Love Death + Robots Volume 2 Trailer is (Officially) Up — Whatever

I saw that it had leaked over the weekend but now it’s up on the Netflix YouTube account, so: Here you go. I think it looks pretty cool, myself. Also: It’s a quantum physics universe and technically anything can or indeed already could have happened, or not https://t.co/Qh5mStGfsj— John Scalzi (@scalzi) April 19, 2021— JS

Love Death + Robots Volume 2 Trailer is (Officially) Up — Whatever

I do remember how I felt about the first anthology ,and I hope that there’s a little more “love” and a lot less sexual violence in this one. I will be watching this, because John Scalzi’s name is attached to it, he’s one of my favorite Scifi authors, and I really liked his two sillier stories, in the first film, about sentient yogurt , and the many alternate world deaths of Hitler.

Geeking Out About It

Hi!

Here’s a short list of the movies and shows I’m most excited about in the next few weeks!

I’ve been away from here for a quick minute, because …well a lot of shit happened in the past month! My mom had a quick little heart surgery, (she’s doing fine, now), her dog died, (its alright, he was a little old man, at about 80 in dog years), I got the first part of my vaccination, and lost the use of my right arm for 24 hours, my car started worrying me, (its fine now), my stove broke, (I have since bought a new one, thanks to having extra money in the bank), and then there’s all the outside problems like police brutality and mass shootings…I’ve had a very emotional thirty days!

So! I am very happy to talk about some trivial stuff that’s making me happy right now, like…

Army of the Dead


I have five good reasons for loving this trailer, and this movie better live up to it.
  1. The Gambler theme song!
  2. Dave Bautisita as a Special Forces Operative, wearing glasses!
  3. Zack Snyder
  4. Tig Notaro, outchere looking hot as f***, and smoking a cigar!
  5. Zombie tiger!

Despite my disagreement with the politics in some of his movies (like the fascism in 300), I actually think Zack Snyder is an okay, but kinda depressing filmmaker. I do prefer when he does the zombie thing, though, because, that movie seemed just a tad more upbeat than his superhero films, and I greatly enjoyed the first zombie movie, the remake of the Dawn of the Dead.

I’m excited to watch this. I hope its good.

Yasuke

I was really hoping someone would grab ahold of this story of the Black Samurai. Right before Chadwick Boseman passed, I’d heard he was to be involved in a live action version of this story, but of course that movie got canceled, and this was the outcome, and will have to do. Lakeith Stanfield has taken over the voice work, in Chadwick’s place, and I’m okay with that.

Yasuke’s origin story is kind of mysterious, so there are plenty of gaps that can be filled in with mystical, magical content, which is what I think is happening here, and I’m here for it. This is from the same animators of The Boondocks, and Cannon Busters, with that same clean, open style. It also doesn’t stint on the racial aspects of the story either, as Yasuke would have been a novelty to the Japanese, back then. I greatly enjoyed Cannon Busters, too, and its still playing on Netflix, if y’all want to check it out, becasue it’s a lot of fun!

I’m not a person who watches a ton of anime, (and I almost never watch any of it with the idea of shipping anybody). I am starting to get a little more into it though, as long as whatever’s being recommended to me does not contain squealing little girls in miniskirts. Fortunately, I didn’t see much of that in this trailer.

Shang Chi

I have two words for this trailer!

Awwww Shit!

Guys, its about to go down! I would almost prefer this to be a TV show, though, so we could get a little more in-depth, but Simu Liu, the special effects, and the fight scenes, all look pretty solid, so I’m here for it! I prefer smaller, more intimate stories, about superheroes, and this looks okay. The world-saving stuff can come in a later film.

The Water Man

This looks like a semi-typical, childhood, fantasy adventure movie, and I’m here for it. Black people are often asking for movies like this, where Black characters get to go on adventures, and have fun, and defeat monsters, and none of it has to do with fighting racism.

I’m not against stories about combating racism, I just think we need other kinds of stories too, less we suffer from trauma fatigue, and this one looks mysterious enough to be intriguing to me. It also heavily reminds me of the movie, I Kill Giants, which I thought was pretty good.

Space Jam

I have semi-fond memories of the original Space Jam, although, for me, it was not the generational juggernaut it became for a lot of Millennial fans. That’s okay. I can respect that they love the original and are looking forward to this remake with great excitement. I am not a fan of sports movies, but I can make an exception for LeBron James, and when it looks this funny.

Black Widow

After viewing this trailer, I’m a little more interested in seeing this. I was kind of indifferent before. I don’t like Black Widow, but I don’t dislike her either. Actually, its more that I don’t particularly care for Scarlett Johanssen, which is really weird, when you sort of like a character, but dislike the actor attached to them. I like the other actors in the movie more than I like her, and it looks like its fun, so I’m willing to check it out.

Loki

Loki is another of those characters I feel kind of diffident about. I don’t like him, but I don’t dislike him either. I really like Tom Hiddleston, however, the trailer looks interesting, and I like to see people get the best of Loki, from time to time.

