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Archive for the ‘Feminist Halloween’ Category

You didn’t think I was going to write Feminist Halloween without talking about NBC Hannibal, did you?

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In his Buzzfeed piece “How Did A Bunch Of Mythical Monsters Become Queer Icons?” John Paul Brammer asks the question I definitely had after the “gay Babadook gets appropriated by the straights” happened this year.

Jeff Lowry for BuzzFeed News Queer Monsters

Image: a person with short hair uses their computer in a darkened room, which casts a shadow of a person alternating with Mothman on the wall. A picture of the Babadook is on the wall over the bed; a pair of bigfoot slippers sit by the bed; and several Venus flytraps sit in the corner of the room. Copyright: Jeff Lowry for BuzzFeed New (the original is a gif!)

Where I’m from, a small town in the middle of nowhere, the gay man was the bogeyman. He was constantly waiting to prey upon the hapless straights in their locker rooms, salivating at the prospect of converting them to the gay dark side with his bite. All things evil and repulsive were his domain — report cards, emotions, curfews, and books, to name a few. All these things were gay, because they were bad.

 

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Luckily all our bi horror storylines aren’t just coded (The Haunting) or incredibly violent (The Daylight Gate)! “San Junipero,” episode 4 of season 3 of Black Mirror, is the story of Yorkie and Kelly, two queer women who meet in the beach resort town of San Junipero.

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Image: Kelly tells Yorkie “Whatever I say, go along with it.”

Moderate spoilers below, but this episode is so complex that the spoilers here aren’t even the major spoilers.

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Daylight GateIn seeking out as much queer horror as I can find this year and every year, I found Jeanette Winterson’s novella The Daylight Gate listed on some recommended books lists. Winterson also wrote queer classic Oranges are the the Only Fruit, which I have yet to read (and should). That seemed like a glowing recommendation itself, and the reviews of the book often describe the book as “sophisticated…visceral…utterly compulsive, thick with atmosphere and dread, but sharp intelligence, too” (The Telegraph, back cover of the book). This is a case of “I see what the author was trying to do, but–”

Some mild spoilers and mentions of sexual abuse and prison conditions ahead.

The Daylight Gate could best be described as historical fiction with magical realism and bisexuality, all of which are things I love. Yet it reads more like the bare-bones outline of a novel that one writes to get the story down before adding in dialogue, descriptions, and, well, editing.

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I wanted to include some podcasts in this list, but I stopped listening to Pseudopod about a year ago after yet another horror story with a graphic rape scene with no content warning.* Podcastle, which often has good fantasy horror during Halloween, featured Carmen Maria Machado’s “The Husband Stitch.” This short story is a loose retelling of “The Girl with the Green Ribbon,” and references the role of a lot of similar folklore and not-quite-urban legends. The story was nominated for a Nebula Award and a Shirley Jackson Award.

Some spoilers and medical/pregnancy discussion below.

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Tales of Halloween poster

Poster for Tales of Halloween. Text reads “One Night. One Town. Ten Chilling Stories.” Image of a gnarled, leafless tree in from of a giant moon; the sun is setting orange on the horizon like flames.

Let’s take a break from The Haunting for a moment for this live-blog-style recap of a horror anthology, currently available on Netflix.

This credits sequences is 90s AF and I love it. It reminds me of Are You Afraid of the Dark?.

I’m going to do this as a recap to try to capture the short-and-frantic mood of the anthology. I’ve written each recap as a spoiler-free intro and then a recap of the whole short with spoilers; the text is in white so you can highlight it.

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The Haunting PosterI’ll cut to the chase: This film is a hot mess. It basically takes all the interesting bits of the 1963 version and book and strips them of anything atmospheric or subtle to make room for CGI GHOSTS.

I don’t hate CGI just for the sake of hating it. CGI can be used to enhance or create animation. It can be seamless with other special effects. But not in this film, where Director Jan de Bont hopes that you won’t notice the wooden acting or plot holes because you’ll be so distracted with the CGI curtain ghosts and loud noises.

Spoilers ahead!

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Haunting PosterToday’s post is a recap of The Haunting (1963). Tomorrow, I’ll do a slightly more serious post comparing the 1963 version to the 1999 version, and I’ll review the book later this month.

It took me forever to even find this because there’s like 1000 movies called “The Haunting of Somebody or Other” and most video sites are like, “YOU WANT HOUSE ON HAUNTED HILL RIGHT.” I literally watched House on Haunted Hill every year for THREE FUCKING YEARS and was like “where the heck are the queer women.” Goddammit.

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Illustration by Kelsey Wroten for Bitch Media. The image is an illustration of a women with bobbed hair and a defiant expression holding up a hand as her arms and torso crumble away.

Body horror is my least favorite genre of horror films, but I love this article from Bitch Media (available online and in the “Blood and Guts” issue): “A New Wave of Body-Horror Films Focuses On Women” by Tammy Oler, who writes about eight films from the 2010s that use “the subgenre to explore harrowing relationships between women and their bodies, confronting us with the grim reality that our ideas of body image may be more fraught than ever.”

 

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GET OUT posterHappy Halloween, spooky readers! Feminist Halloween is back for our 4th annual review of horror media and Halloween culture. I didn’t watch as many new horror films this year because I wasn’t really interested in anything that came out (It, Mother!). I mean, we’re also living in a high-key political horror story right now but OKAY.

The one horror film I did see this year was Get Out, which is one of the most densely and well crafted films I’ve seen in a long time. 

[mildest spoilers, all major spoilers are in the links section]

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