Southern Gothic is a sub-genre of fiction that takes place in the American South and that focuses on “grotesque themes”, “damaged, and delusional characters,” with hints of darkness and the supernatural. It also acts as the over-arching theme of Eve’s Bayou (1997), which looks into the façade of an African-American family, living deep in the swamps of 1960’s Louisiana. Writer and director Kasi Lemmons (Harriet (2019)), depicts a black experience that doesn’t root itself in political trauma nor its relationship to the white race. She shows the pulls and tides of familial relationships in an Aster-esque, thoughtful way that displays humanity through the emotions of the women and their psychic abilities.
Eve’s Bayou follows the Batiste family, who act as a picture-perfect vision of the American family; they live in a home with four bathrooms and are able to throw lavish house parties filled with laughter and classical, Southern ambiance. It is the youngest daughter, Eve (Jurnee Smollett), that acts as the narrator of the film, telling her story through a collection of memories of the summer of 1962. Like most ten-year olds, Eve spends most of her time tormenting her younger brother, Poe (Jake Smollett), and riding a push and pull relationship with her older sister, Cisely (Meagan Good), as they both battle for the attention of their mostly absent father, Louis (Samuel L. Jackson.) However, behind the mask of this perfect family lies a Pandora’s box of family secrets and traumas. As Lemmons’ states, memories can be ‘elusive’ and childhood trauma can piece itself together differently in order for the world to make sense. Eve is a wildly misinformed child, no matter how ironclad her memories may feel, you can feel parts of the story missing, keeping the film elusive and open to discussion.
The year was 1984. A Nightmare on Elm Street, directed by Wes Craven, was released in theaters and took the horror genre by storm. Heather Langenkamp was the new scream queen and Robert Englund was the knife-handed, nightmare-inducing horror villain for a new generation. But there was an unknown talent hiding within the role of the ‘teacher’ in the film, and she would go on to have a career and legacy that would reach every corner of the film world. That hidden talent was Lin Shaye. Before she was crowned the ‘Godmother of Horror’ by Wizard World Comic Con in Philadelphia, Lin Shaye played the small role of the receptionist in another 1980s slasher, Alone in the Dark (1982) prior to becoming the teacher in A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984), and would go on to have many other iconic roles that made her a household horror icon.
2020 marks the 20th anniversary of Mary Harron’s American Psycho. Since its $34 million theatrical release, the film has gained a serious social media cult following full of Patrick Bateman profile pictures and shared images. However, this film has more to offer than really good memes. In American Psycho, writers Harron and Guinevere Turner take a story about a corporate sadist and turn it into a horrifying and comedically gory deconstruction of toxic masculinity.
American Psycho is the story of Patrick Bateman (Christian Bale). Bateman is a New York Wall Street banker in every physical form of the word, but behind it all he hides a fiendish secret life. The film resides in and is narrated through the mind of the main character, and with that the audience gains insight on his corporate world, his public façade and his nightly murder escapades. Having the story narrated through Bateman’s mind is one of the cleverest and most telling points of the film. In Patrick’s mind, the audience finds out that he not only has the incapability of any human emotion but he also has an innate need to compete with colleagues in any way he can find, and he brutally criticizes, mimics and threatens every woman he meets.
This is it. This is the feeling I wish I could leave with every time I watch a new movie in theaters. I guess that wouldn't make the feeling so special then, huh? So, I'll just hold on to this for as long as I can. Watching Little Women (2019) yesterday in a packed theater while I get over this annoying cold was a moving experience with an epiphanic ending.
From Cat-Woman, to Anne Wilkes, to Cersei Lannister- female villains have been some of the most crafty, cruel, and conniving villains of film and television. What I have always loved most about female villains is how articulate they are. Cersei Lannister had some of the best, most wicked, lines of all of Game of Thrones. Ursula and all of the wicked witches and queens of Disney have some of the best songs and costumes of animated villain history. Female villains are not just brutal and crazy like their male counterparts, they are so mean to an intensity that surpasses just barbaric. They are just as charming as they are bad, and it keeps audiences so intrigued in everything they have to say and what they'll do next. I love being captured in the enigma of a bad gal who is always 10 step ahead of everyone else around her, so here is a list of my favorite female villains of movies this decade. And I don't just mean some misunderstood women, I mean these women are straight up bad-to-the-done, morally corrupt, and insane in the most terrifying and fun ways.
It was November 2013 when the initial Disney Frozen film was released in theaters. The film followed two sisters of Arendelle-ian royalty- Anna and Elsa (Kristen Bell and Idina Menzel)- and their strained sisterhood and sense of self coming to full realization and healing. Frozen (2013) captured an essence of magic and familial bonds. Elsa, the new queen of Arendelle, struggled with her self love and repressed emotions, pushed at the hands of her parents because of her unnatural, frozen powers. And Anna suffered, because her sister suffered. Especially after the death of their parents, the two sisters went through painful isolation, from the outside world- and even more detrimental- from each other.
Zombie comedies are an entertaining group of films that contain some of the oldest, most comedy-worthy monsters in horror history. They shake you to the core with laughter, and they almost always have a heart-warming story line that drives their popularity through the decades. From Shaun of the Dead's story of friendship, Warm Bodies' romance story, and Life After Beth's coming to terms with loss and mourning, zombie comedies are some of the best stories about the undead reminding us how to be human.
Cassie Howard: An Important Tale of Self-Love
Sam Levinson's HBO drama, "Euphoria," has proven to be a raw, and sometimes disturbingly realistic, representation of high school in this day and age. From depression, abuse, sexual identity, drug addiction, and more, these characters showcase a variety of real life issues teens and young adults struggle with- sometimes alone.
In a show that tackles many topics so gracefully, Cassie's story arc, all too familiar, is one that should be always be taught.
One of the most influential story lines in the 1st season of 'She's Gotta Have It' centers around Nola and her "My Name Isn't" street campaign. At the end of the first episode of the season, Nola Darling is harassed and assaulted by a stranger as she is walking home at night. It was a perfectly direct situational reference to the beginning of the episode- when the episode highlights, in a light manner, the cat calls Nola receives while walking down the street. As funny as that beginning scene may be, when it's not funny anymore and when it's no longer just a cat-call, it can be terrifying and life threatening.
When I first saw the trailer for Midsommar, I was enthusiastic, and honestly, for good reason. I had already seen Hereditary, and I was convinced that Ari Aster was a genius writer and director. The emotion he provokes out of his audience, the visuals he presents, and the bone-chilling stories he imagines are a force to be reckoned with.
To start off, Midsommar was the most brightly lit horror film I have ever seen. I had never experienced a film like this, because all of the horrors that happen in the dark of the usual scary movie were brought to light in this film, with nowhere to hide and nowhere for the audience to look away to.