FINAL GIRL explores the slasher flicks of the '70s and '80s...and all the other horror movies I feel like talking about, too. This is life on the EDGE, so beware yon spoilers!

Apr 29, 2016

Adjust your tracking...

...and gird your loins, my friends, for on Monday begins...

It's true! I found a bunch of tapes in a box in a closet and what good are they if they are not getting in my eyeballs ASAP? None, no good at all, that's what I say. So now we will all be treated–"treated"–to a whopping 14 days of VHS delights and garbage.

"14 days," you say. "Does she not know how many days constitute a week? Has she never heard of a fortnight? Does she not know how to add?"

The answer to all of those questions is NO, but that's beside the point. The point is, come Monday I'm gonna VHS until my brain melts. If you've got any interest in what I'll be writin' 'bout when–assuming, you know, all the tapes work–here's the schedule. Add it to your Palm Pilot so you don't miss a hot minute!

Mon 5/2 - INCUBUS (1966, Leslie Stevens)
Tues 5/3 - THE OLD DARK HOUSE (1932, James Whale)
Wed 5/4 - MIKEY (1992, Dennis Dimster)
Thur 5/5 - ANGUISH (1987, Bigas Luna)
Fri 5/6 - THE BIRD WITH THE CRYSTAL PLUMAGE (1970, Dario Argento)
Sat 5/7 - THE HOUSE THAT DRIPPED BLOOD (1971, Peter Duffell)
Sun 5/8 - RABID (1977, David Cronenberg)
Mon 5/9 - THE GRANNY (1995, Luca Bercovici)
Tues 5/10 - PARASITE (1982, Charles Band)
Wed 5/11 - DIE! DIE! MY DARLING! (1965, Silvio Narizzano)
Thur 5/12 - THE HAUNTING OF JULIA (1977, Richard Loncraine)
Fri 5/13 - THE NIGHT EVELYN CAME OUT OF THE GRAVE (1971, Emilio Miraglia)
Sat 5/14 - THE ATTIC (1980, George Edwards & Gary Graver)
Sun 5/15 - MARTIN (1977, George A. Romero)

Why, there's some good, classic stuff in the list that I can't wait to watch. Yes, I'm talking about Mikey. It stars Josie Bissett of television's Melrose Place, of course I'm excited about it. Hmm, now that I think about it, I should just do 14 days of Mikey!

Mar 21, 2016

"I love you. I really love you."

Whether you are an American or not, if you're following the political scene here in the United States–I mean, how can you avoid it?–then you're likely mortified, depressed, terrified, nonplussed, and just plain worn the fuck out. Then you remember the election is still 236 days away and you think about renting a convertible, finding the nearest canyon, and Thelma-and-Louise-ening yourself into sweet oblivion. On the other hand, you don't really feel like leaving the house today so you simply opt to curb your Internetting and social mediaing. You should probably do that regardless.

On the upside of this garbage, all the recent AIDS in the Reagan era news talk got me thinkin' about and revisiting Todd Haynes's other Carol* in 1995's Safe.

I fully admit, when I saw Safe in theaters back in The Day, I wasn't super satisfied. I was disappointed, even. I didn't get it. Mind you, that reaction had more to do with my own preconceived notions of what the film would be than with any of its actual shortcomings, if it even has any. But I went into it expecting some horror-flavored Outbreak-style disease flick (we all had contagious illness fever back then, you see), and Safe...isn't that, despite the fact that Carol White has an environmental/chemical sensitivity and sickness. Or does she?

Safe asks that question of the viewer, and many more besides. The truth and right-or-wrong of everything is kept just out of reach, constantly teasing, and it remains that way until the last frame. All of those questions raised and not a single answer given–what frustrated me upon first viewing ("Where are the exploding faces and people bleeding out, dammit?!") now tantalizes. I gave the film a second chance a few years ago and it clicked and since then, I've delighted in unraveling the layers, plucking at all the threads to see where they lead.

While Carol Aird of Carol and Carol White of Safe are both women concerned with identity and finding their place in the world, they approach these issues from radically different places. Carol Aird knows who she is and what she wants, it's simply a matter of having the courage to claim both and live true to herself. Carol White, on the other hand, barely exists. She takes up no space. Her voice barely projects–she speaks not from her diaphragm, but from the slightest vibration at that top of her vocal cords. You can be sure she leaves no impression on a mattress when she gets off of it. She is dwarfed by her monstrously large upper middle class surroundings, by her marriage, by everything.

It's easy to read her sudden illness as a rejection of all of this as she tries to finally figure herself out, but again, Todd Haynes doesn't give us such a nice, neat little metaphorical package. We're never given any indication that Carol has an inner life or engages in soul searching whatsoever, and ultimately it's impossible to gauge her motivations. She is simply an empty vessel adrift. She was isolated in her domestic life, but she only leaves it to find herself further isolated–this time quite literally, as she takes to living in a germ-free domicile in a remote desert community of like-minded sufferers. Is she now happy? What does happiness mean to Carol White? Would she even recognize it?

