2020 has been tough, but I have put out some of my best work so far despite all the wild shit I’ve been through and it’d be cool if folks recognized that, you know?Award Eligibility 2020 — Stitch’s Media Mix
I’m going to look back on this year, and wonder what the hell was I doing? Well, my version of back to back, which consists of being a week apart, while interspersed with episodes of Supernatural, and Star Trek Discovery. To get it out of the way, I greatly enjoyed all of these, although for Gyo: Fish Attack, enjoyed is maybe too strong a word. (It was very horrifying though, and I guess that was some of the point.)
Gyo: Tokyo Fish Attack
This movie is every bit as horrific as it sounds, and not just because of the fish attack. Its an incredible body horror film from the Japanese manga writer Junji Ito, the writer of Uzumaki (Spiral). Don’t be fooled by the trailer. This isn’t any of the usual titty bouncing inanity that one sometimes sees in anime. It’s based on a manga by Junji Ito, so there’s going to be some serious sub themes bubbling just near the surface, even if the idea of mechanical fish attacking people seems silly, at first.
A young woman, Kaori, and her two girlfriends, Aki, and Erika, encounter a horrible smell on their way to a country cabin, for the weekend. The young lady’s fiance, whom they were supposed to meet, doesn’t show, but they do get attacked by a giant shark, on mechanical legs, that infects one of the girls, before its destroyed. What’s of importance in all this however, isn’t the actual fish attack, although that is pretty gruesome, but the relationships between the girls themselves. As they are being attacked, Aki, who is plump and kind of shy and plain looking, is trapped by the shark, and pleads for her “friend” Erika, to save her, but the other girl decides to coldly kick her in the face, saving herself. Later, the situation is reversed, after Erika discovers she is not just infected with the stink of dead fish, but her body is bloating, and she dying/not dying from the infection. She pleads with Aki for help, but Aki refuses, and the ugly truth of their relationship comes out.
See, after the shark attack, Kaori, deeply worried, left to find her fiance in the city, leaving her two friends alone. Erika then invites a couple of male friends over, to whom she dispenses her charms, while Aki, more than a little jealous, sits downstairs, listening to their indiscreet threesome. Later, when Erika’s infection begins to manifest, she pleads for help, but is rebuked, and even kicked, by Aki, who resents her for being more popular, pretty, or sexually active. Neither of them can save the other, after they have a knock-down, drag out fight, which ends with one near dead, and the other possibly infected.
Eventually, Aki makes her way to the city, where she encounters the now partially dead, bloated, mechanical body of the other girl, Erika has become like the dead mech-fish, and some dark impulse makes her chase Aki, But Aki, after turning to gloat to her pursuer about her getaway, meets a gruesome fate of her own, while again pleading for the other girl to save her, and one is given the distinct impression that none of this would have happened, had the two of them been less petty, stupid, and selfish people.
Kaori searches for her fiance, as the city of Tokyo is invaded by the dead fish, and she discovers the horrible truth, that her fiance, and his uncle, are the ones who caused the plague of fish, which gets worse, as not only is her fiance infected, but is eventually killed for not acting like a proper member of the fish hive mind. The fish attack results in hundreds of people being infected, their bodies bloating, as they spew more of the gaseous stink, which becomes so pungent, it starts to take on a life of its own, forming corporeal tentacles, which start gathering up human bodies, whether dead or alive, and amassing them into giant mechanical monsters.
This was a somewhat harrowing film to watch, and no, it doesn’t end happily for humanity, as the fish are all over the world, and the message seems to be that not only did humanity’s inability to give up on war, cruelty and malice, cause this problem, but that it deserves it. The other message is that humanity cannot save itself, because it can’t unite long enough to fight against its own destruction, too concerned with petty squabbles and resentments. This is shown in one moment where we see three teenagers safely watching the fish attack the rest of the city, from a balcony, but instead of being frightened, or running away, they decide to film the massive destruction, and loss of life, with their phones. They don’t care, as it is all just meaningless spectacle for them.
Kaori ends up the sole survivor of Tokyo, which makes sense, as she was the only person who behaved selflessly throughout the entire ordeal. She saved her injured friends, at the cabin, and she repeatedly worked to save the lives of not just her fiance, but countless others around her, only to fail because the people she was trying to save, suffered from personal weaknesses that got them infected or killed. For her fiance and his uncle, their sin was their hubris in thinking they could improve on nature, without taking into account the exploitative nature of mankind.
We never learn anything about what the dead fish want, so its like zombies, really. The plague is used as a vehicle through which to illustrate that mankind is unworthy. The body horror elements are suitably gruesome, and there’s a certain amount of pathos at the end, but enjoyable isn’t actually the word I would use. I had to make a certain amount of effort to watch this, because it was hard to find for free, but it was worth it.
Kakurenbo is only about twenty five minute long, but its a very gorgeous twenty five minutes. I didn’t entirely understand all of it, even though I had some of it explained to me, when it was recommended to me as a Horror short by Youtube, and it is a very effective thriller, with some great Action scenes.
Here, seven children, (the rules state there must be seven), play a city wide game of hide and seek, late at night, in a darkened Tokyo, not understanding that the game isn’t just being played with each other, but with the massive, mech-organic, demons that are seeking them. This is very much worth watching, and the entire thing is readily available on Youtube.
Triplets of Bellville (2003)
I saw this animation sometime around the year it came out, because everyone was talking about it, at the time, so its not new for me, but you know, I forgot that I’d seen it! I didn’t forget that I’d SEEN it, just that I’d watched this, until it was recommended to me, a few days ago, then I went, “Oh yeah!”, I remember that! I loved that movie!
You ever come across a movie you simply hadn’t thought of in years, even though you fell in love with it, when you saw it that first time? Mostly though, I was reminded again by the title song, which showed up in my recommendations, in which these three little old ladies bop their way through the song, while jamming in an alley with one of the lead characters.
The movie is about a young bicyclist, who gets kidnapped, his doting mother who goes in search of him, with her old, plump, loyal hound. Along the way, she meets the triplets of the title, and they all devise a grand scheme to get her son back from his kidnappers. None of the characters are named, and there is almost no dialogue, but there are a number of great set pieces, lots of doggy dreams and interactions, (no really, we spend a lot of time with the dog, as he barks at trains, dreams about traveling, etc. and its really cute!), and the characters are all very charming, and beautifully, if grotesquely drawn, because French artists have always had this aesthetic where they find ugly things, pretty.
The Box Assassin (2020)
I loved this little movie from the moment I saw the title, but nothing in the title prepared for how great this is. This is one of the funniest shorts on YouTube. I was not expecting what I got, that’s for sure. The title charmed me from the jump, as I thought ,”What the hell is a Box Assassin”? Somebody who kills boxes? I was picturing someone who breaks down boxes in a grocery store! An assassin who lives in a moving crate?
Even though its less than 3 minutes long, I kept trying to predict what was going to happen in it, based on my long history of knowing what happens in Action movies, and I was wrong every time. What’s more, it All turned out to be pretty wholesome.
I would pay money to see a feature length version of this.
Here are a few more animations that captured my attention this month. Some of them scary, some deeply funny, but all of them are really good.
Introducing this cheeky little doggo, who goes as far as he can just to get some crisps…fgs just give the little feller some chips!
This is exactly my sort of humor, because this whole thing just had me crying…no really, I was in tears!
And finally, this is Fat Animal Farm…
(I am currently on holiday, but I’ll be back Monday!)
I always say I’m not a huge comedy fan, not because I don’t like comedies, but because most comedies don’t appeal to my particular form of childlike silliness. I do not like mean-spirited (adult) comedies, although I will watch snarky comedies. Some comedies are not funny and just bring out my anxieties. I don’t like comedies where people are horribly embarrassed, or ones that require the characters to be ass-stupid, for the comedy to work.
I don’t usually talk about comedy here, but here are ten comedies, by Black directors, or with entirely Black casts, or that tackle Back themes, that I never seem to get tired of watching.This isn’t nearly a complete list of my favorites. There are always more and maybe I’ll talk about them soon.
House Party (1990)
I was in college when this movie came out, and I prettty much had to enjoy it alone, until I got my Mom to watch it with me one Summer. It stars a big singing duo, back then, named Kid and Play ,and I remember being in awe of Kid’s hairdo at the time. We called it “a hife”, in my neighborhood. I do remember having a ball watching this movie, especially Kid’s father, played by the late great Robin Harris, (who we will talk about again in a minute), who was prone to saying utterly ridiculous things, and the dance sequences. Everything about this movie was very pre-nineties! Also, we’re in a phase of filmmaking, right now, where we are telling stories of pain and struggle, and where movies about carefree teenagers, who are just trying to go to a party, is kind of rare.
The plot is fairly simple, in that its little more than extended chase scenes of Kid trying to get to his best friend’s “party of the year”, after being forbidden to go by his dad. He sneaks out of the house, and has a number of adventures trying to make it there, at least a couple of which involve fighting the bullies who got him grounded, by his dad, in the first place. This is just pure silliness. The kind of adventures Kid gets into don’t even approach logic, in the sense that everything that can go wrong, does, and that’s why I like this so much. These kinds of Black coming of age stories don’t get made often. Sometimes you just want some light, carefree Black characters being silly and there were a few of these in the 90s.
Bebe’s Kids (1992)
I have found people who love to hate on this cartoon, but I will forgive them, because they just don’t understand. This particular cartoon was groundbreaking for its time, as it was one of the first, feature length cartoons, with all Black characters, including the great Robin Harris, who died shortly after filming, so he was voiced by Faizon Love. I had taken some animation courses a couple of years before this was released, and one of the things that impressed audiences, at the time, is the creators used different shades of brown for the various skin tones. This was important because, before Bebe’s Kids, Black characters, no matter how many of them there were in a story, all shared one skin tone. That means they had to create brand new skin tones just for the animation! It also had a famous voice cast in Faizon Love, Vanessa Bell Calloway, and one of the hottest rappers at the time, Tone Loc.
