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Showing posts from October, 2018

It Came From the ‘90s: Winona Forever

This series looks back at the 1990s and its influence on the generation of people who came of age during the decade.
Six of the most important words I've ever heard in a movie were written by Helen Childress and delivered by Winona Ryder (as Lelaina) in Reality Bites (1994):
The answer is...I don't know.That moment of recognition, of shared confusion and uncertainty, seeing and hearing what I was feeling up on the screen, was enormously powerful—at least it was to me, and from what I could gather back then and still witness today, it was for a lot of people my age. Every generation goes through this, most acutely of course during their teenage and early adulthood years. But for us it was slightly different. We were the kids raised in latchkey homes whose main source of inspiration and connection during those years seemed to come from television and popular culture—in fact, this very blog is almost entirely informed by my status as a Gen-Xer. That's because we'd already b…

We Are All Laurie Strode

I love horror movies—especially slashers—partly because, through their depictions of terrifying boogeymen, they reflect back my own fears and anxieties. Cinematic horror makes these personal horrors seem a bit less scary, and sometimes even more manageable. It's as if seeing someone experience stress, trauma, grief, or loss reminds me that we all walk that path at certain points in our lives. I am not alone.

And that's important, because I feel alone. A lot. Always have. I'm an introvert/INFJ, an only child, and too easily susceptible to stress—three strikes against me in a world that prizes extroverted traits like confidence and competence.

So when life starts to pile the garbage high and deep, I have a tendency to retreat. Into myself. Away from others. But still I have this need to reach out, to connect with people who make me feel safe and loved and worthwhile. So I never fully retreat. I make an effort to connect with someone special to me, to help myself, to practic…

(Not So) Deep Thoughts of the Pop Cultural Persuasion, Part 3

This being October, there's lots of horror packed into this latest potpourri post. Over at Horror Geek Life, I recently explored the powerful gender commentary layered throughout American Mary (2012). The film was written and directed by Jen and Sylvia Soska (pictured above, #twinning), and opened six years ago. Here's an excerpt from the essay:
At one point, Mary asks her boss at the club, “Do you think I’m crazy?” Is Mary crazy? Or is she a women pushed too far, by financial distress and the constant, daily, ever-present threat of toxic masculinity? 
I think it's one of the best horror films in recent memory, a truly visceral and thought-provoking experience. It also features an exceptionally brave performance from Katharine Isabelle, as Mary.

If you missed it over these last six years, please check it out this Halloween/horror season.

Whereas my first-time viewing of the painfully dull The Prowler (1981) is, as of now, the unmitigated nadir of my Halloween month movie mar…

Misspent Youth: Tanya Roberts

Looking back at the pop culture mainstays of this Gen-Xer's gloriously misspent youth.

Some actors slide in and out of our periphery, costarring in one film or series after another, each of which briefly crossed our radars at some point. Bronx-born actress Tanya Roberts was one such performer for me.

I grew up on a steady diet of Charlie's Angels reruns, and no offense meant to Shelley Hack, but when Roberts took over for Hack in the fifth and final season, I definitely took notice. Not to focus on her looks, but geez, her gorgeous feathered hair and sultry bedroom eyes were impossible to ignore. Tanya Roberts had a look, and even all these years later, it basically defines the 1970s/early 1980s for me.

From The Love Boat to Fantasy Island to Silk Stalkings, she made the rounds on some serious preteen and teen television favorites. She also was a pleasant addition to many films I was discovering on cable or VHS during those years, including The Beastmaster (1982, Fingers (1978…

An Appreciation: Carla Gugino in Gerald's Game

Brief programming note: I wrote this last October for a series celebrating women of horror in the lead up to Halloween. For one reason or another this piece didn't make it into the series before Halloween passed. One year later, here we are again, celebrating another Halloween season, and Carla Gugino is once again starring in a Netflix horror production from director Mike Flanagan, this time the dread-filled new series The Haunting of Hill House. I'm two episodes in and loving it so far. Gugino is an unsung national treasure, so it's good to see her in some higher profile work. She's also a natural fit for horror, bringing the right combination of strength and vulnerability necessary to really shine in the genre. Her performance in Flanagan's Gerald's Game was one of my favorites of 2017. Here's why.


Most actors would be hampered in their performance by spending the majority of a film handcuffed to a bed. They might struggle with the inability to mov…

(Not So) Deep Thoughts of the Pop Cultural Persuasion, Part 2

While the entire premise of this blog can often be described as "(Not So) Deep Thoughts of the Pop Cultural Persuasion" I'm contemplating a new series titled just that. Here's the second entry; and here's the first. Believe me, I was awfully tempted to add "Electric Boogaloo" after "Part 2" this time, but somehow I managed to restrain myself.

I don't have a plan yet for it, and frankly I'd prefer not to. I'm not very good at planning, all it does is stress me out. So let's just say, in this spot, you're likely to find a wide-ranging potpourri of topics, from film to books to music to art to politics to comics and on and on. Sometimes it's exhausting coming up with post-specific topic ideas. It'll be nice to just have a spot to dump whatever random cultural musings are careening around in my head at that moment.

Also of note, in a way this new series is taking over for the Barely Making a Dent series. Maybe not fore…

(Not So) Deep Thoughts of the Pop Cultural Persuasion

As noted last time, it's Halloween season, otherwise known to us horror lovers as The Most Wonderful Time of the Year. Working my way through a curated list of horror films has been, to put it mildly, a stabilizing force during a particularly hectic and stressful past few weeks. While all of the bullshit flying around lately—from my personal life to the political sphere—is doing its damnedest to bring down my Halloween high, I raise a blood-soaked middle finger and shout, "Be gone, devil!"

Here are a few random, not so deep thoughts on a few Halloween/horror-related things, and a few non-Halloween/horror-related things.

Today is Donald Pleasence's birthday! That's reason enough to smile and forget the surrounding idiocy, for at least a brief moment. It's highly appropriately that's this Halloween Hero was born in October. He passed away in 1995, but Dr. Loomis is infinite and eternal.

Recently revisited The Serpent and the Rainbow (1987) for the first time…