[Thread Collection] Pro-Everything But Reading Comprehension, I see — Stitch’s Media Mix

Thread on my locked account from Jun 17, 2020. What I wrote: Black characters get a specific kind of racist fanwork where it’s clear that the author is using fandom and their fanworks to abuse and torture them into place. Those are clearly racist fanworks and exist to harm. This should be something we can […]

[Thread Collection] Pro-Everything But Reading Comprehension, I see — Stitch’s Media Mix

And my commentary:

To be honest, I’ve been questioning the abuse of fictional Black (and other men of color), characters, even in the source material. Marvel had a particular problem with this, especially in the TV series, that were on Netflix. The movies aren’t quite as bad, but there are still moments that make me cringe.

I mean Hollywood is largely made up of the fantasies of straight white men, so I certainly think they write a lot of marginalized characters (and women) the way they WISH people were in the real world, making them do things, and putting words in their mouths, that support white male patriarchy.

So, its not too far out of my wheelhouse to think that there are fans out there who are much less professional in their writing about marginalized identities, and especially Black people ,and yes, authorial intent, as regards fandom, needs to be talked about.

Note to Fandom:

Don’t come to this blog acting a fool. You will get blocked, and your comments will not be approved. If you want to argue, create your own space, and do it there. I do not tolerate fandom nonsense here, and will not subject my readers to it.

*SIGH*

This is where we are right now:

TheHill.com

Army officer sues police for pepper-spraying him, drawing guns during traffic stop

BY CELINE CASTRONUOVO – 04/10/21 10:21 AM EDT

https://thehill.com/homenews/state-watch/547505-army-officer-sues-police-for-pepper-spraying-him-drawing-guns-during

RESOURCES

For those of you having trouble coping with all of this right now, on top of any personal issues you might also be dealing with, here are some resources:

The Anxiety and Depression Association of America

1-240-465-1001

The National Alliance on Mental Illness

1-800-950-NAMI (6254)

The Suicide Prevention Lifeline

1-800-273-8255

The Association of Black Psychologists

1-301-449-3082

There is no shame in not being able to cope with all of this. There is no shame in telling someone/anyone that you need help, and coping strategies, right now.

Just because someone looks like they got it all together, doesn’t mean they do. Its okay to ask if they’re alright.

The New ‘Loki’ Trailer is Burdened with Glorious Purpose! — The Nerds of Color

The god of mischief is back! The last we saw the lovable rogue, the 2012 version of him stole the tesseract and vanished into thin air during the events of Avengers Endgame. Now we get to see what happens next, as he’s pursued by the mysterious Time Variance Authority! And boy does it look like…

The New ‘Loki’ Trailer is Burdened with Glorious Purpose! — The Nerds of Color

Action-Filled ‘Kung Fu’ Reboot is Relatable for Asian Americans — The Nerds of Color

It has been almost 50 years since the premiere of 1972’s western martial arts series Kung Fu, which starred white actor David Carradine yellowfacing as a mixed Asian Shaolin monk. Back then, that was the norm for Asian character roles. But now, Kung Fu is getting a complete reboot/retelling of the story and righting the…

Action-Filled ‘Kung Fu’ Reboot is Relatable for Asian Americans — The Nerds of Color

Uh -oh! I’ve Been Watching YouTube

It’s pretty much all I have the energy for, since my allergies have been kicking my ass, for a couple of weeks now, and when I’m not asleep, I’m hopped up on Benadryl, and fizzy sugar water (gingerale). I haven’t knitted a darn thing. I haven’t read anything beyond Medium articles, and most of the time, I’m too tired to pay close attention to anything I’m watching.

I do remember watching Zack Snyder’s Justice League, and enjoying it, though. I watched Wandavision, but since everyone else was discussing it, I didn’t feel any pressing need to do it, although I liked it a lot. I’m currently managing to concentrate on Falcon and the Winter Soldier, which is awesome, so far. When I get my mind back, I’ll talk about these things in greater depth, maybe.

But here’s what I saw on Youtube:

Suicide Squad

For the record, I was not one of the people who hated the first version of this movie. I thought it was stupid, but fun. Will Smith and Margot Robbie were the best things about it, and I thought the villain was thoroughly unimpressive. This new version is directed by one of my favorites, James Gunn, the director of Guardians of the Galaxy, and the writer of the Dawn of the Dead remake, and Slither. I have high hopes for this movie, based on his past work, and I really like the trailer. Is the movie any good? I have no idea, but I like the looks of this.

That said, I think the best way for the DCEU to differentiate itself from Marvel, is just to go hard on the craziest aspects of its universe. Yes, that is in fact, a giant man-shark, who is both hilarious and terrifying. The villain in this movie is Starro the Conqueror, which is a giant space-going starfish! In the comic books its the size of a building, and it spawns little starfish, that attach themselves to people like the facehuggers from Alien, so that the central mind of Starro can control their bodies. Yes, I just typed that! I mean this is a universe with psychic gorillas, and shit. Marvel tries to be semi-serious about its plots and characters, which are sort of grounded in reality. I say to the DCEU, just go buck wild, pull out all of the stops, and fully embrace the utter ridiculousness that is the superhero genre.

Lil Nas X – Montero (Call Me By Your Name)

The latest video from Lil Nas X is hilarious, and beautiful, and a pointed criticism to all the Christian homophobes, who bullied and terrorized him his whole life, and I’m okay with that. I personally don’t believe in Heaven and Hell, and I’ve never been homophobic, so this doesn’t bother me in the slightest. There’s also a surprising amount of depth, as he quotes Plato, and the bible, in several instances. Notice that all of the figures in the entire video are images of himself. There has been the predictable amount of peal clutching from the usual establishment figures, but as far as I’m concerned, Lil Nas X is following in the footsteps of a long line of controversial musicians, from David Bowie, Boy George, and Madonna, to Prince, NWA, and Tupac Shakur, so he’s in great company.