I loved this movie because I thought it was genuinely funny, and the soundtrack was the shizznickle. Robin Harris starred as a character named Robin (natch) who is forced to babysit his neighbors kids, while wooing a young mother he just met, named Jamika. Robin somehow gets roped into taking the entire group, plus Jamika and her son, to a Disney ripoff called Funworld, where Bebe’s kids turn out to b be total brats, who break parts of the theme park, bully Jamika’s son, and get kidnapped by robots. There’s some dancing, and some music, which sounds good, and everything turns out okay by the end, although probably not for Bebe’s kids, who are somewhat neglected by their absent mother. Jamika said something that has always stuck with me, for many years. When Robin thinks to criticize why their mother even bothered to have kids, Jamika reminds him that Bebe didn’t make the children alone, and that their father deserves at least some of the blame.
Most of the humor comes from the side comments all the characters make, Robin’s quick wit, and the incongruity of Tone Loc’s grumbling bass, voicing a tiny, poopy diapered, baby named Peewee!
Black Dynamite (2009)
I grew up watching the Blaxpoitation films of the seventies, (well, a few of them, as some of them were a bit raunchy for a child), and these movies perfectly capture the utter silliness of such movies. I now recognize their importance to Black cinema, but at the time, these movies (just like the Kung Fu movies of the time) just seemed laughably bad. In hindsight, they were just the kinds of movies Black people needed to see at the time, coming off the Black Power Movement. Stories about empowerment, and overcoming systemic racism in the form of “white devils”, and just general ass- kicking. Movies like that also paved the way for the buddy action movies of the 80s ,and 90s, which made the careers of Black actors like Eddie Murphy, and Danny Glover, as Action heroes.
I absolutely love this movie!!! It stars two of my favorite actors, Michael Jai White, and Tommy Davidson. You may remember the roostery Tommy from the show, In Living Color, and Jai White starred in a number of action films himself, and actually has some mad martial skills. It contains all the proper elements of a Blaxploitation movie, like crime, drugs, guns, revenge, secret agents, shady military organizations, and of course, Kung Fu. Its a love letter to those ridiculous films of the 70’s, and probably time for me to watch this again as its been a couple of years.
Rush Hour (1998)
The 90s was when we started to get Action movie duos that did not contain white male characters. Trust me, when I say that this was as groundbreaking as the inter-racial buddy cop movies of the 80s, which was not the first time that Black and white men teamed up in a movie, but the 80s was the heyday for types of films, and the 90s took it up notch by throwing non-white men together as buddies, to see what would catch on, and this movie, along with another favorite of mine, Bad Boys, was what caught. These were blockbuster “Black” movies, with huge budgets, that managed to reach a mainstream audience, and usually starred comedians. Hollywood realized that Jackie Chan was a much beloved actor in the Black community, and teamed him up with one of the hottest comedians of the nineties, Chris Tucker, and Rush Hour was the result.
A huge part of the appeal of this franchise was the chemistry between Jackie and Chris. The plot is the usual formula, where the two start off trying to thwart each other’s goals, but end up working well together towards a common one. Chan stars as a police officer hunting an international criminal, who has kidnapped his boss’s daughter, and Tucker is the American cop assigned to distract him from that job, and let the Americans handle it. This is a genuinely funny movie because Tucker has a knack for saying absolutely ridiculous things.
Here’s one of my favorite scenes in the entire movie. Yes, that is Don Cheadle, kicking ass with Chan, and doing a tremendously funny Black guy’s interpretation of a Kung Fu master (no disrespect intended, y’all, although I’m pretty sure Chinese men no longer where queues.) What is even funnier to me, is the quiet acceptance of this foolery, by his Chinese patrons, as long as he speaks proper Chinese.
Beverly Hills Cop (1984)
48 Hours gave birth to the buddy /cop film, during the 80’s, which finally just gave way to the Black cop film, starring Eddie Murphy. 48 Hours might have put Eddie on Hollywood’s radar, but Beverly Hills Cop is what made his career, and helped set the stage for the comedian/ buddy/ cop movies of the nineties, a genre of film still going strong today. I like to watch this every few years, and have never gotten tired of it. It goes without saying, that this was made in the 80s, so its not very PC.
Eddie plays Axel, a typical rebel cop, from Detroit, who does nothing in the legal or appointed manner. He travels to Beverly Hills, while hunting down the agents of the drug cartel that killed his best friend. BHC also helped to establish quite a number of tropes of the genre, like the rebel cop who defies orders, has a great wisecrack ready to hand, is especially good at selling a particular brand of bullshit to get their way, and is always getting screamed at by his commanders, and also the soundtrack was kickin’!
This movie won a ton of awards, including the Golden Globe, the Oscar, and the People’s Choice. Once again, Eddie ad to do the work of teaching Hollywood that Black actors could be very successful film leads. It appears Hollywood needs to re-learn this lesson every decade. Every single one!
Amazon Women on The Moon (1987)
This was directed by John Landis, and written by one of the funniest Black writers of the 80’s Robert Townsend. It consists of a bunch of comedy sketches, some connected, some not, to a wider storyline, that poke fun at various movie tropes. There’s no overarching plot, but this sketch here, featuring Don “No Soul” Simmons, is the one that helped make David Alan Grier’s comedy career, and has stuck with me for so long, that I still tease my sister about this today! (Yes, she’s seen this.) But what’s really funny to me, is that I know the words to at least half the songs in his repertoire, and the narrator’s, B.B. King.
The sketches involve nude models, a dating number that checks your blind date’s intimate history, a mystery involving the Loch Ness monster as Jack the Ripper, and the primary sketch, which is a parody of the Women are From Mars theme, from several different fifties movies, called Amazon Women on the Moon, where a bunch of astronauts get kidnapped by moon women, in mini-skirts.
The Nutty Professor (1996)
This isn’t the first time Eddie Murphy played multiple characters in a movie. This is just the culmination of all the work he’s done in that area. He started with the “regular white guy” on SNL, and seemed to get a taste for it, resulting in all of the ridiculously funny characters in this movie.
I really enjoyed this movie, almost as much as I loved the original 1963 Nutty Professor, starring Jerry Lewis. The plot of this newest version loosely follows the original version, in that a rather gentle, timid, and put upon scientist, longs for the girl of his dreams, Miss Purty, and thinks he can win her love by becoming a more confident person, so he creates a potion that brings out his inner asshole, Buddy Love.
Eddie’s version of Buddy is a kinder version of the original, who was toxic masculinity personified. This Buddy is just loudly embarrassing and obnoxious in public spaces. The movie also has a cameo from a baby Dave Chappelle,who meets his match in Buddy, and Jada Pinkett, (Janet Jackson in the sequel), stars as the darling Miss Purty.
You have to watch the movie just for the dinner table scenes, which are the funniest discussions, that any human being has ever had… with themselves.
Hollywood Shuffle (1987)
Robert Townsend helped write Amazon Women on the Moon, but he was also a director in his own right, and had much to say about the stereotypes of Black actors in Hollywood, and the roles they often were assigned to play. This entire movie is a low key parody of what its like to be a Black actor/director in Hollywood. I say low-key because this wasn’t too far off from what it was actually like, and this is still relevant for many other actors of color.
Robert Townsend was also the director of another of my favorite movies from the 80s, that gets an Honorable Mention on this list, Meteor Man, along with The Five Heartbeats, A Soldier’s Story, Undercover Brotha, , and I’m Gonna Get You Sucka, both love letters to the Blaxploitation era of film.
Spiderman: Into the Spiderverse (2018)
This movie is a total riot. I was expecting a little more of a dramatic origin story, and it did have some drama, but it also happened to be deeply, deeply funny, with resonant messages in it about taking a leap of faith, and believing in oneself. Below is one of my favorite scenes. I’ve watched this at least a good half dozen times and I have never stopped laughing at this one and a couple of later scenes. The characters, especially Peter Parker’s, and Miles’ relationship, are so well written, that I just like spending time with them.
This is a superhero movie for people who dislike superhero movies. I know I say that a lot, but that really is how they make a lot of these movies. You don’t need to have an entire history, and backstory, of each character to get the humor, or understand the plot, (although the humor is enhanced if you know your Spiderman details, because there are a lot of little Easter eggs, that only a dedicated Spider-fan will probably see.)
Miles Morales, a young Black man who is at odds with his father’s wishes for his future, witnesses the death of the original Peter Parker, after which he gets bitten by a mutated spider, and discovers he is now the new Spiderman. He is daunted by having to live up to the old Spiderman’s reputation, but gets a helping hand from several other Spider -related people, from alternate dimensions. Also, no matter how much I love Miles, my all-time favorite Spiderman will always be Spiderman Noir, as voiced by Nicholas Cage.
And for me, this was the funniest scene in the entire movie:
Bring It On (2000)
I’m not normally a sports or cheerleading movie fan, but this one had Gabrielle Union in it. The first time I watched this was with my two little sisters, who insisted I watch it with them. I didn’t want to at first, but it turned out to be a helluva lot of fun and well worth it. I’ve been a Gaby Union fan ever since. Yes, the movie is about cultural appropriation. We didn’t really have that word at the time, because social media didn’t exist the way it does now, but we knew it when we saw it. Marginalized people still do. Only white people are confused about what it is, insisting on calling it “sharing”.
