Showing posts from January, 2014

Chainsaw Exorcism with Author R. Richardsson about his Novel The Rise and Fall of John Rizzerio

Could you tell me about yourself and about your books?

For as long as I can remember, I have been a huge fan of horror. The first horror movie I watched was Evil Dead. The first book, Stephen King’s ‘It’. From then on I was hooked. Very little frightened me, and in fact, I have been searching for twenty years for a movie or book that will do just that. The things that do frighten me are more mundane than monsters; (some) nightmares, personal loss, that sort of thing. I’m married, with four children and as such, I never see more horror than I do in the news.

I am currently finishing the third book in a trilogy simply titled ‘Ballad of John Rizzerio’. Book one, which I see you later ask about, is ‘The Rise and Fall of John Rizzerio’. John, or J.R. to his friends, is a direct descendant of Abraham Van Helsing and though he doesn't yet know it, is about to re-embark on his great-grandfather’s quest. This book takes place in two different time periods, past and present, where we find hi…

Night Of The Living Dead (1968), Subverting White Hegemony, and Racial Performativity.

I have had a close relationship with Night of the Living Dead most of my life. I have vivid memories of a decade of Halloweens waiting for the midnight airing of Night of the Living Dead. It became a Halloween like a ritual for me. Before watching Night I decided to prep myself by reading Night of the Living Dead: Behind the Scenes of the most terrifying ZOMBIE movie ever made by Joe Kane. The book has given me a couple insights into the movie that I'd like to dig into. The book covered an overview of making the film, and the original script for the film.

One of the plethora of things that Night of the Living dead is famous for is casting an African American male in a leading and non-submissive role. While this film did not end racism, it did become a foothold for filmic justice. I did not realize how deep Night of the Living dead subverted the white hegemonic narrative until I read a couple passages in Joe Kane's text describing Duane Jones's experience on the set:

Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003), the Invasion of Afganistan/Iraq, George Bush II and Obama

Texas Chainsaw Massacre was at the near of the post-9/11 wave of ultra-violent movies that echo the terrors that were beginning to escalate (or rather become more public) the sense of violence and dread that US soldiers brought to Iraq and Afghanistan. Eventually this post modern abysmal dread would enter into some safer genres like superhero movies. I'm thinking about shift between the first, second and third Batman movies. The first was dark, yes, but it only coasted on the edge of nightmares. Joker brought full on chaotic-anarchy, and Bane tricked everyone into thinking that there was some over arching ideology, when the real movement was to enter nihilism head on.

Id, Ego, and Superego Through Psycho and Carrie

Thursday I presented on the Id, Ego, and Superego for my Clinical practice class. My plan was to explain the Id, Ego, and Super ego via psycho. I began by drawing the Bates's House on the whiteboard with a blue dry erase marker. I turned to the class and asked if anyone had scene Psycho. A handful of ladies raised their hands. I called on a couple people to explain the plot. Then I explained that in some psychoanalytic film theory floors of the home are designated by Id, Ego, and Super Ego. I wrote the word Super Ego next to the second floor of the house where I had drawn the silhouette of Norma Bates. Norma is up there overseeing and regulating Norman's moral compass. Pushing guild and savage categorical imperatives to support his disassociation and demonetization of women. This constant pathological voice compelling him via guilt is Normans superego. Norman is most 'normal' when he is on the ground floor of the house, but he is having difficultly managing the pushes …

Hungry Games (2012) and Hungry Hungry Hippoes

I don't watch TV or follow the radio and miss most of the mass Hysteria, so when the Hunger Games madness swooped in to fill the void left by Twilight and Harry Potter I was surprised. Twilight was a sexual repression exploitation film with a main character who was romantically bipolar. And Harry Potter was a poorly written cesspool of blah blah blah. About a year ago I was super sick with a fever and decided to watch all the Harry Potter films in order. I was sick enough to watch the films out-of-order, and It didn't seem to change anything.

The Tall Man (2012), Mother Jones, DCFS, Children and Poverty.