And yeah, I think the song slaps! It’s going on my phone this weekend

Rashid Alexander

How come nobody told me about this man? How come nobody ever told me that there were male bellydancers, although now that I think about it, it makes perfect sense, so why wouldn’t there be? Apparently, this guy is pretty famous in the world of bellydancing, and Youtube only chose this weekend to put these videos in my recommendations, despite that I have searched for bellydancing videos in the past.

I do not understand why YouTube can’t simply offer me more videos on the subjects I’ve actually searched for, and watched, rather than continually trying to get me to watch Conservative Fascism-lite videos, featuring Ben Shapiro, and Jordan Peterson. I have never in my existence watched or searched for any of their videos, but Youtube keeps thinking, maybe I’ll change my mind.

Naw, You (dumbass)Tube, offer me more of this stuff!

Thousand Hand Boddhisatva

I remember watching this video some time ago and if finally ended up in my recommendations even though I had not been searching for any videos about dancing recently. Its very beautiful ,and from what I understand the dancers here are all deaf, and the musicians in the orchestra are blind, so now my brain is trying to figure out the logistics.

Morgan Bullock

I’ve always been fascinated with Irish dancing. I was a big Riverdance fan when it was hot at the time, although I could have done without Michael Flatley’s grandstanding. I even went out and bought the album. A few months ago a video of this lovely young Black girl, Irish dancing to Megan the Stallion’s Savage, surfaced on Youtube, and a lot of people’s heads blew up!

Of course there was some pushback against a Black girl doing Irish dancing, (most of it from racist Irish Americans), but the actual Irish people love her, and have fully embraced how she has fused these two cultures, Black and Irish, and is bringing Irish dancing back to the world’s attention again. If the Irish have no problem with what she’s doing, than neither do I.

I haven’t been posting as much as usual because of the above reason, and I may, or may not, post anymore this week. It all depends on if I have another lucid moment, I guess. We’ll find out.

Starring the Landscape: On the Road Again – Horror In Limnal Spaces

Walking Down The Road GIF - TheBeguiled TheBeguiledGIFs Alone - Discover &  Share GIFs

In this post, I want to talk about a secondary component of horror movies that are set in desert and rural landscapes, and that is the type of horror set in Limnal Spaces, such as highways, and rest stops. Not necessarily the road trip movie, which is often about nostalgia, but just people who are in the middle of traveling from point A to point B, through the more remote areas of America, and how a traveler’s status as not being in any particular place or time, invokes a certain kind of horror. The road is both somewhere and nowhere, and a lonely road at night is the ultimate limnal space, in which strange things can occur.

First, let’s define the Limnal Space. You can find numerous websites and Reddit pages discussing what these places/nonplaces are, and their emotional affects on people. Essentially, a Limnal Space is a threshold, it is any place that is between, from, or on the way to, a destination. Limnal spaces are not places where someone actually lives, because they are transitional spaces, places that, when they are empty, evoke feelings of unease, isolation, sadness, or loneliness, like empty schools during a break, hotel hallways at night, a house you’ve just moved out of, empty malls, empty gas stations at night, or highway rest stops. Limnal spaces can also be doorways to somewhere else. They are not a final destination in themselves, so highways, and even the vehicles that navigate them, are good examples.

TRAVELLER'S REST 」A building stand that can teleport and lock anyone within  a 2 meter radius into an infinite hallway that exists out of time and  reality. : fanStands

In fact, the horror of limnal spaces came to popular attention in tandem with the invention of the car, although the idea of such places have existed for centuries, in folktales and literature, (fairy rings, bridges), and the road trip movie helped popularize this idea for mainstream audiences. Limnal spaces are places where the veil between worlds is thin, and strange, and paranormal, things can happen. Cars can come to life, human monsters, and ghosts, can reach out, and people can unknowingly crossover into other worlds. One example of this is the Hitchhiker movie.

There was a time in American history when hitchhiking was fairly common place. Not everyone owned cars yet, especially in rural areas, and all kinds of people (teenagers, members of the military) would often hitch rides with strangers, and this was considered no big issue. But like most things during the sixties, it began to be viewed with suspicion, and once again, we can blame the popular awareness of serial killers, and other psychopathic murderers, for that. Not that the person picking up a hitcher might be one, that came later, but the person being picked up, might not be as innocent as they seemed.

GIF old hollywood hitchhiking clark gable - animated GIF on GIFER

The murderous hitchhiker is a very popular theme in horror. In 1953, Ida Lupino directed The Hitchhiker, a movie about two men who pick up a serial murderer, who is running from the police, while on their way to a fishing trip in Mexico. This was not inspired by the Charles Starkweather killings, but by the spree murders of one Billy Cook, who killed six people on a 22 day rampage across Missouri, in 1951.

Murderous hitchhikers are a staple of the road trip horror movie, from The Hitcher in 1986, to its remake in 2007, in which a young man picks up a hitchhiker, who is a violent psychotic, Road Games in 1981, and Switchback in 1997, which starred Dennis Quaid and Danny Glover, as detectives hunting a child killer across Texas. However the films, Kalifornia, and Natural Born Killers, were both based on the Carol Fugate and Charles Starkweather killing spree, of 1958.

