My Oscar Picks For 2023

I know, I know! Normally I don’t pay any attention to the Oscars but this year I will because why not?

I’ve actually seen a number of the movies that were nominated and most of the movies are easily accessible for me to view them. There are only about three movies that are not readily viewable but I still hold tremendous respect for either the actors or the directors so have no objections to their nominations. This is not a list of nominees, btw. (I have a link to that below.) This is a list of movies I’d love to win in their respective categories and why I chose them, along with which movies should have been included in that category but weren’t.

Will I watch the Oscars this year? I don’t know. Maybe. I didn’t watch last year’s much more spectacular episode, so it very much depends on how I feel or what I’m doing on the night in question. I hope there is not a repeat of what happened last year although Jimmy Kimmel is NOT a particularly funny man and I’m not looking forward to watching two or three hours of his horrible jokes. Don’t get me wrong, I like it when movies I like win awards, but I’m not that heavily invested and most years I just check to see who won after it’s all over.

Okay first up, the biggest snubs of last year:

Till – Neither the movie nor its Black female director was recognized by the Academy.

MEN – Should have been nominated in the Sound category. The movie sounds gorgeous and it’s also not too bad in the Original Score category.

The Woman King – Should have been nominated in the category of Best Picture and Gina Prince-Bythewood for Best Director (rather than the usual boys club we got for Director.)

Nope – Should have at least been nominated in the Sound, Editing, or Cinematography categories, or even for original Screenplay. Jordan Peele deserves some kind of recognition for this movie.

She Said – This should’ve been nominated for Best Screenplay and Maria Schrader should have gotten a nod in the Best Director category.

The Northman – This is another movie that could have been nominated for Best Adapted Screenplay or at least for its Cinematography.

Now, on to my favorites:

Best Picture

Everything Everywhere All At Once – I don’t think I can express just how meaningful this movie was for so many people and that needs to be recognized in some way. The cinematography was superb, the acting was phenomenal and the writing was incredible. I don’t think I’ve ever watched a movie that made me cry and laugh from one moment to the next and had some beautiful messages in it. I think this one will become one of those cult classics people talk about for decades.

Best Director

The Daniels for Everything Everywhere All At Once – They did an incredible job on this film. I love Spielberg, and he is who will probably win, but it is The Daniels who truly deserve to be recognized in some manner.

Best Actor

The Awards season has two major comeback actors, Brendan Fraser, and Ke Huy Quan. Ke is not nominated in this category but Fraser I feel deserves all the honors here. I am not as familiar with his action adventure and comedy work as I am with his dramatic works. I know him as an incredible dramatic actor who deserves recognition for his role in The Whale.

Best Actress

Michelle Yeoh – It’s not that the other actresses in this category don’t deserve this nomination but I’ve been following Michelle’s career since the early 90s when she starred in a movie with Maggie Cheung called The Heroic Trio. So yeah, I am a very long time fan of her work and I just want her to win this because it would be the culmination of a very very long journey for her.

Best Supporting Actor

Ke Huy Quan – Words cannot express how much everyone’s embrace and remembrance of this actor means to him, I think. I’m also surprised at the sheer outpouring of love and affection the world is showing for this actor. Also, I just want him to win because it would be an incredibly beautiful story of dreams fulfilled and I know his Oscar speech is gonna kill it!

Best Supporting Actress

Angela Bassett – I think she should win because Angela has been bringing her A-game since the beginning of her career and she deserves that recognition. Wakanda Forever is one of the first MCU films to be recognized in this category, and Basset just tore it up in her role as Queen Ramonda. That speech she gives at the beginning of the movie gave me chills.

Best Adapted Screenplay

Glass Onion – This is one of the most fun movies released last year. I was one of those people who was mad a Rian Johnson for what he did to the Star Wars franchise but I can forgive him for that after watching this movie. It’s just so much fun, filled with so many Easter eggs, messages, and layers, and yet it still manages to be light-hearted and not so deep it cannot be enjoyed in a superficial manner. This was just a well-written film.

Best Original Screenplay

The Banshees of Inisherin – This movie definitely got me in my feels. I know I said other movies should have been nominated in this category but this is what we go so this is what I’m picking. I suppose I’m going to have to talk about this movie at some point because it’s a lot deeper than it at first appears, and its message, about two friends who have a falling out because one of them simply doesn’t want to be friends anymore, may not be as pessimistic as it seems.

Best Animated Feature Film

Guillermo Del Toro’s Pinocchio – There’s nothing deep about my choice here. I haven’t even finished watching this movie. I just want Guillermo to win every award he gets nominated for because I love his work. This is an easy choice to make.

Best International Film

I haven’t watched any of the films in this category, so I have nothing to pick. I’ve only heard about a couple of them by rough description.

Best Documentary Feature

The only movie I heard of in this category was Fire of Love, which I have not seen, so I can’t actually pick anything. I would have preferred that the documentary, Use of Force, about police brutality in the US, be in the nominations, but I guess either no one saw it, it just didn’t get enough votes, or maybe it was just too damn depressing.

Best Film Editing

Everything Everywhere All At Once – Of course, I picked this film! And yes, it was very well edited.

Best Cinematography

I have such tremendous respect for all the movies in this category, I simply couldn’t pick just one of them. These are all beautiful-looking films that I have, unfortunately, only watched the trailers for. I hope to watch all of these before the Oscars air, and I want to see all of them, but the ones I’m most looking forward to right now are Bardo and Tar.

Best Costume Design

Ruth Carter – Black Panther: Wakanda Forever – Ruth Carter has won for the first film so why not give her this one too? Surely her costuming skills have not degraded since the first film? Bassett’s wardrobe in this movie was giving me life. We also got to see some nifty new costumes for the Dora Milaje. and the costumes for the Namor’s people (most especially Namora) were stupefyingly gorgeous! Ruth Carter is a fashion genius.

Best Makeup and Hairstyling

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever – Of course, Ruth Carter deserves this one too.

Best Music (Original Song)

Lift Me Up – Rihanna (Black Panther: Wakanda Forever)

Best Music (Original Score)

The Banshees of Inisherin – The music does a lot of work illuminating the mood of this film.

Best Sound

The Batman – This is one of my favorite scenes!

Best Visual Effects

This was another category where I couldn’t choose just one although I am leaning in the direction of either Avatar or Wakanda Forever, even though the other films they are up against are not slacking as far as imagination.

[There are a lot more categories than the ones I listed here, but wasn’t, because I wasn’t especially invested in the winner or didn’t know enough about the category to become invested.]

The Greatest Cinematic Moments On My TV This Year

(Even If Some of Them Were Not Movies)

Rather than do the typical Best of or Top Ten Movies of the Year list I’ve decided to talk about some of the greatest images that graced my TV this year (because I didn’t go to the movies much this year).

If you are a film and TV fanatic like me, then by the time you’re my age you will have amassed a ton of images that will sit with you and affect you for your entire life. I can’t list the number of movie and television scenes and images that have emotionally affected me in ways I’m still assessing today, and this year added another bunch of images that made me laugh, brought me to tears, terrified me, changed my thinking about the world and the people in it, or were sometimes just plain fun!

Last year, my mother (a devoted Horror movie fanatic) passed away in hospice at the age of 71. Every image of every movie that she carried with her is gone but I can still feel close to her through the movies she watched. I have always used stories (in books, movies, and songs), as therapy and this past year was exceptionally therapeutic for me in dealing with my grief. What I was going through didn’t feel quite so bad because I didn’t feel as if I was going through some singular event that other people had not experienced. I was able to process my feelings while watching some pretty intense cinema or alleviate my anxiety with laughter, and I was able to share these feelings with you guys by writing about them in this space.

This year was an incredible year of cinematic (and musical) healing for me.

May the next year be even better!

Keep Moving Forward

1.Moon Knight (Season 1: Episode 6)

This is my all-time favorite television series for this year (with Interview with the Vampire being almost a tie). This series is full of some great moments that are just plain fun, like the moment when Stephen, having stumbled upon his own version of being the Moon Knight gets into a final battle with the show’s primary antagonist. Stephen’s clueless version of Moon Knight wears an actual 3 piece suit. In the middle of the final boss fight, Stephen and Mark are expertly switching control of their shared body between them. Stephen gets knocked down, immediately hops back up, and brushes the dirt off his still immaculately white suit!

That there is what’s known as “swag”, or “attitude”.

I identified with Mark and Stephen’s journey of personal unification because I’ve been on that journey myself. When I was little, being on the autism spectrum meant there was a clear division between my intellect and my emotions. Like Mark and Stephen, I’ve spent my life attempting to unify the two sides of my personality, to join them together to work for each other. This is not a journey I’m ever going to finish, I think, but I have made enormous headway, and one of the greatest cathartic moments in the series was when Mark and Stephen finally did so, thus proving that the whole really is greater than the parts.

All of the fight scenes in this show are fire, and change and evolve as the relationship between Mark and Stephen evolves, to reflect their characters. I can fault Disney for a lot of things, but stinting on Action scenes isn’t one of them. I can always count on the MCU to bring me the very best ultra-violence. The choreography for their shows and movies is insane and watching heroes kick ass (and doing so with style) has always been a cathartic experience for me. I can identify with the hero and express my badassery in a perfectly safe environment while in my bunny slippers, and this series was awesome for that.

2.Everything Everywhere All At Once

I can’t say watching this was a mistake because I had no idea what I was getting into when I first watched it. EEAAO is very one of the most profoundly moving, touching, and hilarious movies in a year full of great films. It stars Michelle Yeoh, so I suspected there might be some Kung Fu, but the movie has a wealth of lovely surprises. It is about the frayed relationship between an overworked first-generation immigrant named Evelyn, who runs a dry cleaner with her annoyingly upbeat husband Waymond, and their nihilistic disaffected daughter Joy, all while undergoing a tax audit, planning a work party, and hosting her disapproving father.

One of the greatest treats of this movie was the re-emergence of Ke Huy Quan, from his decades-long retirement from acting, and who I fondly remember as Short Round from the second Indiana Jones movie (and Data from The Goonies). I don’t even begin to understand why but Short Round was always one of my favorite childhood characters and his name just stuck with me over the years until eventually, it became a nickname for my Mom, who was a whole inch shorter than me, which made me obnoxiously smug. I cannot explain why I had so much joy at seeing him alive and well, and being happy about this role.

That said, despite identifying with all the characters, my absolute favorite is Ke Huy Quan’s Waymond, and it is his philosophy of life that neatly cleaved my brain because he explains so much about how I try to approach the world, and why, despite this being one of those mother/daughter relationship movies you would think I’d be overcome by (and I was) it is Waymond who most easily resonates with me. Where Joy has fallen into despair and wants to end it all, it is Waymond’s philosophy, the exact opposite, that ends up saving Joy and the rest of the world from the annihilation that is the Everything Bagel:

 Waymond: When I choose to see the good side of things, I’m not being naive. It is strategic and necessary. It’s how I’ve learned to survive through everything.

This is a philosophy I adopted because, like Joy, I’ve seen the opposite end of that spectrum and it’s not a philosophy that’s survivable. There were a lot of moments in this movie that made me cry because they just happened to hit me at the right time to affect me, like the conversations between Evelyn and Joy, but it was Evelyn’s conversation with an alternate universe Waymond that opened the floodgates and allowed me to mourn in a way I had not been able to in the wake of my mother’s death, (because I was still mostly in shock). This movie just showed up when I needed it.

Like all good mothers, my mom never liked seeing her children in distress, and I think she would be proud of how well I’m doing right now.

This is one of those movies that changes or reaffirms your thinking about the world, the people around you, and how you approach life.

Yeah, it’s one of those.

3.Men

I think a lot of people avoided watching this movie because of the title, but things are not as they seem. The title is provocative, but the movie isn’t about castigating men. It’s about one woman (Harper Marlowe) dealing with the particularly harrowing loss of just one man, and I’m convinced that most of it takes place solely within her own mind. In other words, the movie is a lot deeper than it looks.

One of the most interesting images is the only other actor in the movie, Rory Kinnear, has his face creepily (and sometimes unconvincingly) superimposed onto the bodies of all the other men in the movie, signifying that what’s being critiqued here are certain types of men and their behavior. That at base all of their behavior comes from one source, and are really just different manifestations of only one issue – misogyny.

There’s the husband who threatens suicide if she divorces him, and then hits her, the priest who blames her for his death, then makes a pass at her, the child who calls her a stupid bitch when she refuses what he wants, the cop who dismisses her concerns and later tries to assault her, and there’s the naked man who is symbolic of natural masculinity in the form of the mythic Green Man, who keeps trying to get into her house to do…what exactly? All of this is tied into images of the Green Man, the Earth Mother, Christianity, the cycles of nature, and the lies patriarchy has created about women.

My favorite scene however is just a touching and beautiful moment about a woman literally discovering her voice. Harper takes a walk in the countryside and comes to a large open tunnel. She spends a minute or two singing into the tunnel and listening as her voice boomerangs back to her. Her voice is high and pure and she takes an almost childlike delight in just making as much noise as she wants, in a public place, in a free and uninhibited manner. It just looked like she was having so muchf un, and every time I watch that scene I feel the urge to sing along with her.

The entire movie stops to accommodate this moment and I was as thoroughly delighted by it as Harper!

