250 years ago a young man with a generous trust fund and a gilded macabre imagination invented modern gothic style and fiction as we know it. His name was Horace Walpole and his “spirit” flows through almost ever scary story and every bleak bannister. Horace Walpole was the son of essentially the first Prime Minister of England, Sir Robert Walpole, and used his privileged position in life to indulge his aesthetic sensibilities to the extreme.
Jeannette Walls wrote The Glass Castle to conquer shame about her hardscrabble past, but the metaphor of the Glass Castle is almost universally relatable. It represents the impossible dreams for the future that most of weave for ourselves, the glittering dreams instilled in childhood, a fantastic goal to reach for that we can never quite touch.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 introduces the Star-Lord’s father: Ego, The Living Planet. He’s a Celestial in the Marvel universe, a being endowed with immense power. Of course with a name like Ego, his story is a metaphor for rampant self-obsession. (Ego is not Star-Lord’s dad in the comics, and doesn’t have much of a connection to The Guardians of the Galaxy, but his choice in this movie seems pretty brilliant.)
“Rejoice! The broken are the more evolved! Rejoice!” – The Beast M. Night Shyamalan’s unexpected blockbuster Split wasn’t initially billed as a comic book origin story, but the spoilers immediately revealed that’s exactly what it is. Going into it without that knowledge possibly makes the journey a bit more fun, at least it did for me, because it gives a hindsight context to the initial tone of the film. It made the standard Shyamalan twist feel a little more satisfying…. Read more »
Peter Jackson’s 1994 film Heavenly Creatures takes its audience on a voyage through the twisted fantasy world woven by of a pair of adolescent girl murderers. The movie ends with a scene that stabs an icy stake through the heart of innocence: the gruesome slaying of one of the girls’ mothers. The movie’s dreamlike atmosphere feels like a dark, warped fairytale, but it was based on a crime committed by two real girls in 1950s New Zealand: Pauline Parker and Juliet Hulme. The motive? Juliet was leaving for America, and Pauline’s mother was against Pauline going with her.
TThe breakneck revenge-fueled turns in Park Chan-Wook The Handmaiden‘s astonishing plot are owed directly to their source material: Sarah Waters’ The Fingersmith. Although The Fingersmith is set in Victorian era England and The Handmaiden is set in Korea under Japanese rule in the early 20th century, they’re both tales of class and desire mixed up with twisty, double-sided plots.
If aliens could land on Earth, a staggering feat it itself, what other technologies could they possess?
“I don’t need to be scattered here. I’ve been already.” – Peter Dunning
Peter and the Farm is a gorgeous film, often grotesquely so as it pierces the raw heart of life and death. First, with the stark reality of butchering animals, and secondly, with the depths of Peter’s personal existential crisis.
The monster in Kubo and the Two Strings is a toxic family. It feels like a very personal story wrapped in a beautiful allegory, a tool to deal with some harsh realities many people struggle with as they make their way into the world.
In the early hours of November 13, 1974, 23-year-old Ronald “Butch” DeFeo Jr. methodically shot six members of his family, including four of his younger siblings, while they were sleeping in their home on in the Amityville, NY. The family had moved into the sprawling Dutch colonial on 112 Ocean Avenue a few years ago, and though their home life was rife with abuse and drama, the house had been a symbol for a fresh start. The dad, Ron Sr., even named the house High Hopes, a chillingly ironic moniker for an estate that would be rife with such pain, horror, and a haunted legacy.