Lonely Road GIF | Gfycat

Sometimes this trope gets turned on its head by psychopathic drivers chasing their victims across the highways, instead. The idea wasn’t made popular by the antics of Bonnie and Clyde, but by the 1971 film, Duel, directed by, an as yet unknown, Stephen Spielberg, and starring Dennis Weaver, as David Mann, an anxious businessman who gets chased by a mysterious truck driver, after Mann overtakes him on the highway. The trope of the killer truck driver also gets overturned in the Lance Henriksen film, The Nature of the Beast, (1995), where a businessman picks up a hitchhiker, during news reports of a killing spree, but who is the killer, and who is the victim?

Hollywood would go back to this well, a few more times, featuring morally ambiguous, middle class citizens being terrorized on America’s roads by outraged drivers, in movies like Road Rage from 1999, 1986’s Maximum Overdrive, which was adapted from a short story by Stephen King, about sentient trucks, and the Joy Ride franchise, which began in 2001, in which a group of teenagers get chased by a mysterious and angry truck driver, after they play a prank on him.

Gamemode] Your Face When - Online Edition - Page 147 - GTA Online -  GTAForums

Hitchhikers and psychotic drivers are not the only beings traveling the highways. Limnal spaces can also be emotional. The anxious feeling that one might become lost, is lost, or simply never be able to return home is in keeping with the idea of limnal spaces as places where the veil between worlds is thin. All manner of beings can slip through from “somewhere else”, as some hitchhikers may not be what they seem.

There’s the classic urban legend of the Vanishing Hitchhiker, a tale which goes back centuries, long before the invention of film, like when a driver finds that the lonely young woman they picked up on the road, has vanished from their vehicle. They investigate, only to find that their passenger died many years ago. The 1985 movie, starring Ellen Degeneres, featured a vanishing hitchhiker, and the CW TV series, Supernatural, featured a more malicious version, combining it with the Hispanic folktale of La Llarona, as a woman in white, who kills the travelers who try to take her back home.

Of Loneliness, Motherhood, Hauntings, and Cults | Literary Hub

There are other, more horrific beings traveling America’s roads, like the terrifying vampiric family, lead by Lance Henriksen, in the 1987 movie, Near Dark. A young cowboy picks up, a pretty girl at a bar, and finds, to his detriment, that neither she, nor her “family”, are entirely human, and in The Forsaken, from 2001, another family of vampires prey on any travelers they come across, in the Arizona desert.

Sometimes the dangers of the road seem mundane, but really aren’t. Cars break down, people get lost, run out of gas, and if the weather is bad, the traveler must also contend with the paranormal. In the 2007 movie, Windchill, two travelers have to deal with multiple issues, like a raging snowstorm, the possibility of freezing to death, accidents, ghosts, phantom gas stations, and even a phantom cop. Stranger things can happen in the half empty places of the world. In the 2008 movie Splinter, two couples are menaced by an alien parasite, at an out of the way gas station. What starts as a typical hitchhiker film, turns into a more complicated carjacking, which then becomes a fight for survival, against a strange bodysnatching alien.

Bodysnatching aliens aren’t the only things haunting America’s highways. Sometimes there are bodysnatching demons, as in the 2001 Jeepers Creepers, where two teenagers, on their way home for Spring Break, are menaced by an otherworldly, bat winged, serial killer.

Jeepers Creepers - GIFs - Imgur

One of the ultimate limnal spaces one encounters on the road, is the rest stop, especially at night. Rest stops are not anywhere. They are perfect temporal limnal spaces because they are places where people stop, but no one dwells. In Rest Stop (2006), a young woman encounters a number of strange people, and events, that occurred years before she stopped there, along with her boyfriend, for a bathroom break. In the 2008 sequel, the family of the couple from the first film go in search of them, encounter the same phantoms, and must fight for their survival.

In keeping with the road as a doorway to other dimensions, sometimes a person can end up in places they never planned to go, like Hell, as in the appropriately named 1991 movie, Highway to Hell. When a young man’s fiance gets taken to Hell, he sets out on the titular highway to rescue her, echoing the tale of Eurydice and Orpheus, who goes into Hell to save his wife. When not being taken to Hell, people can also encounter beings coming from the other direction, as Lou Diamond Philips does in the 2001 road movie, Route 666.

Demons, ghosts, and other otherworldly creatures can travel the same roads, and use them as portals, so a person should probably watch out for haunted, and phantom vehicles, in stories that are the opposite of the vanishing hitchhiker. The 1974 Killdozer features a haunted construction vehicle that goes on a killing spree, as does the title vehicle in the 1977 movie, The Car, and in the 1986 Maximum Overdrive, all vehicles become sentient after a meteor passes by the Earth, and, once again, from the mind of Stephen King, there is Christine, (1983), in which a young man is possessed by a haunted, self driving car, that was simply
“born bad”.

Driving America’s highways can certainly be a gamble, but not for the reason most people think. Highways and roads are not just gateways to adventure, but sometimes portals to unimaginable horror.

The Backrooms

This post would not be complete without a discussion of The Backrooms. If you research the topic of Limnal Spaces, you will encounter this story. which began on a Creepypasta Reddit about an endless series of office rooms, in which people have gotten lost.

