New Year New Baby

I have been thoroughly neglecting this blog but I have a very good reason.

On January 14th, my third niece was brought into the world (via cesarian) at 8 in the evening!

Her name is Tyler Chanel and she weighed 7 lbs/6 oz.

She is already quite vocal in making sure her needs are being met and she doesn’t like having her head touched or her swaddling removed!

I took a little time off to help my little sister prepare for the new baby. There have been all kinds of dramatic things happening in her life, which it’s not my place to mention here, but I’ve been preoccupied with supporting her through these wild events.

Right now she and the baby are doing okay. Momma is tired and a little sore because of the surgery but recovering (and fussing). She and the baby are eating well, resting well, and getting discharged from the hospital today. The brothers have things well in hand while I go to work, and I’ll be visiting the two of them later this week.

Well, that’s the news.

I’ll be back soon enough with plenty of trivia and articles about movies so stay tuned.

New Trailers Dropped For 2023

New trailers just dropped for movies being released next year. Later I’ll post a full list of my most hotly anticipated movies and series for next year.

Transformers: Rise of the Beasts

I found myself really excited by this video. I checked out of the Transformers franchise after the first two films because they just became increasingly awful to watch. Michael Bay was definitely getting on my nerves, but the franchise regained my attention with Bumblebee, consequently, that’s now my favorite character.

Admittedly, I was not there for the Beast Wars saga, so I don’t know much about it, because I was elsewhere doing other things. I heard about it, though. I know only a handful of characters in this movie (Mirage and Optimus Primal) but not who else. Still, the nostalgia factor is pretty big with this one and it was really nice to see so many grown-ass men being childishly excited about this movie on YouTube! The trailer looks really good. Hopefully, the creators can keep the momentum they began with Bumblebee. Will I go see it in the theater? Idk. It depends on what else is being released that month because June is a lot!

Yeah, Optimus Primal is being voiced by none other than Ron Perlman.

Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny

This movie’s nostalgia factor hit me pretty hard. I probably will not go see this movie, not because I don’t love Indy but because there are three other movies coming out in June I want to see, and this one falls low on that list. I do not have limitless movie theater money, so Indie, I’m afraid, is going to lose. Sorry Indy, I will wait for it to reach streaming services.

This looks really exciting though and if you guys go see it, write something down, tell us all about it.

Guardians of the Galaxy 3

I’m really looking forward to this movie. I enjoyed the last move and the holiday special a lot, and I like spending time with this group of goofballs. There’s not really a nostalgia factor here but it will be interesting to get rocket’s backstory, and it’s nice to see Gamora (or at least an alternate-universe version of her) again. I’m still not a fan of Chris Pratt (he is after all the least likable Chris) but his acting isn’t bad, and he’s not so awful I cannot tolerate him in a film with a bunch of other great and funny characters.

Elemental

I really, really, liked this trailer which is a great introduction to this world and its rules. I’m not really into the forbidden romance angle of the story, but I do like the easy Jazz music of the teaser. Everyone who saw this trailer was quick to point out how she is the only Elemental on the train who is made of fire and noting the different interactions between the Elementals. So the creators have already set up how these characters interact, have both negative and positive effects on each other’s existences, and why the fire elementals might not be included. I’m probably not going to the theater to see this one though because…Summer.

Cocaine Bear

This is one of those ridiculous comedies that get released every few years. This one is about a bear that gets high on a stash of cocaine that some criminals lose in the woods, and I’m not going to see this but Hey, if this is your bag, go for it!

HELLOOOO!!!

Yeah, I’m still here. I’m still writing (some long-form posts) but it is the Holiday season, so you’re probably going to notice some extreme slacking off in the next few weeks. Frankly, all of you should be slacking this season.

When I come back (probably next week) I want to talk about my favorite new series Interview with the Vampire, which did everything right when it came to race-bending and genderswapping characters, and by that time I will have something to say about the new series called Wednesday on Netflix.

I am encouraging as many people as I can reach to watch Interview with the Vampire which is one of the most trashy, campy, beautiful, and sexy shows about vampires I’ve ever seen. It is airing on AMC+. You can pay for the app alone or get it through Amazon Prime for 8.99 a month and I promise it is worth it, (at about 1.25 an episode) just to watch this show (after which you can cancel if you want.) Don’t go into it expecting a retread of the 1994 film, which is still one of my favorite vampire movies, although this series I think, surpasses and deepens the story in a lot of ways.

Coming in December will be my end-of-the-year favorite movies and series list! As far as entertainment, inclusivity, and representation, this was a spectacular year! Also next month, more on my weight loss journey, how much I lost, how it’s going, and what are my goals.

Until then,

Happy Holidays

Halloween Month Starts Saturday!

Okay, you guys all know I’m a huge fan of Horror movies, and that means I’m also a big fan of Halloween, which means the entire month of October gets to be Halloween month. Yep, I’m one of those people who celebrate Halloween all month long, culminating in a big movie blowout on Halloween night (if I don’t fall asleep first – I’m old yall. Whaddaya gonnado?). I have not watched a lot of Horror movies this year because I’ve mostly been unimpressed by what I’ve been offered this year, and I haven’t been in the mood to watch much of it, preferring comedies and anime, but I’m ready to start watching Horror again.

Anyway, I have some really exciting series and movies to look forward to next month and I want to share them with you. Now, some of these have already been released this month and I have trailers for the ones I plan to watch, and some aren’t released until next month, with a mix here of TV series and movies. I don’t know that any of these are any good, but they look interesting, and I’m going to check them out and then talk about them (except for the movies because I most likely will not get to see those in theaters). But hey, there are plenty of TV shows to take up any slack and it’s all Horror all month long.

There is a lot to look forward to. At the top of my list are:

Hellraiser (7 – Hulu)

Here is the first trailer for the new Hellraiser series. For those not in the know, the new Pinhead is being played by an actress, and since this is streaming the creators can get as gory and dreadful as they like. The new Cenobites look awesome and grotesque. Hopefully, this series will be better than Hellraiser 2 and the many mediocre sequels which didn’t seem to understand the point of Barker’s books. I also hope they can bring in elements of the last Hellraiser book The Scarlet Gospels with Harry D’amour.

Interview with the Vampire(2 – AMC)

I just watched an hour-long special on the making of this series which is free on YouTube, and the creators talk about the changes they made and why, and I’m glad they did because there has been a lot of discussion about how old Claudia is in this series. Claudia here is about 14, and there’s a reason why they did it that way.

Anne Rice had a hand in the choosing of this actress so I’m okay with it, and there is no way in hell you’re gonna be able to get any kind of permission to have a five or six-year-old girl (the age she is in the book) to do the things you can get an 11-year-old (the movie version played by Kirsten Dunst) or the older version to do. Due to the nature of the role, and what is required of the actress, she has got to be aged up out of sheer necessity, so I’m not quite sure why people think it’s a bad idea to have her be 14 unless it’s for the usual racist bullshit because the actress is biracial. I don’t think that’s the reason, because I haven’t seen a whole lot of white people acting like damn fools over the casting of these characters (but I no longer have any faith that white people on social media will act sane. At this point in time I expect there to be some assholery!)

But I love that the series is as lushly overdone and over the top as the original books (I expect a certian amount of cringe) and that the creators are going to be using information from all the books because what this is is a kind of forty-year-old sequel to the first book, where Daniel, the interviewer, comes back to question Louis in the present day.

Guillermo Del Toro’s Cabinet of Curiosities (25 – Netflix)

This is going to be an anthology series of eight stories from famous directories of different Horror movies, so I’m looking forward to seeing what they’re going to come up with based on the museum-like items that Guillermo owns in his home. Remember he has a book out about all the different oddities he’s collected over the years so that’s worth checking out too.

Halloween Ends (14 – Theaters and Peacock)

Fortunately, this is airing on both streaming and in theaters and I’m ready to see how this all ends. The second movie simply wasn’t as good as the first (although it was a good effort and had some interesting moments). I was a little disappointed that Jamie didn’t have as much to do in the second mvoie which mostly focused on the different townspeople and their reaction to Michael coming back to town. This movie looks like it will focus once again on the matchup between her and Michael.