So yeah, me and my sisters knew that was what the movie was about, but the beauty of the movie is, while the white characters were definitely in the wrong, we walked away from the movie without any great deal of anger at them. Don’t get me wrong ,we weren’t sympathetic, but we didn’t hate them either. That’s a thin line to walk
And the movie is genuinely funny too. Dunst is bouncy, cheery, and oblivious, in that way that Cockerspaniels are, which struck me as incredibly funny, because I’d only ever seen her in dramatic roles. My favorite character though, isn’t even Isis (Union), but the little, unnamed sister on her cheerleading squad who was ready, at all times,, to give anyone and everyone a beatdown, with her lil’ tiny ass. Y’all gotta watch out for them short sistas!
Meteor Man (1993)
Don’t Be A Menace to South Central…While Drinking Your Juice In The Hood (1996)
Just wanted to give a shout out during Native American Heritage Month. Non-Natives tend to talk like Native Americans are extinct. Well, they are still here, writing books, making music, and just generally being like glitter, (getting into everything, and making it shine), moving into different areas of Pop Culture, that we don’t normally think of as related to Indigenous cultures.
Blood Quantum (2019) – One of the first zombie movies set on a reservation. Indigenous people find out they are immune to a plague that causes human beings to turn into zombies, and have to protect their lands from people outside the culture who want to shelter with them.
Real Injun (2009) – A documentary about the depiction of Native Americans, examining their stereotypes in Pop Culture.
Skins (2002) – A mystery set on the Beaver Creek Indian Reservation, where a cop finds the body of a dead woman, and must solve her murder, while dealing with his many family issues.
Smoke Signals (1998) – A film about two cousins who bicker their way across the America landscape, while on a road trip to retrieve one of their father’s ashes.
Trickster – Fantasy/Drama about a young man who begins experiencing strange events and eventually discovers he is the son of a trickster.
Red Road – Mystery/Drama starring Jason Momoa about a cop trying to keep his family together, while coping with a wife who suffers from mental illness. (IFC)
Moon of the Crusted Snow – Waubeshig Rice – Apocalyptic fiction
Trail of Lightning – Rebecca Roanhorse – Dark Fantasy
Take Us To Your Chief SciFi Anthology – Science Fiction
Love After the End SciFi and Fantasy Anthology
Son of A Trickster – Eden Robinson – On which the above named television show is based.
Mongrels – Stephen Graham Jones – Dark Fantasy/Horror
A Tribe Called Red – Red Skin Girl
Supaman – Prayer Loop Song
Stand Up – Stand N Rock
More and more Native American content is being found on Youtube. Check out these Youtubers.
Pam Palmater – Her primary focus is on legal and social issues of importance to Native American, and Canadian Indigenous cultures, in their fight to protect their homelands and water and fishing rights against colonialist encroachment.
Waaavynativebaby – She talks about the Navajo lifestyle, her friends and family, makeup and self-care.
Patrickisanavajo – This is mostly comedic, examining Native American reactions to Pop Culture. I’ve watched a number of his videos, which are deeply funny, while also teaching things about Native culture you probably didn’t know. But this is definitely the channel that made me believe that native Americans are very possibly some ofthe most sarcastic, funniest people on social media. Almost as funny as Black Twitter.
Kel’s A Funny Girl – This is true. Kel is very funny! This is mostly a lifestyle vlog. Kel is Dakota Sioux.
Hi everybody! Its Monday, and I’m feeling alright. We had a huge storm yesterday, that knocked over some trees in my neighborhood ,and knocked out some of the electricity too, but me and Mom are cool. I actually got to bed on time, and had a good sleep.
Tonight, I’m going to relax and play with some yarn, and a set of knitting needles I just bought, while I watch some comedies. So since I’m feeling good, and I suspect you would like to do so as well,
Have a tiny, angry, frog who think’s he’s a lot tougher than he sounds…
He looks like a sand covered tennis ball with eyes!
That angry…sound, simply isn’t having its intended effect.
Also, have a tiny sleeping hummingbird, who snores!
I’m A Bee! Thas Right Y’all, a funky bee! Probably this is how those African Honeybees dance.
Okay, then! I dare you not to laugh at these roly poly animals.
(This was first published on Medium.com. The highlighted areas were from readers.)
For nearly three centuries, straight, white, men took it upon themselves to define the existences of everyone who was not them; women, Blacks, Asians, Gays and Lesbians, and that’s if their existences were acknowledged at all. The early days of American comedy, as was much of society, and all of pop culture, was ruled by the tastes of straight, white, cis-gender men, who made everyone that was not them, the butt of the joke, publicly hash out their racial and gender anxieties, and reinforce their superiority over those they mocked.
But comedy, like all pop culture is not static. Things that used to be funny in comedy, cease to be funny, as new generations, new audiences, grow up, change society, become more knowledgeable, more sophisticated, and more inclusive and empathetic. The Millennial and Z generations will be some of the most diverse and inclusive generations in US history, (as will the generations to come after them), thanks to having grown up with a world of knowledge, and personal experiences, at their fingertips.
Marginalized identities, are capable now, more than ever before, of communicating to the mainstream dominant culture what their lives are like, be able tell people that they are being hurt, why it hurts, and most importantly, be able to tell people to stop. And this is something transgender men and women have been trying to impress upon people for the past thirty years.
The first minstrel shows depicted black people as lazy, ignorant, cowardly or hypersexual.
Negative representations of non-white people date back to the mid-19th century. White actors performing in minstrel shows would darken their skin with polish and cork to look stereotypically “black.”
The shows were intended to be funny to white audiences, but they were hurtful and demeaning to African-Americans because they reinforced white people’s notions of superiority.
Today, someone wearing blackface, (or any color face), is properly condemned as racist, insensitive and, at the very least, mean spirited, and as an activity which no right-thinking person engages in, and if they do, should be correctly be held to account. Blackface gained its popularity in vaudeville, which is no longer a form of comedy that’s popular now, because times change. Sensibilities change. If a comedian got on a stage wearing blackface today, he /she would be rightfully boo’ed off that stage.
White men have had over a hundred years to mock, and/or invent, stereotypes of Black and Brown men and women. For one of them to get on a stage today, and do the same thing now, would correctly be seen as racist.
There is a saying, (originally attributed to the owner of a newspaper), that the point of comedy is:To afflict the comfortable, and comfort the afflicted. Throughout history, court jesters and comedians were the only ones who could make fun of the king. The bawdy playhouses of England and France often mocked the nobility. Yes, the poor and underclass were mocked too, but since the narrators came from the same classes, the point of it was not the same as when they made fun of the king and his court.
In America, comedy was used to express White male anxieties about different out groups, show the members of those groups their proper place, and reinforce White male structures of privilege, in society. That is the purpose being served by transphobia in comedy, as transgender people have progressed, more than ever before, into mainstream consciousness, and their voices have become more prevalent, the internet has allowed them to speak back to a society that, when it has acknowledged their existence at all, has demeaned, devalued, and outright murdered them. Cis-gender men, of all races, have begun expressing their anxieties about gender roles and sexuality, and expressing contempt for those they believe transgress societal rules.
Homophobia and transphobia have always been part of mainstream culture, sometimes codified into law, sometimes just reinforced by “phobic” individuals, but it is rare, in most modern societies, for LGBT people to ever consider themselves completely safe. There have always been assaults and murders of people in those communities, from Venus Xtravaganza in 1988, Brandon Teena in 1993, to Matthew Sheppard in 1998.
Ashanti Carmon, Paris Cameron, and Claire Legato, are Black transgender women who were murdered in 2019, along with 23 other transgender women of color. These women were killed by family members, partners, and strangers. One thing that the murderers all have in common, is that they are not transgender themselves, so it is of primary interest to the gay and transgender community, (most especially communities of color), when straight, cis- gender men get up on a stage, and make a mockery of their deaths, by joking about “men in dresses”. It shows a cluelessness, and a lack of sensitivity, that is not surprising, given the amount of privilege some of these men have in mainstream society. They have never had to think about the vectors of oppression the people they are mocking have had to navigate.
These are straight, cis-gender men cracking jokes about transgender women, and calling it edgy. It is not edgy, nor is it funny. It is most definitely not funny coming from the very sort of people who look and sound like the kind of people who regularly kill transgender men and women. Transmisogyny in comedy is not new. Its lazy, tired, and meanspirited, and far too often, people defend this level of verbal oppression by claiming that it’s just a joke.
I would ask such people to imagine what they would do if someone called them a racial or ethnic slur to their face, in one of the worse moments of their life, and when they became rightfully offended by it, were told it was just a joke, and they’re being thin skinned.
And yes, I want to specifically address the more recent comedy of Dave Chappelle. He himself said that he didn’t know much about the issues surrounding being transgender, and that he didn’t understand it. That said, he should have simply kept his mouth shut, until he rectified that ignorance, as it is particularly insensitive that a cis-gender Black man is standing on such a massive platform, making jokes about transgender women, when so many cis-gender Black men have not only expressed murderous intent regarding such women, simply because they exist, but actually killed transgender women of color. Around the same time as Dave Chappelle’s comedy special appeared on Netflix, in late August, Pebbles LaDime Doe, age 24, Bee Love, age 23, and Bailey Reeves, age 17, had all been murdered.
What Chappelle did isn’t new, and it isn’t edgy, because Black men have a long history of openly, publicly, demeaning and vilifying (both cis and transgender) women of color, informed by decades of open mockery, and stereotyping, in movies and television. Dave Chappelle, and others like him, have expressed exactly the ideas (the jokes) that mainstream cinema has been teaching them about transgender women, that, due to the cis-gender fixation on their genitalia, that they are not “real” women, and that they are of villains of this narrative, and are trying to deceive straight men into having sex with them.