4.Thor: Love and Thunder

Sometimes, I love movies that everyone else likes to hate on, and you know what? I’m good with that. I love what I love for my own reasons, not theirs, and I stand by and will back up my reasons why I do, even though sometimes my reasons are just because I do. I know a lot of people hated this movie. I do not particularly care if they did or why because this movie just brought out the feels and the kid in me, and I needed that. I’ve watched this on Disney + multiple times and it brings out both the pathos and delight in me each time.

One of the more interesting aspects of this phase of the MCU is that much of it deals with mourning the deaths of loved ones and people’s response to mourning. From dealing with death badly in WandaVision, to how humanity dealt with the aftermath of The Blip in Falcon and the Winter Soldier, to the aftermath of Tony Stark’s death in Spiderman No Way Home to the death of Chadwick Boseman in Wakanda Forever, to this: Thor, mourning the loss of his entire family and homeworld and finding new love and purpose, against an antagonist who dealt with his loss through anger and revenge. Thor and Gor the Godslayer are mirror images of one another and each of them deals with loss in a way that heals or harms other people. Thor chooses to love while Gor chooses to kill.

But my favorite scene has nothing to do with that part of the plot, and it was difficult choosing between this scene and any scene that involved Thor’s screaming goats, Tanngrisnir and Tanngnjóstr. There’s a scene in the movie where Thor is able to pass his powers to a group of frightened children to help them defeat the shadow enemies invoked by Gor, and that entire scene just gave me life! My favorite of all the children turned out to be the young Black boy who happens to be the son of Heimdall, The Bifrost Guardian. He has at least some of his father’s powers, but what was most admirable to me was his ability to step into a leadership role for the other children in the absence of the adults. I’m not normally into watching little kids engaging in acts of ultra-violence but Taika Waititi has a knack for making things that seem mildly subversive look like a great deal of fun. It doesn’t hurt that all the kids in the movie were the children of the staff on the set!

Oh, and the little girl with the laser-eye death bunny is the mood I’m carrying into 2023!

5. Interview With the Vampire (Season 1: Episode 7; The Thing Lay Still)

Interview with the Vampire was just voted by Vanity Fair as one of the best series on TV this year and I am here for it. This also showed up on my favorite TV series list too, because the show is simply wild. It’s crazy and beautiful, and sexy, and campy, gory, bloody, and brutal, but also deeply hilarious. Just when we thought the year was ending and there were no more high notes to be had, AMC handed us this beautiful gem of a series and we are all smitten.

Yes, they race-swapped Louis De Pont Du Lac from the books. He is now being played by Jacob Anderson (Greyworm in Game of Thrones), and he is (literally) killing it in this role. Anne Rice signed off on all this before she passed and her son Christopher (who is openly gay) also signed off on the rest, and those gay sensibilities show in the plot and themes. By changing the race of the character and making his sexuality explicit the writers have deepened the story considerably. Even moving the timeline to the early 1900s has made certain elements of the plot more interesting, since it’s now set during the Jazz age of the Jim Crow South. Also, changing Louis’s race has seemingly attracted a few straight Black male fans, which is not the demographic I first thought of when I heard this was getting made. They seem to really be enjoying the show too and good for them.

Sam Reid is also literally killing it as Lestat. In fact, he is so good he almost makes me forget the Tom Cruise version from the 1994 film. Almost. Reid so embodies this character though that fans are saying he is possessed by the spirit of Lestat, and when he and Jacob are onscreen together it’s like lightning, their chemistry is just that good. (It doesn’t hurt that they’re friends in real life.) Bailey Bass is an aged-up Claudia, and all those people who thought an older version of Claudia wouldn’t carry the same dramatic weight as someone much younger (in the books Claudia is about 6, which would be a logistical nightmare to film) well, those people were wrong. Claudia brings all the drama and hysteria of a teenage vampire to this role and she is great in it. And let’s not forget the award-winning playwright Eric Bogosian as Daniel, an older, less patient, and curmudgeonly version of the Daniel from the books, since this series is set 50 years after his first interview with Louis, which was never published.

For all the things that were changed, some things remain the same and that is the tumultuous relationship between Louis and Lestat. I’d say my favorite episode was the very first one in which the very closeted Louis meets and is successfully seduced by Lestat into becoming a vampire, but my favorite scene is the culmination of Louis’ season-long character arc in the final episode. He goes from being a deeply closeted gay Black man, unwilling to acknowledge it even to himself, to an out and proud gay Black man, and Lestat’s lover, at a grand New Orleans Ball, sharing a passionate kiss after inviting Lestat to a waltz, and something which thoroughly scandalizes their guests. It is one of the most beautiful scenes of the entire season, followed by one of the nastiest, goriest bloodbaths of the season.

This show was renewed for a second season before the first episode even aired, and I just don’t know what I’m going to do until it starts. The show is just really juicy and you have some idea of what’s coming in the future if you’ve read the books. The writers are doing everything right here. The writing is messy and florid and overdramatic, just like Anne Rice’s writing, and a lot of the dialogue is kept intact from her books. I hope the series lasts at least as long as Buffy, and it will be a miracle if it lasts as long as The Walking Dead, and I want to be right there until the end.

6. Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness

Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is one of the few Horror/Superhero movies out there and I loved it, especially since it’s directed by one of my all-time favorite directors, Sam Raimi, who included more than a few moments of sheer terror in his Spiderman trilogy of ten years ago. He kept that same energy here and there are more than a few of his favorite Horror movie tropes included in the imagery of this film, including a scene of The Scarlet Witch climbing out of a mirror, a multi-handed zombie version of Doctor Strange, and a scene where two wizards attack each other using musical notes. (Sam Raimi loves musicals so you know there was going to be a musical scene in here).

But above is one of my favorite scenes of Doctor Strange along with the young girl he’s trying to save getting blasted through multiple portals through other universes, paralleling a scene from the first movie where Strange gets blasted through different universes by the previous Sorceror Supreme, all of which look compellingly fun or nightmarish depending on which suit your fancy. There’s a world of dinosaurs, giant human bones, and cartoons, but the prettiest one is a world made of liquid crayons, I guess. ( And in a callback to something a character once said on Buffy the Vampire Slayer I think one of those universes was full of shrimp!)

Disney is finally starting to make movies that feel different from one another and include other genres, and this movie is a great parallel to Disney’s introduction of Horror themes and Supernatural creatures into the MCU this year in shows like Werewolf by Night and Moon Knight. I’m still going to call this the first MCU Horror movie because all of the tropes are right there. There are zombies, specters, jump scares, blood and gore (within reason), chase scenes from red-eyed phantoms, giant eyeball creatures, and a child in danger! If you liked the first Spiderman trilogy, and the Evil Dead movies, then check this out.

7. Love Death and Robots Season 3: Episode 4 (Tiny Zombie Apocalypse): Night of the Living Mini-Dead

This year’s Love Death and Robots season 3 was really strong this year, with some absolutely gorgeous animation based on Scifi Horror stories from my favorite writers, like Neal Asher, Michael Swanwick, Alan Baxter, and John Scalzi, in stories that range from poetic nightmares like Bad Traveling to comedies like Mason’s Rats, to tragically beautiful stories of conquest like Jibaro. I had several favorite episodes this year.

This one episode though is, hands down, one of the most hilarious zombie apocalypses I have ever seen. Yes, it’s even funnier than Shaun of the Dead, not just because it takes place in speeded-up miniature, but because of the incredible attention to detail in its homages to Night of the Living Dead, the Dawn of the Dead remake, Train to Busan’s and Peninsula’s fast zombies and Mad Max vehicles, an Attack on Titan shoutout, and Resident Evil mutated zombies. But my all-time favorite scene is the one with the tiny monks Kung fu-ing zombie ass at a mountaintop Shaolin Temple, echoing a scene from the book World War Z. In fact, I would watch an entire full-length movie that included all the scenes from this short.

It’s truly the attention to tiny details that had me rolling though, from the opening scene of the desecration at the cemetery (and how it sounds) which awakens the zombies, to the jogger who pushes her friend at the zombies only to be eaten and revived herself, to the Popemobile spewing gunfire while donuting outside The Vatican. And I love how the zombie apocalypse just goes from bad to worse with irradiated and mutated zombies spewing green fire.

Good lord! This needs to be a full-length film! I’d watch 90 minutes of this utter mayhem!

8. The Northman

The single biggest factor in people’s attraction to this movie was the trailer and the scene where a scantily clad Alexander Skarsgard reaches up, catches a thrown spear, and lobs it back to hit the thrower. I’m not gonna lie, that was what originally attracted me to the film as well, and thankfully, the movie proved to have as much substance as style. See! Not everything I watched this year was frivolous!

The Northman is based on the Scandinavian story which inspired Shakespeare’s Hamlet. Amleth watches as his father, a man he idolizes, is murdered by his uncle. His mother is seemingly kidnapped and he vows to avenge his father save his mother, and kill his uncle in that order. Amleth grows to adulthood, learns of his uncle’s location, and decides to implement this plan, while the audience heckles the screen to suggest that he could maybe let it go.

The movie is also about fate and destiny, and how that figures into the choices a person makes. Amleth is told several times by psychics that it is his destiny to avenge the destruction of his family but he is also challenged to give up his vendetta and settle down with his wife and children. He chooses his vendetta and although the motivation for his choice isn’t exactly wrong, at any point along his journey of revenge, he could have stopped and let his uncle live out his life in relative peace.

This movie turned out to have a surprising amount of depth. Surprising because I was expecting more flash than story, and I was expecting more of a Hamlet retread, and what I got was an exploration of the concepts of fate and destiny, and how much of a choice we have in what happens in our lives and the lives of others.

9. Nope

What can I say? This movie had all of my favorite things. ufos. blood, gore, excellent horsemanship, and two incredible lead characters, the brother and sister duo of Emerald and OJ Haywood, but my all-time favorite moment was when Emerald does this particular bike maneuver, called The Akira Slide. Since it was first seen in Katsuhiro Otomo’s 1988 anime film Akira this moment has been imitated and recreated in almost every animated series worth watching since!

The idea of a live-action Akira has been bruted around for over three decades and this scene is as close as we’ve come outside a few concept videos. In fact, Jordan Peele himself was slated to direct a live-action version but that fell through when he decided to devote his energy to his own projects. He said that an homage to the project he dropped seemed in order, though.

That’s it! Just a fun nostalgic moment in a great Horror movie that had me kicking up my bunny slippers!

(Note: I do not actually own a pair of bunny slippers.)

10. The Batman

I would not call this movie fun but I did enjoy it, and that kind of surprised me. I didn’t think anything was going to come close to being as good as Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight Trilogy but this was a nice try and I liked it. I think this is a baby Batman in his first few years in Gotham and you can kind of see that in his fighting style, but this scene is the one that I found the most compelling. This is the audience’s first sight of The Batman and I loved the sound design of this scene.

The music, the ominous sound of his footsteps just before he fades out of the shadows, and the sound of rain in the background. The whole movie sounds great, which is not something I usually pay a whole lot of attention to, but I’ve started to pay attention since Villaneuve’s Dune did it so well. This was a superb introduction to this version of Batman, who has yet to learn that it’s not enough for him to just scare Gotham’s predators. He needs to protect the innocent too, something he begins to understand during the course of the movie.

Honorable Mentions

11. Wednesday Season 1: Episode 4 – Woe What a Night

I think this particular scene is definitely going to go down in history as iconic. For context, this is Wednesday Addams getting down on the dance floor at the new High School she was exiled to after she released predatory fish into the swimming pool at her last one. There was blood. I have always liked this particular character, especially the movie versions since she always represented things I have either actually said to people (I know right?!!) or wanted to say to people. I even liked the 1960s baby-girl version of her, and if you look really close you can see Jenna reproduce baby Wednesday’s iconic dance moves from the earlier TV series. Wednesday dances like she’s challenging her partner to a duel.

I wasn’t sure how I was going to feel about this series. I was cautiously excited about it because it’s Tim Burton, who has made it clear that he feels about Black people the way I feel about finding a worm in my apple, and its teenagers being teenagers in a TV show. I’m not normally attracted to shows about teens but I will, on occasion, try them out and I actually liked this. It’s not a great show, but it is a lot of fun, not too deep, and worth a watch. The best thing about it is Jenna Ortega’s performance as Wednesday and her relationship with her bubbly roommate, Enid. From her demeanor, there is also the implication that Wednesday may also be queer, in which case people are already shipping her with Enid, and I’m cool with that. I did enjoy watching their friendship develop, since Wednesday is heavily, (and I do mean heavily), coded as autistic. She is touch averse, sensitive to bright colors, single-minded, and extremely focused, with a pronounced flattened affect, and I kind of liked that, since Autistic girls and women are rarely shown onscreen. There were a couple of times when something she said about how she sees the world resonated pretty sharply with me, and I had to pause and reflect.

But mostly the show was just good fun. I was initially put off that the only two Black characters in the series were assholes, but they were redeemed by the end of the season and turned out to be two of Wednesday’s strongest allies. I didn’t especially care for the drama between Wednesday and her mother (or the side plot that showed some of her parent’s history at the school) although I understand why it was added. Parental mismanagement of their children is a recurring theme in the series, although Luis Guzman was excellent as Gomez and the series does play up Wednesday’s Latino heritage a little bit. My favorite episode was the one where Uncle Fester comes for a visit. He is played by Fred Armisen and while he is never going to be in Christopher Lloyd’s league as Fester, he gives it a very good try. Christina Ricci also shows up as one of Wednesday’s teachers and her role is good, but not all that surprising.

This was a fun watch and I’m willing to check out the next season, especially if there is more weird dancing scenes!

