glitter_n_gore: (stoker)
aka The Cloverfield Prequel No One Wanted or Asked For. And it somehow turned out even better than the original.



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glitter_n_gore: (heather mason)
Because apparently this is my new yearly ritual for Women In Horror Month! If you missed my ten-year retrospective from last year, follow this tag. My barometers (that I almost never stick to rigidly, but it helps me focus) are: grossed $25 million or higher domestically by the end of the previous year, and starring a female protagonist. I also include an “honorable mention” of the next movie down on the box office gross. My source for the numbers is BoxOfficeMojo.com.

If a movie is in (parentheses) it means I haven’t seen it yet and/or can’t tell from the marketing or trailer if the protagonist is a woman.

For this year, I’m including sci-fi thrillers as well as straight-up horror movies because it was a pretty cool year for genre films in general, especially with female protagonists, and I want to talk about alllll of them! Also, instead of doing capsule reviews like I did before, I’m going to focus on a different movie in each post. We’ll see how many I can get through before the end of the month. Let’s DO THIS!!

Ghostbusters - $128.4 million
The Conjuring 2 - $102.5
Arrival - $90.8 million
(Don’t Breathe) - $89.2 million
(The Purge: Election Year) - $79 million
10 Cloverfield Lane - $72.1 million
Lights Out - $67.3 million
(The Shallows) - $55.1 million
(Passengers) - $45.3 million
(Nerve) - $38.6 million
(The Boy) - $35.9 million
(Ouija: Origin of Evil) - $35 million
(When the Bough Breaks) - $29.8 million
The Forest - $26.6 million
The Witch - $25.1 million
Honorable mention: (Blair Witch) - $20.1 million

So, remember back during the summer when everyone was convinced that the Ghostbusters remake was going to be some kind of colossal failure? And after it came out, there were all these think pieces trying to explain why no one was watching it and how reviews were lukewarm and it was okay but not that great? Well, I dunno what your personal experience was with this movie, but GUESS WHAT? It’s not only topping the list, it’s topping it at more than $25 million ahead of the next-highest place on the list. BOO-YAH! Emphasis on the “BOO!”


Abbie and Holtzmann doing their happy high-five dance


The other thing I saw mentioned--and this was the case in my theater too--was the number of little girls in the audience who were super excited to be there. The upcoming generation now has something I never had growing up: an all-female team of superheroes to look up to. And that is rad as Hell. Making a version of Ghostbusters with all women means something to me, and to the kids seeing this movie as their first exposure to the franchise. It's not just about the brand, or the Hollywood remake machine, or the nostalgic craze for the 80s and 90s that's permeating All The Things right now. This is a movie with a team of women, all in their thirties and forties, all unmarried and childless, who are struggling financially but uniquely intelligent and driven to do some good in the world, none of whom have any romantic entanglements whatsoever, who are never ogled by either the camera or any of the other characters at any time, who come to their big, climactic battle scene dressed in loose-fitting tan jumpsuits, sensible shoes, and their hair tied back.

For the first time in my life, I feel like I have a movie I can point to full of role models that I don't need to defend or justify in any way. The fact that this is rare enough to comment on is a bit sad--as is my understanding that there are still way too many people who were left out here representation-wise. What I'm trying to say is we female geeks have been taking whatever scraps the world sees fit to throw at us for decades. Still, given how often I've gotten my hopes up and been disappointed in the past, I'm clinging to this movie like a lifeline. Despite its flaws. I didn't know how much I needed it until we were driving home and I was still beaming like a fool. Every time I’ve watched it since then, I love it just a little bit more.
glitter_n_gore: (jean gray)
Damn, this was a good year to be a movie geek. Star Wars! The Avengers! Mad Max! Ex Machina! Crimson Peak! STAR WARS!! I saw a lot of movies in the theater, some of them twice, and I still haven't finished going through the back list. But what was it like for horror fans? Specifically, those of the female persuasion?

