Krell Laboratories: Blood of the Dragon -
Looking at Dracula Untold on my movie blog today.
But then, occasionally, this film remembers that it’s a Dracula film, and therefore, it’s a horror film. Whenever it remembers this it comes to a vivid kind of unlife. The scenes that work best are the scenes in the elder vampire’s cave. Charles Dance’s elder vampire, unnamed in the text of the film, is one of the few genuinely frightening vampires to grace the screen in quite some time. Part of this is the actor—Dance is adept at skin crawling villainy. Part of it is the visual design of the character. Part of it is how he’s written. Whatever else. There’s a strange alchemy in all of this that makes him easily the most compelling thing in the film. Beyond these scenes, though, the film turns electric when, having embraced his vampirism after the three day grace period, Vlad leads a cohort of newly created vampires against Mehmet’s army in order to rescue his son. These scenes have a vaguely apocalyptic feel to them and are more vivid and engaging than any of the mass spectacles the film has previously served to the audience. And those forests of impaled enemies? You get those right up front. It’s a haunting image.
Krell Laboratories: The After Party -
Looking at The Rage: Carrie 2 on my movie blog tonight.
Watching The Rage: Carrie 2 in 2014, it’s impossible to avoid comparing it to the Steubenville, Ohio, rape case. It exists at the same intersection of male privilege, jock privilege, harassment, and rape culture. It even puts the notion that a rape accusation against a group of boys making a game of rape would “ruin the lives of these boys,” into the mouth of a district attorney more concerned with elections and (it’s elided) football games than with the lives of teenage girls. Later in the film, Eric and Mark terrorize Rachel in her home in a way that strikes me as a pre-social media version of online hounding. The film kinda sorta waves this away during the party scene at the end, when the two of them half-apologize to her by telling her that they were just trying to rile her up. Mind you, these two are rapists. But boys are inherently more valuable than girls, it seems. Boys, after all, will be boys.
Krell Laboratories: Prom Night -
Looking at the 2013 version of Carrie on my movie blog today. Should I mention that it’s a film made by and for women? Because it is.
This film announces its differences from the original film at the outset. We don’t begin with Carrie in the shower. Instead, we begin with Carrie’s mom, Margaret, writing on a bed convinced that she’s dying and praying fervently to her god to save her. She is, instead, giving birth. Her first instinct when she sees her daughter? To stab her with a pair of scissors. She stops just short. This scene immediately places its concerns with the problems of women. When we first see Carrie as a teenager, she’s withdrawn into herself as she gets into a swimming pool for gym class. She’s completely marginalized by her peers, and has no interest in playing water volleyball with them. This is a scene that plays on the viewer’s expectations, because in a couple of shots below the water, we expect a red cloud to appear around Carrie. It withholds this, perhaps wisely. Then we get the shower scene. All of this seizes the film away from the male gaze. It’s not a film for men, per se.
Y’know, I didn’t think so at the time, but I used to be pretty hot. (I designed the outfit myself, by the way, so I’m really happy with how it came out).
Krell Laboratories: On the Wagon -
Looking at A Walk Among the Tombstones on my movie blog today.
There was something gnawing at me when I walked to my car after seeing A Walk Among the Tombstones. I mean, in purely formal terms, the movie is pretty good. It’s a cut above most of the action wank that Liam Neeson finds himself in these days. It’s a hard boiled crime film, and I’m a complete sucker for hard boiled. I’ve read some of Lawrence Block’s Matthew Scudder novels and I’ve greatly enjoyed them. But…as I drove home, it occurred to me that there are only two women in the film with any substantial dialogue—the librarian who introduces Scudder to TJ, the street kid who helps him, and the nurse who explains TJ’s sickle cell anemia. Neither of them have a name. Both of them are essentially background noise. All of the other women in the film are victims. None of them have meaningful dialogue. This film is as masculine as they come, and that kind of bothers me. Violence toward women is the prime motivating force of this film’s plot and the filmmakers seem entirely uninterested in examining the systemic misogyny that that fact suggests. Indeed, the rape/murder that takes place during the film’s opening credits are aestheticized almost to the point of fetishism. The function of misogyny in this film is to provide a character arc for a man struggling with man problems. Given the skill and ambition brought to bear on this film, this is a grave disappointment, if you’ll pardon the pun.