The Munsters (9/27 – Netflix)

I talked before about how while I am a big Addams Family fan, my first love was The Munsters and this is being released this week to Netflix! It looks like a whole lot of fun, which is the whole point. The focus is on the comedy, not the scares. Think of this as a less dark, more childlike version of The Addams Family. I’ll get back to you about what I think.

Queer for Fear (9/30 – Shudder)

So far, I am really enjoying quite a few of the documentaries about Horror movies that have aired on Shudder, and which seem to be their specialty. Docuseries like Horror Noire and The History of Folk Horror were really informative and well done so I’m eager to see what the Horror community has to say about Queerness in Horror films. This is narrated by Bryan Fuller an out gay creator who is the showrunner of the Hannibal series and the first season of Star Trek Discovery.

Second Tier: These are interesting and most likely will be watched.

Tales From the Walking Dead – I have yet to watch any of these. I’ll have time to do that in October, I hope.

Piggy – This looks really interesting. Its been playing at TIFF and has gotten a few accolades. It’s about a bullied, overweight girl who runs into a serial killer that taking out girls in her town who have been tormenting her and what she might decide to do or not do about that.

Teen Wolf Movie (Paramount) – I had no intention whatsoever of watching this but thought it might be of interest to other people who were really into it when it used to air on MTV.

Pearl – This looks interesting but I’m not spending money to see it. I think this is already out now.

Winnie The Pooh: Blood and Honey – I talked about this already. I still don’t know wtf to think about this movie!

Mr. Harrigan’s Phone (5 – Netflix) – This movie is one of the creepier, but lighter weight stories from Stephen King’s anthology titled Let It Bleed, about a young man receiving phone calls from a dead friend.

Wendell And Wild (28 – Netflix) – This is from the same team that created The Nightmare Before Xmas so I’m looking forward to it. I think it’s about a couple of demons who have to fight a nun or something. I don’t care. It’s on Netflix, Imma watch it.

VHS/99 (20 – Shudder) – I watched all the other films in this series, and they are all hit or miss as far as the stories. I liked the last one okay, so I’ll give this one a try.

Let the Right One In (7 – Showtime) – This week was the first time I heard about this and I really liked the movies (there are two versions, Norwegian and USian). This is about a child who becomes a vampire and how her father deals with that. It appears to be expanded a lot from the movies so I’m interested in what they’ve done with the basic story.

Prey for the Devil (28) – Normally I don’t care for exorcism movies because they all feel like retreads of The Exorcist (which is also set to get another sequel). But this one looks interesting because it’s from the point of view of a woman, a nun who wants to perform the exorcism herself.

Old People (7 – Netflix) – This one reminds me of the movie Parents, where the parents all went insane or contracted a disease or something and tried to kill their kids. So I guess now it’s the parent’s parents trying to kill their grandchildren.

Grimcutty (10 – Hulu)

I got nothing. I didn’t even know this was a thing that was happening. I don’t even know if I will watch it.

Matriarch (21 – Hulu)

This doesn’t look especially interesting to me but might be of interest to others, so I put it in this group. I don’t know if I will watch it.

Everything Else: These mostly seem to involve a whole lot of killing, zombies, and spirits! Some of these are being released later this year.

Curse of Bridge Hollow (14 – Netflix)

Spirit Halloween (11 – VOD)

Werewolf By Night (7 – Disney+)

Reginald the Vampire

The Loneliest Boy in the World

Slayers

Project Legion

Among the Living

Forthcoming Scares

Fall

They Cloned Tyrone

This is the funniest thing I’ve ever seen and has three of my top favorite Black actors in it, Teyonah Paris from Wandavision, Jamie Foxx who just starred in Day Shift, and of course, John Boyega who I always wonder what he’s doing when I don’t see him for a while. I’m not into the conspiracy stuff that’s in this but these three appear to be having the time of their lives, and I’m glad to see them working together.

A Knock At the Cabin

This is based on the book by Paul Tremblay called The Cabin At the End of the World, and involves a home invasion that is kind of unique. Dave Bautista is killing it in this role (probably literally!) I don’t want to give away any spoilers but remember the plot from Cabin in the Woods? Think of this as a thematic sequel to that movie.

Bones and All

I got nothing. I never heard of this until I stumbled across the trailer.

Last Voyage of the Demeter

Okay! This is a thing.

2023

Renfield – Nicholas Cage is back at it again.

Evil Dead Rise – A sequel to the Evil Dead remake from a few years ago. I have not seen the remake, so I don’t know about this.

Salem’s Lot – This has been promised to us for a while but they keep moving the date back and we still don’t have a trailer.

The Exorcist (Sequel) – I’m not sure this is a good idea since the original was pretty much as perfectly made as it could be, and every exorcism movie since then has been nothing but tired retreads of it, but I’m going to look at this with an open mind. There have been other sequels, and I watched those, and this may have something to say about the original that wasn’t said in those.

A Quiet Place: Day One – Seems like a good idea I guess. I like the first two movies which are actualyl scary and well acted.

Most Anticipated – New Trailers This Week

The Little Mermaid

I don’t think you guys understand just how fucking hype Black people are to see this film, how important this film is to marginalized communities, and how much we all love Ariel. We are definitely going to show up and show out for this movie. Not only is it one of the most important films from our youth (including mine) but it stars one of the hottest young singers in R&B today, Halle Bailey (not to be confused with Halle Berry), who is a member of the singing duo of Chloe and Halle. Watching this two-minute snippet gave me chills and I was already in tears by the end, the same effect the original has had on me for over thirty years.

The original Little Mermaid film was released at just the right moment for it to have an outsized influence on the trajectory of my life when I was young enough to be asking myself the kinds of questions Ariel asks in the film. (I was 19). I went to the theater with my best friend (who later came out to me as gay, so I wonder what effect the movie’s message had on him) and I was in the process of deciding to leave Design/Animation school and choose a different profession. Not only did the two of us bawl our eyes out in the theater but in every viewing I’ve ever had. So yeah, in the thirty years since I first saw this movie there’s never been a time when Ariel’s “I Want” song didn’t give me chills.

The I Want/I Wish song is a classic staple of American musical theater which is the background of the song’s writer Howard Ashman. Ashman, along with Alan Menken, wrote all the songs for the movie which was Disney’s first animated fairy tale in over thirty years. The I Want song must be sung by the film’s lead character, lay out the character’s motivation, or goals, and/or illuminate their character in some way. Ashman and Menken wrote the songs for Beauty and the Beast, The Little Shop of Horror, and Aladdin., and the I Want song has been included in every Disney/Pixar movie since.

Having a Black Little Mermaid is so groundbreaking and so important for so many little Black girls. Some parents posted pictures of their daughter’s reactions to the trailer. My favorite one of all of them is the little girl who screams “She’s Black!!!, at the top of her lungs.

It is impossible to look at this kind of pure joy and claim that representation doesn’t matter!

The Peripheral

This is a series that will be streaming on Amazon. I’m probably going to watch this for the trippy visuals and because I like Chloe G Moretz. I’m also a little bit tired of some of the fantasy stuff I’ve been watching and need a break with some scifi. This is from the writers of Westworld and I just started watching the last season that just aired. I like the writers for that series and I have high hopes for this one.

Glass Onion

I was not particularly impressed with Knives Out, although I do like these types of cozy murder mysteries in general. I did watch and enjoy The Orient Express and Death on the Nile, and I’m looking forward to this, Amsterdam, and See How They Run, movies that look a bit more comedic. I’ve heard that Janelle Monae turns in a spectacular performance in this and I’m ready for it. I hope it’s good, but then I always do.

I’ve been really spoiled for TV all year. I’m really loving a lot of the diversity I’ve been seeing in shows and movies to the point where I’ve gotten really picky and not bothering to watch any shows or movies that don’t have any PoC, or LGBTQ rep in them. First, because I really am kinda spoiled now, and I expect it, and second, I simply don’t have the time to watch much else. Hell, I don’t even have time to watch the many diverse series/movies that are out, and I’m only watching a series if it has a fantasy, SciFi, or horror element. I think the whitest thing I watched this year (as far as the cast), was The Northman.