…In the end, movies that depict trans women as deceitful, disgusting villains divulge more about the cisgender male psyche than they do about transgender women (after all, the filmmakers and writers who imagined these characters are overwhelmingly cisgender men). The trans-woman-as-villain plot device represents men’s fear of being duped into sacrificing their heterosexual male privilege by deigning to sleep with a person they consider to be a man.
This is what is known in comedy as punching down. For me, its not about certain people being off limits, being offended, cancel culture, or being too sensitive.This goes beyond those things. Comedy about transgender men and women is about making fun of people who have the LEAST amount of power in this society, (and there is no group of people with less power than transgender women of color). Nobody is saying that transgender people cannot be made fun of, (as there are plenty of transgender comedians who do so). What people are saying is that it is tasteless, mean , and unfunny, when being made by cisgender men. When those jokes are coming, almost exclusively, from the group of people who are responsible for their oppression, then it is an exceptionally bad look. Cisgender men shouldn’t do this, for the same reason that white people can’t say the N*word.
The criticism of these comedians isn’t coming from a bunch of overly sensitive, snowflake, White, suburban teenagers, which is who these comedians want you to picture, when they complain about audiences being too sensitive. The criticism is coming directly from the people these comedians just mocked. These are adults, not kids with the free time to harass celebrities on Twitter, and transgender people are allowed to feel some type of way about being made fun of, yet again, by the very types of men who have been responsible for most of their pain and bullying in life, without their feelings being dismissed as them being thin-skinned.
Yes, there are transgender comedians, and because they are members of that group, they are free to make jokes about their community, just as any member of a community can make jokes about it. But if it was wrong for White people (the ones who invented the racism and stereotypes that were responsible for so much Black death) to make jokes that demean the Black community, then it is equally wrong for straight, cis-gender men to stand on a stage, and make jokes about the kinds of people who get murdered by people who look like them.
This isn’t about being offended, thin-skinned, or a snowflake. This is about actively harming a group of people who have told you, over and over, that your words are harming them, as those words are reinforcing, and contributing to, an environment of hatred of them.
Wearing blackface is wrong when worn by the people who invented racism. Making fun of LGBTQ people is wrong when done by those who are not part of that community. Rape jokes are wrong when done by men, as men are the primary perpetrators, (and less likely to experience rape themselves.)
The jokes are wrong when they are being told by the kinds of people who perpetuate the harm.
This is the equivalent of a bully, beating someone up on the playground, and then laughing at their victim, who is crying on the ground.
It’s kicking people when they are already powerless, being harmed, and have repeatedly told their oppressors, again and again, that what is being said is harmful to them, and must stop.
I can forgive ignorance. People commit all kinds of harm when they don’t know something. I’ve committed ignorant acts of harm when I didn’t know any better. If I step on someone’s foot, one time, that can be forgiven as being an accident. But if I deliberately do it again, and again, after having been told that it hurts them, and try to defend why I kept doing it, (because I thought it was funny!), that’s considered willful and malicious harm, and they would have a right to be angry about that.
Because that’s bullying.
Once A person has been told that they are causing harm, yet still happily , sometimes even spitefully, continue to do so, and then have the nerve to get angry, because people are upset at what they’re doing, that is not ignorance.
That is malice.
They should not receive applause for being edgy, or pushing the boundaries of free speech, because privileged cis-gender men and women have always had the freedom to speak down to those they thought were lower than them.
They are a lot of things. They are lazy, ignorant, stupid, and malicious, all words they can claim, but they cannot claim to be funny.
They’re just bullies on a much larger playground.
Trans comedian and writer Shon Faye also criticised Gervais, explaining to indy100 how devastating dead-naming can be to a trans person:
People often feel justified to dead name Caitlyn Jenner — three years into her public transition — because she was famous before she came out. But I find this highly suspect reasoning when everyone knows her name, Caitlyn, and who is being referred to.
Dead-naming is such a horrifying thing to do to any trans person because it says that their true identity and their authentic self and the steps they have taken to be recognised by society more authentically can be snatched away at any time. It’s also just courtesy. If you change your name that is your name and people should respect it.
The reason people don’t is because they wish to express dominance over trans people and remind us they can invalidate and belittle us at any time. Which is why trans people don’t find dead-naming Jenner or anyone else funny.
I would add that taking a swipe at trans people is the laziest comedy under the sun. We are the easiest group to target right now and everyone is doing it. Comedians like Gervais should try harder.
Some of these movies have been forgotten for very good reasons. Nobody should be allowed to remember them, but I can’t seem to turn my brain off, and I’m putting these here, so unless you wanna suffer with me, you will quit reading this post and go have a soda or something. That said, there are a couple of really good ones here that are worth viewing, so go shake the bad ones off, and go check out the good ones immediately.
Elvira: Mistress of the Dark (1988)
For a really long time, Id forgotten about this movie, and then I saw Elvira, aka Cassandra Peterson, on some talk show and I was reminded again that I really love this smart ass ,and I need to check out this movie again. If you’re not familiar with her, she comes right of the tradition of movie show hosts.
When I was a kid, there were people, not exactly celebrities, who would feature different types of movies on the weekends (mostly in the daytime, but Elvira’s show was usually in the evenings). They usually had some schtick, or persona, to go along with the types of movies they hosted. Elvira enhanced the experience by making smart ass comments during the movie. It was awful, but it was good awful, and not at all meant to be taken even the least bit seriously. This was my type of humor back then, and quite frankly, its not too different from that now.
Mazes and Monsters (1981)
This movie happened during the Satanic Panic in the early 80s, when a lot of super idiotic people glommed onto the idea that Dungeons and Dragons was a role playing gateway to Hell. I know it sounds utterly ridiculous, but this is actually what happened! There were a bunch of these “panics” during the 80’s about everything from games, to books, to TV, Rap, and Metal music. . It was basically the old guard’s way of protesting modern culture by, literally, demonizing said culture!
This particular Satan attractor starred, of all people, Tom Hanks, as a young man who gets so caught up in his roleplay, that he starts to believe its real, and proceeds to kill several people, thinking them to be part of the game, while his D&D friends try to find and save him. On the other hand, t does star Christopher Makepeace, the star of Vamp, and My Bodyguard, who I had a terrible crush on, because of that 80’s thing, where white men had luxurious heads of hair. Yeah, I still don’t know what the f*ck that was at all about for them, or me!
This movie was as stupid as the philosophy that made it, and gets everything wrong about role playing games, in its sad efforts to make the point that such games were leading the children into Satanism. The same as what was said about TV, music, and basically any leisure activities that teenagers found enjoyable. You also have to put this into perspective that at the time there was a very literal “witchhunt” going on in American society at the time, where white people found Satanic Cults in every suburban backyard.
You can watch this, but be sure to have the liquor handy. You’re going to need to grease your eyeballs from rolling them so hard.
Death Becomes Her (1992)
This is actually one of my favorite movies. its got a got a lot of problems, though, like fatphobia, but it did question the idea of youth culture, and how older actresses get disposed of and forgotten by the industry once they start to age. It stars Meryl Streep (Madeline) and Goldie Hawn (Helen) as rivals for Bruce Willis’ (Ernest) affections.. While none of these are my favorite actors, they are all pretty funny in this movie.
After Madeline steals her Husband Helen encounters a woman offering a youth potion that works just a little too well. When Madeline’s career starts to fade, and Ernest tries to leave her, she meets the same woman played by Issabella Rossellini, after which the two of them spend the rest of the movie trying to kill each other, at some point realizing that the potion made them effectively immortal, and that ain’t no good for either of them.
The Keep (1983)
This movie was based on the book by F. Paul Wilson, about a demon trapped inside some type of Nazi stronghold, that gets set free ,and starts killing. I remember the book better than I remember the movie, but hey, I’m all for killing Nazis.
This movie starred a who’s who of old British men, although I guess, since the movie was made thirty years ago, maybe they weren’t quite that old yet. The acting is surprisingly not that bad, but I cannot, for the life of me, remember the details of the plot, and I know I watched it, because I remember the monster looked like a Dollar Value version, of Tim Curry’s Darkness, from Ridley Scott’s Legend. It couldn’t have been that bad though, becasue it was one of Michael Mann’s first films, and he eventually went on to make the Red Dragon film, Manhunter.
976 – Evil (1988)
Oh, this is one of my favorites, released just after Fright Night, about a nerdy teenager who makes a pact with the devil by calling a special phone number, after he gets badly humiliated by some high school ne’er do wells. This Devil’s bargain doesn’t go all that well for him, as is usually the case, after he starts turning into a demon, and killing everyone. This starred one of my favorite actors at the time, Stephen Geoffreys, who was just coming off the above named movie, as the character Evil Ed. It also starred a loopy Sandy Dennis, as his religious nutjob mother, who if its even possible, was even more batshit than Margaret White from Carrie.
Its not a great movie, but it is a lot of fun, and a kind of tongue in cheek, homage to Carrie, as it contains a lot of the same elements. he movie is silly and knows it. There were, in the the 80’s, a brief spate of these teenagers gone wrong, revenge films, featuring paranormal powers.
White Men Can’t Jump (1992)
Lets make this clear. At the time this movie was released, it was not one of my favorites. It still isn’t. I was not a Wesley Snipe fan, nor was I a fan of Woody Harrelson, and I generally hate sports movies too, but my family members wanted me to watch this movie with them, for which they shall someday pay a horrible price. On the other hand, it did star Rosie Perez. For y’all yunguns, yes, that is the same Rosie Perez from the Birds of Prey movie.
The title pretty much gives it all away. Woody’s and Snipe’s characters (yeah, I’m not looking up their names) hustle people on local basketball courts, by playing on the notion that white men don’t know how to play street basketball. I am fairly certain that this movie pushed a lot of white kids to challenge this notion, and get beat up for talking shit on many inner-city playgrounds.