Lost in the Backrooms by Jam

Starring The Landscape: The Horror of Po’ White Trash – Classism in Horror (Pt. 1)

Evil Dead Horror GIF

In 1974, Tobe Hooper released The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, which seemed to release some sort of valve, because city people have been  visiting the rural South so they can die horribly at the hands, chainsaws, and shotguns of its residents for decades.  I cannot entirely blame it all on Hooper, because in 1972, Deliverance was released, a movie about a hunting trip that goes terrifically wrong, after four men meet the  banjo playing locals, and country people have been terrorizing city people ever since.

The country is the place city dwellers go to to be tortured, raped, and consumed by  poor people, and occasionally chased by bears. But it wasn’t always like this. Before the fall of the studio system, along with the Hayes Code, and the popularity of graphic horror in the sixties, the country was seen as a place to get away from the hustle and bustle of city life, where the mood was one of bucolic serenity, and oneness with nature,  “the locals” were  often depicted as ignorant, but well meaning comedy relief, as in Maybery RFD, or The Beverly Hillbillies. Occasionally, some city person would be trapped in the country, (Green Acres), and would be itching to get away from it,  not because the residents were unfriendly, but because living in the country was boring.

Quiz: How Well Do You Remember

The children of the suburbs grew up, and young Americans of the 70’s, looked  over the American landscape, and viewed all of it as inherently dangerous. But it was the growing Environmentalist movement that made them view rural America, and its inhabitants, with deep suspicion. Not only were there a bunch of movies about environmental vengeance released during this period, mostly in the form of man-eating wildlife, but the locals were also out to punish city people for their hubris.

White trash is a “racist and classist slur[1] used in American English to refer to poor white people, especially in the rural southern United States. The label signifies a social class inside the white population and especially a degraded standard of living.[2] It is used as a way to separate the “noble and hardworking” “good poor” from the lazy, “undisciplined, ungrateful and disgusting” “bad poor”. 

Poor whites, Georgetown, D.C. | Library of Congress

Generally poor whites, (all these movies consist of white people preying on other white people), were depicted in early film,  as friendly, not very bright, but trustworthy, honest, direct, generous, and hard working,  salt of the earth people, who were close to the land. The seventies and eighties also saw a rise of serial killers, like John Wayne Gacy, Ted Bundy, and Richard Ramirez. People simply could not be trusted, like they used to be. Consequently, there was a rise in the  popularity of movies about city people encountering various horrors when visiting the fringes  of the American countryside.

 The majority of Horror movies set in the country feature human beings who view other human beings as prey, from hunting, killing, and eating them, to simply terrorizing them in their country homes, on camping trips, or in their RVs. The woods, and rural America, are often used as a stand in for loneliness, isolation, wildness, or self- sufficiency, rugged individualism, and lawlessness. People can do anything to anyone in the woods, and hide any sin without consequences, because the bodies will never be found.

Deliverance GIFs | Tenor

Yet, there is also another, more insidious, component to movies set in the countryside, and that is Classism. This didn’t begin with the movie Deliverance,  but that movie certainly contributed to a theme found in dozens of such movies released since the 70s. In Deliverance, four men from the city go on a fishing/camping trip, and after having a rude  encounter with some of the locals, get  tortured, raped, and murdered. In 1975’s Race with the Devil, a family on a camping trip, are terrorized by vengeful Satanists, after witnessing one of their rituals,  and in The Hills Have Eyes in 1977, another family on a camping trip, is hunted and eaten by a bunch of cannibalistic, inbred mutants.

These are all  movies which depict the people who live in rural environments as, at best, degraded versions of city dwellers, and at worse,  not quite fully human. They are shown as thin, toothless, and malicious, as well as irrational, violent, and animal-like, with no control over their sexual desires. They are dirt-covered, misshapen, ugly, or inbred mutations of the prettier, cleaner, better dressed, and  more cosmopolitan looking  city people. After the movie, Deliverance, rural inhabitants were also shown as uneducated, with missing teeth, bad English, and  malicious intent. They were insular,  xenophobic, envious, or contemptuous, of their  smarter, middle class, college educated, visitors, often resentful of their wealth, relative to their own, and their mannerisms. Poor rural folks would lie to them for fun, warn them of non-existent horrors, or give false directions to lead them astray.

Watch Saturday Night Live Highlight: White Trash Bed and Breakfast - NBC.com

But sometimes, city visitors deserved their harsh treatment, as their torture by the locals is often in retaliation for some misdeed, disrespect, or contempt. Country folk are proud, and city people are often shown being mocking and arrogant, sometimes killing the locals out of negligence or for fun,  as in the 1988 movie, Pumpkinhead. When a group of college students accidentally take the life of his only child, farmer Ed, along with the local witch, summon  the aid of the titular vengeance demon. All of the tropes of rural life are there. The townsfolk are dirt covered, threadbare, suspicious and superstitious, with the requisite southern accents, while the college students are clean,  pretty, well dressed, and wealthy enough to travel, and own recreational vehicles. Notice their use of standard English, with Midwestern accents, compared to the vocabulary and accents of the locals.