Black Adam (Final Trailer)

I used to read the Justice Society books when I wasn’t reading the Justice League books, so I remember most of the characters here, but since I didn’t read the series with any kind of regularity (and after a while, I stopped reading superhero comics altogether) I completely missed any storylines that featured Black Adam. I know that he is a kind of anti-hero like Wolverine, who is a rival of Shazam/Billy Batson, and Superman.

This was another one of those situations in which I mostly read the series for individual characters like Doctor Fate and Hawkman. I don’t really know a lot about the other members of the Justice Society. I’m excited about this because The Rock/Dwayne Johnson looks incredible, I’ve been waiting to see him in a superhero movie for some time, and I was wondering who he would play. I would not have guessed this character but I’m not surprised. I don’t know how good this is going to be but I remain hopeful, and the trailer looks like a lot of fun, although not as much fun as the last Suicide Squad, or Harley Quinn movie.

Wendell and Wild

This movie is from the writer of Nightmare Before Xmas, which is one of my all-time favorite Holiday films, and Coraline, which is one of the most charmingly terrifying animated movies I’ve ever watched, so I’m really looking forward to this. Like I said, I’ve been getting a little bit spoiled when it comes to Black female representation in my three favorite genres this year. I mean, there isn’t and can never be enough Black female rep to make up for all the decades we’ve been horribly ignored in these types of films, but I’m okay with what I’ve gotten this year, which is kinda awesome, and I’m gonna talk about that soon.

The Mandolorian Season 3

The Mando is one of those shows I’ve been sort of quietly following the entire time. I don’t talk much about it because there’s so much stuff to talk about that a lot of what I watch is going to get lost in the shuffle, but this is a good, solid, adventure series, with characters and plots I can like and understand. It’s not too emotionally taxing or plot-dense and that makes it perfect for watching when I get home from work.

I have been a Boba Fett fan since I was a little girl, but oddly, I didn’t watch The Book of Boba Fett. I skipped that and felt no particular way about it, but I have never skipped an episode of this show, although when I first heard about it I was somewhat indifferent. The show is alright though, and who can resist Baby Yoda. (I know that’s not his name).

D23 Expo: New Marvel Studios Announcements & Reveals — Geeks Of Color

D23 took place this past weekend and we had a chance to attend the Lucasfilm, Marvel Studios and 20th Century Studios. This article will focus on the Marvel Studios portion! Kevin Feige said he’s been coming to D23 Expo for years—taking in all the performances the other studios in the Disney family bring to the…

D23 Expo: New Marvel Studios Announcements & Reveals — Geeks Of Color

10 Biopics On Black Musicians Because Elvis Presley Was A Culture Vulture — Geeks Of Color

Elvis arrived on HBO Max on September 2 for your streaming pleasure. However, if you’d like insight into some of the music the dubbed “King of Rock ’n Roll” gentrified and did not credit, here are ten biopics about Black musicians that you can stream or rent today. The United States vs. Billie Holiday (2021)…

10 Biopics On Black Musicians Because Elvis Presley Was A Culture Vulture — Geeks Of Color

Some Brand New Trailers, Y’all!

Some new trailers (more or less) dropped last week and while I’m not going to see any of them in the theater (because some of them are on TV!), I am kinda excited about a couple of them. I know that sounds rather lukewarm but I’m anticipating some fun things in November and December and I don’t have energy to get too excited about some of these.

Winnie The Pooh: Blood and Honey

The Winnie The Pooh stories are now in the public realm, which means that the characters are up for grabs as far as telling other types of stories, and someone had the bright idea to craft a Horror movie based on Hundred Acre Wood. Now, I’m from the generation that grew up with Winnie the Pooh. I nicknamed my little brother Pooh when he was a baby. I grew up with the stories, saw all the movies, and read the books, so I have no f**king idea what to think about this!

Am I gonna watch it though? Sure but I’m not gonna pay more money to see it so it better be on streaming or something…

Alienoid

This is probably gonna go to one of the streaming services at some point, but I’m curious about it. It reminds me of a 90s movie called Returner, which starred one of my favorite Japanese actors Takeshi Kaneshiro. Returner was kind of a cheap sci-fi movie and this does not look as exciting or interesting, but I’m always curious about Asian sci-fi.

Wednesday

This is one of the few shows I’m excited to watch. It looks visually stunning, I like The Addams Family, and Wednesday is one of my favorite characters. I like that all of the characters are played by Latino actors and that Gomez is a lot more physically accurate to the cartoons.

Mona Lisa and the Blood Moon

This movie will be released just in time for Halloween and is a Horror Comedy directed by Lily Amirpour, about a girl who escapes from an asylum and tries to live a regular life while being hunted by the police. And oh yeah, she also has super mental powers or something. I will not be seeing this in the theater.

Slumberland

This movie was totally not on my radar but it looks like a lot of fun, I like that little stuffed piggie, and Jason Momoa seems to be having the time of his life in it, so I’m going to keep an eye out for when this eventually makes it’s way to Netflix.

They Crawl Beneath

Okay, this straight-up looks like a cheap retread of Tremors. I will probably watch it because the lead actor is really cute, I like movies about sneaky little monsters, and this looks like it’s just in time for Halloween.

Creature of the Mist

This looks like a Korean version of The Mist but it isn’t. For one thing, there’s not a Horror movie I can think of that would not be improved with the addition of swords and Kung Fu! So whenever this reaches the US I’m probably gonna watch it.

Brahmastra

I don’t really watch Hindi movies because I am deeply afraid that everyone is going to break into a song and dance. The last time that happened to me was in the middle of what appeared to be a hardcore Action movie, and that was really jarring, and now I’m traumatized. I have tried really hard to like Hindi movies, and I sometimes get really excited to watch one now and again, but I guess they are an acquired taste, like pineapples on pizza. Normally, I don’t have a problem watching musicals! But apparently, I do not like musical numbers to show up in the middle of something else I’m watching without warning.

If someone can assure me that I will not be gangbustered with a dance routine in the middle of this movie, I will check it out because this looks awesome! (No, you cannot possibly reassure me that won’t happen because they look like they’re dancing right there in the trailer.)

Nope (Pt. 3.): Thoughts and Theories

So I have watched this a second time (on Amazon Prime streaming) and noticed a lot more stuff. Here are some of my notes from watching it, at home a third time. I also watched some reviews afterward. Normally, I don’t watch other people’s reviews or analyses, but I wanted to get an idea of what other viewers thought about the movie, and if my ideas about it were typical. It turns out that the thoughts and feelings I had were pretty typical of people who understood the movie. There was a huge contingent of people who simply didn’t understand the movie. Some of them were just people who are not especially practiced at reading movies, while some were so dazzled by the spectacle they couldn’t see a coherent point being made.

*In the biblical quote at the beginning of the movie is the line: “I will cast abominable filth upon thee.” Most people took this to be a reference to the bloody rain that the alien dumps on the Haywood Ranch at the midpoint of the movie, but I thought of this as a reference to Hollywood and the entertainment industry which regularly showers audiences with crude and dumbed-down media that is little more than intellectually inert spectacle.

*One thing that occurred to me again on another viewing was each character holds onto something that they feel is precious to them, but is also emblematic of their trauma, like Jupe and the little gray shoe. Oj holds onto the coin that Jean Jacket dropped from the sky which killed his father, and the orange hoodie that he wore to his first training job on the set of The Scorpion King 2. Em holds onto Otis Sr’s speech about Haywood Ranch which he used to give to prospective employers. She has memorized this speech down to the last detail and vocal inflection. For Antlers Holst it’s his vintage camera. I’m not sure what Angel’s token is because we only have his recent breakup with his girlfriend to associate with him.

*At every moment in the movie, we are told what the movie is about or given clues to its themes. When we first see Antlers Holst he is watching videos of closeups of different predators’ eyes. Later, we see him watching a video of a fight between two large predators. When he has dinner with the Haywoods he starts to sing the song called The Flying Purple People Eater, a one-hit wonder by Sheb Wooley, released in 1958. Otis talks with Oj about how predators cannot be tamed only bargained with. This is a callback to Gordy and a statement about Jean Jacket. Later, Oj recalls this conversation saying that one doesn’t tame a predator and you can only enter into an agreement with it. In response, Holst mentions Siegfried and Roy, this is a reference to a lion-taming duo that worked in Las Vegas. In 2003, a white tiger attacked and maimed one of the pair onstage. He survived the attack but both their careers as tamers was ended.

