butch motorcycle cop tries to apprehend her but then helps her, with or without hooking up.

2. The Babadook totally deserves its status as one of the biggest buzz-generating indie/horror films of 2014, because it's really well done. I recommend it heartily but with a massive side order of trigger warnings (spooky shit and a few jump scares, bugs, tooth/mouth injury/body horror, violence towards animals, actual plot summary stuff behind cut: short version = widowed mother of neuroatypical 6-year old is either being targeted by a malicious supernatural entity or having a total mental breakdown. )) My one ridiculous quibble is that the pop-up book looks professionally printed and bound, and I would like to have seen Amelia (a writer before Samuel was born) check the front matter for publication details even if their weren't any or they lead to a publishing company that doesn't exist or something.

3. Struggling to articulate this . . . I'm curious about how many of the people directly responsible for these films are parents and how many aren't and how all their fears of and for children inform their work?
1. Murderfamily recommendation: Burke and Hare (2010). Not a horror movie, although it's got serious horror cred (directed by John Landis [An American Werewolf in London] with cameos from Christopher Lee, Ray Harryhausen, and a sword-wielding Jenny Agutter, to scratch the surface) and bristles with murder, mayhem, and medical dissection (latter can get pretty graphic; murders themselves tend more to slapstick than gore). Rather, it's a wicked little loosely historical comedy with an excellent cast about the business of death.

2. 2016 = Year of the Snot. Feels like I've been microbe-sick (on top of the usual fibro business) more days than I've been "healthy" thus far this year. Probably more like a fifth or a quarter but it's still unusual for me to have two mini colds and a vigorous flu within seven weeks when I usually go through around four infections per year.

3. Random badass Avatar vid via [personal profile] garden_hoe21

4. Like riding a rickety deathtrap bicycle: I can still read academic fluently, although I'm unsurprisingly tentative trying to speak it. No, I'm not trying to exhume my thesis, although I am setting myself up to review some things I read in uni and grad school and crack open some of the books I didn't (and some of what I'm looking at could be called on if I ever do cut Damocles' thread). I'm looking for text addressing or applicable to horror cinema, to which end I've also (probably unwisely) picked up some new-to-me volumes at used book stores around town, including the game-changer: Carol Clover's 1992 Men, Women, and Chain Saws: Gender in the Modern Horror Film. So far I've read the available free sample of The Canadian Horror Film: Terror of the Soul (edited by Gina Freitag and Andre Loiselle, 2015) and am most of the way through The Horror Film (Peter Hutchings, 2004--will have to share quotes at some point; find I often agree with him on general approach but disagree with readings of particular films). If anybody cares I can type up a provisional book list, but I don't imagine anybody does.

5. Another thing's been bubbling around my tiny head, seemingly at the opposite end of the pool from horror (and academia), and that's the notion of hygge (I'd challenge the conviction of absolute opposition, but that's another witter). I want to do something with hygge as a mood/theme in a (fannish) creative capacity but I'm not sure what/how. I was planning just to ask for prompts for myself that could work with the idea (senses of comfort, warmth, self- and other-care) with a note inviting others to play along, but I didn't, and (because this is me) it started getting ambitious. I know better than to go hog wild and create a comm that I wouldn't have spoons to maintain if it took off, which it wouldn't because I'm not that popular, but is it worth making a post for public sharing of prompts and commentfic? I don't know if I'd even be able to write anything--I still haven't finished any of the other (some decidedly less hyggelig) stories I'm trying to work on--but I want to.
I like horror movies—not all of them, obviously, and not necessarily for being horror movies, but I also like horror movies as a thing, a genre, a cultural phenomenon. Because of this and the fact that I suffer from clinical knowitallism I have Opinions on the subject and things relating to it, and my Opinion on Stephen King’s 1982 essay "Why We Crave Horror Movies" is this:

Stephen King Is Wrong )

Next up: I honestly have no idea, but I'm open to suggestions.
This is nowhere near as articulate as I want to be, but perfectionist procrastination: it don't otherwise get done.

I, like many other people, have done exactly what Netflix knew we would and watched the entire Jessica Jones release back-to-back-to-back. I loved elements of it, specific scenes and relationships, and I think I like what it's doing in terms of themes and ethical-political orientation? But aspects of it made me really uncomfortable, and/because right now I trust Fandom (the abstract entity comprised of people I don't know and uncomfortably a handful I do) about half as far as I can headbutt it not to respond to things in ways that make me want to whack them with a mallet (please believe that nothing in this post is meant as indictment of any individual fan, just exasperation at the ubiquity and predictability of certain patterns of behaviour).

To summarize my current relationship with Marvel Studios and to steal once again from [personal profile] recessional: I think it's a great tragedy they were wiped out by that meteorite. I still haven't seen AoU because I know it'll piss me off and I haven't watched Agents of SHIELD since the first episode of the second season. I only gave JJ a shot because it looked to be arm's-length enough from the rest of it to have caught minimal backsplash from the Whedonspooge tidal wave and in that regard I was thankfully correct.

To summarize my problems with JJ and specifically Fandom response: David Tennant as Kilgrave.

Cut for length, discussion of abusive relationships with and without mind control, criticism of fan behaviour, unpopular opinions about <i>Doctor Who</i>, and spoilers for <i>Jessica Jones</i> and <i>Crimson Peak</i> )

P.S.: One of many tracks iTunes shuffled at me while I was writing this, felt appropriate at the time:
Get it? Like the Sleater-Kinney song? Nevermind.

Over a year ago now I had to do an assignment for comms class on the Stephen King essay "Why We Crave Horror Movies" (about which I shall say more later) and as "research" I went a-binge-watching, refreshing myself on things I'd seen before and educating myself on things I hadn't. This fall I went on another binge prompted mostly by a facebook friend's commitment to watch a horror movie a day for the month of October. I didn't copy the idea but in contributing recommendations I reminded myself of Joey Comeau's currently dormant blog I'm into survival. The blog's an entertaining read, presents some interesting analyses, and introduced me to some pretty cool films. I really like Comeau's encouragement to horror movie fans to help stop real violence by supporting the Assaulted Women's Helpline.

Reading back through the entries last month I was reminded . . . I wanna do that. I want to post (rant) about horror movies (and other movies, particularly movies with social justice themes, and I want at some point to try holding the two categories up together). There's no shortage of material, certainly; even if I cover films or topics Comeau's already done I won't be duplicating because I have a different brain in a different body speaking from a different subject position.

I want to launch this (likely not going to last long enough to really qualify as a) series by returning to my original inspiration "Why Stephen King Is Wrong We Crave Horror Movies", not in this post but in one I hope will follow shortly. In the meantime I'm throwing the doors open for requests of subjects you'd like me to write about (films, original vs. remake comparisons, recurrent themes, etc.) and recommendations of stuff for me to look at (films, essays/books/YouTube videos, etc.--I haven't done a lot of secondary source research or read about horror outside the pieces mentioned here but I'd like to, especially feminist analyses of horror and analyses of feminism in/and horror, queer theory, critical disability studies, postcolonial and critical race theory . . .).

Some things I already know I want to write about, no clear idea about order or cross-connections: cut more for length than content or spoilers )

Obviously if you're interested in reading this stuff and want me to warn/tag/grey-out anything in particular, please let me know.


theleaveswant: text "make something beautiful" on battered cardboard sign in red, black, and white (Default)
roses, bruises, 'bout your shoulders


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