I wrote before about the use of accents in movies, and how they were meant to note the class status of certain characters. The 1994 movie, Kalifornia, starring Brad Pitt, and Juliette Lewis, (Early and Adele), as two middle class actors doing their  impersonation Hollywood’s interpretation of “Poor White Trash”. Early and Adele are strongly contrasted against the other couple in the film, played by Michelle Forbes and David Duchovny, as a couple of clean cut, cosmopolitan, Yuppies on a road trip. When Forbes character first sees the two, she sniffs in disdain at Adele’s manner of dress, and is appalled by their lack of manners, and public displays of affection. Adele is sweet, but dim, as she expresses doubt about the other couple’s friendliness towards people like her, as she seems aware of their class differences. At least part of the reason their trip turns sour is because of Early’s lust, and envy of the other couple.

early grayce | Tumblr

These class differences were excellently parodied/subverted, in the 2011 movie, Tucker & Dale vs. Evil, where a bunch of college students jump to erroneous conclusions about two hapless friends, who are visiting the country to fix up their ramshackle second home(that looks like it once belonged to a serial killer). Things get off to a bad start after Dale approaches one of the girls, and comes off as a tiny bit creepy. Tucker and Dale are both horrified, and panicked, as these attractive, well dressed , college students kill themselves in increasingly gory accidents, in their attempts to stop the two friend’s assumed killing spree. Why? Because the college students have watched too much media where the local country bumpkins happen to be serial murderers, preying on their social betters.

Children Of The Corn Sacrifice GIF by Shudder - Find & Share on GIPHY

Outside of the occasional ghost, or  myth, there are  few paranormal creature features set in rural areas. Movies like Jeepers Creepers, The Ritual, and The Blair Witch, which feature supernatural beings, are not as frequently made.In Hollywood, the supernatural takes the form of a fear of occultism, expressed in the idea that the people who live in the country are the followers of mysterious unknown gods, violent cults, and pagan rituals. The countryside is a place where dark forces must be appeased by the blood of either its inhabitants, or the unfortunate outsider, who strays near.

In Stephen King’s 1984 movie Children of the Corn, a group of children have sacrificed all of the adults in their communities, and any outsiders who wander by, to  the nameless god, (He Who Walks Behind The Rows), who lives in  the local cornfield. The 2006 American version of the 1976 British film, The Wicker Man, stars Nicholas Cage as an outsider who gets sacrificed to the local pagan god by a community of murderous women who worship bees, and in the latest iteration of this theme, Ari Aster’s 2019 Midsommar, a cult of pretty, blond, Europeans, murder four college students, while love-bombing one of the group’s members into joining them. In these movies, city folk are godless heathens who must be sacrificed,  or lusty hedonists, who must be sacrificed for their sins.  People from the city are rational, and are  never shown to be members of cults willing to sacrifice one another in barbaric pagan rituals, as depicted in the 1975 film, Race with the Devil.

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This discussion would not be complete without discussing  the  insidious, yet prominent depiction, of poor white trash, as the consumers of human flesh. Remember, the film industry, especially the horror genre as a whole, is almost entirely controlled by straight white, middle class men, so we’re learning not so much about what scares most Americans, as what scares a small population of privileged, white, city dwelling  men. At the same time, we are learning about how they view white people that they think of as less than. Cannibalism is taboo in most of the world, but only in America has an entire economic class of people been demonized as eaters of “the other white meat”. In film after film, from 1963’s Blood Feast, to 1977’s Hills Have Eyes, and its 2006 remake, 1980’s Motel Hell, and  2003’s Wrong Turn franchise, poor folk have indeed been “eating the rich”. Well, folks who are richer than them, anyway.

Wrong Turn 7 Theory: The Foundation Will Introduce A New Cannibal Family

The association being made here is that country folk are little better than the wild animals, or that they are so poor, that they will eat anything out of sheer desperation. They will just as soon kill and eat people, as any of the wildlife, and are sometimes indistinguishable from it, as they are often depicted as either the mutated results of nuclear radiation, or as the mutated products of inbreeding. They are  shown as sexually untamed, and indiscriminate, willing to mate with whoever, or even whatever, is readily available, including members of their own families, livestock, and yes, visitors from the city.

At the same  time, such films are also a middle finger to  well dressed, exploitative, and arrogant, city dwellers, who think they’re better than the rural inhabitants. Poor whites eating them is a form of punishment, or sometimes contempt, to show that people from the city can look down their nose at the locals all they want, but even they are little better than meat.

