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.
The first eleven years of the Marvel Cinematic Universe held twenty-two films all leading up the Avengers and the Guardians of the Galaxy’s battle with Thanos and his Black Order, as the fate of creation hung in the balance. It was a story built with patience and care and the conclusion in Avengers: Endgame, while not without faults, was brilliantly crafted. But the MCU didn’t end there. No, Phase Four is rolling and one of many questions to consider is…which villain comes next? Who can possibly follow Thanos?? My guess? Onslaught. BOOM. Continue reading →
I like to do these pieces where I’ll examine the entire run of a writer on Guardians Of The Galaxy. It began when I first read all the Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning comics which inspired James Gunn’s film. I fell in love so they naturally led me to Brian Michael Bendis’ run. Then I read Gerry Duggan’s. His All-New Guardians Of The Galaxy was a painfully forced attempt to make the comic feel exactly like the movies, disregarding ten years of narrative character development. It also setup Duggan’s Infinity Countdown and Infinity Wars which may be the worst comic crossover I’ve ever read. Then Donny Cates comes along…and totally redeemed everything!!! Seriously, if I ever meet this guy I’ll buy him a drink or dinner or dinner with drinks. He’s earned it. Continue reading →
I started this li’l series a while ago, when I finally read Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning’s Guardians Of The Galaxy run, the comics that inspired James Gunn’s films. I had so much fun writing about my experience of meeting the Guardians in that way, as I continued my journey through their comics, I did another post about Brian Michael Bendis’s time writing the title. Naturally, next up is Gerry Duggan. I feel enough time has passed (now that we’re seven months into the Donny Cates run) that I can thoughtfully reflect on Duggan’s vision of the team. For me, this ended up being a shocking-yet-classic example of the truth of being careful what you wish for… Continue reading →
One of my favorite scenes in Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining is a two or three second shock during which a series of terrifying events happen. At this point in the film, Danny has been replaced by Tony, who’s saying “Redrum” in a voice that’s robotic at first and amplifies in intensity and urgency as Jack’s presence gets closer. As Danny—or “Tony,” his psychic alter-ego—screams “Redrum,” Wendy reads the words backward in the mirror. The camera pans in on the word “murder” written in childish handwriting with blood-red lipstick. Almost as soon as we, the viewers, read “murder” in the mirror, we hear the unnerving sound of an ax chopping through wood and the camera moves to Jack, who wields the huge, sharp, silver device and uses it to slice through the wooden door of the caretaker’s quarters, where Danny and Wendy reside. As if this nexus of sensation weren’t enough to alarm us, the viewers, and pull as even a little more deeply into The Shining’s sinister, unpredictable world, Wendy’s voice intercepts this moment with a simultaneously frenetic and bone-chilling scream—a scream that we’ll hear different variations of for the rest of the movie. In turn, we, as the viewers—at least a little bit—start feeling Wendy’s maddening fear, and our cognition is ultimately forced to accept a mis-en-scene and narrative moment that’s eliminated anything reassuring or comforting for us to latch onto. We are, in a sense, in the void, and we are there with Wendy. Continue reading →
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 →
It’s no secret, like a large portion of the world, I immediately fell in love with the Guardians of the Galaxy when I met them in James Gunn’s masterpiece. I’d never seen Peter Quill, Rocket Raccoon, or Groot before and only knew Gamora, Drax, and Nebula from their Infinity-related exploits of the 1990’s. This team was like nothing I’d ever seen and everything I always wanted! It’s also not a secret, loving the films as I do, I’ve sought comics with the same feeling. But no matter what I read it wasn’t enough like Gunn’s vision. This is a major (first world) problem because I want more Guardians in my life! Well, for my birthday this summer Mom and Dad got me the collections of Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning’s 2008-2010 run with Guardians Of The Galaxy, the comics that inspired Gunn’s film! And I finally met the Guardians before they were movie stars… Continue reading →
4therace (a truly brilliant blog about cinema, filled with insightful analysis and commentary) was nice enough to nominate me for this award about a month and a half ago. What took me so long to do this post?? Well, wait until you see the third question he asked me to answer… But I’ve finally committed to my answers so I’m finally ready to do this post! However, last week Green Onion (the most fun one stop shop for reviews on literature of all sorts you’re likely to find on the interweb) was kind enough to nominate me as well. So this means you get my responses to a double-dose of questions about films, blogging, and book-to-movie adaptations! Huzzah! Continue reading →