*I did enjoy this movie’s full use of the landscape. The images heavily reminded me of Dances with Wolves, because that’s another movie where the landscape is almost another character in the film. Peele does a superb job of making the viewer fear this wide-open panorama of mountains, blue skies, and oceans of grass, and like the characters in the movie, your eyes nervously search the fluffy white clouds for a hint that the alien is nearby. In 1975, Steven Spielberg made people afraid to go into the water, and Peele accomplishes much the same effect here, only you’ll be looking at the skies.

*Some of the imagery in the film is a callback to the mythology of ufo abductions and cattle mutilations in the Midwestern part of the US, so the link between the Western film genre and aliens has been well established. I was reminded of a documentary I watched on Hulu called Skinwalker Ranch, about a parcel of land in Utah that is infamous for paranormal events, like strange shape-shifting animals, cattle mutilations, and ufo sightings.

https://www.history.com/news/skinwalker-ranch-paranormal-ufos-mutilation

Last year, the US government declassified documents on sightings of what it now refers to as UAPs. Angel mentions the acronym but claims he doesn’t know what UAP stands for. It means Unexplained Ariel Phenomena, which I suppose is just as accurate a description of the monster in this movie as a ufo. (I watched this movie with my niece, The Potato, and she kept calling it a “you-foe” like it was all one word and I realized that I have never in my life thought of ufos as just one word!) It’s also interesting to note that Nope also stands for “Not Of Planet Earth”.

*In a blink and you’ll miss it moment a news report talks about a bunch of missing hikers in the valley, who it is assumed were eaten by the alien. If so, that would explain the falling objects at the beginning of the movie, the coin that kills Otis Sr., and the key we see embedded in Ghost’s backside. It would also explain the screaming he and Oj heard just before Otis is killed.

*Another great part of this movie are the sound effects because even if you’ve never given a single thought about such things before, you’ll notice it in this movie. After the alien has eaten (horses or people) it is preceded and trailed by the sound of its victims screaming as they are being digested, and quite frankly, that noise is probably one of the most horrifying things in the movie. If you listen hard at certain points, you can even hear individual voices. The alien itself is mostly silent except for an occasional growl (that sounds a little bit like the jets that fly over my house in the Fall). Another moment where you’ll pay close attention to sound is during Gordy’s rampage. Most of it takes place offscreen but what you can hear of it…well your imagination is gonna work a real number on you during those scenes, and you will not like it.

*There was one viewer who said the tornado effect the alien uses to slurp up prey reminded them of the tornado from The Wizard of Oz, but instead of going to some lost land, you end up somewhere much much worst.

*One of the most visually disturbing moments are the shots from within the creature’s gullet, as people and animals, alive and aware, are squeezed upwards towards its stomach. This isn’t a gory film. In fact, except for one scene, there’s almost no blood to speak of, but nevertheless, this is one of the most deeply disturbing horror movies I’ve ever watched, and that one scene apparently haunted a lot of viewers.

* I realized on my second viewing that the opening/title shots occurred at the opening of the creature’s digestive tract. There was one reviewer who said it reminded them of the old-style cameras that required the photographer to stand under linen cloths to take photos. Another reviewer said that the alien’s square mouth opening (with the green fringe) pulsed like the shutter of a camera, which is in keeping with the themes of cameras and spectacle.

*Part of the monster’s reaction to being looked at is the reaction of large predators who see eye contact as a dominance threat. Some predators (bears, spiders, birds) when they think they are being challenged by a rival will puff themselves up to look bigger and more menacing to any creature that challenges them with eye contact, which is, I think, what we’re seeing at the end of the film. The alien is indeed making a spectacle of itself to be more intimidating to Oj. I saw this and understood it, but didn’t put it together why it was doing this to Oj until I watched this a third time. A lot of people ask why it does this at the end of the movie and not at any other time. That’s because until then it has not been directly challenged by anyone but Oj, and I think it’s afraid of him, or at least wary of eating him. Every other time it chased Oj he gave ground. He averted his eyes, ran, or hid, but the last couple of times it chased him it was badly hurt, and it probably associated that pain with Oj’s orange hoodie and horse. It was chasing Oj and Lucky when it picked up the plastic horse that hurt it by getting stuck in its digestive tract. Later, Oj attracted it to him with the balloon on the end of the rainbow flag tether and the yellow spots on his hoodie, it then picked up Angel and got a mouthful of barbed wire. But now, Oj has stopped running, and is making direct eye contact, and standing his ground, so the creature probably sees Oj as another predator and puts on a threat display to make him run. Remember, to some animals, a rival stands its ground, and only food runs. Now, there were other incidents where people were staring at it and didn’t run and they got eaten, but none of them were associated with pain or harm. In fact, Jupe was probably associated with food, since he’d been feeding it for several months.

*This is also the reason I don’t think Oj dies at the end of the movie. There were some viewers who suggested that Oj standing under the Out Yonder sign meant that he was killed. First, we don’t hear anyone screaming inside the alien as it flies past Em, and second, when the creature explodes, no bodies fall out of it. I think it ignores Oj to chase the fleeing Em, and then it gets distracted by the giant balloon of Jupe, which is looking at it but also moving away. This is not a smart creature. I think it mostly runs on instinct, and throughout the movie, it mostly acts like an opportunistic predator that chases whatever is moving. An opportunistic predator changes its behavior (tactics) based on encountering prey that it wasn’t looking for. It will chase anything that runs.

*Another reason I don’t think Oj dies at the end is that the plot of this movie closely mirrors Jaws, and there’s the same fake-out death at the end of that movie when the audience believes that Hooper has been eaten by the shark. Hooper survived the shark by hiding in some rocks and reappears at the end of the movie after the shark is killed. So yes, I think Emerald is actually looking at her brother and not a ghost or hallucination. He is framed sitting on Lucky under a sign that says Out Yonder. The real-life phrase however is Over Yonder (which also means in the distance), so it’s easy to see how people got confused about it, but Oj is framed under that sign a couple of times in the movie, each framing appearing before or after he encounters the alien.

*One of my favorite moments in the movie is watching Oj’s horsemanship which is just astonishing, and I haven’t seen anyone talking about this. He is really good at training horses, and we get some idea of this when we see him after his leg is injured. He makes Lucky lay down so he can mount, a move we saw Otis Sr. practicing with Ghost at the beginning of the film. And then there’s the country western music playing as he and his trusty steed, Lucky, ride flat out across the plain as they are chased by the alien. It is a rousing classic western movie moment. (It’s also a sly reference to Oj Simpson’s white Ford Bronco slow chase in LA in 1994.)

*It took me a minute to understand the plastic horse thing. The plastic trailer from the horse is holding its aperture open (imagine if you swallowed some string and a piece of it was sticking out of your mouth) which is part of the reason it drops bloody “spoor” over the Haywood ranch. Normally when the alien drops items it can’t digest, those drops are clean and unaccompanied by other waste, but not this time because the plastic horse being lodged in it wouldn’t let its aperture close, and yes all of this sounds thoroughly disgusting and Imma stop now!

*It also took me a third viewing to figure out why the creature popped at the end because my memory of what happened was unclear. You think you remember stuff pretty clearly but…no.The alien was actually able to swallow the giant balloon of Jupe, which popped inside it. and yeah, that’s gross too…

*All-time favorite moment: Recognizing the “Akira Slide from one of my favorite SciFi movies. It says so much about Peele that he was giddily happy to add that scene and delighted that everyone recognized it!

*Agua Dulce is the name of the valley in the movie, which is actually a real place in California. The name translates as “sweet water”. Sweet Water is a very popular name in the US but it’s also a Horror movie from 2021, where a mother tracks the serial killer, who took her child, to the town of the same name, where she encounters a supernatural conspiracy.