When poor (or formerly poor) white folks do get portrayed in the media and pop culture, they’re often reduced to a series of offensive stereotypes: that they’re angry, lazy, dirty, overweight, sunburned, stupid, racist, alcoholic, abusive, jobless, tacky, diseased, violent, backwards, Bible-thumping and uneducated. Those stereotypes get reinforced over and over again on TV and in movies…
Rob Zombie’s Poverty Horror
While we’re here we should probably discuss the  filmography of Rob Zombie, who has made a career out of showing rural white people as various shades of Boonies, Crackers, Hillbillies, Okies, Rednecks, Swamp Yankees, Yokels, and/or White Trash freaks and monsters, (the women often wearing ripped and skimpy clothing), in nearly all of his films. His characters, however, are not unsympathetic. Unlike films by other directors, Zombie empathizes with his characters. They are poor, and downtrodden, but  their victims are worse, and deserve their fates. His directorial style is highly influenced by the grade B  Horror films he loves.
In fact, he has coined his film style Hillbilly Horror, a type of horror that is specifically created to showcase the freakishness of the rural inhabitants, with which he identifies, with their  emphasis on gore, weird costumes, and various social pathologies, like angry fathers, drunken mothers, screaming dysfunctional families, sexual exhibitionism, and lots of murder. These are the kinds characters created  by someone familiar with their  lifestyles, and sympathetic to their feelings about it.
In House of 1000 Corpses, and its sequel, The Devil’s Rejects,  a couple gets kidnapped by a rural family who subjects them to the medical experiments of the local mad doctor.  In Lords of Salem a radio DJ experiences strange visions , and horrors after playing the final album from a Satan worshiping Rock band. But it is in his 2007 remake  of John Carpenter’s  Halloween where many of Zombie’s  tropes coalesce.
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In Zombie’s remake, Michael Myers is given a victim’s  backstory of child abuse, and neglect. His mother is absentmindedly affectionate, his father is a screaming, angry,  disabled asshole, and his sister is openly sexually promiscuous. Michael is shown to be a product of a deeply dysfunctional poor white family, where the mother is often absent, and the father makes sexual overtures to his own daughter, and emotionally abuses his son. We didn’t need to know these things about Michael Myers, but it puts his psychopathic tendencies in a new light, especially against the backdrop of the many years of such movies that depict rural pathology.
Note that Michael doesn’t kill other poor people. He only  kills the comfortable, small town, middle-class members of Haddonfield. Contrast Michael’s upbringing with that of Laurie Strode, his most prominent victim, who comes from a middle class, mainstream lifestyle as the daughter of the local sheriff. The homes Michael invades are warm, comfortable, wel ldecorated places where he afflicts the comfortable.
Horror movies in country settings are a repository of all the types of evil that city people disdain. As if by laying these sins onto the backs of others, they can absolve themselves of their complicity in the creation of such environments. By telling themselves that such people either hate them, or aren’t human anyway, they believe they  are unworthy of compassion. Its yet another way for middle class  Americans  to abdicate their responsibilities in caring for their fellow man.

Women-Directed Films You Can Stream Right Now — Geeks Of Color

Happy Women’s History Month! In honour of the month dedicated to acknowledging and celebrating achievements from women, let’s take a moment to recognize films directed by women. This list consists of films released recently on respective streaming platforms. Each film was either exclusively released on said streaming platforms or found their homes on streaming after…

Women-Directed Films You Can Stream Right Now — Geeks Of Color

Great Forgotten Animations

All of these movies are favorites. I just want to share these, to let people know not to forgot that these exist, and that all are well worth watching. Some of these I may have spoken of in previous posts, but I certainly don’t mind mentioning them again, if you don’t mind reading about them again. Have any of you seen these, and if so, what did you think?

Triplets of Bellville

Triplets of Belleville is one of the more unusual styles of animation. Directed by the French animator Sylvain Chomet, in 2003, it has almost no dialogue, even though there’s lots of singing. The lead character, although unnamed in the movie, is Madame Souza, who has to rescue her grandson, Champion, a bicyclist who has been kidnapped, and taken to the city of Belleville, (a stand in for New York City), by the Mafia. Accompanied by Champion’s faithful old hound, she meets the titular triplets, who can lay down some awesome vocal beats, and who make their living by blowing up fish in the nearby lake. Together the four of them, and Champion’s faithful doggo, set out to take down the local Mafia, and rescue Champion and his companions.

This film is a joy to watch. The animation style is definitely unique and deeply funny, in that grotesque French style, that only they are capable of, with lots of weirdly distorted faces, massive globular bodies, and giant teeth. And then there’s the dog. Champion’s dog is just an old gentleman, who doesn’t do anything particularly heroic, but has lots of vivid dreams about being menaced by trains.

It’s always interesting to see how other cultures approach the art of animation, which can be very distinct in style and mood to American animation. Triplets is available on Prime video for rent.

The Illusionist

This is the second film by the director of Triplets of Belleville, Sylvain Chomet. There is another, very odd, film before that one called The Old lady and the Pigeons, which is simply “bizarre:” on a whole other level, but this movie is very accessible, even though, it too, has no dialogue. In it, a failed magician, having been pushed out of the entertainment industry by Rock music, packs up his act (and his pet rabbit) and movies to Scotland, where he meets a little girl, who believes he has genuine magical powers. The little girl follows him to his next gig, where they become increasingly impoverished, as he takes care of her. Eventually however, she meets a young man who fancies her, after which the magician leaves her, to get on with her life, without him.

I absolutely loved this movie. It is the very definition of bittersweet. There’s less grotesqueness here than in Triplets, but the characters are no less charming. I do have to admit, the first time I watched it, I was expecting something a bit more wild and zany, like Triplets. I was disappointed that it wasn’t, and barely paid attention, but after subsequent viewings, this movie really grew on me. It’s a soft film, without much bombast, which gets right to the point, and is definitely easier to understand than The Old Lady and the Pigeons.The Illusionist is also available on Amazon Prime.

Aeon Flux – Liquid Television

Waaay back in the 90’s, there was a network that used to air music videos. At some point, it kind of stopped doing that, and started playing reality TV shows, and then late at night, it would air things like this, on a show called Liquid Television. This is a pretty weird episode, but its not even the weirdest one I first saw. When I first saw these I had no f*cking idea what to think of these tall, extremely thin, characters, wearing barely any clothes, shooting guns at each other. I just knew this were different from anything else on TV at the time, and that it was funny, in an odd, twisted, silly kind of way.