The Hidden (1987)
This is one of my all-time favorite movies from the 80’s. This is the movie that made me a fan of Claudia Christian, from Babylon Five. Of course I was following Kyle’s career, at that time, before he found a home in Twin Peaks, which I refused to watch. This movie has all of the usual 80’s scifi tropes, in the form of an alien that takes over human bodies, cop car crashes, weird guns, buddy cops, who start out hating each other, but then later come to respect one another, and even some pathos, in the form of a fridged wife and child.
This movie is insane. It starts up high, and pretty much stays there, with a couple of unexpectedly goofy turns, later in the film, making it similar to, but not quite like any of the other films like it at the time, as if the genre had been building up to it. If you find a copy of this, take care to listen to the commentary, because some actual thought was put into certain elements of the plot, that you might otherwise overlook, like the relationship between the two lead characters, and the ending.
Maximum Overdrive (1986)
This is one of Stephen King’s hot 80’s messes, based on a much much better short story, called Trucks, which also happened to be based on Stephen Spielberg’s Duel. After some type of weird comet passes by the Earth, all mechanical objects come alive and kill people. In the short story, it was only trucks, but in the movie, its everything that’s technological, like electric kitchen knives, and lawnmowers.
The movie is deeply, and I mean deeply, ridiculous, and is one of those rare films that has a cameo from King, who gets called an asshole by an ATM. I forget who the directed this film, but whoever it is, should never be allowed to choose any actors for his films, on the other hand he is utterly merciless when it comes to killing his characters off, even going so far as to show, in horrifying detail, a little kid getting run over by a steam roller! Apparently the 80s was the era in which directors would just happily kill children all over the place, but not dogs. Go figure!
So yeah, this is kind of worth watching for the gore, but maybe you don’t want to watch it because its cheesy.
I was interested in this only because i was fond of the sketches from Saturday Night Live in the 70’s, and starring the same cast as in the film. The movie turned out to be surprisingly funny, even if it was sort of one note. Worse movies have hinged on much flimsier materials. The idea that aliens might be living here on Earth, attempting to disguise themselves as regular human beings, and failing, but people believe them anyway. It had a great cast of Jane Curtin ,and Dan Ackroyd, and the late, great, Chris Farley, who was pretty understated, in his role as the daughter’s high school boyfriend.
The show was a parody of the idea that, no matter how weird you are, or bizarre you behave,White suburbanites will accept you, as long as you look like you’re trying to assimilate (and look white, I guess.) But I just thought it was funny because the Conehead family were such failures at assimilation, and that much of the movie’s humor was about their directly indirect manner of speaking, which just appealed to my nerdy soul. There’s some drama about two immigration agents trying to capture them because they’re on Earth illegally, and a secondary plot about their daughter’s romantic entanglements.
Good News in US Politics
I know all eyes are on the presidential candidates for this election, and rightfully so, but some very wonderful and important things are happening statewide that should be celebrated and highlighted, so here’s a few:
- Florida passed Amendment 2, which will raise minimum wage to $15/hour by 2026
- South Dakota, Montana, Arizona and New Jersey all passed an amendment that legalized marijuana
- Utah will now be removing gendered language in the Utah Constitution and will replace it with gender-neutral language
- California passed Prop 17, which restores voting rights to previously imprisoned citizens
- Delaware elected the first ever openly trans state senator
- Ritchie Torres and Mondaire Jones are the first ever openly gay black members of congress
- Cori Bush is the first ever woman of color to win a seat in Congress in Missouri
- Mauree Turner became the first non-binary state lawmaker in America and the first Muslim member of the Oklahoma state house
- Oregon has become the first state to decriminalize all drugs (small amounts of cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine and other drugs will have lesser punishments, similar to traffic tickets, and no jail time.)
- On Oregon’s decriminlization: it was done directly in opposition to the War on Drugs. Addiction and drug use will no longer be treated as a criminal act and will, instead, be treated as a matter of public health. A large portion of the bill that was passed was dedicated to setting up treatment facilities and subsidizing addiction treatment.
👏Universal preschool in the state of Oregon 👏
- Kim Jackson is the first out LGBTQ+ state senator in Georgia
UPDATED WITH MORE GOOD NEWS:
- Shevrin D. Jones is Florida’s first opnely LGBTQ+ state senator
- Jabari Brisport became New York’s first gay Black member of the house
- Arizona flipped blue for the first time in 24 years
- Michele Rayner-Goolsby became the first Black LGBTQ woman in the Florida Legislature
- Voters in Colorado overwhelmingly rejected Prop 115, a state ballot measure that would have banned abortions after a fetus reaches 22 weeks gestational age. In rejecting the initiative, Colorado remains one of the most progressive states in the country on reproductive rights
- Arizona will now send two Democrats to the Senate for the first time since 1951, thanks to the win of ex-astronaut Captain Mark Kelly.
- Democrats have flipped the senate seat in Colorado, with the win of former Gov. John Hickenlooper
- Mississippi is removing the confederate flag from their symbology
- Marie Newman, who has been titled ‘a leader of the pro-choice movement’, will now represent Illinois’ 3rd Congressional District in Congress
- Nevada became the first state to protect same-sex marriage in it’s constitution
- Immigrant rights activist and former public defender José Garza won the race for District Attorney of Travis County, Texas
It may not seem like much, but Mississippi also passed a (not great, but not objectively terrible) amendment to legalize medical Marijuana!
Utah has overwhelmingly voted to remove Incarcerated Slavery. The 13th Amendment normally allows an exception for convicts be used as slaves, but now any form of slave labor is illegal within Utah.
Colorado also passed 118, 12 weeks *paid* family and medical leave
Kansas elected a Native American trans woman!
Washington passed Referendum 90 which is a comprehensive sex-education program from elementary school-high school.
MICHIGAN STATE SUPREME COURT FLIPPED TO A DEMOCRAT MAJORITY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
New Mexico filled their three seats in the House of Representatives with WOC: Deb Haaland, Yvette Herrell, and Teresa Leger Fernandez.
Note: Its perfectly okay for you to do a tiny, one to three minute, dance of joy, for these!!!
We are just a few hours away from what many believe is one of the biggest Election’s Day we have seen since the election of President Barack Obama. …This Genie Is Not Going Back In The Bottle
Remarks: Of the gazillion political ads I have seen in 2020, this one is by far the best. It is also a brilliant use of Springsteen’s song. The …Bruce Springsteen: Streets of Philadelphia
This is for those of you looking for some really good, or just silly, and not too scary, werewolf movies to watch on Halloween night.
- Dog Soldiers (2002)
A group of soldiers, on a training exercise, are attacked by werewolves. They hunker down in an isolated house, with a mysterious young woman, in an effort to survive the night.
This movie is definitely the movie to watch if you are into werewolf movies. It has a …And Then There Were None type of plot, which makes it very suspenseful. The characters are brave and likable, and there’s real chemistry among the actors. This is a movie that relies more on action than atmosphere. I lauded this movie in an earlier post.
2. American Werewolf in London (1981)
This is one of the classic 80’s werewolf Horror Comedies. An American tourist, named David, is attacked by a werewolf, after being warned to stay off the moors. He survives, and after a visit from his dead friend, begins to suspect that he may be a werewolf. The lovely Jenny Agutter is a nurse who falls in love/lust with the tragic lead.
This isn’t my top favorite, but it is worth multiple viewings. There’s just enough comedy in it to alleviate the tension, but there are some truly horrible moments as well, and once again, there’s the typical tragic ending.
3. Howl (2015)
A train car full of people get terrorized by a pack of wolves, after their train car gets stuck in a wooded area. I watched this movie a few times, and I’m still unsure if the accident was deliberately caused by the wolves, or if it really was just an accident that they took advantage of, but I suspect the first. At any rate, the passengers are trapped on the train, and have to fight the traitors, panicked scoundrels, and possible infected, on the train, as well as the predators outside the train. This is a very suspenseful film, but it is one of those movies where you want to throw some hands at all the characters at some point, or just root for the werewolves.
4. The Howling (1981)
After she gets attacked by a stalker, a TV anchorwoman (played by Dee Wallace) goes out to the country, at the behest of her therapist, but she doesn’t know, until its too late, that its village full of werewolves. This movie is another classic from the 80’s, having been released within a few months of American Werewolf. I saw The Howling first, at about fourteen or so, and it was always my campy favorite. I heard a lot about American Werewolf, but didn’t see it until many years later, and I can definitely see why everyone preferred it. The Howling is more of an acquired taste, but if you enjoyed Evil Dead II, this movie is a slightly more sedate version featuring werewolves.
5. Wer (2013)
I talked about this movie before, becasue this is genuinely a good film, although I felt the ending was rather abrupt and it felt unfinished. It could have used another fifteen to thirty minutes to round out the plot. It clocks in at about ninety minutes, and has something of a slow start, but once it gets going, it doesn’t stop. In it, an American defense attorney is called to France to defend a man accused of butchering an American family in the French countryside. She finds that the case is not as cut and dried as it seems, because the man may actually be a werewolf. The production values are pretty good, there’s some amount of gore, and a side story dealing with unrequited love from one of her co-workers.
6. Ginger Snaps (2000)
I talked about the historical sequel to this film, in which two sisters must come to grips with the fact that one of them has become a werewolf, after being bitten by a strange animal, in the woods of their small town. The movie is more about the relationship between the two sisters, who have always held a fascination with death, and are known as the town weirdos. The major themes deal with the transition from adolescence to womanhood, making this movie marginally more intelligent than some other films.