The Visit - $65.2 million
Insidious: Chapter 3 - $52.2 million
(Poltergeist - $47.4 million)
(Krampus - $42.7 million)
Unfriended - 32.5 million
Crimson Peak - $31.1 million
(Sinister 2 - 27.7 million)
(The Woman In Black 2: Angel of Death - $26.5 million)
The Lazarus Effect - $25.8 million
Ex Machina - $25.4 million
(Honorable Mention: Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension - $18.3 million)

That's a LOT of movies. Like I said, it was a good year. However you feel about M. Night Shyamalan, or remakes of classics like Poltergeist, or the unflinching cynicism of Christmastime horror-comedies like Krampus, chances are there was something for you to see and love this year no matter what. That's kind of a big deal. Having options is a big deal. Seeing so many movies catering to so many different sensibilities is a big deal. The comparative lack of presence from people of color in this list, regardless of the other good things I just mentioned--also a big deal. Again, there's a reason I decided to do this looking specifically at box office numbers, rather than what I personally thought was the best.

But let's be honest here: this recap is mostly gonna be me gushing about Crimson Peak.


via Tumblr


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glitter_n_gore: (stoker)
Happy Leap Day! *phew* Still February. So, I had to get a new computer and lost all my stats so I had to look up these numbers again. I also saw more in theaters this month than I was anticipating, and that helped fill the space nicely I think, but also filled in a lot of blogging time I was expecting to use for other things. So yeah, the wrap-up post for 2015 is gonna get squished into next month. Sorry about that!

Annabelle - $84.3 million
(The Purge: Anarchy - $72 million)
Ouija - $50.9 million
(Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones - $32.5 million)
Oculus - $27.7 million
(Honorable Mention: As Above/So Below - $21.3 million)


The horror universe is Jason Blum's oyster right now. 4 of the 6 movies on this list are Blumhouse productions. If that doesn't convince you he's dominating the genre, I don't know what will. However, even discounting the massive turnout of Blumhouse pictures on this list, there is one that is conspicuous by it's very absence: Jennifer Kent's The Babadook.

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glitter_n_gore: (abbie mills)
Coming in a touch later than planned, because my lappy crashed and I needed to pick up a new one. Luckily I backed up my work. Go me!

Way back in 2014, I happened to pick 2013's year-end box office numbers to look at the results. That turned into this post, and eventually this ten year retrospective. So finally talking about this year in depth feels like coming full circle. Huzzah!

2013:
The Conjuring - $137.4 million
Insidious: Chapter 2 - $83.6 million
Mama - $71.6 million
The Purge - $64.5 million
Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters - $55.7 million
Evil Dead - $54.2 million
Carrie - $35.3 million
(Texas Chainsaw - $34.3 million)
Honorable Mention: You're Next - $18.5 million

Beyond my personal connection to it, something else makes this year stand out: None of those monster franchise machines. For the first time IN TEN YEARS there is nothing at the box office from Twilight, Underworld, Resident Evil OR Paranormal Activity. Savor it, kids, because that will not happen again.

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Hang in there, we're almost done! Next time: 2014.
glitter_n_gore: (heather mason)
Back again, with another retrospective! Today, I'm doing 2012, and it's getting both same-old, same-old, and kind of interesting. There's a reinvention of the wheel happening here, both with old franchises getting a fresh spin in Prometheus; and tired tropes getting a new and unexpected twist with Cabin in the Woods. Also, all four of those box-office breaking franchise machines had something in the queue this year, one with an ending that's become infamous and kind of amazing.

Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn, Part 2 - $287.7 million
Prometheus - $126.5 million
(Underworld: Awakening - $62.3 million)
Paranormal Activity 4 - $53.9 million
(The Devil Inside - $53.3 million)
The Possession - $49.1 million
(Resident Evil: Retribution - $42.3 million)
The Cabin in the Woods - $42.1 million
The House at the End of the Street - $31.6 million
Honorable mention: Silent Hill: Revelation - $17.5 million

For the record, the high-grossing horror movie this year was actually World War Z. Sometimes, I just don't understand people.

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glitter_n_gore: (freddie lounds)
"It is a truth universally acknowledged that a zombie in possession of brains must be in want of more brains."

So begins the second adaptation of Seth Grahame-Smith's collection of monsterifications of period pieces. The first, of course, was Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, which ironically was actually written after Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, and more an original alternate history type thing than a retelling of an existing work of literature. But today, I'm talking about the movie.