In the the first one I saw, Aeon was tongue kissing this same guy (it turns out that his name was Trevor Goodchild), on a train, in extreme detail, and then having her neck broken by her own rope, as she tried to jump off. The signature tropes of the Aeon Flux cartoons, was that everyone (and I do mean everyone), just casually walked around in bondage gear, and Aeon died in every episode. I would stay up til 11 or 12 at night to watch these, knowing I had to get my ass up n the morning, to get ready for work.

Later, there was a movie about this character, starring Charlize Theron, but it flopped. (I do not recommend it, because it bears almost no resemblance to the cartoon, beyond the wearing of the pseudo-fetish gear.) The story was bad, the acting was worse, and it was basically directed by someone who had no understanding of what made the cartoon so iconic. It was also not funny.

Aeon Flux can be watched on Amazon Prime, MTV (on the app for free) and the CBS subscription.

Neo-Tokyo

Neo Tokyo is an animated anthology film, released in 1987, just one year before Akira. But I didn’t see it then. I saw it a few years later on MTV’s Liquid Television, along with Aeon Flux. Actually, what I saw was the middle story by Yoshiaka Kawajiri, called The Running Man. (Kawajiri is the director of Vampire Hunter D.) The Running Man was “haunting”, and the memory of it stayed with me for years. It’s the story of a champion race car driver, who has been winning his races by using Carrie-like superpowers, which eventually run out of control, and kill him. This particular segment is iconic, but the other little known segments includes one by Katsuhiro Otomo, (the director of Akira), called Construction Cancellation, about a lone man trying to deliver ta pink slip to an automated construction center, that refuses to cancel itself.

Sections of this anthology are available for viewing on the Dailymotion, and Vimeo apps for free.

Atom Ant – Cartoon Network Groovies

I remember Cartoon Network’s little music jams that played in between ads. There’s no plot here, but this is one of my favorites. I remember watching Atom Ant, when I was a little kid, and I just liked this little electro-remix.Atom Ant was part of the 1965 Hanna Barbera cartoon series, called Atom Ant and Secret Squirrel, so I watched it in syndication, on idle Saturday mornings. This was directed by Jonas Odell, with music by Michael Kohler. There were several other Groovies that played at the time, with one of my top favorites being The Powerpuff Girls theme song. Atom Ant is available to watch …here, and on Youtube.

Metropolis

Metropolis is one of my quiet favorites, as it rarely makes it to people’s lists of favorite anime movies. This is a worthy successor to a movie like Steamboy. Yes, there’s robots, and yes, there is an apocalypse but that’s where the similarity to robot dystopias ends. This movie, about a little girl robot, named Tima, whose destiny is to destroy the city of Metropolis, is full of genuine feeling, as tries to find a way to avert an evil future through her love for a human boy named Kenichi. The animation is clear, and well done, with beautiful scenery, and great characterization, and the ending might well have you in happy tears. Metropolis is available for streaming now on Crackle, and Apple TV

Family Dog

While I fondly remember the brief television series called Family Dog, my greatest nostalgia is for the original episode that was featured in the second season of Steven Spielberg’s 1987 television series Amazing Stories. In the pilot episode, the nameless, little, Bull Terrier, (who was subsequently named Jonah), had to put up with two obnoxious kids, shameless house burglars, guard dog training, and becoming famous, all in the space of thirty minutes. The series itself eventually failed, because although the dog was the hero of the episode, and sweetly charming, his family was thoroughly unlikable. The very first episode is available for streaming on Dailymotion, and Vimeo.

Rock and Rule

This is yet another cartoon I watched, somewhere around fourteen, late one night, when I was supposed to be asleep. This is not exactly for kids, what with it being full of Rock music by people like Iggy Pop, but I’m sure pretty plenty of kids have seen this movie. I do have the distinct memory of being mildly confused by the idea that there were no humans in this universe, only elevated animals, that acted like human beings, who had lived through the seventies, apparently. I remember trying to figure out exactly what types of animals some of them were, how did they know English, or how to play guitars. Most movie cartoons have musical numbers, but this was hte first one I’d encountered that had more modern music.

At the time, I didn’t know much of anything about Rock music either, as this was something not listened to in our house, (you had two choices of music in our house, Country music, and R&B), but I liked the music just fine, because of Debbie Harry. My mom considered Debbie Harry to be Disco, which was acceptable in the house, so I knew a few of her songs, (Rapture, Heart of Glass) and recognized her voice.There was also some Earth Wind and Fire, which I recognized, but I knew jackshit about Lou Reed, and Iggy, even though Mok’s theme was one of the coolest songs in the movie, and Angel’s Song is still on rotation on my phone’s Playlist!

The plot is fairly simple, but the movie is puffed out with a lot of comedic scenery, that I thought was annoying, when I was a teenager. Mok wants to open a portal to allow some type of demon entry to Earth, or gain superpowers or something ,and he is looking for just the right voice to do it, because apparently his own is insufficient. he chooses Angle, who is stuck in a nowhere Rock Band with her on again off again boyfriend Omar. When Omar discovers that Mok is just blowing smoke up her ass, so he can use her in an arcane ritual, he has to try to rescue her and defeat Mok.

You can enjoy this weird little movie on YouTube for free, or pay twenty dollars to watch it on Amazon Prime.

Or you can use the streaming app of your choice. I’m not gonna tell you what to do…you are the boss of you.