7. Underworld (2003)
This is more of an action movie than a Horror movie but it gets on the list becasue …werewolves! The lore is interesting, and sometimes a little inconsistent, but this is worth the watch, just to see Kate Beckinsale running around in some cool, tight, black leather. he plot involves a constant war between vampires and werewolves. When Selene falls in love with a young man coveted by both sides in the fight, she has to choose a side. There’s a lot close calls, window falls, hand to hand fighting, and naturally, shooting.
8. The Company of Wolves (1984)
This is one of the more artsy werewolf films from the 80s, with the themes of Little Red Riding Hood, and womanhood, vs adolescence. Its a series of fairy tale like stories told by a grandmother to her granddaughter, in an effort to warn her about men who might take advantage of her, so there is no linear plot, but there is a through line of men being compared to wolves, and contains some interesting imagery of people turning into wolves. It was created by the same director of Interview with A Vampire, Neil Jordan.
9. Full Eclipse (1993)
This movie is utterly ridiculous, but its still one of my 90’s favorites, I do not care how bad it is. It was made in ’93, but its full of every silly 80’s cop trope, a person can think of, including, but not limited to jumping over a car, during a foot chase, while shooting two guns, a bad boy cop, his blond love interest, and a special force of cops created to take back the streets from the criminals. I don’t remember nan’ thing about any of the criminals in this movie, because the focus is all on the group of cops, who decided that becoming werewolves, to fight crime, was a good idea. I think this is free on Youtube.
10. What We Do In The Shadows (2014)
While the movie is definitely about four vampires in a “flatting” situation in Wellington, there are werewolves in this movie, and are some of the funniest werewolves ever put in a movie. They almost steal the movie, and I would love it if they had a movie of their own.
During the adventures had by the vampires in the film, their human friend Stu, gets bitten, becomes a werewolf, and through the actions of his best mate (himself a vampire), becomes the catalyst for peace between the two long-feuding groups.
These are some of the nicest werewolves (lame comebacks aside) ever filmed. They disavow swearing, and chain themselves up in the woods, during the full moon, to prevent bringing harm to humans. I know some people were not impressed by this movie, but you have to watch it just to see the four vampires interacting with the other monsters, who live in Wellington.
I really enjoyed making this list, as I’ve seen nearly all of these, and the rest are on my radar. I tried not to choose conventional movies, that everyone has already talked about, like Dracula, and The Wolfman, which are kind of a given really, or the kind of movies which featured the usual take on vampires and werewolves, although there is a tiny bit of that on this list. I also tried to add a few international movies that have maybe gotten a bit of attention on this blog. If you’re looking for a little novelty for Halloween viewing check these out.
After surviving a military ambush, Lt. John Boyd, discovers that he’s developed a taste for human flesh. When he gets sent to an isolated outpost, as punishment for the cowardice that saved his life, he encounters another cannibal who has fully given in to his proclivities, and tries to talk Boyd into doing so as well. This movie was directed by the late Antonia Bird, and stars Guy Pierce. Its a humorous movie, with tiny moments of camp, in the form of occasional asides from one of the characters, or the music during certain scenes, but mostly the plot and characters take themselves seriously. There are elements of the real life Donner Party incident, and strong references to overcoming addiction.
Ginger Snaps II: The Beginning (2004)
This is a sequel to the modern version of the first movie simply called Ginger Snaps. In the first movie, a young woman gets bitten by a strange creature in the woods, that was attracted to her because she was having her first period. There’s a little less of that here, but the movie does have a lot to say about the plight of women during this particular time period. There are the occasional moments of humor, but the movie isn’t particularly campy, and there is the obligatory Indigenous character ,who knows more than he’s telling, but who, of course, dies first.
After finding two sisters in the woods, being attacked by wolves, the men from an isolated outpost start giving in to paranoia and cabin fever, as they start getting picked off by a mysterious creature, that has followed them from the sister’s rescue site.
The Witch (2015)
This is a rather famous film as it won a slew of minor awards. It’s also one of my favorites. Its more dread inducing than terrifying, but if you saw Midsommar ,and Hereditary, than this is the movie you need to watch this Halloween. After her family is accused of witchcraft, a young woman encounters strange and terrifying events around her family’s isolated house. The atmosphere is perfect, but is a bit of a slow burn. The terror carefully creeps up on you, so you may want watch this with the lights on.
Brotherhood of the Wolf (2001)
I talked about this movie in an earlier post. This kind of a werewolf movie without a werewolf. This is an odd mishmash of historical fiction, martial arts, and political mystery, based on the French story of the Beast of Gevaudin, a werewolf adjacent creature that killed several people, in the French countryside, during the 17th century. This is a horror movie for people who don’t like horror movies, or don’t want to get too scared, but its not for kids. There is some amount of gore and sexual activity.
Mark Dacascos stars as an Indigenous man with the skills of Bruce Lee, and the movie highlights these skills in several beautifully spectacular, but completely unnecessary, fight scenes. Conveniently, he barely has any dialogue. A lot of the film is taken up with political arguments, a little bit of romance, and the mystery of finding The Beast, before it kills again.
The Head Hunter (2018)
This movie was a little confusing for me, because its not a linear transgression from moment to moment. There is some backing and forthing, and the lead character doesn’t make the plot clear from the beginning, because he’s pretty much all alone. There’s no one to explain things to. This is not a fast movie, but if you wait a minute its worth it.The movie, is dark, grim, and fairly gruesome, but if you like that sort of thing, then check it out. Its about a Viking who hunts people, but also the alien looking creature that killed his family. This movie is available on Amazon Prime.
This a revisionist retelling of the story of Lizzie Borden, who murdered her parents with an ax, in the 19th century. There have been a couple of these in the past ten years, but this one is more artistic, and intimates that Lizzie killed her family because they disapproved of her relationship with a young woman, who moved into their home. I didn’t care too much for the revision, ( only because I prefer a simpler version of the story), but the acting is first class, and its a lovely looking film, that’s well worth the watch, just for those two things. This is available for viewing on Amazon Prime’s Shudder app.
The Devil’s Backbone (2001)
This is one of Guillermo Del Toro’s early films, which, unless you are a real Del Toro enthusiast, you probably haven’t seen, since this movie, like Cronos, was made before his emigration to Hollywood. It contains most of the usual Del Toro imagery, and themes, and is very similar in feel and story to Pan’s Labyrinth, with children telling each other ghost stories, while trying to protect themselves from a malevolent adult, against the backdrop of war.
This is an unusual zombie story set during WWII. What captured my attention is the lead character is a Black man, who is ostensibly the hero of this film. After they crash their plane in a village in German territory, he and his fellow soldiers stumble across German experiments in resurrection, using some kind of black goo, that bubbles out of the ground. When his companions become infected, he has to try to destroy them, the experiments, and escape the castle where they took place. This is available on Amazon Prime.
This isn’t actually a movie, its a series that is loosely based on a movie of the same title. A young Maori man who fights zombie- like creatures in the real world, but at some point, must go into the afterlife to discover why the dead are rising, find the source of the evil, and save his people. This is an interesting peek into ancient Maori history, the cinematography is stunning, and this is the first type of zombie movie I’ve ever seen like this. There have been some interesting genre movies and series coming out of New Zealand, since Peter Jackson filmed Lord of the Rings there, some twenty years ago. This series is available on Amazon Prime.
I talked about this movie in an earlier post as well. Set in ancient Korea, its about a ruler who is given a pet creature, that grows to an enormous size. At some point he loses control over it, and sets it free to roam, and attack the citizens in an effort to keep them under control. A group of brave soldiers and clerics band together to destroy the beast.
Like Train to Busan, this is a very exhilarating action horror mashup. The monster is mysterious and terrifying, the action scenes are very suspenseful, and no one is too important to be spared. This movie is airing on Amazon Prime.
There was a time that whenever members of the LGBTQ community appeared in mainstream Horror movies, they were treated as comedy relief, horribly killed, as a means to punish them for being gay, or as villains (Sleepaway Camp, Silence of the Lambs, Dressed to Kill), so to get Horror movies where they’re treated as no different than the other characters, they are the primary characters, or sometimes get to be heroic, is still something of a novelty. Here are 8 Horror movies, where gay, lesbian, or transgender characters get to be primary leads, get to save the day, or experience the uncanny, without that being a reflection on their sexuality.
Malik and Aaron are a same sex couple that move to the countryside, along with Aaron’s daughter, and encounter strange neighbors, and mysterious ritual. If you like movies like The Wicker Man, Hereditary, and Midsommar, then give this movie a try on Halloween night. I haven’t finished this movie yet, (its not boring, I was just tired), but the trailer looks pretty good. his movie is airing on the Shudder app, through Amazon.
This probably isn’t the first gay slasher, but it is the first one that’s been treated as a typical slasher film, except all the primary characters present in such films have been replaced by gay characters, right down to a Final Guy. Eddie, and his friends, encounter a serial killer during West Hollywood’s annual Halloween Carnival. I’m still not a fan of the production values on this, as it looks murky and too dark, but the plot and characters are taken as seriously as if this were a movie about straight characters. This is currently on the HERE TV app.
Haute Tension (2003)
This is one of those movies about an interesting little twist. When the girl she has fallen in love with is kidnapped by a serial killer after they visit her parent’s house, Marie has to go on the defense to rescue her. This film is very gory, and pretty serious. The twist ending may be problematic for some viewers, but if you like gory Horror movies like The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, and Halloween, then is worth a try. The American title to this French film was Switchblade Sisters, so you may find it streaming under that name. Its also available on the IMDB app, through Amazon Prime.
What Keeps You Alive
This movie is about a lesbian couple that violently hash out their issues during their stay in the countryside. You can tell this by the amount of blood seen in this trailer. I haven’t seen this one yet, but it looks pretty chilling and has been on my radar for at least a year This is now streaming on Netflix, if any of you are interested.