Via Giphy


Now, I was extremely skeptical when I first heard this was happening. I had no interest in the book, or any of the copy-cat retellings that followed, such as Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters, but . . . I don't know, somehow the trailer started to pique my interest. After the fourth or fifth time I watched it, and started to do a headcount of how many cool genre actors were a part of it--Charles Dance! Matt Smith! Lena Headey!--I decided I couldn't miss this one.

It didn't disappoint.

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glitter_n_gore: (orphan black)
And we're back!! It's time for another Women In Horror Month. The official channel is here, and you should definitely keep an eye on their Twitter feed as well. Other people you should follow because they're just plain awesome: The Graveyard Shift Sisters and The Horror Honeys, my new very favorite blogs, and they are truly the best resources for all things horror on the 'net. Great, great stuff.

So! Recap of this project I've been doing: This is a box office retrospective. I'm talking about which horror movies starring female leads were the most successful over the past ten years, with "successful" defined as anything that grossed $25 million or higher domestically. I was originally going with $30 million as my arbitrary cut-off point, but I think that changed halfway through the retrospective last time, so I'll just stick with this until we're done. If I haven't seen the movie and/or can't tell from the trailers and marketing whether it actually has a female lead, the title is in (parentheses). Last year, I covered years 2005 through 2010. Follow this tag to catch up on those posts if you want.

Let's do this!

2011:

Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn, Part 1 - $276.9 million
Paranormal Activity 3 - $104 million
(Contagion - $75.6 million)
(Scream 4 - $38.1 million)
Red Riding Hood - $37.7 million
(The Roommate - $37.3 million)
Honorable mention: Don't Be Afraid of the Dark - $24 million

About split down the middle this year in terms of remakes/sequels versus original stories--not bad, all things considered. As I mentioned last time, the horror franchise machine that doesn't include Saw has been dominated by four particular franchises, all starring women: Resident Evil, Twilight, Underworld and Paranormal Activity. There is something from at least one of them almost every single year. This time, I'm gonna look at the original stories in the mix.

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glitter_n_gore: (stoker)
Happy International Women's Day! My retrospective is still topical! WOOO!

This was an intriguing year for horror. Pickings were slim this year, but there's an overall uptick in quality that started in the late 2000s, after we got tired of torture porn and remaking stuff from Japan and Korea. (Although remaking stuff from the '70s is still an issue.) Also, with David Slade at the helm for the third entry in the Twilight saga, we got some actual terror, tension, and action thrown into the mix along with the romance, and Melissa Rosenberg did such a solid job with the script that the line reads are intentionally funny in all the right places.

Twilight Saga: Eclipse - $300.5 million
Black Swan - $106.9 million
Paranormal Activity 2 - $84.7 million
(A Nightmare On Elm Street - $63 million)
Resident Evil: Afterlife - $60.1 million
The Last Exorcism - $41 million
The Crazies - $39.1 million
(Vampires Suck - $36.7 million)

As I said, we didn't get much, but what we did get was truly unnerving and truly above the bar. I'm talking, of course, about Black Swan.

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glitter_n_gore: (living dead girl)
Since I'm me, I figured it would probably take longer than just the whole of February to get through this project of mine. And here we are, only up to 2009, and it's the last day. So I made a decision: I'm gonna plow ahead and go through 2014 anyway, and we'll see where we end up. Cool? Cool.

The Twilight Saga: New Moon - $296.6 million
Paranormal Activity - $107.9 million
(Zombieland - $75.6 million)
(The Final Destination - $66.5 million)
(My Bloody Valentine - $51.5 million)
Underworld: Rise of the Lycans - $45.8 million
The Unborn - $42.7 million
Drag Me to Hell - $42.1 million
Orphan - $41.6 million
(Halloween 2 - $33.4 million)
(The Last House on the Left - $32.7 million)

Finally, some fresh blood! Not much, but it's there in the top end--where it counts. Still not a lot of diversity in the casting, unfortunately, but things are getting . . . interesting.

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So, we seem to have not only a wealth of truly original stories here--and this isn't even counting stuff that didn't make the cut, like Jennifer's Body and Thirst and Dead Snow--but an emphasis on "twist" endings that I honestly did not expect. So here's a question: when is a movie only as good as its ending? Are you the kind of moviegoer who likes to watch things over and over, like me? Or do you feel satisfied having only gone through it the one time? If you do like rewatching, does knowing the ending beforehand make the rewatch more interesting, or less? If you're the kind of person who's good at guessing twists, does it "ruin" the ending for you, or do you still feel like you get something out of it?

