Norma Bates – Fiction’s Fearless Females

By Kalie Zamierowski of Just Dread-full

One thing worth noting about the horror genre is that it produces images that resist quick mental erasure.  From the statuesque model who turns into a decrepit, decaying old woman in the infamous shower scene of The Shining to the bloody womb hanging limply outside the skin of Nola Carveth in The Brood, horror does nothing if not supply us with grotesque images of often monstrous women.  Psycho’s Norma Bates, then, is no exception.  In Hitchcock’s original film, Psycho, we see Norma not as a mommy so much as a stereotypical mummy; all that is left of her is a skeletal, eyeless frame and some tousled hair pulled back in a bun. We hear her character, and therefore understand her character, only through Marion Crane’s ears as the delusional Norman voices her from afar in the antiquated Victorian house on the hill outside Bates Motel.  But Norma is a famous mummy, and a famous mommy, to be sure, one who lingers in the mind of the viewer long after the theater lights go on, and one who has lingered in the cultural imagination now for sixty-one years and counting.  Significantly, Norma Bates didn’t get to speak for herself until 2013, when the hit TV show Bates Motel rescued and re-invented her character through Vera Farmiga’s portrayal of her as Norman’s mildly cooky but vivacious and loving mom.  As a woman who navigates an excruciating past, a corrupt, drug-infested city, and a psychotic son with surprising sangfroid, Norma Bates in Bates Motel is who I choose to feature this year for the annual Fiction’s Fearless Females blogathon. 

Continue reading

My Top Five Favorite Comic Book Movies

I’m normally not a huge fan of lists like this.  It’s always so subjective (naturally) and they can change rather frequently (at least for me).  So I don’t often write them.  We can be mercurial in our fandom love, you know?  But this term I’m teaching a new course on the intersection of comic books and social justice.  In the course, we read several comics and watch several comic book films and then we deconstruct them, exploring their messages and symbolism, with an eye towards justice issues.  As we discussed what would be in the course, several students asked me what my favorite comic book movies were.  I couldn’t just brush aside the question – my students are seeking to better understand the preferences and passions that have shaped me and this course!  I also can’t answer a question like this without way overthinking XD.  So here are the results of the deep introspection and soul-searching brought on by my students’ inquiries. Continue reading

What I Learned Watching 96 Episodes of Supergirl (with Crossovers) in 16 Days

I have a habit of committing (should we say overcommitting?) to ridiculous viewing marathons.  I don’t really know why.  But I tend to do it more so with movies than shows.  However, when I heard the Arrowverse was going to be gaining a new show this fall in the form of Batwoman – a character whom I adore – I knew I’d be tuning in.  When I realized Batwoman would be airing Sunday nights before Supergirl – a show I’ve always been interested in but never committed to watching (because the Arrowverse is huge and intimidating) – I figured I should check it out.  Why not, right?  The first four seasons were on Netflix.  Maybe, maybe I should try and binge-watch (even though I don’t particularly care for binge-watching) all four seasons before the new one premiered.  Then I could watch Batwoman live without fear of spoilers for Supergirl AND enjoy Supergirl at the same time!  Was this the best idea I’ve ever had??

What follows is the stream-of-consciousness list of lessons I learned while trying to watch all ninety-six episodes of Supergirl (with crossovers) over the course of sixteen wild days.  Continue reading

Captain Marvel – Where the MCU’s Been and Where It’s Going

I went into Captain Marvel with pretty high expectations.  While I felt the marketing Marvel did for the film was subpar, this was still the Marvel movie I was most excited about this year.  It was also the one I had the highest expectations for.  Yes, I will be in line for Avengers: Endgame with everyone else, ready to see how the first generation of the Marvel Cinematic Universe comes to an end.  But Captain Marvel’s the movie I was waiting for.  With that in mind, I wanted to talk a little bit about the film (no spoilers) but also about the MCU in general  After my first (and second) viewing of the film, I found myself contemplating how Carol Danvers was brought to life on the big screen and also what the future of the MCU will look like with her and Black Panther at the fore. Continue reading