*I also love the fact that ALL the characters of color survived to the end of the movie, and they survive by being smart and brave, and not sacrificing themselves to save a white character who did something stupid. They act the way we imagine we would in such circumstances. A running joke in the Black community is if Horror movies starred an all-Black cast, the movies would only be about thirty minutes long. There’s the scene where Angel thinks to wrap himself in barbed wire to make himself inedible when the alien comes after him, and the scene where Oj has a choice to get out of his truck and make a run for the house or stay in his truck. He decides to sleep in the truck! We didn’t have to waste precious energy yelling at him to stay in the truck.

*One of the reviewers I saw came up with a pretty intricate theory on the movie’s themes that I hadn’t heard from anyone else. He thought that the movie was about racism and white supremacy. The alien is white and acts like a plantation overseer, watching over its territory from on high, and swooping down to terrorize these PoC. But when the people of color (Angle, Em, Oj) banded together they were able to defeat the monster.

But these are not hard and fast things to believe. Just some stuff I was thinking while watching the movie. Peele himself says that the movie covers a lot of ground so any themes that people pick up on are probably correct (and probably say more about the viewer than the film).

Okay, now I’m done. I had to re-write this since the last time because after watching the movie a third time I picked up on a lot more stuff because I can pause things to write stuff down.

Next week: time for other stuff.

I Forgot These Songs Existed

(Admit It, You Did Too!)

I have to admit I had forgotten the existence of these songs until I stumbled across a video on Youtube chronicling a list of One Hit Wonders of the 80s, (there are soooo many of these.) I can’t even say I like most of these, in which case it’s okay I forgot them, but I am sad to think I didn’t remember the ones I remember liking, though. On the other hand, once I was again reminded of their existence I was able to remember most of the lyrics or at least the refrains of these songs, which means nothing more than that I have a brain that likes to hold on to useless flotsam from over thirty years ago. And no, I don’t know why my brain considers these things important enough to recall.

There were a lot more than these few songs. I just snipped out ten of the ones I most easily remembered, but there were at least a hundred on the list. You will understand why some of these were forgotten, not just by me but by people in general.

Obsession – Animotion

Iiii…I hated this song when it was released, and quite frankly, I’m not liking it too much right now.

What I Am – Edie Brickell and the New Bohemians

I remember the video for this song and how the lead singer looked like she was doing the peepee dance, and how there were several parodies of that and this song. There’s something about this song that is just very mockable. I still think Edie was high when she wrote it, sang it, and danced in the video. I don’t hate this song, but like quite a number of songs from the 80s, I don’t like remembering it.

I Just Died In Your Arms – Cutting Crew

There were a lot of one-hit songs in the 80s that were just, for lack of a better word, depressing. I thought this was one of the least depressing which isn’t saying much really. For some reason, there was something about 80s music that inspired singers to make cheezy hand gestures.

Break My Stride – Matthew Wilder

I remember this as one of those songs that I used to sing to myself whenever I was feeling coffee’d up. It’s the perfect song for when you have a little extra energy but are not doing anything in particular with it except striding from one room to another or puttering around on your front lawn. It’s one of those “I don’t sing this when I’m in the house” type of songs.

Mexican Radio – Wall of Voodoo

Something about this song just thoroughly tickled me when I was fourteen. I think it’s just the emphatic and somewhat aggressive manner with which the lead singer asserts that he is “onna Mexican radio”. I remember I would walk around the house singing this song, and while my Mom never told me to shut up, I could tell she was thinking, “What is wrong with that child?”

Voices Carry – Til Tuesday

This is yet another one of those hot on-the-charts, but depressing songs of the 80s. I never could figure out its meaning, but then that too was part of 80s music, in which people would actually get up on a stage and sing lyrics that sounded great, but made no sense. Do not watch this video if you don’t want to be infuriated by a total douche!

We Don’t Have to Take Our Clothes Off – Jermaine Stewart

Yeah, that’s a good idea.

I actually like this song though. I loaded it to my phone recently.

The Rain – Oran “Juice” Jones

This song is everything that was wrong with 80s R&B, or Adult Contemporary, I guess. Synthetic instruments of unknown origin in the background, middle-of-the-road beats, and middle-of-the-road rhythm. This song is deeply mediocre. Trust me, you will instantly forget it right after watching this video, so go ahead.

19 – Paul Hardcastle

This is another in a line of depressing Pop songs of the 80s. For some reason, some singers felt a need to put important world information in Club songs. Paul Hardcastle is not a singer. He is an instrumentalist whose done some good work. The lyrics of this song are now sadly out of date though.

Party All The Time – Eddie Murphy

Not too many people remember that Eddie Murphy had a couple of albums under his name. This was dropped when he was riding high off his movie career in the 80s. I don’t think he wants many people to remember this but it’s not a bad song. It does have the usual 80s synth problems but it’s at least listenable.

Most Ridiculous Movie Tropes II

I’m pretty sure I wrote about these movie and television tropes before, but here goes anyway. These aren’t so much the most annoying tropes as the ones most people seem to notice. Films are full of tropes, or should I say cliches? Tropes are usually how an audience determines what kind of genre the film belongs to. So technically, there’s not actually anything wrong with tropes, except when the writers and directors get lazy and throw in things that are simply silly or over-use them to create a false sense of tension like “cat the jump-scare”, which is what turns a trope into a cliche, I guess.

Here is a loose list of tropes that I personally find the most annoying and/or silly

Movie people only ever run in straight lines. No one ever moves to the left or right when they’re running. The most egregious use of this trope was in the movies Christine and Prometheus where you have characters who can clearly either run to the left or the right but insist on running straight ahead, and consequently, dying.

If someone is running they will fall down. This is inevitable. This takes place in every horror movie ever made, and most every other type of movie too. Doesn’t matter if it’s a man or a woman, they will trip and fall, sometimes over nothing or just their own feet. I’m pretty clumsy and I can count the number of times I’ve fallen in public (3). How is it even possible that the only person capable of running in a movie is Tom Cruise?

The only time people don’t fall down is when they are walking away from an explosion because:

People never run from explosions, but calmly walk toward the viewer as if nothing were going on back there. They don’t seem to care about flying debris, explosive concussion, or the heat of the blast, and they always do this in slow motion. I guess this is understandable though, considering people’s tendency to fall down when running.

No man in a movie knows how to successfully change a diaper. Most men in movies don’t know how to successfully do any household chores actually, but babies are especially difficult for them.

Babies never just pee in their diapers like they do in the real world. Babies only pee on people. If you are a man they will pee on your shirt or your pants, but if you are a woman you will be squirted in the face, usually with an extraordinary amount of urine. Considering how often that occurs, I’m convinced that something very distasteful is going on in the heads of the male filmmakers who insist that’s funny.

In movies, men only dress like women to get something. No man dresses like a woman simply because he enjoys doing so. Any man in a movie who dresses like a woman is automatically considered either funny or dangerous. They don’t actually have to do or say anything funny or dangerous. They only need to be dressed like a woman to be perceived as either.

Any man who finds out that the woman he is interacting with (even if it’s not a romantic interaction but merely a casual one) is actually transgender must pretend to vomit. This happens in every single movie that has ever introduced a transgender woman who is interacting with a cisgender man who doesn’t know she is transgender. The message being sent by straight, cisgender, male filmmakers, in film, after film, after film, is that transgender women are disgusting.

Having dinner with the family is one of the hardest things to ever do in a movie. People can never just sit down, eat, and make conversation. Something, somewhere, will go horribly, sometimes embarrassingly, wrong. Sometimes it’s the food gets dropped or somebody says or does something overdramatic. I have been to multiple family reunions, and always had a pleasant time, nothing embarrassing or horrible ever occurred at any of them. If a group of people are having a dinner, shenanigans will ensue!

No one goes to the bathroom in a movie just to use the bathroom. There is always an ulterior motive like getting killed, kidnapped, having a fight, or meeting a spy. Sometimes all of the above.

All divorcees hate each other with the passion of a thousand suns. There is never an amicable divorce in a movie, especially if kids are involved, after which all their fights will be about the husband missing alimony payments and/or missing some kind of recital. This is a staple of cop films and shows.