The Eternals – There were so many great moments in this movie, although ultimately I feel it fell flat of what it was trying to do, I still enjoyed a lot of it. My favorite characters were, of course, Kingo and his personal valet, Karun. All of the characters had great chemistry with each other but I especially enjoyed watching these two. (Okay, The Eternals was, technically, released in 2021, but I didn’t watch it until 2022, so this counts in my book.)

Umbrella Academy – The opening dance number (The Footloose Dance Off) was one of its great highlights. I love a good dance battle! I love that the series continues this level of ridiculousness for the entire season. Another great scene was Victor coming out to his family as transgender and announcing his pronouns, and his brother’s quite unsurprised/semi-surprised reaction to having another brother.

Prey – The fight scenes in this movie were incredible. This movie was awesome, setting the Predator down in 1800s America among the Comanche People.

Black Adam – I’m an old-school Hawkman and Doctor Fate fan. I expected to like Hawkman and didn’t expect to like Pierce Brosnan’s version of this character, but he was most excellent (he predates Doctor Strange by twenty years y’all) and I hope to see more of him in some sort of prequel. I remember reading Doctor Fate’s books as a kid and I didn’t know I wanted to see this character onscreen so much until, of course, I got to see him!

The Woman King – The entire movie is simply gorgeous. The fight scenes are rigorously excellent.

Sandman – It was really hard to pick one scene from this series. Every episode had some truly gorgeous and meaningful scenes. Here, The Sandman (Dream) gets to find out what a day in the life of Death is like…

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!

My Movie Hot List

Antman: QuantumMania

I’m gonna be honest, while I’m “mildly” excited to watch this, I don’t know that I’d shell out the money to go see this movie in a theater. Due to family issues beyond my control, I would have to watch this alone. Some movies are good for watching alone, but this one isn’t. It looks like a lot of weird fun that you share with your buddies.

I’m mostly interested in seeing Jonathan Majors’ giant screen breakthrough because I really really like him, I’ve heard that the character he’s portraying, Kang the Conqueror, is a huge Billy Bad Ass in the Marvel Universe, and because this movie kicks off one of the multiple plot threads of this new phase of the MCU, The MultiversalWar. Each movie after this one will be a piece of that story introducing us to alternate universes and other realms of consciousness and existence, like the Quantum universe in this movie.

Guardians of the Galaxy 2.5: Christmas Special

This movie looks like so much fun. Unlike the many fanboys who insist on complaining about the direction of the MCU, it seems that I actually do have a sense of humor. I love the MCU comedies, and I do not understand why all the MCU movies must be dark and deadly serious all the time in order to be taken seriously. I love the direction in which Thor was taken. I thought it was great fun and definitely better than the emotional slog that was Thor 2. Sometimes you don’t need or want great cinema, you just want the creators to lean into the craziness of whatever you’re watching.

Guardians of the Galaxy has been something of a comedy from the beginning, mostly because of the nature of the characters, and that last movie and this new one just sort of lean into it a little bit more. I’m looking forward to this one more than the Antman sequel because I really like spending time with all these deeply funny goofy people, and I’m glad that the creators and writers are just fearlessly leaning into the sheer batshittery of this part of the universe, because C’mon! Really!

Chevalier

I’m just coming off the finale of the Interview With the Vampire series which I’m going to have to talk about at some point because Wow! so, I’m really in a good place mentally to feel excited about seeing more Black men in wigs and stockings! It’s one thing to see Black and Indian women doing the whole ballgown movie thing, but we don’t often get to see Black men in these roles unless it involves Shakespeare or playing a servant.

I love the look of this film, and there’s the added attraction of it being based on a true story, that of a French Caribbean composer named Chevalier de Saint-Georges, Joseph Bologne. I’m a sucker for beautiful costumes, beautiful music, and sword fighting, and you throw in some Black people and I’m in, I guess!

John Wick 4

I just had the most interesting discussion about this movie with my co-worker, who said she had a real problem suspending her disbelief while watching these movies and kept getting pulled out of the film. I told her I didn’t have that problem because it never even occurred to me what I saw as taking place in a world like this one with the same political and systemic setup. I had always viewed this franchise as taking place in some kind of fantasy alternate universe, where you can just be riding through the streets of downtown New York with swords and guns and not one person would blink an eye at it.

This is what I mean when I say that whatever your mindset is when you start to watch a movie will probably determine how you’ll feel after having seen it. Anyway, this looks great and I’m eager to sit down in a theater with some popcorn and enjoy two hours of sheer Keanu Reeves, Donnie Yen, and Hiroyuki Sanada mayhem!

Violent Night

This looks like such wild and crazy fun that I just have to see this. This is definitely one of those movies that you can go see by yourself at the theater. I don’t know that I’ll do that but it’s an option. It looks like a Christmas version of a John Wick movie except it’s Santa Claus using magic and probably some guns which I know all of you must be excited about as well.

Glass Onion

Still don’t know what to make of this but I will not have to go to the movie theater to see it. I can just watch this, whatever this is, at home on Netflix. I like most of the actors here and quite frankly I was going to watch any movie that starred Dave Bautista, Janelle Monae, and Daniel Craig because these are not actors’ names that one tends to think of as being together. This also looks to be more comedic than the first film, which I didn’t think was especially funny, but apparently, that’s just a me thing.

For some reason, I’ve been watching a lot of comedy mysteries this year. I just came off the Hercule Poirot movies, The Orient Express, and Death on the Nile, and I will probably be watching See How They Run this weekend. I don’t normally gravitate to period mysteries. I’m not opposed to them or dislike them or anything. They’re just not the sort of movies I tend to gravitate to, so when I get the urge to do so, I flow with it.

Maybe I’ll Watch These

Bones and All

I’m not sure I’m in the mood to watch anything dealing with cannibals but I’m willing to watch this if it’s streaming. If it’s in the theater then it’s out of luck. I’m not spending a bunch of money to see this, although it seems intriguing.

Shadow Master

Yeah, this is a movie that’s just going to be watched via streaming only. This is not the kind of movie I would ever watch in a theater. I mean, Kung Fu movies are meant to be watched in the house, with popcorn and a remote.

Warriors of the Future

Fortunately, this is a Netflix jam so I don’t have to spend money on my curiosity about it. Okay, it really doesn’t seem like it’s a lot of fun, in the sense that it’s intentionally funny, but it does look thrilling and action-packed, so I guess that’s a kind of fun.

And Movies I’m Not Watching

Avatar 2

I didn’t care too much for the White Saviorism of the first movie. In fact, I found that movie infuriating in a way that I didn’t for movies like The Last Samurai, or Dances with Wolves. I’m not arguing about how beautiful it is but I think I’m gonna wait to watch this next year on some streaming service. Since my niece and nephew aren’t going to be with me, and this is really the kind of movie one watches with a group of people, I’m unlikely to see it in a theater anyway.

The Whale

I do not have any particular need or desire to spend money to see this. Plus this looks like one of those movies where there’s going to be a lot of crying. I’m really glad Brendan Frasier has made this return to making movies. I missed him, and this actually looks alright, but I’ll catch this on streaming.

I Wanna Dance With Somebody

I’m not going to sully my memories of Whitney Houston with a biopic. I just can’t do it.

M3gan

This movie is probably going to blow up once it comes out becomes it looks unintentionally hilarious and there are already a bunch of memes about it! I’m not paying money to watch what is essentially a killer-doll movie, but I’ll go see it my sister pays for my ticket because this seems like the kind of thing she’d attach herself to.

I still do not understand after all these killer doll movies why anyone would ever build life-size killer robots that look virtually indistinguishable from an actual person. I don’t understand the plots of movies like Bladerunner and stuff where that kind of thing happens. Why would human beings still be doing that? Have we learned nothing?!!! On the other hand, this could just be an American thing because the Japanese build life-size robots all the time and they don’t ever seem to have this problem with the robots trying to merc people.

Classic Folklore SCPs

There are some genuinely terrifying SCPs that match closely to the folklore of this universe. Just be glad that for those of us who exist in this world these are just stories. Or are they? I cannot imagine what it’s like to live in a world where all these things actually exist for real. Since most of these are considered t obe myths and stories, perhaps we do live in a universe full of anomalous entities and monsters, and the SCP Foundation, much like the Men in Black, exists to ensure that we either don’t believe in it or don’t know about it!

SCP 993: Bobble the Clown

Clowns are a classic phobia and the SCP has several from which you can choose to be terrified. Bobble is one of the worst ones. Coulrophobia is the intense fear of clowns which can seriously impact one’s behavior and lifestyle. In this case, Bobble (SCP 993-1) affects the lives of children in an entirely different way, providing a very good reason why clowns are not to be trusted. He was the host of a short-lived children’s television show which aired in the late 80s, called Bobble the Clown, which is referred to as SCP 993. The show is classified as Safe because it is well-contained. All airings of the show are blocked from public viewing and any children tasked with watching it (for experimental purposes) are given amnestic drugs.

The show pretends to be an educational cartoon, in which Bobble has adventures alone, as there seem to be no other cast members. Anyone over the age of ten loses consciousness at the start of the program and any children watching it will receive sinister lessons from Bobble about cannibalism, torture, kidnapping, and murder. These lessons get locked into the minds of these children, and repeated viewings can result in madness. Bobble is essentially creating a generation of psychopaths. He is also preternaturally aware of the SCP and what it has done to his show.

In the very first episode, titled Bobble’s Kitchen Surprise, Bobble kidnaps a man, takes him to his home, and proceeds to instruct children in skinning, gutting, and cooking him. In other episodes, children are instructed on how to commit acts of undetectable arson, how to stalk someone without detection, how to inflict pain without causing death, and there’s even an episode set in the containment facility in which the episodes are archived, detailing the daily routines of the researchers and instructing viewers on how to breach containment and murder those workers.

Creepy.

SCP 3456:The Nuckelavee

This SCP is called the Orcadian Horseman, but as soon as I read about it, some long-stored information bubbled up in my brain about this terrifying creature from Scottish folklore. The Nuckelavee is a horselike creature that bears a minor resemblance to a centaur and could be mistaken for such at first glance. Of course, once you get a good look at it, you won’t live to tell anyone about it.

The most gruesome part of the entire thing is that this creature has no skin, and a long list of superpowers that involve toxic breath, the ability to influence events to the negative, make crops wither, and cause drought, and disease in people and animals. In folklore, you can cross running water to avoid being caught and dismembered by one of these creatures but in the SCP version that will not help you. The Orcadian Horseman is part of the deep mythology of the creation of the SCP, created and used as a creature of war by a group of proto-humans called The Daevites.

SCP 4153: Classic Wax Monsters

The Mummy, Frankenstein’s Monster, and Count Dracula are some of the Classic monsters you will encounter in any reputable Wax Museum and in the SCP.

SCP 4153 is an acting troupe of wax figures that resemble the classic Horror monsters of early cinema which believe they are the actors who starred as those monsters: Lon Chaney, Boris Karloff, Vincent Price, and Bela Lugosi. They like to frequent carnivals, haunted houses, corn mazes, and other public venues and set up a theater to perform, using wax for their props and gore, and for changing their appearances. They can also control and create wax effigies from a distance. The SCP has a standing order to apprehend them whenever they’re reported and simply detain them.

For a really good laugh, you should read the Interview Logs between the SCP agents and the monsters! They are hilarious! Except of course for that time when there was a massive containment breach and it was found that all of the personnel at the facility had had their inner organs replaced by wax replicas weeks in advance of the group’s capture.

The troupe remains “uncontained”.

SCP 023: Black Shuck

In Irish Folklore, there is the legendary Black Dog, a forerunner of death. This creature has multiple names and is referred to as Black Shuck, Old Shuck, or Old Shock. It’s a spectral black dog that people believe roams the British countryside. A lot of people think it’s an omen of death, but for some people, the Shuck is a friendly and protective figure. In British folklore, the size and shape of the dog can vary from simply large to the size of a horse, which sounds terrifying enough if you’ve ever seen an Irish Wolfhound, but it is also said to have a single large red eye in the middle of its forehead. Okay, that doesn’t sound in the least friendly to me. Some say you have to see it to be cursed by it, but some others you only have to hear it howling for your family to be cursed.

This SCP is definitely in the dangerous category. It’s a large black shaggy dog that if one makes eye contact with it, you or a member of your family will die exactly one year after eye contact is broken. As a result, the SCP Foundation has taken certain steps to minimize this occurrence by covering the dog’s eyes with rubber stops, confining it to a single corridor within the facility that includes multiple false doors and resembles a crossroads, and banning all reflective surfaces within its enclosure. The bodies of its victims will appear untouched but when autopsied they are discovered to be filled with ashes and the inner organs cremated.

SCP 1000: Bigfoot

Bigfoot is very probably one of the most famous cryptids in America, so I’m not going to go into the folklore here, but according to the SCP Foundation, they’re very real and based on SCP 1000, a near-extinct species of primate that used to rule North America. The race once had a superior intellect and even technology to humans and were the masters of genetic manipulation. They’re nearly extinct because of a kind of magical disease they manufactured to eradicate humanity during some long-forgotten war, that rebounded onto their species. Seeking to keep human beings out of their territories they crafted a disease that kills human beings that spend too much time in proximity to them or views them for too long. Unfortunately, the disease also worked on them and it wiped out almost 99% of their race.

So yeah, the glimpses and rumors are apparently true but these beings are protected by the SCP Foundation who make it their job to police any and all reports of their sightings and work hard to make sure they stay rumors.

