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The Haunting of Hill HouseDo you love unreliable narrators and ghosts and wish that more psychological dramas laid off the gore? Gather round the fire, readers, it’s time for the original THE HAUNTING OF HILL HOUSE.

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halloween-poster

Image: poster for John Carpenter’s Halloween (1978). A hand holds a knife with the same curve as the sections of the pumpkin on a jack-o-lantern. Text: “The night HE came home!”

Or, a Halloween veteran (me) watches Halloween again with someone who has never seen Halloween (my partner).

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I decided to watch The House on Sorority Row (1983) because I confused it with some other better-reviewed slasher movie of the era with a forgettable name (Black Christmas, 1974) that also took place in a sorority house. Welp. Like The Moth Diaries, it alternated between brilliant, dull, and problematic.

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Image of The House on Sorority Row: the sorority sisters, who are in their nightgowns/slips/pajamas, toast with mugs to graduating]

Spoilers ahead.

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The remake of The Rocky Horror Picture Show aired yesterday on Fox, and though I haven’t seen it yet, I wanted to share this piece from Bitch Media about the complicated relationship between the queer community–particularly bi+ and trans folks–with this film.

laverne

Laverne Cox as Dr. Frank-n-Furter, who has just left a rainbow lipstick mark on the “screen” of the image. 

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moth-diaries

Image: the poster for The Moth Diaries, showing Ernessa touching Rebecca’s face

In the course of doing this series, I always find a couple of duds–films that aren’t very interesting, not ones I can recommend as feminist horror films but also not ones that clearly illustrate problematic elements. I hit a couple of dull ones this year that I’ll review briefly, including today’s selection: The Moth Diaries.

I was promised atmospheric queer vampire romance directed by a woman. The first half of the film delivers, but the second half just doesn’t hit the mark.

Rebecca is a student at an all-girls boarding school (surprise). She totally wants to be gal pals with her bestie Lucy, but Lucy is too enraptured with Ernessa, the new student who totally isn’t a vampire, to notice.  (more…)

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screen-shot-goat-the-witch

Image from The Witch website: a dark image with a goat; text is overlaid on the image: “GOAT: The He-Goat’s two horn’d crown doth reign / Through blackest Nature, His domain.”

The genre of horror doesn’t exist in a vacuum: what is scary isn’t the same throughout time or space. For example, my idea of a great scary story*:

On a hot and sunny day, your intrepid blogger was blindfolded and forced to attend a gender-reveal party for a baby.** Watch as they encounter…

Misgendering! [cut to “Well, hello, there, miss!”]

Cissplaining! [cut to “They/them aren’t real pronouns!”]

The very concept of binary genders assigned based on in-utero pics of baby’s genitals! [cut to BLOGGER, confused: “hamburger?! turtle?! are we speaking English rn does the ultrasound now tell you folks’ pronouns now?”]

Ruining cake with the arbitrary and artificial gender binary! [cut to CAKE oozing pink or blue]

Regrettably, being marginalized usually means folks are afraid of people like me: queer and genderqueer/gender non-conforming (though the brunt of that falls on trans women). Cultural fears, particularly about the marginalized gaining power and influence (or, self determination even), drive horror films. The vampire as a queer woman or a (somehow also queer) Eastern European; the serial killer as bisexual or trans; zombies as a metaphor for racial Others; and, among many others, witches. Witches are conflated with everything from the fear of ethnic Others (Roma, Creole, Latinx, African) to the generalized fear of women, including but not limited to women having rights to their own bodies, property, money, sexuality, and self determination.

Which brings me to The Witch, a horror film for Puritans by Puritans. (more…)

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The cover of the 25th anniversary edition of The Gilda Stories by Jewelle Gomez: a sepia tone image of a black woman with blood splatter on the cover]

I will attempt to write this in a manner that doesn’t seem like I’m screaming and failing and fan-nerding out, but my desire to ALL CAPS is SO STRONG.

The Gilda Stories is, as described by its author Jewelle Gomez, a “black lesbian vampire novel.” That’s apt, but it doesn’t even scratch the surface of how amazing and perfect The Gilda Stories is.

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