People never ask who it is before opening any doors. They hear the doorbell or knocking and just spring to open it. They don’t look out a window to see who it is or ask any questions. The door is never, EVER locked. Whoever it is just runs to the door and pulls it open. Doors are never locked unless:

Locked doors only ever contribute to the suspense of being chased by somebody or something. The door hasn’t been locked for the entire first half of the movie, but once someone is being chased the locks click on automatically, I guess. The person never knows how to work any of the locks, or the locks are always stuck, which I guess makes sense for why the locks are never engaged otherwise.

People never say goodbye on the phone. They always just hang up. People almost never ask who it is either, and that is somewhat understandable, since the invention of caller ID, but they also never offer greetings either. Hello is all they’re going to say. Phone calls are never pleasant activities in the movies. They always mean something bad.

People being able to find convenient parking spaces and the cars that don’t work when the killer is coming has already been heavily discussed in a lot of places, so I won’t mention them here, but there are a host of car tropes used in movies, only a few of which I find deeply annoying.

People fly through the air when they get shot by a large caliber weapon. Okay! Whose idea was it that people should take flight when they get hit with bullets? The bullet’s momentum doesn’t transfer to the person whose been hit. That is not how physics works!

Autistic people are only ever white, straight, male, and a genius of some kind.

Bombs with digital countdowns. Once you see this you can never unsee it. There is absolutely no reason, at least most of the time, for there to be a digital readout on any remote-operated explosive, but movies love them and don’t seem to be stopping doing that anytime soon.

I think I talked about the “nagging wife” cliche, once before, where a woman is constantly bothering her action/adventure husband/boyfriend/significant other, about how much he’s already given to the world, the force, the city, or whoever and how he doesn’t need to go out and save any people right now because he’s going to be late for his daughter’s dance recital, son’s baseball game, or their dinner party. Pick one! If the two of them are divorced then the subject of alimony payments will also be included in this conversation.

And quite possibly one of the most annoying cliches for me personally, are drivers who don’t keep their eyes on the road ahead and talk to the passenger next to them instead. Watch the gotdamn road, you idjit!!!.

And last but not least, people who are supposed to be hikers, meaning they have been hiking before and supposedly know what the rules are, who go out into the woods and are completely unprepared. They have no survival gear, flashlights, a compass, warm-up blankets, sleeping bags, or sometimes even water bottles. I’ve never been hiking in my life (have no intention of ever doing so) and even I know to take a compass and something waterproof to start a fire with!

So yeah, I definitely mentioned at least a couple of these in my posts about Film Shorthand, but these aren’t so much about symbols in film as they are about lazy writers and cliches that simply need to be done away with because they really don’t contribute that much to the story.

SDCC Most Hotly Anticipated

(San Diego Comic-Con)

Very obviously the top dog on this list is going to be the next Black Panther film since it is the most hotly anticipated movie being released this fall. There are at least a couple of other movies releasing this Fall and Winter, but I either already posted their trailers, or I’ve not particularly enthused about them myself, although other people may be.

I know this is probably a little bit late but I had technical problems, but they’ve been fixed now, so here goes.

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever

I have a confession to make, and I’m probably not alone in this, but I haven’t watched the original Black Panther film since Chadwick passed. Like Robin Williams, I haven’t been able to watch anything he starred in since he died. I haven’t even watched any of my Mother’s favorite films because these films only remind me that they are gone. There is no future for them, and all I will never have is their legacy. It’s gonna take me a minute to get past it, but I plan to watch the original before I watch this new one, which is going to be doubly hard because not only do I know my mother was looking forward to seeing this, as she was a huge fan of Chadwick, but Black Panther was the first superhero movie I ever saw in the theater with her.

I’m gonna need tissues.

That said, I am really hyped for this movie and not just for the Wakandan stuff. I am absolutely loving the look of the Atlanteans for the South American Indigenous regalia and vibe. I think that’s really inspired, and it all looks very lovely. We finally gonna get to see Angela Bassett tear up the screen because she wasn’t given a whole lot to do in the first one. I do like how the women of Wakanda have had to hold everything down while T’Challa is gone, so it’s not outside the realm of belief to think that one of these women might wear the mask, with the most likely candidates being Nakia (who was offered the special herb in the last movie but declined it) and Shuri (who has been BP in the comic books in her brother’s absence).

One of my favorite actresses is also starring, Michaela Coel, from the hit series, Bubblegum. I thought I’d like her to play Storm, but she is playing a canon lesbian character named Aneka, who is the girlfriend/wife of Ayo, being played by Florence (“Move or you will be moved.”) Kasumba, and I’m excited for that because there is a TV series about the Dora coming up next year. And I also need to mention that Riri Williams, (the successor to Tony Stark’s legacy), as Ironheart, will also be making her debut before her own series release next year, but she is being overshadowed by:Tenoch Huerta.

And can I just say that, although I had my doubts about this new guy playing Namor, ( I was unsure if he would bring the fire, so to speak), Tenoch Huerta is looking pretty damn fire, indeed? He certainly seems to have the attitude, and when he stood on the stage at SDCC and staring speaking Spanish to the audience, I got chills, and I hope the Mexican people are as jazzed about seeing him onscreen as we were to see BP that first time! I was really hoping they would cast Gabriel Luna, but maybe they have some other role for him (like Ghost Rider again!) because I’m really looking forward to seeing more Latin and Indigenous representation in the MCU, and in Fantasy/SciFi in general. The MCU didn’t have to make Namor Mesoamerican, but they re-wrote his character to do just that, and I have to give them their props. They have made so many people happy.

There are so many cultures that would love to see themselves represented onscreen, that would love to see elements of their stories being shown to the rest of the world, and the Marvel Universe is big enough to do just that.

Dungeons and Dragons: Honor Among Thieves

I am very much looking forward to this movie, although I don’t know if I’ll see it in the theater because that depends on what else gets released that month and if I have any money. But yeah, this looks like a lot more fun than LOTR, and House of Dragons, which are also cut from the same cloth.

This one stars one of the better Chrises, Chris Pine and he’s really cute so that’s cool. I could do without Michelle Rodriguez (mostly because she is not a likable person that I want to look at for two hours) but I do like that it has a diverse cast, because we never get to see Latinas in Fantasy stuff. I love all the sparkly magic scenes, and the movie looks like it doesn’t take itself seriously.

I like High Fantasy/Dungeons and Dragons type stuff on a TV or movie screen (and I’m still pretty damn picky about it), but I absolutely will not read any books like that. I’ve got plenty of enthusiasm when it comes to movies and shows but don’t recommend any books to me.

Lord of the Rings: Rings of Power

I can count the number of High Fantasy books I’ve read and the first three Tolkien books were it. I loved all of the movies though, not because I revere the books but for the action scenes and the characters. So basically, I’m no Tolkien purist and people like that tend to annoy me no matter what the genre. That said, I have been told we will get to see women dwarves with their beards intact. I like that the creators added a lot of PoC to this story and that they are all members of all the different races of Middle Earth, and believe it or not, I find the story intriguing too, as it’s set several centuries before The Hobbit, when Galadriel was very young.

I don’t know that I will like this but I really like the trailer, and I’m going to give it a try.

House of the Dragon

This is a legacy spinoff from Game of Thrones. I had only a passing interest in the original series, but I’ll probably check out a few episodes of this one. I wasn’t particularly invested in the various plots of GoT, and I probably won’t be here either, but I am really glad to see more PoC in Fantasy films and series. I’m glad that so many creators are simply ignoring the loud fanboys who just want these genres to stay as white, straight, and male as possible because that’s what’s comfortable for them regardless of how everyone else may feel. I think adding PoC sometimes deepens the meaning of the stories in ways, that while not actually intended by the creators, still make these vehicles worth watching for the rest of us.

We told these creators for over ten years, that if they make it, we will pay for it. They did, and we’ve kept our part of the bargain when it’s done well. They don’t always get things right, but they are listening and learning. As I said when I first started this blog: We like to have adventures too!

That said, this series looks better than the last one, and I’m still very much into the whole dragon thing, although I wonder if there will be ice zombies in this one, (a lot of people are saying no) and how engaging some of the characters will be. I am still not a fan of Matt Smith because the man’s forehead is very distracting and I simply cannot get past it. Milly Alcock however is really cute and looks like a baby (a very dangerous baby, but still).