SCP 2191-1: The Vampire Factory

We all know about the classic vampires of folklore seen in hundreds of movies and TV shows, that are allergic to garlic, can’t be seen in mirrors, and shapeshift into bats and wolves, well the SCP Foundation has proof that such creatures actually exist. But you can forget about your dandy-ish, effete, European gentlemen vampires though, these are more like the 30 Days of Night vampires.

The containment procedures for this are special which makes this a Keter class anomaly because the Vampire Factory isn’t a person, it’s a geographical area that produces vampire-like creatures. The location is a temple-like structure built over a group of caverns in Romania. The caverns and structures are inhabited by a group of severely mutated humans which sound a lot like the vampires from Blade 2, or The Strain. From time to time the creatures will enter an active hunting phase where they leave the caverns and temple to hunt down any nearby human beings, and feed on them by means of a lamprey-like tongue that paralyzes and then liquefies its victims.

These creatures aren’t the least bit romantic so you will not be swapping spit with them under the moonlight, and pray you don’t become one of them.

SCP 872 : The Scarecrow

The living scarecrow is a real folkloric trope, but the SCP Foundation has a little bit of a twist on it. Here, we have a typical scarecrow effigy with tattered clothes, made out of wood scraps, which imparts its ability to frighten away animals to any animals that wander too close to it so they can frighten humans away. I admit I wasn’t expecting this when I heard about this trope. I was expecting the typical living scarecrow thing where it appears to be a non-living entity that moves but this is a novel use of folklore.

Any animal that wanders into a certain radius of the scarecrow will become extremely protective of that area, attacking any humans that get close to its radius. If there is a flock of animals they will behave as if they are being cultivated by people. For example, sheep will attempt to remove each other’s wool with their mouths, chickens will lay their eggs in an easy-to-access area for humans to collect, and cows will kill and dismember one member of the group each month and deposit their remains at the edge of the territory for humans to pick up. If an animal is removed from the scarecrow’s influence it will go into a catatonic state until it is put within range of the scarecrow’s influence again.

Yeah, this is terrifying in a Gary Larson cartoon kind of way.

SCP 352 : Baba Yaga

Baba Yaga is one of my all-time favorite Russian folktales. I first encountered it in elementary school and found the whole idea of a witch that lives in a house that moves around on chicken feet deliciously scary! For some reason, my childhood mind attached this entity to the story of Hansel and Gretel and the witch who lived in a candy house used to lure children probably because the version of this entity that I read about ate kids too.

The Baba Yaga does exist as a Keter Class entity in the SCP but this version is especially creepy. She still looks like an emaciated elderly Russian woman with super strength, healing abilities, and speed, but she can also grow long, nearly invisible tendrils of hair that are coated in saliva that she uses like tentacles/webs to grab prey (people). The saliva coating on the hair paralyzes her victims and induces euphoria and hallucinations so that they are docile while she eats them, one limb at a time, which can take several days.

As far as I know, this entity doesn’t fly around in a mortar and pestle or live in a house with chicken feet, but she is unremittingly hostile, using any and every opportunity to grab a meal. And yes, she does prefer to eat children.

SCP 3000: The World Serpent – Yormungunder/Jormungandr

The Jormungandr (meaning “huge monster”) is a creature from Norse mythology called The World/Midgard Serpent, and is said to be one of Loki’s children. It is said that it is so huge that it can circle the earth and grasp its own tail, which gave rise to the myth of the Ouroboros.

It’s currently located in the Bay of Bengal and is so large that it is impossible for this entity to be contained, so the SCP Foundation has decided on containment procedures that involve quarantining the area, disinformation, and erasing the memories of any who happen to encounter it, although the creature is capable of doing that on its own. It’s considered a Cognitoazard – a fancy way of saying it affects people’s mental capabilities. Direct sightings of the creature can result in head pain, loss of memory, severe paranoia, and panic which makes it easier to catch and eat prey, although it doesn’t actually seem to need sustenance. It’s largely sedentary but can move very fast when it has to. It excretes a dark grey substance from its skin which the SCP foundation collects to create its memory-erasing drugs.

SCP 1826: The Wild Hunt

In Celtic mythology, The Wild Hunt has a variety of different incarnations. It’s a large cavalcade of men and horses seen riding through the sky at certain times of the year and said to presage catastrophic events. The leader of the hunt could be any number of mythological figures from Cernnunos, to King Arthur, to Odin, and any human who saw the Hunt was said to be death-cursed, end up being hunted themselves or whisked away to the fairy underworld. One story has it that you could get out of being hunted by joining it voluntarily, although only as one of the hounds. It is even believed that the Hunt can pull people’s spirits from their bodies while they sleep.

What the SCP has however is an interesting and occasionally funny take on The Wild Hunt in the form of an abandoned office building where the Russian version of this myth has been trapped for several decades! Any female person or creature that wanders into the building at a certain time of year (usually March) will be possessed by one of the spirits of The Wild Hunt and demanifested. Her job will then be to manifest physically and challenge any male person or creature that enters the building to celebrate the return of Spring with a hunt and a duel. If she wins, the victim will be incorporated into the building, and then reproduced the next year in the form of a black wolf! If she loses the challenge then whatever male will simply be allowed to walk free.

Usually, D-Class subjects and random women are introduced to this SCP, but one year the researchers decided to put one of the D-Class up against a small female turtle, that was then sprinkled with iron filings and thus lost the match. One year the researchers thought it would be interesting to put an anteater and an ant in the building, a match that lasted about 3 seconds.

Five More Movies Too Scary For Me to Watch Again

(But I Still Like Them)

Here’s a slightly different list from the last one which mostly consisted of movies I didn’t like or didn’t finish, either because they were just bad films, or I had no patience for them. This is a list of movies I actually like. They’re perfectly acceptable and watchable movies where I liked the characters, the plot, and it looks good, but I feel no great urge to watch these again because they were emotionally exhausting, too disturbing, or genuinely too scary, at least they were for me!

Arachnophobia

Stick with me here because there’s a story that goes along with this movie. Yeah, I do have really bad arachnophobia and have had it since I was a little girl. I was the kind of person who used to look for signs of spiders in any new space I walked into. (I have since calmed down about this over the years, though.) The way my memory works I can actually recount the incident that gave me this issue ( but we not gonna talk about that). I can talk about the event that happened to me when I was in college and before this movie was released. I know it happened in that order because after I came home from college was when I saw the trailer, and my Mom would tease me about being scared to watch it. She seemed to enjoy the movie a lot, thought it was pretty funny, and wanted to share this scary movie with me, but I’m one of those (stubborn muth*fck*s is what a friend once called me) who, once she makes it up in her head to NOT do something, I don’t do it!

I was in living in a very nice house one Summer vacation. I was working at the time, but I was also in the house alone because my roommates had all gone home, and I was sitting in my room, lights and TV on, when I saw a tiny little speck near my lamp. It was not a little speck, it was a tiny spider. Yep, I had a spider egg hatch in my bedroom.

To say that I freaked the f*ck out would be an understatement! I was a hot emotional mess for a week! Luckily, I had some of the world’s greatest friends who, once they understood what the hell I was jibbering about, helped me smoke bomb my bedroom (twice) and cleaned and moved all my belongings to another part of the house. It wasn’t a perfect solution, but I was at least able to relax long enough to fall into an exhausted sleep in my own bed after two days of emotional hell. Well, my friends didn’t mock me, kept their smiling to a minimum, and seemed happy to help a damsel in distress.

Mom knew about the spider incident and understood my attitude, but she always encouraged me to move past my fears because if I didn’t at least try they would always control me. (This is from the woman who apparently had some kind of phobia about boats and New York City! What was all that about?!) Eventually, I did agree to sit down and watch it with her, with a bunch of caveats and addendums, like leaving the room if I got too scared, squealing as much as I liked, and covering my eyes if necessary. I got through the first half okay, but covered my eyes and squealed a lot for the last thirty minutes. I didn’t leave the room though, so technically speaking, I did sit through it.

And you know what? It turned out not to be a bad movie although I have not watched it again in the twenty-plus years since then, and I have no plans to watch it again in the future. Personally, I consider sitting through that movie to be one of the bravest moments in all of cinematic history!

The Void

I was not particularly weirded out by the title or the synopsis of this movie. The thumbnail of the movie on Google looked intriguing. So I sat down to watch this with the idea that it would be your typical Lovecraftian pastiche of images culled from his works and got something I wasn’t at all expecting. I more or less understood the film’s plot, and what it was trying to do, but I didn’t expect bizarre nameless cults (although I should have) body horror images (I should have expected that too), and a kind of monster siege, working the night shift sort of film, where everyone dies horribly, except when they don’t stay dead.

It’s easy enough to describe the movie, but any description you give it won’t actually resemble the movie you will be watching, but I’m gonna give it a try. There’s a bunch of people stuck in a hospital on the night shift, only a few of whom are actually medical personnel. The rest are random townsfolk who are trapped in the hospital because some oddly dressed cultists besieged the town and were killing people, so the rest ran to the hospital. There are some weird medical experiments going on in the basement that involve the birth of an infernal creature from a young girl, the opening of Hellish portals, and lots of goo, blood, guts, and some tentacles.

That was as much as I understood, but that doesn’t mean the movie is ineffective. I’ve no great urge to watch it again because it was a genuinely disturbing film whose effect lingers long after it’s over, and I don’t have to watch it again because I clearly remember how uncomfortable I felt while looking at it. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing because there are movies that do this that I have re-watched, and if that is the kind of mood you’re looking for, then by all means, go for it, and tell me how it worked out for you.

Imma wait over here!

Annihilation

I generally like the works of Alex Garland, someone I didn’t pay any special attention to when his career began with The Beach in 2000. I didn’t even watch The Beach. I dismissed it. But then he came out with 28 Days later and I perked up. There was a new cinematic voice in Horror, and I’ve been present for most of his movies since, like Sunshine, Dredd, and Ex Machina. I sat through most of those without issue, and they were all very good, but in 2018 Garland released Annihilation, based on the book by another of my favorite artists, Jeff Vendermeer. When I heard about the movie I decided to read the three-book series, and I enjoyed them, for the most part.

The movie combines all three books of the series into one long story with yet another Lovecraftian theme. A section of the US has been taken over by something called The Shimmer. Elena’s husband went into The Shimmer, which warps biology, and he disappeared. Except he also came back, alone. Intrigued, she and a team of 4 other women go into The Shimmer to explore its purpose, with each woman having her own agenda. Elena wants to find out what happened to her husband. Each of the women find some thing they weren’t expecting which has a profound effect on the rest of their lives.

There are some genuinely panstshittingly frightening moments in this film, like when Elena and her team are attacked by a mutated bear that screams with the voices of the people it’s killed, but beyond that the movie is just weird, and sad, and yeah, there’s that word again, disturbing. It’s not a bad film. I actually like the film. It’s also not particularly hard to watch because it contains some genuine moments of true beauty. But it is another movie where the mood and flavor of it linger long after it’s over, and I have not been in the headspace to be able to watch it.

I will likely watch this again at some point in the future, because it is an effective, thoughtful, and terrifying film, but not yet.

The Revenant

Honestly, this is a great survival horror film, and if you like those types of films you should by all means watch this, but be prepared to feel as if you’ve been emotionally defenestrated in the aftermath. This movie is exhausting on a physical level, too. I just felt wrung out after watching this.

Starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Tom Hardy the movie is based on the true story of a man (DiCaprio) who was left for dead in the wilderness by his business partner, (Tom Hardy) who, after killing DiCaprio’s son, went back to the nearest town and made the claim on his half of their business dealings, only to have his partner stumble out of the wilderness several weeks later.

For some reason the most distressing movies for me seem to involve bear attacks, although I do not think I have any kind of bear phobia. DiCaprio’s character braves the worst excesses of trying to survive an environment that is inimical to human life, like snow, freezing water, wild animals, lack of food, and angry Indigenous people, just to enact vengeance on his partner.

This movie just slaps the shit out of you emotionally. Well, it did that for me, but your mileage may vary depending on how much energy reserves you possess. This is another excellent film with great acting, cinematography, and a very compelling story that I will probably never watch again. Or if I do, I’m going to need to rest up, eat my vitamins, and do my breathing first.

The Descent

Oh man was this movie hard to watch, and not because of the monsters. I don’t actually have claustrophobia but this movie might give it to you if you don’t. It’s a harrowing film. I was exhausted and saddened after watching it. The most devastating moment isn’t the deaths at the beginning of the film but something that happens midway through it that completely upends the relationships between the rest of the characters.

A team of women friends decide to go caving in a previously unexplored system after the death of the main character’s husband and child in a driving accident the previous year. The team are attacked by a race of terrifying cannibalistic mutants and taken out one by one until there’s only one of them left. There’s plenty of blood and gore, but that’s not what upset me the most, and no spoilers, but it’s about the characters, comes completely out of left field, changes everyone’s dynamic, and therefore their chances of survival.

It’s a very effective film. I don’t often mind when films do the unexpected or throw something at me out of the blue, especially when it’s as well done as it was here. I didn’t choose these movies because I disliked them. I chose them because I liked them. Some of them are great films, but were so emotionally draining I simply don’t have the emotional bandwidth to put myself through them again anytime soon.