The town of Cold Rock is smothered in poverty. Like many small American town's it was build around exploitation of labor and mining of resources. Long ago, there was a vibrant town. Works woke up early and stumbled to the mind to dig. Most of these workers were children, and some of them were adults. Children were used in cold mines because their tiny bodies allowed them to reach or fit into places that adults couldn't. But in Cold Rock, the mind has closed down, and adults are forced to travel to cities to find work. Children are wandering the streets and there doesn't appear to be a school in the town. The early shots of the town that pan over children and homes remind me of even poorer nations than the United States. This is not to say that there is some patriotic underbelly here, but that poverty isn't just locally systemic but globally systemic. So what do we do when children are trapped in cycles of exploitation and abuse? The great organizer Mother Jones's a…

Chainsaw Exorcism with MsZombiePhotographer

Could you tell us a little about yourself and your Photography?

My name is MsZombiePhotographer. I've been a professional photographer for almost ten years. I used to do lots of model shoots before I was married (lots of artsy/conceptual stuff) but these days I'm focusing more on the lighter side of photography like child portraiture, families, weddings, etc.

Who are your photography and non‐photography influences?

Rob Zombie's Halloween (2007) Masks, and Conformity

Rob Zombie's Halloween begins with Michael located in a series of dysfunctional social systems. His family is radically dysfunctional. His parents are floating through a failed marriage and his sister is hypersexualized and acting out. Micahel is caught in the middle and he is seeking to fit in and find recognition. At school bully's pick on him about one other than Halloween that he cares about; his mother.

When a dead cat is found in his locker, his mother is called into the office. This is the first instance where she begins to see Michael's darker side. His mother insight into his extracurricular actives challenges the potential to received continued love from his mother. Enraged he takes out his frustrations on bully that picked on him.

Upon being institutionalized Michael is relatively stable, until Dr. Loomis abandons moving therapy. Frustrated, and with without the skills to express his yearnings leads to Michael forks a nurse. Forking the nurse worked on two leve…

Antiviral (2012), Celebrities Are Not Real People and Addiction To Opiates (Like Miley Cyrus)

Celebrities are not real people, in the same way, the folks that deliver the mail and pick up the trash. When celebrities die it is not more important than anyone else. Yet, the internet and Facebook begin buzzing at the slightest hint of their demise. Toting their dedication to entertaining the masses, all the while, another child is shot in south Chicago.

Raze (2013), Pulverizing the Female Body and Transcending Victimhood

Raze has a simple plot. A group of bad ass women is locked in an underground facility and forced to fight to the death to 'protect' their loved ones who are being held hostage by the bad guys. Between fight scenes we are introduced to Sabrina (Zoe Bell) and the other fighters. The fights are brutal. These are not chick fights. They are “I'm going to kill your face” fights. The film portrays the fight scenes lacking the sexualized “mud wrestling" vibe that traditionally is embedded in fights between women. The fights are not spectacle for the easily aroused but fights to the death. I have seen a whole slew of crazy and ridiculous things happen to the female body in a horror film. I think I cringed and squealed more during Raze per-square filmage then I have with any film since Martyrs.

Bad Milo (2003), Political Constipation and Excreting Power.

Bad Milo is about Duncan's life as a middle class cubical drone. Everyone he knows wants him to do something. His boss wants him to lay off several of his fellow employees. His wife and mother want him to start a family. Duncan is so busy fulfilling other peoples wishes he has no room to envision his own desire. He is a push over, but something inside him is fighting back. Enter (or rather exit) Milo. The killer poop monster!

Nietzsche argued that our drive towards freedom is the Will to Power. The will to power is that super-drive among competing drives that cuts through the crap to declare an individuals will. Nietzsche viewed the Will to Power as one of most important human qualities. The Will to Power not only clears a path for action it empowers you to become who you are.

For Nietzsche the mind is a collection of competing drives constantly pulling multiple and conflicting directions. For Milo his Will to Power is crippled by his willingness to lay at the alter of other peopl…

Water damage, Fire alarms, Crucifying Obama? and the Society of the Spectacle. (And also On Commonwealth by Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri Part II (Page 191-298)

After my first class today I sat down in the student commons on the couch.  There was a guy on the next couch over sitting  almost fetal-ly, sleeping.