I wrote about this maybe a year ago. I generally liked it, although since its kind of artsy, it is somewhat ambiguous on the outcome, as such movies tend to be. its about a young woman in her first year of college, who struggles physically and emotionally with her attraction to a young lady she meets in the school library. There’s a paranormal element involved, a la Carrie, but seems like there’s a happier ending. Its worth watching though, and is currently streaming on Hulu.
Assassination Nation (2018)
When the people in her small town of Salem start to behave erratically after someone starts hacking everyone’s phones and computers, revealing all their embarassing, and deadly, secrets, Lily has to go to the extremes to defend herself and her friends. The film stars one of the first transgender actresses to star in a slasher film, Hari Nef, as one of Lily’s friends. Assassination Nation is streaming on Amazon Prime and Hulu.
We Are The Night (2011)
After they’ve killed all the male vampires for being greedy, a coven of female vampires, led by a woman named Louise, initiates a new member, Lena. Lena is looking for love, but when she doesn’t return Louise’s affections, she must fight to be free of the coven. This available to buy or rent on Google Play, and Youtube.
The Quiet Room (2017)
After a suicide attempt, Michael ends up in a rehab center that appears to be haunted. He ends up having to fight for his life, both physically and psychologically, if he expects to survive a fate worse fate than death. This movie has the distinction of having a gay Black man as the lead. The Quiet Room is airing on Amazon Prime.
I know this post doesn’t seem Halloween related, but I’m posting it here anyway, otherwise I’ll forget what I wanted to write. Besides, I can (and I most definitely will) post about scary movies all year round! I like to, from time to time, give my readers a heads up, on what I’m watching, but not currently talking about.
As a general rule, I don’t really spend a lot of time talking about shows and movies that everyone else in America is talking about, which is the reason I have not discussed Lovecraft Country, which just aired it’s season finale last Sunday. I really enjoyed the entire season, and hope there will be more, but there are a bajillion critiques and reviews, all over Youtube, and in writing. If y’all want I can post some links to a lot of the themes and Historical plot points of the show, which was dense with meaning, and y’all know I love shows like that. As a librarian, I am a firm proponent of the idea, that sometimes, people don’t know enough to know what questions to ask.
But I also read some really good critiques of the shows negative themes, like its abuse and mistreatment of gay, lesbian, and transgender characters, and its use of colorism, with the darker skinned characters being constantly associated with self hatred, and violence. The show needs some work, and if it gets a second season, I hope the show writers have learned from this criticism, and the mistakes they made this season. More importantly though, I want them to treat their lgbtq characters a lot better. Enlightenment for Black women does not need to come at their expense.
That said though, this show really spoke to Black women on a level that few shows bother to do in their attempts to be universal, but there’s enough density in it, that almost anyone can find something in it that resonated with them. My absolute favorite episode of the entire series is “I Am” , and in case none of the reviews mention it, because none of the ones I read did this, the title “I Am” isn’t just that the lead character in this episode, a woman named Hippolyta, is called to name herself, but its a callback to the words of God, to Moses, when he was speaking to Moses through the Burning Bush in the desert. I’m an atheist/ agnostic, but I do know my Bible stories, and there were a lot of these callbacks throughout the season. At some point, I’m going to write a review of this particular episode, so I can cover all the issues in it.
Star Trek Discovery
Speaking of shows that resonate with Black women (and most other women, too), I also watched the season three premiere of Star trek Discovery, and I greatly enjoyed it, but I had questions, like who had time to braid Michael’s hair, because its kinda weird seeing Box Braids in the future. In fact, its so unusual that I don’t know how to feel about that. For y’all who don’t know this, wearing your hair in its natural state, as I do, is a source of great discussion among Black women, especially the whole process of caring for it. For some of us, it can take as long as a whole day to just to wash our hair correctly, while for others, it can take only a few hours. It’s a very involved process just to braid it. I’ve worn box braids, and it took, at the shortest, eight or so hours, just to get it to look like that, although I’m sure the actress herself is probably just wearing a wig.
Anyway, I liked the episode a lot and I especially like the newest addition to the show, Cleveland Booker. He’s handsome, he’s got superpowers, and he is one of the few Black men featured on the show, and I like the chemistry I see between him and Michael. I love that the show has made her a well rounded character, we get to see her laugh more in this episode than we have in the previous two seasons, and that they have changed the venue of the show to some 1000 years into the future.
Michael after travelling through the wormhole into the future, has lost track of the Discovery, and crashed into Booker’s ship, who was being chased by some smugglers. They both land on the same planet and Michael set out to check his status. Booker is a smuggler (for a very good reason) and initially wants nothing to do with Michael, but they have to team up, because he’s the only person she has met, and she has nowhere to go. She spends a not insignificant amount of time punching Booker in the face until they reach an understanding.
It turns out that she is a true relic of the past, as Starfleet and the Federation no longer exist, because of something called The Burn, that happened about two hundred years before her arrival ,and involved the destruction of all the dilithium crystals that are used to power Starfleet’s ships. She ends up accompanying Booker on his adventures, though. I have to admit, this episode did bring the feels, by the end, and I loved the technology that I saw being used, but I get attached to characters first. If the characters don’t captivate or fascinate me, I’m probably not going to get invested in the show. I’m looking forward to getting to know all the new characters (and a few old ones), this coming season.
The show will be getting some non-binary and transgender characters this season, which I’m looking forward to. Star Trek has had non-binary characters before, but this will be a recurring character, which is a first for all of Trek. There’s also a spinoff show about Captain Pike, starring Anson Mount. For those who don’t know, Pike was Captain of the Enterprise before Kirk, and we sort of know some of his backstory, but he was the Captain for quite a while, so there’s plenty of stories left to tell about him, and I’m looking forward to that because, well… Anson is pretty hot, and there’s a new version of Spock which I like too.
Love and Monsters
I just finished watching Love and Monsters starring Dylan somethin’ or other from Teen Wolf. I mean, I like the guy just fine, but for the life of me I can never remember his last name, and I want to keep calling him Dylan McDermott, but keep realizing that’s a whole notha actor!. The movie was enjoyable and funny, and not too deep. I liked the monsters, and wish I’d gotten to see more of them. There was also a surprise appearance from Michael Rooker, who is his usual hilarious self.
Dylan’s character gets separated from his girlfriend after aliens attack the planet, and his parents get stepped on by a giant bug, because for some reason, the alien attack mutated all the Earth’s invertebrates and reptiles. The largest ones end up being taken out by the world’s different militaries, but that still leaves plenty of midsize ones, like the giant frog-thing seen in the trailer, and some type of gigantic ant queen, that moves underground like a shark, and something called a Rambler which is pretty huge to me, but probably didn’t even register on the military’s radar, as they seemed more concerned with the Kaiju sized monsters. This is one of those found family stories, that I’m such a sucker for, with a pleasant little message in it about believing in oneself, and finding one’s place in the world.
Dylan’s character, ( I did not bother to learn his name at all), does find his girlfriend again, as she’s not very far away, maybe several days, so he decides to go to her. Along the way, he meets Rooker’s character, who is with a very funny and charming little girl who attaches herself to him, and teaches him how to use a crossbow, and a dog named Boy, (see, I learned the dog’s name, which shows you my priorities here),which is definitely a shout out to the nuclear, sci-fi horror movie, A Boy and His Dog. The movie is more comedy action than horror. Some of the monsters are a tiny bit scary, and yucky, but its a movie that’s chaste enough for kids to watch as there’s almost no gore. Its not a deep movie, but not every movie has to be deep, and I would watch it again, along with any sequels.
The Good Lord Bird
I watched the first episode of the Good Lord Bird, and it was okay. I expected it to be a bit zany, which is unusual for a series about slavery, Its about a white man who is crazy enough to think he can end slavery by simply shooting slave owners. Apparently, this was based on a real life person, who actually did do some of the things in the show, and did indeed have an interesting relationship with Frederick Douglas.
The series stars Ethan Hawke, looking unrecognizable, as John Brown, who was a virulent Abolitionist. Most of the episodes are narrated by a young Black ex-slave, named John Shackleford, who was then nicknamed Onion, after being mistaken for a girl. At first, I kind of bristled at the idea of yet another guy in a dress story, (and I’m pretty sure some Black male viewers will too), but at no point does John behave in a derogatorily feminine fashion, and he doesn’t tell people he’s not a girl, for what he thinks is a good reason. As a girl, he receives tokens of kindness and protections that a boy wouldn’t. At the very least, he would not be required to engage in violence, which he doesn’t seem to want to do.
The show is darkly humorous, mostly because of the misadventures Bird gets up to, and the things he says. On the other hand, I really do wish that white people would stop imagining Black people as slaves in historical narratives, because its getting more than a bit tired. We did other things than just be enslaved. There are a lot of other stroeis to tell about our past, although I noticed, (quite a few people noticed this), they never seem to want to tell the stories of actual slave uprisings, of which there were plenty, and you wonder why that is, exactly! I mean that there are a bunch of stories about slaves running away, or fighting one on one, but Hollywood can’t quite imagine a collection of Black people burning down the plantation, and killing the master, but will make, yet another, in a long line of movies about white people, apes, or robots, rebelling against some form of tyranny.
I tried watching Helstrom, a show based on a comic book, in the Marvel Universe, that’s now airing on Hulu. Its about two siblings who fight demons and deal with the paranormal. I’m not loving it. The show looks rather dark and murky, and I couldn’t get into the characters very much. The show is mostly relying on being scary, rather than having character. I’m going to give it another try though, because Supernatural will be coming to the end of its 15th season, in a few weeks, and I need a replacement.