Curious minds want to know! Tell me your thoughts in the comments, and I will see you in March with 2010!
glitter_n_gore: (orphan black)
Once more, I'm in the awkward position of NOT being able to talk about some amazing movies that also came out this year, and have become cult favorites in the aftermath of their initial release--Martyrs, Splinter, Repo! The Genetic Opera, Let the Right One In, The Midnight Meat Train--all because they did not meet various of my criteria.

Twilight - $192 million
(The Strangers - $52.6 million)
(Prom Night - $43.9 million)
(The Changeling - $35.7 million)
(Quarantine - $32 million)
(The Eye - $31.4 million)

Remakes were big this year too, but mostly foreign imports, (there are more that didn't break the box office, by the way), whereas before this the big remakes had been a mix of foreign imports and retreads of old classics. Whether you count the original Prom Night as a "classic" is up for debate I guess, but that's the one that surprised me the most. As for Changeling, I'm actually not sure if it's a remake of the 1980 movie with George C. Scott or a completely original story.

Read more... )I'm a bit at a loss for what to ask this time. Since I have been noticing so many remakes, and this trend doesn't seem to stopping anytime soon, I might as well mention: sometimes the remake can be better than the original. Not always, but it does happen. It's certainly the case with The Thing--both the Kurt Russell version and the Mary Elizabeth Winstead version. I wouldn't go that far for the ones on this list, but let me ask: What remake pleasantly surprised you, either by being not as bad as you feared, or actually surpassing the original? What movie do you think would benefit from a reboot, even if you're close to the original? What remakes do you think should never have happened?

Tell me your thoughts in the comments, and I'll try not to let so much time pass before 2009!
glitter_n_gore: (28 days later)
This was a frustrating year to work with, because so many movies that I'd rather talk about fell outside the parameters I set for this project. Such as movies that grossed somewhere in the $20 million range (Grindhouse, The Reaping), movies that had either a very limited release or went straight to video (Trick 'r Treat, Jack Ketchum's The Girl Next Door), or were big overseas but never had a theatrical release in the US (Inside, [REC]).

Here's what did fall inside my parameters:

(Halloween - $63.3 million)
Resident Evil: Extinction - $50.6 million
(Aliens vs. Predator - Requiem - $41.8 million)
The Messengers - $35.4 million

So I'm slightly annoyed. But like I said in my introduction, these are what packed the theaters, and that's not always the mark of quality. For the record, the highest-grossing horror movie this year was I Am Legend, at $256.4 million. Now, it's not lost on me that, this being February, it's also Black History Month, and somehow I Am Legend is the first movie I've so much as mentioned with a black protagonist. The fact that it's Will Smith, who comes with his own box-office-friendly fanbase no matter what he stars in, isn't lost on me either. I'm stretching my own rules (grossed over $30 million domestically AND starring a woman) bringing him into the discussion at all. That bothers me. I'll come back to this in the Honorable Mention.

Moving on... )

Here is one of the trickiest things about being a fan of horror movies: no matter how many awesome characters you get, you can never be sure until the credits roll whether they'll survive. The reason the Women In Horror project exists, and the reason Black History Month exists, are because representation and visibility are lacking for both of them. Correct me if I'm wrong here, but have the numbers actually gone down since the turn of the century? We like to think that as the years progress, we're automatically progressing in other ways too, but I don't believe that's true. We have to keep having these conversations, and really look at what the trends are doing from one year to the next, to see if anything's changing. Not to mention, even with the female characters I've managed to find so far, I still haven't found many female or POC screenwriters and directors. I might be able to draw a more solid conclusion when I get to the end of the month, but what do you guys think? How far have we come? Are we still moving forward, or have we taken several steps back? Also, going back to one of my previous questions, since this is a niche genre we're talking about, when you do find feature films that tell the stories of minorities and women, why is it so hard to find them in the top box office spots?