I am not as excited about this as some other people, but I will give it a try.

The Sandman

I mentioned here before that I didn’t follow the usual comic book routes when I started reading them. There were some things that didn’t show up in my library at all, and some things showed up later, and I just didn’t read them until I was well into adulthood. The Sandman is one of those things. I’d read a few Neil Gaiman books, and liked them more or less but I wasn’t a die-hard fan or anything. He was simply another British author I was passingly familiar with.

I picked up The Sandman books in my 20s, and am passing familiar with most of the characters, so not only am I no purist, I find such people largely intolerable. Yeah, I don’t care how you think something should have been depicted (as it’s usually some inconsequential nitpicky type stuff that has nothing to do with the ultimate story, but will somehow ruin their entire childhood! No, I haven’t forgotten people acting a whole-ass-fool over the organic webspinners!) People will act a damn fool over the casting of this film and in a few years, possibly even 6 months, they will have completely forgotten their assholery and moved on to their next great film outrage.

And yes, I am old enough to remember, before social media existed, when Tom Cruise got cast as Lestat in the movie, and some people lost their shit over it!

Unless the acting is super terrible, it looks cheap, or reminds people of what happened with the failed Inhumans series, the show is going to be just fine. Most of the people watching it won’t even know anything about the minute details that are so upsetting to the stans, anyway.

All that to say, I’m not so invested in the books that I cannot enjoy this. I hope I do, and there is enough enthusiasm for me to give it a try. I try to approach every production with the hope that I will enjoy it, although if there’s no enthusiasm for it, I’ll simply skip it. That said, I have ALWAYS, and I do mean ALWAYS wanted to see a version of Death that was a Black woman and how such an actor might approach that role. I’m also loving the female version of Lucifer (Don’t know if Lucifer is female in the show or not, but the actor identifies as such.)

I Am Groot

To date, Vin Diesel has played three of the most beloved characters, The Iron Giant, Dom Toretto, and now, Groot. I am looking forward to watching these little episodes, where it looks like he’s stranded or trapped on a planet by himself, and shenanigans ensue.

And yeah, I knew those cute little blobs were going to turn out to be dangerous. If you saw the recent Suicide Squad, by James Gunn, then he does something similar with some cute little blobs in that movie, and also some more cute but dangerous tiny critters in the series, Peacemaker, and that just seems like his type of humor.

And look at that face! He’s so cute. Who wouldn’t watch an entire series about Groot, although it will be fun if we get to see him play off Drax. The two of them just mix well.

Interview With the Vampire

I first read this book as a teenager, and it quickly became one of my favorites. The original movie of this was released in the early nineties and existed alongside several other movies like it at the time, with Bram Stoker’s Dracula, and The Crow as the two movies that most often tend to mix up their images in my head. I like this trailer although I could have done without all the histrionics. And yeah, I’m glad they are not shying away from the gay angle. Louis and Lestat were a couple for almost a couple hundred years. They had a daughter. They were a little bit coy about that in the original film (but not too much) and here they’re just blatantly showing it.

Now naturally, there are going to be people who are purists who are upset at the changes that were made, but I feel like setting it later in the history of New Orleans (the late 1800s instead of in the late 1700s), and changing the race of Louis, is something that will enhance the story, making it deeper than it would have been otherwise, and allowing the current writers to address issues that maybe Rice should have thought of when she wrote the original story. They’ve also aged up Claudia a bit too. In the book, she’s like 8 or 9 years old. In the movie, she’s perhaps 12, and here she looks more like a teenager of 14-16, and they may have done this to avoid certain sensitive issues about having a child vampire, especially if there’s lots of sexuality surrounding the vampires onscreen. This ain’t a movie, where you can lightly “suggest” certain kinds of things, and have people overlook it. Aging her up might have been an attempt to not be “distasteful”, especially after what happened with the hoopla surrounding that movie with the French director and the little dancing girls.

I really enjoyed the film and I saw it a couple of times in the theater. It was directed by Neil Jordan who was most famous for having directed the genderbending The Crying Game. I distinctly remember when the cast was announced for the film. Brad Pitt got a pass, but the announcement of Tom Cruise as Lestat, had quite a number of people blow a gasket, including Oprah Winfrey! (Although I don’t know why she felt a need to chime in on the issue.) I think that Lestat is one of Cruises’ most interesting performances of his career.

Anyway, I hope this is good. In the novel, Louis de Pont Du Lac is a slaveowner, but here the writers have race-bent the character to be a member of the Black upper class, who were known as the Free People of Color, and I thought that was an inspired bit of casting. Rather than trying to redeem the slave-owning Louis, just write that out of the story altogether and then lean into the rest of the history of that area. The history of the Freedmen of New Orleans runs pretty deep and it will be interesting to see what they do with that here.

Carter

This looks like a great little actioner from Korea, that seems to have zombies or a plague or something happening in it. I always like action films from Korea because they always bring their A-game and this looks like the kind of movie where you turn your mind off for a while and just have fun with the action scenes.

This is a good movie to watch while you wait for John Wick 4.

John Wick 4

I and a lot of other fans are eagerly looking forward to this new episode in the franchise since I thought at least a few of these characters were dead! So I am glad to see that they are back and still scheming. I’m also a big fan of Keanu and will pretty much watch anything he’s in, even if it’s something I wouldn’t normally be interested in. But one of my other favorite actors is also here, Donnie Yen. And I absolutely cannot miss Keanu going up against such a consummate professional. I’m not particularly interested in the worldbuilding which is very intricate for an Action movie. I’ve paid close enough attention to have some idea of what’s going on, but I’m not too deep into it. The reason people see these movies aren’t necessarily for the plot, but for the action scenes, which are fast and inventive, and this appears to be more of the same.

Tales of the Walking Dead

I told myself I wasn’t going to watch any more of these after quitting the original Walking Dead series, but this looks intriguing enough to catch my interest. This series seems like what the movie World War Z should have been.

WWZ should have been a kind of anthology series covering the various stories about the zombie apocalypse from the book. The problem is that they hired such a huge name to star in the movie that now the entire movie has to revolve around Brad Pitt. I liked the movie more or less. It’s an alright movie on its own but, except for a couple of setpieces, it’s nothing like the book.

Honorable Mentions

Shazam 2: Fury of the Gods

Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur

She-Hulk

Next Up:

Most anticipated projects of MCU Phase 5 and 6!

Nichelle Nichols: Rest in Power

Hailing Frequencies Off

There are no words to express how much this actress meant to me, and to thousands of other Black women who looked up to her as a role model and an inspiration. From Whoopi Goldberg, to Mae Jemison, she had an incredible influence on inspring little Black girls to get into Science, go into the NASA space program, or just follow in her acting footsteps.

I love seeing that so mnay people loved her, and I’m loving the amount of tribute she is receiving right now, because some of us always knew how great she was. I’m not even sad right now. I am joyful at these celebrations of her life.

Here are some of the most glowing and beautiful tributes to this wonderful actress.

Oh, and nichelle Nichols, was, is, and always shall be, THE most beautiful woman in Star Trek!

Innocent Looking But Hungry SCPs

The SCP Wiki is full of innocuous-seeming SCPs that actively hunt and eat people. These are objects and/or things that have a taste for human flesh but are often camouflaged as a natural part of the environment, a house, a car, a bag, or some object you might actually be carrying on your person. Earlier, I talked about carnivorous coins and predatory graffiti. The key is that the object has to be disguised as something you see every day, and it has to be a biological creature that entices or hunts humans for food.

Most of these are classified as SAFE because they require little in the way of containment. All you have to do is avoid them, but some of the others are not quite that clear-cut, and despite not being world-ending SCPs, are hungry all the time, and do require some pretty elaborate containment to keep them under control.

And a few of these are not and never have been secured or contained.

Beware of innocent-looking objects. You may not survive interacting with them.