It's western suburban winter at Aurora university. A school that in all respects is expanding beyond its capacity. Many of my classes are over crowded, it takes anywhere from 10 -25 minutes to find a parking spot, and the lunch line moves at a snail pace, and even if you are able to fill a plate you may have to wait 5 to 10 minutes to find a seat.

Today, after hurdling these I confronted the most frustrating of them. Finding a quiet place to read and work on homework. Like addressing the parking problem, I am forced to hover around and wait for someone to get up so that I can slide in to their seat. Today, as Lacan would say, I was witness to an intervention of the real. Diagonal from where I was sitting, two individual stood and shouted. Above them the ceiling began jettisoning water from the lightening fixtures.

On Toad Road (2012) via Only Revolutions or The Toads Are Not What They Seem

Toad Road is an artsy boy meets girl, girl convinces boy to do something dangerous (and stupid), girl disappears, boy mentally breaks story. The boy is James and the girl is Sara. James is an upper middle class 20 something who is economically and socially lost in a community of drug users. The story is told from James's perspective as he adjusts to Sara's transformation from straight edge to drug experimenter to her disappearance. Periodically, through the film he meets with a therapist via his father's ultimatum that he attend therapy or he will stop paying James's rent.

Toad Road begins when James and Sara meet. In a drugged haze, James tells Sara about a mysterious urban myth where if one drops acid and walks on Toad Road and passes through a series of gates one can travel to hell. Sara becomes obsessed with the story and pushes on James to take her on this journey to hell. But James is falling in love and would rather commit to a relationship with Sara. He suggest…

On Commonwealth by Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri Part I (Page 1 -191)

Commonwealth by Hardt and Negri is the third book in their series following Empire and Multitude. In Empire Hardt and Negri sought to define the state of the world as a complex network that is neither modern or post-modern, but rather Empire.In Multitude they sought to critique the current state of the revolutionary political movments and find theorize new ways of struggle based on defining the world as Empire.  The text Commonweath  is about creating solidarity. First let me define some key terms that are used through the series.

On Nightmare On Elm Street Part II and 80's Slashers.

I woke up and couldn't get to sleep. So, I popped in Nightmare On Elm Street Part 2. When I started watching horror movies I developed a strong animosity to films that were created in the 80's. The early techno/atmospheric music they used bugged the crap out of me. Films would start out with this horrid techno beat that jarred my bones like having my teeth drilled into at the dentist. Over the years I got used to the sounds of the 80's and most of the time I can get through a film with out noticing the whiny electro-tones.  For example:

Night Of The Living Dead (1990), 90's Masculine-Chicks and Post-Racial Delusions

The first film that scared me was Night of the Living Dead (1990). I was a super little monster and I remember flipping between channels on TV and caught the scene where the daughter is walking towards her mother for a snack. It paralyzed me. I couldn't manage to flip the channel until the scene was over. What struck me was the sharp contrast between the little girls white dress and the blood spatters. Afterwards, the scene stuck in my head. I didn't find out the title of the film until years later. By that time I had watch the original several times and was hooked on zombies. There was a theme that bugged me in the original- Barbara's hysteria and how it played off the sexist idea of a woman who became so nuts when confronted with "guy stuff" that they become useless. The opposite presented in the 90’s remake. In the original Barbara’s brother starts the film teasing her. Although, Barbara is obviously annoyed by this, I never got the sense that she hated the g…

On Saw (2004), and Republican Bootstraps

To overcome something, you have to understand what a perfect engine it is. That’s how you fight disease.
-Dr. Gordon Rules. Jigsaw's motive originated from the moment where he painfully survived his attempted car crash suicide. Jigsaw’s hopelessly negative outlook was rooted in his experience of dealing with a bureaucratic health care system that blocks his attempts at pursuing adequate health care. Inspired, by his own struggle Jigsaw (like a proper social worker) launched a cruisade to help one person at at time out their personal drudgery. By creating games to materialize the internal struggle, or lack there of, Jigsaw forced his victims to confront their sins. In the first round picked a drug addict, an overweight suicidal man and a pyromaniac. How do the lives of these individuals measure up against Jigsaws experience? They don’t. The cast of victim’s “sins” fall into two categories; mental disorder and addiction. What is Jigsaw’s sin? Self loathing and hopelessness. Unable t…