by Evan J Peterson
On Tuesday, April 5th, join us for the next installment of our SHRIEK: Women of Horror film and discussion class. This time, we’ll get into It Follows, one of the most original, popular, and effective new indie horror films.
Stats on It Follows (2014)
Body Count: 2 people
Nudity: full frontal, mostly female with distant male, but not sexualized
Major protagonists: female and male
Villains/Antagonists: the monster varies in gender
Major actors: Maika Monroe, Keir Gilchrist, Daniel Zovatto, Jake Weary
Director: David Robert Mitchell
Writer: David Robert Mitchell
Does it pass the Bechdel-Wallace test: Yes. The monster doesn’t follow a gender binary, and so women discussing the monster are not talking about a man.
How do I love It Follows? Let me count the ways.
by Greg Carlson
Note: this column contains minor spoilers for Quadrophenia. If you haven’t seen it yet, I recommend you stop reading and go rent the movie, preferably the Criterion Collection DVD.
Millions of dollars have been made from official movie merchandise, and many collectors elbow, claw, and place large bids to get their hands on first edition or discontinued memorabilia, only to put said items in a glass case or plastic sealant. There are other breeds of cinephiles, however, who are content with unofficial movie-related products—objects or figurines that bear just enough of a resemblance that they can be associated with a favorite film. I’m not talking about bootleg memorabilia—as one can imagine, the knockoff Star Wars and superhero action figures have grown so much in stature that they themselves have become sought-after collectors’ items. I’m talking more about the movie mementos that come about in a do-it-yourself manner—creating your own memorabilia from found items that have enough of a visual association to a movie character, crucial-to-the-plot prop, or memorable scene—and christening it as the real thing. It’s practical and cost-effective to purchase a $4 red beanie, add the traffic light logo via permanent markers and call the result your Team Zissou cap, or to find a ragged Pendleton cardigan at the thrift store and call it your Jeff Lebowski sweater. If you’re a Jurassic Park fan and are strapped for cash, just check the toy store aisles for cheap Tyrannosaurus Rex figurines and pick up a can of Barbasol at the supermarket – you’re now on your way to creating a personalized and inexpensive shrine to Spielberg’s 1993 film.
by Leo Mayberry
We probably met Garry Shandling on the Tonight Show. He sort of crept into our lives, my family and myself, as we spent evenings in front of the TV set in the little rural town I grew up in. As often as not at my grandparents house, or at my other set of grandparents house when we’d visit for the holidays, I’d get to stay up late and watch The Tonight Show. Johnny welcomed his guests into your home, and sometimes you could tell he was a bit embarrassed that they’d show up drunk, or rude, or just too nervous to deliver. Other times he was quite proud. Look at that clever young man with the self-deprecating sense of humor and some darn clever jokes. That was Garry, and next thing you knew, that clever fellow had his own show. Read More
by Cole Hutchison
Them’s fightin’ words. An immortal verbal throwdown barked out by the true queen of action cinema, delivered from the steel womb of an artificial exoskeleton just before it’s maneuvered with equal parts strength and grace through what still holds up as one of the greatest final battles in film history. Ellen Ripley was Imperator Furiosa before most of the film-going world was prepared to acknowledge the patriarchal status quo of modern society, let alone dial in to its sly, joyful subversion by what ostensibly presents itself as another balls-to-the-wall blockbuster. James Cameron’s 1986 Aliens isn’t really a sequel to Ridley Scott’s 1979 masterpiece of isolated, sweat-drenched terror; it’s a tonal inversion orchestrated and delivered with all of the subtlety and nuance of a robot split gruesomely in half by a hulking insectoid behemoth. It’s an action flick down to its linen, and the rare one that never dumbs itself down too dramatically in its mission to never quit its grinnin’. It passes the Bechdel test by default because all of its characters—be they male, female or pre-pubescent—yell at each other almost exclusively about survival, guns, and how to survive without guns. Its predecessor relied on the highly-sexualized queasiness of H.R. Geiger’s iconic character and landscape designs to invoke an inevitable musing on the unwanted pregnancy/rape survival undertones of its barebones story of a female laborer’s desperate attempts to reject the violent penetration of her stalker/attacker and avoid the harsh, impersonal destiny of becoming just another doomed incubator. Aliens doesn’t give a single flying fuck about gender issues. Cameron’s film is concerned with one thing: “WHERE. THEY. ARE.”
by John S
IT’S LIKE THIS: A little known cinematic rule called the Bechdel Test requires a film to have: (1) at least two female characters, who (2) actually talk to each other, and (3) they have to chat about something other than the men in the film. I don’t have to tell you that most summer movies, with their testosterone tsunamis and penis-measuring extravaganzas (figuratively-speaking), utterly fail this test. One of the few exceptions is today’s review.
It is the remake / reimagining / rewhatever of the 1979 Australian post-apocalyptic cult classic Mad Max, which starred Mel Gibson in the titular role. And it is set in the desert. And it’s full of grimy desert people with white face paint, making them look like some cannibal native tribe in the jungles of New Guinea. Except we’ve already established that they’re smack-dab in the middle of the Sahara or some other barren wasteland. Could also be New Mexico after a Nuclear War. Hard to tell.