SCP 101: Hungry Bag

Don’t worry! This is an SCP that has been completely secured and contained, I think. It was found in the mountains next to an armless man that some believed to be DB Cooper. This isn’t an active predator but one that likes to entice its prey into reaching inside. Inside are a set of giant teeth, and a tongue that leads to god only knows where but appears to be interdimensional. Its origin is unknown. No, it doesn’t speak. It will eat absolutely anything you drop into it and can change shape and size to appeal to passersby by transforming itself into things like Krispy Kreme boxes, expensive totes for wealthy boutiques, or grocery bags that are indistinguishable from the real thing.

This does remind me of that cup that changes shape to trick people into picking it up and then drains all their bodily fluids. It doesn’t eat people, exactly, but you definitely will not survive interacting with it.

So yeah, I fervently hope this thing is secured. Or that there aren’t any more of these hiding in the wild somewhere or that next donut could be someone’s last.

SCP 647: A Cardboard Box

This is one that I found deeply creepy. It looks like a raggedy cardboard box someone dumped in an alley but it’s a sly predator that actively hunts and attacks people when it gets hungry enough, which sounds pretty silly, except when you think about how it was discovered. The SCP was alerted to its existence after the disappearance of a large number of homeless people that could not be accounted for by the general activities of the homeless in that area. It prefers to act as a lure, enticing its prey by appearing to hold objects like blankets, canned goods, and even bottles of liquor inside. When that doesn’t do the trick it then becomes a bit more mobile, removing itself to new locations (its method of locomotion is unknown) and even springing onto its victims if necessary.

Once it has a victim, the flaps close and it emits digestive juices that liquify the victim’s insides, after which it ejects the bones and clothing and moves to a new location. It possesses the ability to self-repair (the repairs start out looking like duct tape but then eventually blend into the cardboard) when it gets vandalized, but it will protect itself by shooting digestive fluids at an attacker. The SCP keeps it contained by feeding it one D-Class person a day to keep it from attacking personnel or relocating and thereby breaking containment.

I don’t know why but I thought this one was creepier than the hungry bag. Probably because it feeds on the most desperate and helpless people, while the bag mostly just feeds on the greedy.

SCP 307: Hungry Ivy

This SCP heavily reminds me of the creeping Ivy known as Kudzu in the American South. The only difference is that Kudzu doesn’t eat people or actively hunt them when they come within its sensory orbit, as far as I know. This SCP has been known to extrude snake-like tendrils in a flanking maneuver to grasp its prey, indicating at least a certain amount of, not just awareness, but intelligence.

I don’t know if it’s Keter class creature, but people are not allowed to be near it, it’s kept in a small steel room with strictly controlled humidity and temperature to inhibit growth, and its care is entirely controlled by remote. This Ivy will grow on anything except metal and any person who comes into physical contact with it and survives the experience, will become a vector through which it can spread, so they are automatically terminated. So yeah, it’s slightly more dangerous than Audrey II.

Upon contact with any warm-blooded prey, it will paralyze them, liquefy its insides, including muscles and organs, and drink them through the numerous large red thorns covering its vines. This has led to researchers referring to it as “spider ivy” and no, I do not like this at all, thank you for asking.

SCP 729: Marble Bath

Who doesn’t love a soft, soothing bath?

Okay, this one is very obviously not an active predator. I certainly can’t see this thing romping through the streets chasing after victims, but then, it doesn’t need to. No, this is the kind of object that gently entices a person to get inside it by inducing feelings of relaxation, or a desire to feel clean. Once a person gets in the tub they cannot be persuaded to leave without violence. After a while, their muscles begin to atrophy, and the fat in their body dissolves, spreading out into the water, which the victim either ignores or just doesn’t notice. In the last stage before death, their internal organs get removed into the water, while still intact. It can take approximately 7 to 8 days for their entire body to be dissolved, which causes some discoloration in the marble, after which, it and the water become clear again.

I do not own a marble tub but this still make me want to test out my bathwater by throwing in the family pet first (which I would never, btw.)

SCP 189 Parasitic Hair

I think this one is pretty disgusting and kinda terrifying. If you’ve got issues with worms for example you might want to skip this one.

So technically this one doesn’t actually eat people, but it does hint people for food. It will replace all the hair on their body and use them to infect new creatures or people. It was discovered after a researcher took his dog on a trip to the rainforest, only to find after he’d come back that most of his dog’s fur wasn’t even fur, but hair like worms that moved of their own volition to infect new hosts.

These creatures eat hair and replace the follicles with their own bodies, which sounds pretty insidious to me. The SCP spends most of its energy monitoring for external infestations of the parasite and trying to keep its one specimen from breaking containment, activities consisting of quarantine, stringent anti-parasite protocols, and sometimes extermination.

Yes, the whole thing makes my skin creep, but better that than my hair.

SCP 330 Bowl of Candy

Okay, this one doesn’t eat people but it does involve enticement, food, and death, so I think it’s fair to add it here. SCP 330 is a small metal bowl full of candies (apparently the candies can look like whatever is most popular) with a small sign attached to the bowl which instructs a person to take only two. All attempts to cover or remove the sign have failed, and it is impossible not to read the sign, even when seen from multiple angles.

If a person reaches into the bowl and takes more than two pieces of candy their hands will be severed at the wrist, regardless of how the candy was removed. For example if a robotic arm is used to take three pieces of candy the person’s hand will still be cut off. The bowl will “reset”, every 24 hours, after which it becomes safe to remove two more pieces of candy.

Even though candy is enticing this SCP is easily avoided, and requires little in the way of containment. It’s simply been locked away in a container.

SCP 4740 Serrated Lawn

Yeah, just like the marble Tub, I don’t see this SCP chasing people down and chomping down on them, although it does remind me of a humorous Science Fiction story in which a guy gets chased around the galaxy by his vengeful lawn!

This one is still pretty insidious (and kind of mean) because who doesn’t like strolling barefoot on a beautiful green lawn? Well, strolling on this one would be lethal. The plant acts much like a honeydew. When victims tread on it they get stuck on the small barbs along the edges of the leaves as the blades of grass become embedded in the flesh. The blades emit digestive fluids and “drink” the liquified flesh. Basically you get stuck, you fall over, and you get eaten.

It’s containment involves keeping it from sending out seeds and reproducing uncontrollably, so it’s kept in an oxygen rich, low light environment.

SCP 574 Predatory Buildings

Well, naturally this is not an SCP that actively chases down people to eat, but the location does actually eat people, and much like the predatory cardboard box, it uses sounds, scents, and images to entice people into its interior.

SCP 247 Tiger Cat

I do love cats so this one is especially terrifying. There are some things in the SCP where you just know if you encountered it you’d be dead in a few minutes. A lot of these creatures and objects play on human weaknesses that would otherwise be considered non-lethal, or at the very least, benign.

SCP 3470 The Car

I have no idea what to think about this one because it’s just so damn weird, and many of the SCP researchers aren’t exactly sure if it eats people, or just transports them somewhere. It is dangerous though, and only partially contained, meaning they know where it is and have the area blocked off from traffic, but it’s not locked up or anything.

This isn’t the only vehicular predator out there either. Apparently, the roads of America are just chock full of vehicles that are only pretending to be vehicles, which does not inspire any trust in public transportation.

This vehicle haunts the backroads of a forested area of the US, where it will follow its prey until it runs the person off the road. It appears to be the car from the Harry Potter movies, and there even appears to be a driver inside, although the windshield is fogged so that the face can never be seen.

One of the creepiest things about this vehicle is the drivers hand, as the car follows its victims by sticking its hand out of the window and making driving signals, but there are two eyes set in its palm. It’s method of consumption however is unknown. It was tagged at one point but all efforts at investigation have resulted in missing people.

SCP 1701 Pop-Up Canopy

Okay, even I had to laugh at this one, although it isn’t a joke SCP. It’s a real SCP with a name and class and everything, and it is deeply weird! I’m

SCP 1507 Pink Flamingos

I have never liked Lawn Flamingos or even lawn gnomes or jockeys. I don’t get decorating one’s lawn with objects that are not flowers, trees, or grass. That said, I did think the SCP for this was pretty funny, as it’s written as an emergency recording of some random homeowner’s encounter with these creatures.

Dishonorable Mentions

SCP 2086 Carnivorous Public Bus/Rerouting

SCP 799 Carnivorous Blanket

SCP 160 Predatory Drone