By 1995, Julianne Moore was beginning to emerge as an Actress of Note, One to Watch after turns in Short Cuts and The Hand That Rocks the Cradle–and she is remarkable in Safe. Moore and Haynes provide a great example of that wondrous and rare director-actress synergy that is so rewarding to watch. She knows this character, she gets what he's written, and he lets her work. Every frame of the thing is worth savoring and the production is perfectly 1987. The colors, the puffiness! A nightmare in pastel.

If you've yet to see Safe, fucking see Safe already. I realized in that theatre that it's not "horror", but in the years since I've figured out that it's existentially horrifying, so what's the difference? Play it fast and loose with genre conventions, man, and unravel those threads.

*YES I am still completely obsessed with Carol and I am sure I always will be, so you just count yourself lucky if I don't go ahead and turn this dump into a Carol blog once and for all

Mar 4, 2016

The Final Frame

Haven't done one of these in quite a while! This is the final frame from which horror film?

Feb 25, 2016

"Relax...I'm not some kind of crazy killer."

Can you guys believe that Killer Workout has been on DVD and Blu-ray for longer than one minute and I have not upgraded from my VHS copy? Can you also believe that I've talked about it so much but have never properly reviewed it? What is even wrong with me?

This question slapped me right in my face earlier today when Jason, having been recently touched by the film for the very first time, inducted Killer Workout into his long-running "Thursday's Ways Not To Die" series at My New Plaid Pants.

His post got me thinkin' about it, dang it. I need to slap on a leotard ("No, you don't!" -- everyone) and make the jump to modern disc-based technology so I can post some screencaps and gifs and finally, finally do a Killer Workout masterpost.

I am glad, however, that Jason giffed this moment, for it's one of my favorite moments in the film. Just another gal caught playin' with a jockstrap!

Oh my God, I love Killer Workout.

Feb 23, 2016

It's voterin' time!

So I'm perusing my local Redbox selections (maybe I'll rent The Visit? Maybe Truth, though. Or Sicario? Nasty Baby? maybe I won't go outside?) and I come across this movie:

Okay, sure. I'm not interested in the film or learning anything about it or what the plot is or if you've seen it and here's what you think or whatever. I've just decided not to dedicate any of my brain space to this particular film–all apologies to everyone involved in making it–but if you saw it and liked it, that's great.

However, I have decided to dedicate way too much of my brain to that title and whether it means 1) Grandpa is a psycho, or 2) Grandpa has a psycho. The tagline doesn't much help by way of hints! So mysterious, this Grandpa's Psycho. Let's solve this one with a tried-and-true method: an online poll!

Is Grandpa a psycho, or does Grandpa *have* a psycho?

Grandpa is a psycho
Grandpa has a psycho
Look, call me when it's "Grandpa vs Norman Bates"
Do Quizzes

I'm excited to find out what you decide! Also, I am unsure why the poll widget is aggressively wide, but what can you do.

Also also, speaking of voting, Final Girl is nominated for a Rondo Award! This is indeed an honor and I am grateful for the nomination. If you want to vote then by all means, clicken ze click click. However, if there's one thing that Carol not getting nominated for Best Picture proves, it's that all awards–every last one of them!–are a total sham. So you can just take your "#1 Dad" coffee mug and your "Best Mom" throw pillow and throw them in the garbage! (But thanks for the Rondo nomination just the same.)

Feb 22, 2016

A Tribute to...

...guys chopping wood in horror movies!

There's a scene in The Witch where William gets his wood choppin' on, and when it happened I thought to myself..."Hmm. That is a thing in horror movies!" and then I went back to concentrating on The Witch because it is so good. I know, I know! I am a deep thinker. But you know what, it is a thing. The menfolk got the rage inside of 'em, you see, and those feelings need sublimatin'. The only way they can let them out beyond, like, killing their family or other folks is to get sweaty, to sometimes take off their shirts, and chop the fuck outta some wood. Yay!

Unless, of course, you're Friday the 13th's Steve Christy, in which case you're not chopping because you're angry, it's just that there's a shit ton of stuff to do before Camp Blood reopens.

(The Witch gif courtesy of pal Jason of My New Plaid Pants)

Feb 20, 2016

Ye gvd of Masfachusets Bay Colanee and oyerwise

Think not on the Fear that lyes vpon yy head and heart. Trust Yyself, Trust The VVitch, vnburthen Yyself and seest svch Entertaynments for the bettering of thy mind.

Or something. Basically I am still unpacking my thoughts and feelings about The Witch too much to write anything resembling a proper (or even proper-ish) review, but I thought I would chime in here to say that I loved it. So there.