Movies Too Scary For Me To Watch Twice

I love Horror movies but believe it or not Even I draw the line at watching some stuff. I prefer Creature Features which are comedies above all other types of Horror, and I can and will get into some straight Psychological Horror. Some things don’t particularly interest me, though I will watch them on occasion, like ghosts, haunted mansions, or most Slasher films. I draw the line at Torture Porn and movies like The Human Centipede which aren’t scary to me. They’re just nasty, and yes, there is a difference. There are different types of scary movies, some of which are very enjoyable, almost fun, like Tremors, The Mist, or even movies like Halloween, but some movies are scary but not enjoyably so. Not because they are serious films but because they’re depressing or raise my anxiety levels too high to be a fun experience. For example, I have fire-fear, so any movies that heavily involve flames (or nuclear annihilation) are super upsetting for me, and I just can’t watch them.

That said, there are a few movies that are simply too scary for me to watch more than once. Here are five movies (and one extra) that I didn’t want or need to watch a second time.

Coraline

I was so incredibly creeped out by this movie that I’ve been reluctant to watch it ever since. For some reason, this is a movie that just awakens all the feels. Coraline’s exasperation with her negligent parents, and her reticence around her weird neighbors, I didn’t even like the little cat…there’s just something about the animation style that just ups the creep factor for me, probably because I’ve always associated stop-motion with those Ray Harryhausen Horror movies.

Yes, I know it’s a children’s film. Yes, I know it’s an animated movie, but for me, Coraline is still one of the most hardcore scariest animated films I’ve ever watched. There’s the dread factor for one thing. Just like Coraline, you know the Other World is just a little too good to be true, and you’re waiting for the other shoe to drop, so the idea that the Other Mother is a brutal predator that lures young kids into her world by offering them the thing they most want: loving parents who dote on them, is not actually surprising. You were kind of expecting things to go horribly wrong and it’s the anticipation of that wrongness that makes the movie scary.

When Coraline first meets The Other Mother, she essentially gets love-bombed by a giant spider-adjacent creature that is only pretending to care about her so she can use her for food, which all sounds pretty terrifying to me. I do like that Coraline manages to keep her head to a certain degree. She never completely succumbs to the allure of the Other World, continues to question what’s going on around her, and like me, she is firmly committed to the idea that buttons for eyes are a very nasty bit of body Horror.

The H-Man (1958)

I think I talked about this movie before and how I tried to watch this movie late one night a few years ago and spent the next several days having paranoid jitters and being unwilling to turn off the lights in my bedroom. Decades later and I still think this movie is simply pants-shittingly frightening! On the surface, it doesn’t seem all that scary, but I also mentioned I’ve got issues with the idea of sentient slime that actively hunts its prey and this is what The H-Man is all about.

The H stands for Hydrogen, as in the Hydrogen bomb which is what the Atomic bomb was first called when it was invented. The H-Man is the result of nuclear energy mutating human beings into sentient runny snot creatures, that are vaguely humanoid in shape, which is even more frightening. What’s even worse is that I read a theory a few years ago that suggested that the creatures might not even be malevolent or hungry, that in approaching people they are trying to get help for their condition. I’m not sure I believe that theory but it is still a very nasty idea.

The creatures definitely look like they’re hunting people on purpose though, and they rely on a certain amount of confusion and deception to do it. Worst than the victims who don’t know the creatures are there at all, are those poor victims who don’t see them and just walk right into them! Or the ones that do see them, have no f*cking idea what they’re looking at, and don’t run away (which isn’t going to save them anyway because the creatures are silent and sneaky).

Hereditary

I only needed to watch this movie one time. This movie is a hellish f*cking nightmare. It’s not because the movie is so incredibly frightening, although that is a small part of it, it’s just once you know where the story has gone, and what it meant, there’s no point in ever subjecting yourself to it again. The entire story is so dark and depressing that I just didn’t have the heart to watch it again.

It is an interesting demonic possession film, which is something I haven’t seen since The Exorcist. I avoid most such films because they’re usually just thinly veiled retreads of The Exorcist anyway, but this movie avoids all the common tropes of bodily contortions and women screaming at crosses, for something a lot more subtle, that the viewer has to slowly piece together from the clues given to them, and once they reach that conclusion they realize this movie was NEVER going to have a happy ending for any of the characters. Also, there are people on fire and I don’t like that!

Lights Out

The first time I heard of this was as a short film on Youtube which definitely creeped me out. It’s about a creature that can only be seen and felt in darkness. She (her name is Diana) only appears when you turn off the lights. I feel like the movie was less effective than the short film, but hey! it was still pretty effective. It’s the idea that darkness hides evil things, and the movie preys on your childhood fears of trying to hop into (or out of) the bed without letting the thing under it grab your ankle after you’ve turned off the light, or reaching around the edge of a door to flip a light switch and being terrified that something might touch your hand.

I had no intention of watching the movie after seeing the short film, but I thought I would be clever by watching it on one sunny Saturday afternoon thinking to myself, how scared could I get in the daytime? Well, I got plenty scared to the point where I didn’t want to sleep with the lights off that night.

The Sadness

It’s not so much that this was scary, although it was, but it was definitely too much for me and I didn’t even get halfway through it before I just quit. It’s a bit of a cross between a zombie movie and a demonic possession film. People who contract an airborne disease become unrelentingly sadistic, willing to torture and kill their neighbors in a sudden fit of violence.

This movie is so incredibly, over-the-top violent that I just couldn’t sit through it and, I really thought I was up to the task when I sat down. It is a hot mess of torture and gore and I’m not into gore simply for its own sake which is what parts of this movie turned out to be. But part of the problem was also that the two leads were very sympathetic characters that I genuinely liked, and it was really hard to watch the two of them try to survive the events of this movie, and I simply couldn’t bear to watch them go through so much pf the pain and trauma I was witnessing in this film, so I quit.

Honorable Mention:

Ju-On

Ju-On was not my first brush with J-Horror but it was the first Japanese Horror movie that I took seriously. Most Japanese Horror movies that I saw before this were just funny or simply uninteresting but this was genuinely frightening for me. Because it’s Japanese I didn’t have any of the usual Western tropes to fall back on in interpreting what any of the images meant. As a result, I had no f*cking clue what was happening, and in some cases didn’t even know what to think about what I was seeing other than “Well shit!!!”

I have watched this movie exactly twice though and could make no more sense of it than the first time I saw it. Don’t get me wrong. I can discern the plot and I get what was happening from it, but most of the time it’s just a succession of terribly frightening images, and the characters can’t seem to do anything to help their situation, so the movie is pretty bleak. I have an aversion to movies like The Ring and Cujo where the characters have so little recourse to correct their situation. There’s little to nothing they can do to fix the situation they’re in and just have to suffer through it, and the idea that they are trapped by their circumstances or the villain is something that really bothers me.

(This particular list of Japanese Horror movies also contains the movie Ringu, another movie I will probably not watch again. Once was more than enough.)

Scary (Or Not) Short Films for Halloween

I stumbled across an entire series of these terrifying TikTok videos recently ,and by terrifying I mean it’s probably not a good idea to watch these late at night. But…during the day they might seem pretty funny, and are a great illustration of how comedy and horror are two sides of the same coin.

One of the reasons I love horror comedies so much is, as has been said before, horror is comedy without the punchline. It’s also been said that what horror and comedy have in common is the overturning of an expectation. You either laugh or jump based on what you expect to happen, so I hope you enjoy these videos (if that’s a word that can be used here), as much as I did.

TikTok Nightmare Creatures Compilation

Sometimes expectations are overturned in some very surprising ways. I really enjoyed this video. In fact, I loved it and would enjoy seeing a movie made from it.

I Live Here Too

Some videos aren’t exactly horror but they are mysterious and disturbing like this early one from Denis Villenueve, the director of Dune and Bladerunner 2049. What exactly is going on here? What is the point of it?

Next Floor

I kept stumbling across horror animations by the grickle and thought I’d choose one of my favorites for this post. For the record, I have never liked nor understood the purpose of lawn gnomes.

The Hidden People

Sometimes something is much more comedy than horror. This is from the same group that brought you the slasher boy band, The Merkins. I could not stop laughing at this because I love the first two Predator movies and I used to watch this other show late in the evening, about a journalist who would trick child predators into being interviewed (and sometimes arrested) on live television.

To Catch A Predator

As funny as the previous video is, this one is my personal favorite for this Halloween combining two of my favorite things, The Exorcist movie, and candy.

The Exortwist

Streaming in October: Mini – Reviews

I started off the month of October by easing into the Horror movie genre with some classic favorites like Alien and The Thing, but at a certain point it was time for me to move on and try new movies and shows (see my review of Interview with the Vampire on AMC) and these are some of the new shows I watched just this weekend. I enjoyed all of these and want to give a quick rundown on what to expect if you come across them.

Let The Right One In – Epis. 1 (Showtime)

This is a new series on Showtime that’s based on the Swedish vampire movie Let The Right One In, about a child vampire that befriends a lonely bullied little boy who lives in her new apartment building.

This version is set in the US, so it’s a little more like the American version of the above film, titled Let Me In (which I also enjoyed for different reasons). The story has been modernized from the book version as well. In the book Ellie is a vampire that’s very, very old, she doesn’t know how old she is because her brain has not developed beyond twelve years old.

In this series, she has only just been turned into a vampire and she is traveling to different cities with her father, who is trying to find the vampire that attacked her based on if there are any serial killings going on in that city. At the same time, he’s trying to deal with her insatiable need for blood because he doesn’t want her attacking (and possibly creating) new vampires, which is what happens when a person gets bitten, but not killed, in this series version of vampirism.

Ellie meets a little black kid at her new apartment building, who is being ostracized and bullied in school (because I suspect he’s on the spectrum). I liked the boy whose name I cannot remember just now, but he loves magic tricks and loves to show them to people. Ellie is all set to eat him until he shows her a magic trick. She has eyes that glow in the dark, which fascinate him, and she tells him it’s magic, and that’s how the two bond. In the meantime, her father is responsible for a tragic event that is going to upheave her new friend’s life, and the cops are investigating the murders that her father is committing on Ellie’s behalf to get blood for her. You realize that her father is using the other murders as a cover for committing his own.

Ellie is very likable and the relationship with her actual father is the focus of the series, unlike in the movies where the focus is on the relationship with her new friend. In the movies, the man taking care of her isn’t her father, but some other little boy she met many decades ago who grew to adulthood as her human servant. Ellie and her dad are Latine, so I can’t help but think there’s some dialogue occurring here about immigrants and new situations, and people, but I’m not an immigrant or Latine so I can’t definitely say. Just like in the movies though, there’s a focus on the logistics of keeping Ellie fed because if he doesn’t, as a predator, she is perfectly capable of going out and procuring her own blood.

The first episode is free on Prime, but I’m not going to sign up for Showtime to watch the rest of this. It’s not a bad episode but there are a few too many coincidences that might not sit well with others. I can’t say it’s enjoyable, because it actually is too tense and suspenseful to be fun, but it makes a good effort to reproduce the feelings of melancholy and dread from both movies. It’s too convoluted to be truly scary. Scary needs to have a bit more mystery, and there are too many things that are explained in this episode, but the tension and dread are there though.

Werewolf by Night (Disney+)

I didn’t think I was going to be too heavily into this show, which is not a series as far as I can tell but just an hour-long Halloween special of some kind, based on the comic book of the same name, but it turned out to be a lot more fun than I thought. I thought I wouldn’t Ike it because it’s shot in black and white and some of the acting is in the old classic 30s style of filmmaking, but I slipped right into the story and had no trouble following what was going on. It was all good fun, and the fight scenes were excellent!

In this story, a group of monster hunters congregate to compete for a McGuffin called the Bloodstone, the only object in the show that’s shown in color. That’s it, really. The guy who owns the Bloodstone dies and holds a contest where the hunters are encouraged to take each other out (thereby eliminating their competition), while they’re also hunting a monster (a werewolf) who has been planted within the group.

You’re definitely going to feel some type of way about the participants because some of them look pretty cool, but you do become aware that these are probably not good people, and that there are certain characters you’re meant to root for. One of the biggest things that threw me off my game was seeing one Marvel character show up at the end of the show! If you’re aware of the history of Swamp Thing (who is a DC character) then you might also be aware that he was preceded by a Marvel character called The Man-Thing whose catchline in the comic books was: Whatever knows fear burns at the Man-Thing’s touch!

But that’s not the only easter egg for fans of Marvel comics, and series. I missed most of them because there was a lot of stuff I haven’t read, and a few series I skipped, but it was still fun even if you know nothing about the comic books or other shows. The plot and characters aren’t dependent on any of that stuff.

I’m not going to say what happens at the end, but it’s interesting because while some of the show is pretty predictable that part was not, and now I’m interested in seeing a lot more of this part of the Marvel universe which is basically a set up for adding demons, vampires, werewolves, and other supernatural creatures into the MCU, like Blade! I mostly ignored the monster parts of the Marvel comic books. I did read some of the Werewolf by Night comic books, and I’m familiar with a couple of demonic superheroes, but mostly I ignored all the vampires and demons and stuff. So this part of the MCU will kind of be new to me too.

This show isn’t especially scary but the fight scenes are pretty gory and brutal, alleviated by the aspect of a lack of color. I wouldn’t let little kids watch it but it’s okay for kids above twelve maybe, who are used to watching horror/action movies.