Travels With My Father
I’ve been enjoying Jack Whitehall’s Travels with My Father, which is deeply hilarious. I like the relationship Jack has with his dad. He’s always trying to get his father out of his comfort zone, and sometimes his father resists and wins that fight, but at other times he gives in, and that’s when the show is at its funniest like when he talked his father into being a drag queen for a few hours and he dressed up as the Queen of England, and was perfect at it!
Things I still have not watched are the latest iteration of Kipo and the Age of Wonderbeasts, the School Nurse Files, which looks deeply, and I mean deeply, strange, about a school nurse who can see people emotions, in the forms of the various weird ectoplasmic creatures they leave behind. I tried watching Monsterland (Hulu) and couldn’t get into it, and Hulu’s Books of Blood, based on the book series, and short stories of Clive Barker, proved uninteresting to me.
There’s also a bunch of trailers that came out, and here are the most interesting ones, in my opinion:
If y’all are looking for a black, female, James Bond, you loved the TV series Alias, can’t wait until the new 007 shows up in the next Bond film, and you’re still coming down after watching The Old Guard, then check out this title on Netflix, (out of Netflix Africa), about a Black female spy in Africa. I have not finished watching this, but I like what I’m seeing, the characters are cool enough, and the fight scenes aren’t bad. The production values are very good, (somebody spent some money on this), and the cinematography is lovely, (yeah I’ve seen a few of those laughably, but charmingly, bad Nigerian films), and its got a 91% on Rotten Tomatoes, which I don’t normally pay much attention to, but this intrigued me. To assuage those most concerned, yes, a season two will be coming soon.
Hailing from creator Kagiso Lediga, Queen Sono stars Pearl Thusi as a field agent in South Africa’s secretive Special Operations Group. Queen — that’s her name, not a title — is the daughter of a legendary South African revolutionary figure whose assassination was a pivotal moment in the transitional period after apartheid. SOG, which itself has pre-apartheid roots and probably isn’t exactly what it appears to be, sends agents throughout Africa on missions overseen by Miri (Chi Mhende), who I think is Queen’s cousin, and Dr. Sid (Sechaba Morojele), but the organization is mysterious enough that Queen can’t even tell her nearest and dearest what she does for a living. That means pretending to be an art dealer in interactions with her grandmother, Mazet (Abigail Kubeka), and platonic best friend, Will (Khathu Ramabulana), and yes, the in-the-dark chum named Will is just one of many places fans will notice narrative overlap with Alias.
I love monsters, but I am not a fan of the lead actress in this movie, Mila Jovovich, who I find deeply annoying, though some people seem to really like her. Actually, its complicated than that.The actress is an okay person, that I would love to have a beer with, but I just don’t like her acting. Unfortunately T.I. is also in this movie, he of the ignorance of female anatomy and the policing of his daughter’s virginity. Will I be able to enjoy the movie without thinking of that shit? Maybe if he gets killed off early…
That said, this looks like its right up my alley, as far as having monsters. I am vaguely familiar with the video game this is based on, from reading the game books, and the series, by Larry Correia, that the game is based on, (mostly because there were pictures of monsters in the game books.) I stopped reading the series after I found out that Larry Correia is a total asshole, because I couldn’t actually enjoy the books anymore, without thinking of the asshole who wrote them, not because of the series quality, which is okay. If you love the Monster Hunter series, good for you. I’m not asking you to stop enjoying them, because hey! its got some cool ass monsters, and that is to be appreciated, at least.
You can watch Queen Sono while you’re waiting for this movie to be released. If you love the Jason Bourne Trilogy, and The Old Guard, then here are some more bad-ass women, with Lupita Nyongo, as a technician, for the British government, in Uma Thurman’s old movie group, Femme Force Five, if you remember her dinner date dialogue from Pulp Fiction…
I’m looking forward to this one, not just because I have a soft spot for this particular actor, and down on their luck superheroes, but because it reminds me of a cross between He Never Died, and Jason Bourne.
I could do without the drug dealer stuff though, because of the near constant association of blackness with crime, drug gangs, and/or street thugs. We’ve had enough of that. Black people come in other flavors, and Hollywood needs to start telling genre stories about Black people that don’t just involve street criminals. Also, some people might not be too comfortable with the ‘White Savior” angle to this story. They could have just given superpowers to the black kid, but we already got a movie like that, called Sleight.
I know this movie is going to be ridiculous fusion of half a dozen genres, probably, because it stars Nicholas Cage, and there’s martial arts, and aliens involved. Those are all really good reasons to watch it, as far as I’m concerned.
Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom
Ma Rainey was a Blues musician during the 20s, and also an out lesbian, of which there were many, in the Blues genre. So any Black wlw looking for representation can check this out. Also, this is one of Chadwick Boseman’s final roles, so you Chadwick fans might want to see this too, and it has great music, so you Blues fans have something to look forward to. I’m not entirely sold on this, because I’m not a Blues fan, but I like Chadwick, and my mother loves both him and the Blues, so I will probably end up watching this with her, maybe. This would make a good double feature with Bessie.
This movie is like a Black version of Misery. I probably will not watch this, because I don’t like the demonization, literally, of Voodoo, and Voudon, yet again, in Horror, but it looks intriguing enough for my Mom to watch it. White supremacy, and Christianity, has a nasty habit of villainizing most pagan religions, and treating them as if they were scary, and horrible ways to cause harm to people, when really a lot of them are just rather mundane, and so are the people practicing them.
But when we’re talking about religions practiced by primarily Black and Brown people, there are no good depictions of those. I mean European style pagan religions at least get heroic figures, in TV shows, as Hollywood moves a little bit away from demonized versions of Wiccan and Celtic religions, but that’s not the case with any of the religions practiced by Black people, and this just looks like one more.
For a more rounded and beneficial version of these types of religion check out Brown Girl Begins , on Hulu. This is loosely based on Nalo Hopkinson’s Brown Girl in the Ring, which is a futuristic tale of a young girl receiving special powers from her ancestral gods. I read everything else by Nalo Hopkinson, but for some reason, I didn’t get to this book.
I haven’t seen this one yet. Its about an immigrant couple from the Sudan moving into a haunted council estate, and starring the actress who plays Ruby from Lovecraft Country, and will be coming to Netflix this week. This looks like a Black version of The Ring.
The reviews for this movie are starting to come in. They’re a bit mixed, but overall, its been said the movie isn’t too bad, and worth a watch. I’m going to take a look at it, so we can talk about the influx of Black Horror movies we’ve been getting lately, which we owe to the success of movies like Get Out. Normally this isn’t the type of movie I would watch, but it stars a lot of actors I know, its set in the 90’s, and looks kind of fun, and I’m intrigued about just what exactly is happening in this trailer.
I didn’t want to put typical stories on this list. I wanted some little known, out of the way stories, that wouldn’t be difficult to get access to. These are stories that scared the bejeebus out of me, and I just want to share the frights.
Prey – Richard Matheson
Written by Richard Matheson, this short story was made into a short film that aired in the movie Trilogy of Terror and starred Karen Black, who was one of the hottest screamers in the 70s. I saw the movie before i read the story and the movie is very very faithful to the original, and genuinely terrifying, while, at the same time, seeming utterly hilarious ,as this big woman (Ms. Black was very bodacious) s chased around her apartment by a tiny, screaming killer doll, named He Who Hunts.
That’s it! That’s the whole story. But what’s so terrifying about this doll is fast it moves (this ain’t Chucky), how intelligent it is. It thinks, and schemes, can open doors, is very stealthy. There’s a list of killer doll movies, and He Who Hunts is definitely at the top of it.
Trilogy of Terror is available on Youtube, and the story is available in The Best of Richard Matheson.
The Sun Dog – Stephen King
This is more accurately a novella rather than a short story, but for me this is one of the most terrifying Steepen King stories. A young man named Kevin gets a Polaroid camera for his birthday that only takes pictures of one thing, a dog that is slowly approaching the camera, and whoever is holding it in that other world. Kevin becomes convinced that the dog intends to get out.
I found this story terrifying because I had a Polaroid camera just like it. I got it for my 15th, or 16th birthday, long before I read the story, but it all came back to me when I read this. The feel and use of the camera along with what King perfectly describes as the “squidgy little whine” it made when you pressed the shutter.
This story is available in the King anthology titled, Four Past Midnight.
Shay Corsham Worsted – Garth Nix
For some reason, this story scared the bejeebus out of me, not necessarily because of anything that happens in it, about the story of an old man who goes missing in the streets of London, and needs to be carefully corralled, but because of the manner in which it was written. The ending is absolutely perfect!
This story is available in the Fantasy anthology, Fearful Symmetries.
Nightcrawlers – Robert R. McCammon
I love this story, not just because its scary, but because of its elements of pathos. In any other person’s hands, this could become a superhero origin story, but in the hands of one of my all-time favorite writers, Robert McCammon, the author of Swan Song, it becomes a tragic statement about the Vietnam War, and the psychological damage of the men who fought in it.
This short aired in the 90s version of The Twilight Zone, and is also available on Youtube. The story is available in Robert McCammon’s anthology titled Blue World, which has a lot of great stories in it, especially the story, Something Passed By ,a bout an Earth that has undergone a radical change after something in space passed by.
Hunter Killer – Stephen Gallagher
This isn’t like the above stories because this is one is a slow burn. Something crashed into an office building, killing everyone inside, and then everyone who came in after. The building has since been cordoned off from the public, but one young man thinks there are riches to be found inside. Much of the story is the tension of him wandering around an unknown environment , where anything could be lurking. I don’t want to give too much away though. You gotta read this one for yourself.
Hunter Killer can be found in the book of short stories by Stephen Gallagher, Plots and Misadventures.