Just some food for thought. Share your opinions with me in the comments, and I'll be back with 2008 next time!
glitter_n_gore: (underworld)
When I started tallying up numbers, one of the first things I noticed is that horror cinema with female protagonists from the past ten years has been completely dominated by four franchises: Resident Evil, Underworld, Twilight*, and Paranormal Activity. They all started at slightly different times, and they're all catering to a slightly different audience demographic, so I find it interesting that they've all been as wildly successful as they have for as long as they have. And they're all still going. That's a substantial amount of sustained marketability, all starring women.

*I know, save your garment rending. I have a reason for including it on this list, and I'll get to it later. First, the top money-makers with female protagonists for 2006:

Underworld: Evolution - $62.3 million
The Omen - $54.6 million
(Final Destination 3 - $54.1 million)
When a Stranger Calls - $47.9 million
Silent Hill - $47 million
(The Hills Have Eyes - $41.8 million)
(The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning - $39.5 million)
The Grudge 2 - $39 million
Pan's Labyrinth - $37.6 million

Again, lots of remakes and sequels, and a fair few I haven't seen. In fact, there are only two original stories in this year's lineup, and I'm almost not sure they qualify--Silent Hill because it's technically an adaptation, and Pan's Labyrinth because I'm not sure it counts as "horror." But we're going to talk about them anyway, because it's my retrospective and I Do What I Want.

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The reason I decided to include Pan's Labyrinth in the end (apart from the fact that I asked Twitter for input), is because I tend to be a bit more generous than some when drawing the line between "horror" and "fantasy" and "sci-fi." For me, it doesn't matter that much because I watch all three genres for the same reasons: I want to be taken out of my comfort zone. I want to question my perception of reality. I want to see ordinary people transform into heroes when faced with impossible circumstances. I want to see worlds and creatures I've never seen or imagined before. Mostly, I want to be entertained. If I happen to get scared out of my wits in the process, as long as those other criteria are met, I'm okay with that. But I'm also okay if a movie calling itself "horror" doesn't actually manage to scare me.

So here's my question for this post: Where do you draw the line between "horror" and other genres? Do you come away disappointed if a horror movie doesn't scare you, or do you watch it for other reasons--and if so, what are those reasons?

Tell me your thoughts in the comments, and I'll be back next time with 2007!
glitter_n_gore: (freddie lounds)
WiHM 2015, Box Office Retrospective: 2005

First, an explanation: I'm listing the year-end domestic box office gross of the most successful horror movies with female leads of each respective year in this retrospective. I'm using a combination of BoxOfficeMojo.com, The-Numbers.com, and IMDB to arrive at these numbers, with an arbitrary cut-off at $30 million to count as "successful." I could try to average everything out to see the overall take globally, and/or compare the gross against the budget to see which films are raking in a decent profit, but that would require me to Math, and nobody wants that.

If a movie is in (parentheses), that means I haven't seen it and can't quite figure out who the protagonist is from the cast listing and plot summary.

I'll be briefly discussing my thoughts on a few of these movies, but in broad strokes so as to avoid spoilers.

Shall we?

(Saw II - $86.8 million)
The Ring Two - $75.8 million
The Exorcism of Emily Rose - $75.1 million
The Amityville Horror - $65.2 million
Red Eye - $57.9 million
Hide and Seek - $51.1 million
The Skeleton Key - $47.8 million
(House of Wax - $32 million)

Read more... )

Throughout this retrospective, I'd like to keep in mind that horror fans (well, geeky types in general, really) tend to latch onto things that aren't necessarily at the top of the queue in critical or commercial circles. So, what movies stood out for you this year? What did the box office overlook that should've seen more love? What were some of your favorite performances/monsters/things that scared you/made you think?

Let me know in the comments, and I'll be back with 2006 next time!
glitter_n_gore: (chiaki)
Now that we've all had some time to recover from Halloween, let's get revved up for another Women In Horror Month! Last year, I took a look at some box office numbers to see what the genre looks like right now. And first of all, let me apologize. I don't remember what search engine I was using to get those numbers, but I clearly did something wrong because I somehow overlooked World War Z, The Purge and Warm Bodies while gathering my data, which should have bumped half my original contenders off the list. It's still a pretty cool list, but I'll get back to that later.