Hellraiser (Hulu)

I was having some feelings about watching this one. In one aspect, I was eagerly looking forward to watching it, because I liked the first film in the franchise, have never watched a single one of the various sequels, and I was curious about the new Hell Priest being played by a woman. I’ve read all of the books about Pinhead and the Cenobites, including the comic books, and the last two Hellraiser books called The Scarlet Gospels, and The Toll and I enjoyed those.

The movie isn’t great, but it is very compelling and worth watching. If you’ve seen all the other movies in the franchise your mileage may vary, but I generally liked it and will watch it again when I’m in a mood.

The lead character is a flawed woman named Riley, a former drug addict/alcoholic living with her brother, his boyfriend, and another woman friend of theirs. She is the kind of woman who has a habit of making bad choices (probably as a way to run away from a tragic past which we don’t get details about) and one of those mistakes is having regular sex with a guy she just met. Through him, she gets mixed up in the machinations of the villain, a wealthy man who owned the Hellraiser box, got what he wished for, and now horribly regrets being given what he requested.

One of the primary themes of the Hellraiser franchise is people calling up the Cenobites, either through ignorance, or greed, and fucking around and finding out that the demons have nothing to give you that you would actually want to have and that anything they give you will only involve you suffering horribly. The only thing the Cenobites have to offer is one form of suffering or another, and it’s interesting to me that so many of the people who call on them think otherwise.

Through a combination of ignorance and reckless behavior the Cenobites take Riley’s brother, and she spends the rest of the movie trying to solve the puzzle in an effort to save him while sacrificing the people she knows along the way. The rules are that when she solves the final puzzle she will be given five or six themes from which to choose, and one of those is the resurrection of her brother. Riley makes a more interesting choice that shows her growth as a person, especially after all the death she has caused.

I genuinely liked this and feel it lived up to the standards of the original film, but then I can say that having watched not a single one of the movies beyond the second one. The new Hell Priest, Jamie Clayton, has a difficult job to do because, no matter what, she’s going to be compared to Doug Bradley, the original Pinhead, but I think she holds her own. She doesn’t possess his sheer gravity or his voice, but she is quietly, and frighteningly compelling in her own way (and oddly beautiful) and she does get to recite some favorite lines from the original film, making them her own.

The overriding theme is addiction and how far people are willing to go to feed one. Riley has been using addiction to run away from a painful past, and one of the primary reasons people call on the Cenobites in the first place is because many of them are suffering from various addictions and are greedy for more sensations, or are trying to escape from pain, which is ironic, but also makes Riley’s choice at the end even more interesting.

**If you are not into the Hellraiser movies this is not the place to start. We are talking extreme body horror, so if you have a problem with gore, this is not for you. I have friends who do not like Horror movies and I would never recommend something like this to them, not even jokingly. This movie is for hardcore Horror fans only.

Halloween Music Playlist

One of the great things about October is listening to some of my favorite songs that come from Horror movies. So let’s catch some of these needle drops from Horror movies, which are perfectly okay for listening to all year long.

These first two songs I discovered on YouTube. They’re not from movies, but they are entirely appropriate for Halloween, so I thought I’d put these first. I don’t know what I was looking for at the time but I found these songs by The Merkins ridiculously funny. There’s an entire album’s worth of these, each one of the characters in the group also gets a solo song, and it just tickled me that all of them are sung completely straight like this. Incidentally, “to merc” is the new slang for murder so even the group name is a joke.

Dreamer’s Paradise – The Merkins

I’ll Kill You That Way – The Merkins

This one is one of my new favorites and it comes from one of the top Horror movies this year, Jordan Peele’s NopeExuma: The Obeah Man.

I am one of five people that probably even remember this song from the 2016 Ghostbusters: Ghostbusters (I’m Not Afraid) by Fall Out Boy/Missy Elliott.

No One Believes Me by Kid Cudi from the 2011 Fright Night. This is one of my favorite vampire songs. I absolutely love this video and how much I wish it were a movie.

Here is a song from another Jordan Peele joint (the man has impeccable taste in music), I Got Five On It, from the movie US. I’ve always thought this song was creepy but there were no Horror movies associated with it until Peel made it explicit.

Here is The Candyman from the 2021 version of Nia Dacosta’s Candyman.

From the 1990s version of Stephen King’s The Stand: Don’t Fear the Reaper by Blue Oyster Cult. This was also used in John Carpenter’s Halloween.

This is a very popular song for movies but it was very well used in Zack Snyder’s Dawn of the Dead remake When the Man Comes Around by Johnny Cash.

Here, using The Munster’s theme song as the foundation is Missy Elliot’s Get Your Freak On.

In case you have not had enough Jordan Peele, here is Childish Gambino’s Redbone, from the movie Get Out!

This is from one of my all-time favorite vampire movies, Joel Schumaker’s 1987 The Lost Boys, the song Cry Little Sister.

The Addams Family movies had some good songs attached to them. Here is the theme song from the first movie performed by MC Hammer, Addams Family Groove.

And for those of you who haven’t seen it in a while, A Bonus Video:

Favorite Campy Horror Films

What I find funny isn’t immediately obvious to a lot of my friends. They don’t know what I might or might not find hilarious, so are hesitant to introduce me to things THEY think are funny.

Plenty of movies make me laugh though, and I’m a huge fan of completely absurdist, campy (and occasionally tasteless) humor. Some of my requirements for making this list is that the plot is ludicrous, but at least one of the actors is taking the plot seriously, and at least one other actor recognizes exactly what type of movie they’re in and is just rolling with it. Sometimes the plot is deeply stupid, trashy (usually because of some implied sexual issue) and/or tastelessly over the top, but everyone in the movie plays it completely straight, or the plot is actually what’s serious and straightforward, but the actor’s reactions are exaggerated.

There is a thin line between Campy, Horror/Comedy, and Parody and not everyone can tell the difference. Sometimes there is a lot of overlap, but most people, even if they can’t describe what it is, know Camp when they see it. For example, Rob Zombie’s Halloween is trashy, but it isn’t Campy. The new Munsters movie however is all Camp. In a Campy film, things tend to be overdone. The color is more saturated, the acting is just a bit long, and the plot is just a bit too of whatever it is. There’s a fine dance of all these elements and too much of one thing, and not enough of another, can put a film in a different subgenre.

Here’s a list of the movies I thought were the most enjoyable and funniest. These are not in any particular order, but there are a number of them from the 80s, since that was the time period in which I first saw them, and quite frankly, I consider the 80’s the great age of Horror movies. As I once said, I think my Mom and I tried to watch every single Horror movie in that ten-year period. The Horror movies of the 90s were a lot less Campy than the ones from the 80s.

Fright Night (1985)

If I were making a numbered list this would definitely be in the top five. This movie was so much fun, and not just because the vampire, Jerry Dandridge, played by Chris Sarandon, was having so much fun in his role, but because of the addition of Roddy McDowell, who is a wonderful actor who has to play a has-been Horror movie actor who is also a failed television movie host, named Peter Vincent. Vincent is the one who thinks the situation is insane, but once he realizes it’s real and incredibly dangerous, wants no part of it. He starts out as an unethical and cowardly man who eventually steps up to the plate to become a brave and surprisingly compassionate hero. The movie is also enlivened by the performance of Stephen Geoffreys as a sympathetic and completely over-the-top villain named, appropriately enough, Evil Ed, which is more of a clue as to what type of movie this is. Actually, the only characters who take the plot at all seriously are the two leads, Amy and Charlie, played by Amanda Bearse and Wm. Ragsdale.

Death Becomes Her (1992)

I absolutely love this movie (despite its problematic depictions of fatness). Madeline (played by Meryl Streep) is a vain, insecure, formerly great actress, who keeps stealing the boyfriends of her childhood friend Helen (Goldie Hawn). Tired of this dynamic after Madeline steals yet another boyfriend, Helen embarks on a revenge scheme that involves taking a potion that makes her beautiful and immortal. She hatches a plan with her ex-boyfriend (an unrecognizable Bruce Willis) to murder Madeline. Unknown to both him and Helen, Madeleine also takes the potion, and hijinks ensue as the women find out the hard way that although they can’t die, they can be killed.

The movie has the feel of a comedy of manners, (because of the various misunderstandings and mix-ups), except no one in this movie has any manners. No one in this movie is at all serious about this utterly ridiculous plot, delivering their lines with a wink and a nod, with the sole exception of Isabella Rossellini as the potion provider, who acts as if she is in some grand gothic Horror cinema, while everyone else is in a torrid soap opera. This was my first exposure to Meryl Streep the comedian, and she is absolutely hilarious, as a character whose body has started to break down after she is murdered, but my all-time-favorite line is Helen telling Madeline (after Madeline breaks her neck in a fall) that she won’t speak to her until she gets her head on straight!

At the time the movie was released in 1992, the special effects were groundbreaking as it was the first time CGI had been applied to living, moving actors. This movie is now a Cult Classic in the LGBTQ community, btw. If you haven’t seen (or even heard about) this, it’s well worth watching.

Elvira: Mistress of the Dark (1988)

Anytime I have such fond memories of a movie that I start laughing when I hear the title, it definitely means the movie has made my favorites list! I absolutely love this movie and it’s Elvira who sells it with her patented blend of sexy and snarky, which is never mean-spirited. Most of the humor involves Elvira getting herself into silly situations about which she has to make smart-ass remarks before rescuing herself. In this, her first film, she inherits a small town Gothic home from her Aunt, and is menaced by her Uncle who is hunting for a Witch’s grimoire he thinks is hidden within it. This gives Elvira plenty of opportunity to deploy her snarky little side-quips (the bread and butter of the movie) against the self-righteous townsfolk. The movie is very deliberately Camp, but only Elvira seems to understand that’s the case, and she occasionally breaks the fourth wall with a wink and smile to the audience.

The actress (Cassandra Peterson) is also a true Gay icon as she recently came out in her Memoir, Yours Cruelly, where she confessed that she’d been in a relationship with her friend, Theresa Wierson since 2002.

Evil Dead 2 (1987)

If you enjoyed Multiverse of Madness and the first Spiderman trilogy you have to see where it all began, although technically Evil Dead 2 is a remake of the first movie Evil Dead by the same director, Sam Raimi. Everything that made Spiderman 2 so much fun to watch, and all of the Madness of the latest Doctor Strange movie has its foundation in this one.

I saw this movie when it was released (on a double bill with Robocop), at a ratty little downtown theater and I don’t think I have ever laughed so hard at a movie in my life up to that moment. Picture a 17-year-old girl sitting in a movie theater by herself, laughing uproariously as a man gets attacked by his own hand. Evil Dead 2 is a deeply stupid film, but only maybe two of its characters understand that. Ash, the hero of the movie is an over-the-top clown, but one of the other characters, a female scientist of some kind acts like she’s in a perfectly straight Horror movie. This is one of Sam Raimi’s greatest films. Everything in it is overdone, extremely loud, and unashamedly, unabashedly frantic, from the music to the dialogue, and even the camera work.

The movie is a lot, and despite all the colorful gore, is actually great for teenagers who like Horror movies that aren’t quite that horrible.

Big Trouble In Little China

The best character is the one who has no idea that he is not the hero of this movie, and that is the arrogant, self-referencing, and derpy Jack Burton, played by Kurt Russell. Most of the movie is shown from his point of view, he narrates the movie and thinks of himself as a lovable scamp, but the actual hero of the film is Dennis Dun as Wang Chi, who commits numerous heroic acts, saves the day, and the girl, and plays all of the ridiculous shenanigans in this movie completely straight. Kim Cattrall plays a breathless and overconfident Gracie Law, James Hong (from Everything Everywhere All At Once) is a Fu Manchu parody, and Victor Wong is a Chinese wizard named Egg Shen, which is all you need to know to know what kind of movie we’re dealing with here.

The plot is deeply silly, (and probably exploitative as well since this is the 80s) involving the villain (Lo Pan, aided by his awesome henchmen, The Three Storms) trying to become immortal by sacrificing a girl with blue eyes to his gods, and the only characters who take any of it seriously are the hero (Wang Chi) and the villain (Lo Pan).

Return of the Living Dead

Most of the characters do act like they’re in a serious movie, but this is a movie that knows it isn’t serious at all, as the plot becomes increasingly silly for the audience. We know the movie isn’t to be taken seriously mostly because of the dialogue, and c’mon, the name of the primary company in the movie is called Uneeda which sells cadavers for profit. It’s not the characters that give a sly wink to the audience but the director and writers.

Most of the movie takes place in two small buildings (one a crematorium) with most of the characters being shuttled back and forth between them as the zombies take over the area. The zombies are the fast kind brought about through chemical means, and they also talk. well okay, they only yell for brains, but still. However, the greatest camp moment of the movie is the scene above where the zombies use the ambulance radio to call for more paramedics – so they can eat them.

Return of the Living Dead has its tongue firmly planted in its own cheek.

Vamp

There were quite a number of Camp vampire films made during the 70s, most of them came from the Italian studios, and that put Hollywood off from making vampire movies for a while, but they seemed to rediscover their interest in the 80s, releasing quite a few as Horror comedies. Vamp is one of my top favorites from the era of, what I like to call, the Golden Age of Comedy Horror.

A trio of college boys in an attempt to get into a fraternity, promise to provide strippers for a party. In their search, they stumble across a goofy childhood girlfriend who is working for a millenia-old vampire Queen, and her bug-eating human servants, in the After Dark nightclub, along with a gang of albino bikers (and yeah, the bikers and the vampires get to duke it out!) The movie is a tragedy but what makes it a comedy are the great, blink and you’ll miss them, one-liners by the lead characters, but what makes it Camp is the utterly silent Queen vampire (played by none other than Grace Jones, in what is probably one of her most pants-shittingly frightening roles) giving the audience the middle finger at the end.

