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.