So this year, instead of looking at just one year's box office results, I decided to look at the overall trends since 2005. The reason I'm focusing squarely on box office numbers is because money and audience demand are what drive the industry. Nothing gets changed if the status quo isn't challenged in a recognizable way. And for better or worse, looking at box office numbers is a way to quantify what people wanted to see in a given year. Otherwise, I'd just be talking about my own personal tastes, and while I'll never stop recommending cool, under-the-radar stuff like Stoker, We Are What We Are and The Moth Diaries, that's not the point of this project.

Whenever I get excited about a new short story collection/TV show/movie/book with positive female representation either in the characters or behind the scenes, inevitably someone makes the argument that it's not enough that women be present in this type of media. It has to also be good, high-quality, intelligent, thoughtful media. Now, I don't have any problem with asking for good quality stuff, but I feel like this argument is asking for female creators and characters to be that much "better" than their male counterparts in order to make up for the fact that they're female. Which I don't think is fair. Get them into the rotation in the first place, and we can worry about whether they're awesome enough to deserve their places later. More to the point: horror fans in general, myself included, sometimes develop a taste for really appalling, cheesy, low-grade trash. I don't want to see that stuff go away. It is awesome in its own way. If the boys are allowed to have their cheese and eat it too, then dammit, so should we.

I asked Twitter and Absolute Write who were their favorite Horror Heroines prior to 2005, just to get a starting baseline. Here are the top 5 results, in descending order from most chosen to least:

Ellen Ripley (Sigourney Weaver), Alien
Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis), Halloween
Clarice Starling (Jodie Foster), Silence of the Lambs
Alice (Milla Jovovich), Resident Evil
Nancy (Heather Langenkamp), A Nightmare on Elm Street

These are the golden oldies, the ones we've looked up to and cheered on for decades--with no leading on my part, and no parameters specifying any particular definition of "heroine." And I gotta say, Alice surprised me. I didn't realize she was so well-loved, since she's the relative newcomer to the lineup here. I also thought Sarah Connor (Linda Hamilton, Terminator) would get more votes--when I started asking, she was only mentioned once. This is all very informal of course, and my sample pool is very small, so the net I'm liable to cast isn't but so wide.

Still, here's my question: Who are the new Horror Heroines? Who have we, the viewing public, deemed worthy successors to the badass, monster-fighting ladies of yore? And who does the horror community, always with its ear to the ground for cool, under-the-radar stuff, wish more people knew about and celebrated?

The results might surprise you. Stay tuned, and I'll be back with the numbers from 2005 next time!
glitter_n_gore: (jean gray)
This is not my usual format for a "Film of the Book" review, because there's just one aspect of this story I want to get into today.

One thing you probably know about me by now is I watch a lot of horror movies. So this is a fun time of year for me. Among my more recent traditions is the 31 Days of Halloween Movie Marathon wherein I try to watch a movie a day for a solid month--all horror, all stuff I haven't seen before--and see how far I get before the blessed day itself.

One thing you might also know is that October, in addition to being the month of candy, costumes and creepy things, is also Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Which makes it the month of pink ribbons. There was a time when this really annoyed me, because when I'm marathoning scary movies, I don't really want to be surrounded by pink everywhere I go. My relationship with the color is . . . complicated. For a long time, I hated it on principle because it was "girly" and therefore "stupid" and "bad." More recently, I started to question why exactly I associated it with those latter two. Why does "girly" equal "stupid" and "bad," I wondered?

Carrie1
(Image property of MGM)


This year, the first movie in my marathon queue was the 2013 version of Carrie directed by Kimberly Pierce and starring Chloe Grace Moretz. Counting the TV movie with Angela Bettis that came out in 2002, it's the third on-screen adaptation I've seen of Stephen King's novel, but also the first I've seen since I actually read the book. All three movies are very similar--nothing marks this one as different except a posting-horrible-things-on-the-internet side plot that I was expecting to go way further than it did. I think this is a good thing since the story is so universal, so timeless, yet so particular to the unique hell that is life as a teenage girl, that it wouldn't be the same if you shifted it too much in another direction.

What jumped out at me this time, however, was the use of color. I'm not talking about the blood-drenched finale or the harrowing shower scene in the beginning--red is an obvious go-to in stories like this. I'm talking about Carrie's prom dress. If you're only superficially familiar with the story, then there are two things you need to know about that dress: 1) Carrie makes it herself. 2) It's pink.