And, oh yeah, there’s a little bit of stripping and Grace Jones does something that could loosely be called dancing.

Frankenhooker

There’s a thin line between Horror-Comedy and Camp because the two tend to overlap. I consider a Horror/Comedy to be much more deliberately in-your-face funny. In a campy movie, the humor is just a little bit more subtle or has a sexual element that gives the dialogue, and/or horror scenes, a double meaning. Frankenhooker walks that thin line and works it! On the surface, it appears to be a typical Horror/Comedy, but it’s the sexual component of the plot that makes this movie a little-known Camp Classic.

Everything about this movie is utterly ridiculous, from every element of the plot (supercrack, and exploding hookers) to the acting (wooden), to its dialogue (melodramatic). From its opening scene of death by electric lawnmower to the iconic scene of Frankenhooker walking the streets of, where else but New Jersey, screaming at the top of her stolen lungs: “GOT ANY MONEY?!! WANNA DATE?!!”, this movie doesn’t let up for a single moment.

All of it is incredibly, stupidly, trashy!

The Howling

Some movies don’t seem especially Campy at first, except for a knowing wink and a smile to the audience, which is embodied here in one of the werewolf characters deliberately addressing the audience at the end of the movie. The Howling is one of my favorite werewolf movies and that’s because the Camp is so subtle and well done. Like most Horror movies of the 80s, the scenes are over the top and kind of ridiculous but, if you pay close attention to the dialogue you get that the characters are all smirking at you a little bit. Occasionally, one of the characters will say something as if they know they’re being watched by an outside audience, and the movie is shot in such a way that the creators (namely VFX artist Rob Bottin) want to make the maximum amount of spectacle out of watching someone turn into a werewolf.

For example, this is a process that starts about three times during the film. The first time we don’t get to see it in its entirety because the scene is set in a dark room and interrupted by gunfire, but the second scene, (and we’ve waited for half the movie to see this) is completed in all its closeup, gory, lumpy, squishy detail. The third time, we are all set for a repeat of the second transformation, but we don’t. We get interrupted again.

There’s nothing elevated about the plot, the characters, or the scenery. The characters are rural lower-class peasants, contrasted against sophisticated metropolitan outsiders. The 3 outsiders play everything completely straight as if they don’t know they are in a werewolf movie, but all the rural characters seem in on the secret and are laughing at them and us, and that’s a large part of why this movie is so much fun!

Runners Up

Studio 666

Slaxx

Hell Baby

Good Hair

Zombeavers

The Newest Addition:

Rob Zombie’s Netflix adaptation of The Munsters, which makes no secret of its Campiness, just putting it all out there as brazen as you please! This was released last week, and I really enjoyed it. It was as much fun as I thought it would be although looking at it can be a bit exhausting. It is extremely colorful. He seemed to very much capture the mood and aesthetic of the original. I could have done with more of the Herman and Lilly falling in love plot, rather than the no-count werewolf brother side plot getting so much airtime, but it turned out the plot is a prequel, so we understand why the family moved from Transylvania to Los Angeles.

My Top Fancasts of Storm for the MCU X-Men

We all know that sooner or later the X-Men will be joining the MCU, since they’ve been teasing it across several television series and movies for the past year, with the most recent tease occurring in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, where Professor X from an alternate universe, shows up as the leader of one of Marvel’s covert Superteams, The Illuminati. It has been recently announced that Hugh Jackman will reprise his role as Logan/Wolverine for the MCU production of the next Deadpool film. It’s unknown if he will continue to play Wolverine for any other films.

I don’t know that Patrick Stewart is going to reprise his role (or even if he will still be acting by the time the studios get around to production, but it would make sense for him to do it and also for the mutants to come from another universe). Fans however are losing it about who they are going to cast as one of the X-Men’s greatest mutants, Storm, the Kenyan – born weather goddess who was married to T’Challa’s Black Panther. There has been a lot of wishing and speculation as to who will obtain one of the hottest roles in the MCU.

I have my own ideas about who I’d love to see in this role, and I wanted to go beyond the handful of Black actresses that white fans only know from social media. Okay, there are two kinds of famous Black actors in the US. There are the A-List famous like Viola Davis, Samuel L. Jackson, and Will Smith, that a lot of white people know because their repertoire crosses a very broad audience, and then there are the top Black actors known pretty much only in Black households, like CCH Pounder, Harold Perrineau, Bokeem Woodbine, and before she starred in Nope, Keke Palmer.

So yeah, I got thoughts about who should play one of my all-time favorite X-Men, who is also one of the most badass and powerful mutants. I automatically eliminated any actress I thought was too light-skinned for the role. Storm was born in Kenya, and her actress needs to not just be a “reflection” of her birth country, but an opportunity for a dark-skinned actress who might not be considered for other kinds of roles. White fans don’t give a shit about that. All they want is someone they know, and they think is pretty, which is why they keep suggesting people like Zoe Kravitz and, once again, Halle Berry.

I know it’s easy to make suggestions for who to play Storm, but it’s sometimes easier to picture them in the role if you see them moving and speaking, so I’ve also listed a few of their acting credits so you can check them out.

Here are my top choices for who I’d like to see play Storm in an upcoming movie.

Yetide Badaki

Yetide is my top pick for Storm because she already has experience playing a goddess in American Gods on Starz, and she is absolutely gorgeous. In fact when I first saw her my first thought was, “That’s Storm!” I can’t imagine her rocking a mohawk, but I’m certain she can pull that off with the same grace as the character Bilquis.

Keke Palmer

Keke is definitely what used to be known in the Black community as Black Famous. If you’re a child of the 90s then you should be familiar with her work as an actor and singer on different shows on the Disney channel. I remember her rendition of Reflection from Disneymania. She is now all-around famous as Emerald Haywood in Jordan Peele’s Nope released just this Summer. So she’s funny, she’s got those fierce action hero vibes, and I can imagine her with a mohawk.

Dewanda Wise

Dewanda has the kind of ethereal beauty that befits a goddess. We saw in Jurassic World Dominion that she can carry an action scene, and she seems poised for that breakout role that so many actors dream about, as she has appeared in a lot of big-name productions (The Good Wife, Special Victims Unit, Boardwalk Empire) without really taking off. Storm would be perfect for establishing her as an actress to be reckoned with.

Moses Ingram

The easiest place to see Yale graduate Moses Ingram’s regal bearing is in Disney’s Obi-Wan Kenobi series. She showed such strong character, command, and gravity, in her role as a kind of reluctant villain, that it took me a minute to get past the character, but I eventually fell in love with this actress a little. Like James Earl Jones, she has a classical acting style, but she is definitely giving off some Angela Bassett vibes, (the Black community had long thought that Angela would at some point be chosen to play Storm, but we got Ramonda instead). But I will accept Moses in the role. The other places she can be seen are in Netflix’s The Queen’s Gambit, and in the Summer Action film, Ambulance.

Ana Diop

Ana Diop is currently playing the alien Starfire in the HBO series Titans, which is a very fire goddess-like character, so she’d be perfect to play a weather goddess, too. Diop is a Senegalese actress and model, with classic African features and bearing, and yeah, if the MCU decided to go in that direction, I’m pretty sure she could rock a mohawk, too. She is currently starring in a Netflix horror movie titled Nanny.

Kiki Layne

Kiki Layne is still a relatively new actress with one of the few credits in which I’ve seen her was 2018’s If Beale Street Could Talk by Barry Jenkins, where she showed her softer side, and she showed her action prowess in Netflix’s The Old Guard, alongside Charlize Theron. This is another actress that is bubbling just under the radar, right on the cusp of big time stardom, and playing Storm would make her a household name. She has the beauty and poise to pull it off, and if Disney is in talks to choose a new Storm, I’d be fine with her in the role.

Dominique Jackson

Now stick with me here. I know that casting a transgender actress in the role is risky and daring because a lot of people would totally lose their shit, but if absolutely anyone can pull off playing a goddess it is the tall, imposing, and elegant Dominique Jackson. When I was watching her character Elektra Abundance on the FX series Pose, I thought to myself, she would be incredible as Storm, and I would love to see it. It would also be groundbreaking to have a transgender actress in the MCU.

Runners-Up

Michaela Coel – Was one of my top picks to play Storm, but has already taken a role in Wakanda Forever as one of the Dora Milaje.

Aja Naomi King – She is a lot of people’s first choice, but I wasn’t feeling it. She’s alright and nothing to be upset about. I just had other ideas. A lot of people like her though.

Janelle Monet – I like Janelle and she has proven to be a competent actress who brings gravity and elegance to all her roles, but I just can’t imagine her as Storm. She comes across as much too young to me, but she is a fan favorite for the role. I don’t object to her playing Storm, I just can’t see it.

Also, there are other fan favorites like:

Gina Torres

Naomie Harris

For the record:

I liked Halle Berry as Storm just okay, but she was given nothing to do, and she wasn’t shown as being nearly as powerful as we know her to be from the comic books. I don’t object to Halle’s acting abilities but she wasn’t really Storm material. I thought she was simply too light-weight to play her.

I disliked Alexandra Shipp immensely. I thought she was a mistake the moment I saw her and have no idea how she got chosen for a role she was too young and ill-equipped to perform let alone who hired her. She simply wasn’t up to par for this character. We need an actress who can play larger than life, who can play a god. Storm, like Wanda, is one of the top-tier most powerful superheroes in the MCU and I never got that vibe from Shipp.

Knitting Questions

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This questionnaire was featured on Tumblr, and I don’t usually make long posts there, so I decided to transfer it here and answer. This is an update for a post I did waay back in 2018. Things have changed a lot since then so it’s time for a revisit.

1. Do you knit or crochet or both?

Both. I started crocheting when I was a child and I was taught by a neighbor who was one of my Mom’s best friends. I got away from crocheting after I focused my artistic talents on drawing and painting, for a couple of decades. I picked it up again several years ago and a couple of years after that I taught myself to knit by watching Youtube videos.


2. What’s your favorite yarn brand?

My all-time favorite yarn brand is Malabrigo Worsted, closely followed by Madelinetosh Vintage and DK. There’s also Malabrigo Washted which is a real joy to work with.

3. What’s your favorite fiber?

I will work with almost any fiber, but I prefer pure wool. My second favorite would be some of the wool silk blends and the more affordable Alpaca yarns.


4. Do you prefer neutral tones, jewel tones, or earth tones?

I like earth tones but I am always first attracted to jewel tones. I’m partial to garnet reds, deep purples, and dark blues and will always buy those first. I only buy neutral tones for a specific project.


5. Describe/ show pictures of your favorite project?

I just learned how to do brioche knitting, so my favorite project is a cowl I knitted for a friend in dark blue wool and rainbow Crystal Palace Danube, which has since been discontinued. I must have frogged it about five or six times, but eventually, I got it. My friend loved it.

6. How many WIPs do you have?

I’m working on maybe five or six projects right now. At least three sweaters are on the needles, along with some baby booties and a poncho for my younger sister, a hat, and oddly, a dickey for myself, which I know I’m going to need for Fall.

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7. What’s your go-to needle/hook size(s)?

I prefer working with size 6, 7, and 8 knitting needles. I prefer circular needles to straight ones, but that doesn’t mean I’ve thrown out all my straight needles.

8. What’s your favorite yarn weight(s)?

I prefer worsted weights worked on size 7 needles. I’ve decided I’m not into smaller weights of yarn. Anything smaller than Sport yarn is just frustrating for me.

9. Favorite place to shop for yarn?

Online, usually at Loveknitting, but I’ve found quite a few good places to buy discounted yarns.

10. Do you like to knit/crochet in public?

I don’t like to do either in public, because curious people always want to talk to me, and while I love their curiosity, I’m not any good at talking to strangers.

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11. What’s the most outrageous thing someone’s asked you to make for them?

So far, I’ve not had any outrageous requests. Most people stick with scarves and hats and mittens. I will no longer make any of these things for my nieces and nephew because they keep losing the items and that’s a waste of yarn! I was recently asked by my nephew to make him a sweater though.

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12. Do you have an Etsy shop?

Nope. I have no plans to do so in the near future but that could change.

13. Do you like to watch TV while you craft? If so, what’s your favorite program?

I like to binge TV series on Netflix or Hulu while I knit. Sometimes, I’ll choose a fun but mindless Action or Horror movie that I’ve already seen a dozen times. I don’t pick something that requires too much mental involvement.

14. What type of music do you listen to when you craft?

I like listening to Chillhop, or ambient new age stuff. Unfortunately, there is a danger of falling asleep to that. I have better luck with audiobooks, especially if they are read by men with British accents.

15. Are you a fast or slow knitter/crocheter?

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I can crochet pretty fast and I’ve gotten a lot faster at knitting but I’m still not particularly fast at it.

16. How long have you been knitting/crocheting?

About maybe 7 or 8 years of crochet, and perhaps 4 or 5 years of knitting.

17. Do you do any other crafts?

I was a professional artist for nearly twenty years, (pencils, and watercolor fantasy illustration). I have a smattering of other skills like pottery and weaving, that I learned in the couple of schools I attended. I also grew up in a house where arts and crafts were highly encouraged.

18. What is on your knit/crochet wishlist?

I just have different types of yarns I want to work with, like cashmere blends and the highly expensive Qivut. I’ve heard a lot about it and would like to work with it sometime.

19. Do you prefer printed or PDF patterns?

I like to use both. When I’m studying a pattern, in the pre-stages, I like to refer to the print version, but when I’m actually working on a pattern, I prefer a PDF.

20. How do you work?

My ideal setup is to grab a cup of tea, (iced or hot), set up my iPad to play an audiobook, pull up a pdf, and get started. I prefer this setup, but I’ve also done a lot of knitting in hospitals and doctor’s offices.

23. How do you plan a project?

I usually buy the yarn first, and then find a project to match it. Like most knitters and crocheters I have a giant stash of yarn, some of which I have no particular plans for, but the yarn looked really pretty.

24. What’s in your future?

I want to spin and dye my own yarn.

http://www.jeanettesloandesign.com/black-people-do-knit.html

http://ggmadeit.com/blog/knitting/african-american-knitters/

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More New Trailers

Hey, we got a bunch of exciting new trailers that recently dropped so let’s check them out! Which ones are you looking forward to, and why. Let me know in the comments!

Jurassic World: Dominion

This is such a great trailer for the movie. I would watch an entire season of short snippets of people coping with dinosaurs, so I’m really excited to watch this. I hope it’s a really good movie because this was the kind of stuff I used to imagine when I was a kid and I don’t want to walk out of the theater disappointed.

Wow! I mean just think about it! What if dinosaurs existed at the same time as modern humans? We’d have to take the good (incredible images and photos) with the bad (possibly being eaten). What if you lived in a place with a dinosaur infestation? What would your insurance be like? How would you explain being late for work because there were some triceratopsians blocking the freeway? What if the local pack of herbivores showed up in your backyard and ate your flower garden? And let’s be honest here, there is a part of me that thinks watching human beings be menaced by giant predators is just deeply entertaining.

Incidentally, if you like this video there’s a trilogy of books by James David called Footprints of Thunder that has this same plot, with dinosaurs having made it into the modern world through a time rift! Not sure if it’s still in print but if you can find some copies, check them out.

As I mentioned before, my youngest niece and nephew have already decided we’re going to see this film, and I believe in shamelessly indulging their interests. My Millennial sister likes dinosaurs too, so I hope to turn this into a full family affair, (although my oldest niece may miss out because of work).

The Winchesters

Okay, I have no intention of watching this. I watched all 15 years of Supernatural and I have no more taste for their story. I stuck it out to the end, and have moved on. More than likely this is an appeal to a younger generation of supernatural fans who while they may have watched the old episodes, are probably more likely to watch this than those of us who sat through 15 seasons of the original series. The actors are all very pretty but I don’t know any of them and I don’t want to supplant any of my memories of the original with any images from this one, so I’m going to pass on it.

But I know there are some people who are greatly interested in this, so I’m giving y’all a heads up in case you hadn’t heard the news.

The Umbrella Academy

I am very excited about this series and I’m really looking forward to the season three premiere. If you haven’t seen the first two seasons, I implore you to check it out. There will be at least one character you will fall in love with. I thought the character I would love the most was Klaus, who acts like a free spirit but is mostly traumatized by his ability to speak to the dead, and so self medicates. To my surprise, my favorite character turned out to be Number Five, an old man in a child’s body (due to time mishap) and who is the smartest sibling along with being a complete badass.

But this series is notable for having Eliot Page. Eliot came out as non-binary transgender last year and everyone was wondering how the character he played on screen in seasons one and two would be treated in the story. It appears that the character has also come out as transgender since the writers changed the name of the character from Vanya to Victor. Hopefully, Victor won’t try to destroy the world again as they did in the first two seasons. See how new this is. This is something that so different from what we’re used to that I don’t even know how to talk about a fictional character. How do I talk about Vanya? Is it deadnaming to talk about her since the new character is named Victor? And is it okay because she’s fictional? Somebody help!

She Hulk

I was a huge fan of the Jim Byrne run of the She-Hulk comic series, and I love what they’re doing here with the character. They seem to have perfectly captured the sensibility and mood of the books and now I’m looking forward to this. It looks fun and funny. I love how they made her a sexual being with appetites who makes it clear that she wants what she wants. The comic book version was often sexy and sassy, with a lot of snark and attitude, and yeah, Bruce Banner is indeed her cousin.

All that aside, I do hate the CGI. It looks awful and cheap and simply not up to Disney standards. The face is just wrong, especially in her Hulked-out state, and her body looks too thin, and not very muscular, which is a real problem I have with female characters who are supposed to have super strength but whose arms look like twigs. I hope they correct all this by the time the series airs. (Note: Jane Thor and King Valkyrie have just the right amount of muscle for such characters).

Note: I read that the CGI has been upgraded to look a bit better, so I checked it out, and the trailer was improved a bit. She looks more muscular than before, but her face still looks a little bit off to me. It’s not as bad as in the original trailer though.

Sandman

I have not read the Neil Gaiman comic books on which this series is based, something I plan to correct before the series airs in August. Since I am only passingly familiar with The Endless, I don’t know enough to be really excited about this, but so far, I like what I see, and I’m looking forward to reading the books, and watching the show.

But, whether or not I watch this also depends greatly on what else will be out at the time. Sometimes I have every intention of watching some show or movie, and then I don’t, or only watch some of it, not because it’s bad or anything, not because I’m bored, but because it’s sometimes hard for me to keep up the momentum, which has been stolen by another series. But even if I don’t watch the series, I intend to refresh myself with the books, which I haven’t even glanced at since I was a young’un.

New Thor 2 Trailer

Well, I already had plans to see this. Yeah, I’m an MCU fan and no shame in that, because I go to the movies to have fun and adventures, and MCU films deliver every single time. If I’m gonna spend that much money to be entertained I want it to be worth it. (Yeah, I’m not going to pay the cost of birthing a child in the US to watch a movie about pain and tragedy, unless it’s by Martin Scorcese.)

One of the primary reasons I love Taika Waititi (the director) is his ability, almost his compulsion, to take famous characters, sometimes famously evil ones, and deconstruct them, making them human and relatable, while never denying they’re not actually good people. He did this with vampires, Hitler, pirates, and superheroes, and he’s done the same thing for Thor, and I find it a really interesting habit. I’m gonna have to talk about that some more in another post.

So, yeah I’m looking forward to his interpretation of Jane Thor, King Valkyrie, and this new villain, Ghorr the Godslayer, who is played by Christian Bale.

Mission Impossible: Dead Reckoning

Okay, these actors are starting to get up there in years, (except for Rebecca Ferguson, who I believe might be a vampire), but I don’t care. The Mission Impossible franchise consistently hits it out of the park in the Action genre, and you have the usual required scenes of Tom Cruise jumping onto something while clenching a woman, and running really fast somewhere. I’m probably not going to see this in the theater because it’s simply not on my list of movies to watch this Summer. My mom used to throw my whole watchlist into disarray every year, but fortunately, I can dictate to my sister’s kids, and they kinda have to go along with my tastes if they wanna eat free popcorn.

I don’t actually have much to say about this trailer except the Action doesn’t look as wild and crazy as it has in previous films, but maybe they’re just holding back on those images, and when you’re sitting in the theater you’ll get that familiar sensation of your stomach dropping down to your knees, and you’ll clench the arms of your seat in terror, and paying five thousand dollars to see it will have been worth it.

Willow

I don’t normally engage in a whole lot of nostalgia, but for this movie, I will make an exception! The original movie was released in the 80s, and when it was available for TV, I remember watching it multiple times. It’s been thirty+ years and we have a sequel television series. As soon as I heard there was a trailer for this, my mind started playing the John Williams theme from the original. Yep, I still fondly remember that.

The reason the movie was so special to me was because of Warwick Davis. He was my first exposure to a dwarf actor, and I thought he was very handsome and very charming. In the movie, he is tasked with the care of a tiny baby girl that is the “chosen one”, But the movie isn’t about her, because she’s, like, one year old and has no speaking parts, so much as the hero’s journey of Davis’ character, Willow. It’s a little bit of a remix of Snow White, and surprisingly progressive for its time, with a woman warrior character and an evil Queen.

This sequel happens many years later and the “baby” is an adult, and Willow and some companions have been called to save their world again. The original was also my first real exposure to High Fantasy that I actually liked, as I was mostly indifferent to these types of books and movies, and most of them made no impression on me. But Willow snuck in and got to me, and I’m obviously going to have to do a deep dive before this series release!

I’m looking forward to it because it looks like a lot of fun and the nostalgia factor really kicked my ass while watching this!

Resident Evil

Despite that I’ve watched almost none of the movies, I do love a good horror series with lots of monsters, so I’m looking forward to this series. I’m not enthusiastic exactly, but anytime I’m watching a trailer, and I am sitting on the edge of my seat or just nope the fuck out (the giant spider scene), it’s definitely worth checking it out. so zombies, spiders, chainsaws, Black women being included in the story? I’m in!

I am glad to see more Black girls and women being involved in fantasy and horror movies and series. For the longest time, at least since the seventies, the existence of Black women as an audience that could be pandered to was not a thing. There’s nothing wrong with being pandered to in a narrative, despite the fact that straight white male audiences want to turn it into a dirty word, which is really ironic since for the past seventy years they have been the ones being pandered to by every form of entertainment media that existed.

Creators, almost all of whom were white men, literally didn’t think about other groups of people, in fact making it expressly clear that white men, between the ages of 15 and 35, was the ideal audience they were chasing after, and there is a contingent of online assholery that actually wants to go back to a time when we were considered nothing but maids, slaves, and servants to be abused in whatever stories we were in (hence the current online trolling of Black actresses who happen to find work in these genres). I’m glad to see these creators and writers remembering that WoC watch shit too, recognize that we also have money and choices, are willing to chase after PoC for their money, and that we want to see ourselves in these narratives as heroes and villains. Putting that message out into the world is one of the primary reasons I started this blog.

So yeah, I’m excited to see a Black girl in this series who is apparently being a total bad ass.

Strange World

I am a really huge fan of Lost World type movies, and my personal favorite is Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2. I just love watching movies about goopy aliens, monsters, and weird environments and this looks like hella fun, plus it’s got this retro-vibe that I find aesthetically appealing. I don’t normally watch a lot of the kid’s stuff on Disney, and I don’t go to those type of movies anymore (cuz I don’t have that kind of money), but I would pay money to go see this. I think it’s just going to be on the Disney+ app though which has more than shown it’s worth in the series Wandavision, Hawkeye, Moon Knight, and a bunch of movies and documentaries.

I’m not sure how I feel about the characters, because as I said many times, it’s not just a plot or some imagery that pulls me into something. It’s got to have at least one or two characters I’m drawn to, although the characters do look really cute! I didn’t see much of their personalities in this trailer so I don’t know what to think of them yet, (and although the pilot looks appealing, it doesn’t mean I will like her) but the trailer looks like weird goopy fun, which is enough of an attraction for me, I guess. It’ll get a look-see.

The Menu

And finally there’s this gem, starring Ralph, Fiennes, and one of my favorite new actresses, who I hope will be around for a good long while, Anya Taylor-Joy! I have the feeling this movie is about one of my favorite topics, cannibalism, and I’m always up for a good humans eating humans movie, especially if it’s an “eat the rich” story. I only just heard of this movie, so I don’t have a lot of knowledge beyond the visuals, but I will probably watch this when it streams.

Odd Things YouTube Recommended To Me

(Why???)

I have no idea why Youtube recommends certain types of videos to me. Sometimes it will recommend things to me from over ten years ago that are not based on anything I’ve been watching recently. I normally don’t search for music videos on Youtube, but I guess this was rec’d to me because of the music post I made before, with none of those videos having anything to do with this type of music, so there’s that…

Not that I don’t like this video. I just think it’s weird that it would recommend Indigenous Rock music, seemingly out of nowhere. I love the clothing (those coats are awesome!) and attitude though, although I’m not too impressed by the actual music. At least it’s upbeat. If this is your bag though, then go for it.

Okay, I was trying to find movies directed by George Plympton and I got nothing until several weeks later and this was Youtube’s answer. I liked this a lot (it’s deeply funny) but I wonder why it couldn’t have given me this video at the time I asked for it.

Plympton’s videos are always very silly and I enjoyed this one.

Just note, I think this video is incredibly funny, but I’m not sure why this was recommended to me at the time it was (a few weeks ago). Okay, I do search for animated shorts like this every year in October, but Halloween was months ago and I don’t recall asking for anything like this recently. There seems to be a significant lag time between what I ask for and what gets recommended. Or maybe the video simply didn’t exist back when I asked for something like it.

This one really resonated with me because there have been times when highly extroverted people latched onto me and determined that we were going to be friends regardless of what I wanted. Not that I didn’t appreciate their friendship but I do understand this lady’s predicament.

This is one of Denis Villeneuve’s weirdest films. I still don’t completely understand what’s going on here, but I enjoyed it, and it probably needs to be made into a movie. I do know why this was recommended to me though. It’s the interaction between requesting short horror films, watching all of the Bladerunner short films, and Villeneuve’s interviews.

I will unashamedly admit to watching cat videos, I generally enjoy most of them, and recently searched for some. So why Youtube decided to offer me tiny goat videos is a mystery. Not that these weren’t fun to watch (and now I want a dwarf goat). I don’t know how or why Youtube makes some choices, although I suspect a bunch of other people also watched cat videos and then searched for tiny goat videos and Youtube thought I might like some too.

For the record, I have never requested tiny goat videos.