Read more. . . )
glitter_n_gore: (clockwork orange)
Something occurred to me about midway through my new favorite TV series, "Sleepy Hollow": the representation of other-than-white people in the main cast. Specifically, the way Abbie is portrayed as the main protagonist.

Now, I've been watching with my Mom mainly OnDemand, which means we don't usually get a chance to see them right when they air. We get to it when we get to it. The episodes are formulaic as hell from week to week, but it's fun, action-packed, and endlessly entertaining, even as it plays fast and loose with American history and the mythologies it's drawing from for the supernatural conflict. I love this show.

If you're not familiar, the main plot revolves around Ichabod Crane--here a soldier from the Revolutionary War who woke up hundreds of years after his own supposed death on the battlefield, having been felled by a headless horseman--and Abbie Mills, a police lieutenant who teams up with Ichabod to track the horseman's movements and (hopefully) prevent the coming apocalypse.

What I wanted to point out here is probably not news to anyone, but I felt moved to draw attention to it all the same: our "everyman" character in this scenario is Abbie. She's the character the audience is supposed to relate to and identify with. Ichabod is the out-of-place stranger here to amuse us with his lack of familiarity with the modern world. He's the Other. Just think about that. In Ichabod's point of view especially, Abbie--an intelligent, unmarried, career-driven black woman--is his touchstone for understanding the years he missed when he was asleep. In his eyes, she is the face of modern America.

I'm not sure I'm going anywhere in particular with this observation. But I think it's a very good thing.

Thoughts?
glitter_n_gore: (samara)
Welcome to Women In Horror Month, the 2014 edition! First, the official website is here, should you want to keep track of things coming up this year. As for myself, I decided to take a look back on some of the numbers from last year. What I found out was very interesting. Here are the five top-grossing horror movies of 2013:

1 The Conjuring ($137.4 million)
2 Insidious: Chapter 2 ($83.6 million)
3 Mama ($71.6 million)
4 Evil Dead ($54.2 million)
5 Carrie ($35.3 million)

My personal favorite--Stoker--didn't do quite as well financially; I guess it was a little too twisted to be a blockbuster, but that's fine. Keep in mind that these aren't necessarily the "best" horror films of the past year, but merely the most successful--the movie-going public voted these movies as the most worthy of earning their dollars. Out of the five, four have female protagonists, and at least three pass the Bechdel Test with flying colors. (I say "at least" because I haven't seen them all yet.)

Only one of them is directed by a women--Carrie, helmed by Kimberly Peirce. But when it comes to representation in the media, I'm cautiously encouraged by the turnout here. Not just that these movies came out, but that they did so well in a genre that's been historically perceived as a boys' club. Ladies, last year WE were the majority.

You know what else I notice? Remake, remake, sequel, Based On True Events, and one--count 'em, one--original story.

Hm.

I'm going to spend most of the month reading and posting capsule reviews as I go, because I'm more familiar with written fiction than film. But I am very curious--and excited--to see what the next year will bring.

Stay tuned!
glitter_n_gore: (jean gray)
I'm not sure why it's taken me so much longer to get through this deconstruction than I anticipated. In my defense, February is a short month. For the second half of my look at female-centric horror films--and what I suppose is my last entry for WiHM this year--I'm talking about Silent Hill and The Moth Diaries. If you hadn't noticed, I'm doing these in chronological order, with the most recent movie last. Have things gotten any better over the years?

Read on... )
glitter_n_gore: (underworld)
For this, my second official post for Women in Horror Month, I want to take a look at the all-female horror cast. I'll be talking about four different films that have the following things in common: they all have a female in the roles of both protagonist and villain, they all have a healthy head-count of females in the supporting roles, and they all pass the Bechdel Test. The question I'm putting forward is this: When the cast of your horror movie is either predominantly or exclusively female, does it automatically negate or subvert the harmful negative stereotypes that women tend to occupy in horror as a whole?

This blog post wound up a little longer than I originally anticipated, so I've split it into two parts. For this half, I'm going to take a look at Suspiria and The Craft.

Read on... )

I haven't drawn my conclusions quite yet though. Next time, I'll be talking about Silent Hill and The Moth Diaries.

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