Remember all those comics I had been reblogging by Christianne Benedict and Rachel K. Zall? Over several months I shared with you my anticipation and excitement of each page being released. Well now they are on their way toward creating a print version - and you can get your copy, along with a few additional stories for just $10 at their kickstarter campaign!
They’ve already hit their base goal, which means that one way or another this will happen, but if you can help them reach a stretch goal of $3,000 then they will add an exclusive 8 more pages to the story. I know I want to see those.
Also, do you know anyone who runs or works at a comic store or book store? They’ve got a retailer special to get 10 copies of the book. Considering how hard it is to find trans characters in comics, and the existing collections tend to exclude trans women or depict them as ridiculous stereotypes (*cough* Glamazon *cough*), this could be a great way to support independant artists and show that trans women are worth investing in both as protagonists and as artists and writers!
If you missed it when I originally posted them, you can read the entire story of Natalie Rios at this link (note: contains explicit sexuality)
Tobi is very kind, and we’ve been absolutely delighted by her support, but she left out the link for the Kickstarter itself, which is right here.
Krell Laboratories: Mind and Body -
The October Horror Movie Challenge gets underway today at my movie blog. My first entry is an old favorite in a shiny new Criterion package.
All of the director’s pet themes are woven into Scanners: abnormal pregnancy, the mind/body conflict expressed through biological abberation, psychic invasion, medical technology run amok, what have you. The film mates these themes to images so ferocious that, at times, they are overwhelmed. Case in point, the film’s most notorious sequence: at a demonstration of “scanning” as a potential weapon, the presenter at a symposium gets more than he bargains for in Daryl Revok, the film’s villain. Revok is much more powerful than the presenter and after a brief psychic duel, the presenter’s head explodes. The image is repulsive, true, but almost beautiful, too. This scene comes not ten minutes into the movie. The film stages an even more elaborate psychic duel at the end of the film, in which our hero, Cameron Vale, overpowers Revok’s mind even as Revok overpowers Vale’s body. It’s a strange ending that takes some thinking to fully understand. In between these duels are a number of other sequences that act as a baroque sort of styling: The conversation between Vale and Benjamin Pierce, the scanner artist, inside a sculpture of his own head; the gun battle in which a van opens up for a broadside like a Spanish galleon; the scanning of the computer at ConSec; and so on. While none of these has the sheer visceral punch of the psychic duels that bracket them, all of them are indicative of a film that is spinning off ideas like an out of control reactor spins off protons. Unusual for Cronenberg’s early work, this has a kind of happy ending, and the film’s vision of a telepathic gestalt rather than the domination of a psychic superman is almost hopeful.
One of My Incredibly True Post-Op Flight Adventures with the TSA - via cohersively assigned human at birth
Nothing feels quite as gross when you run a trans politics blog as a “heteroflexible” porn blog IMing you to tell you you make them “really really happy.” With porn as their avatar image, no less.
Anon hate I can handle. But shit like this still creeps me out.
I wish I could say that I don’t know what this feels like. Unfortunately, I would be lying. Sigh.
(via Christianne’s Art and Comics: Girl with Umbrella)
I’ve been having a bit creative block recently. Every time I’ve started drawing, what I’m drawing has turned to crap on the page. This drawing is an attempt to move beyond that. It’s nothing in particular, based on a photo from The Sartorialist. It’s mostly a intended to demonstrate to myself that I haven’t in fact forgotten how to draw. This is brush and ink on Bristol board. It’s for sale at my Etsy store if you like it enough that you want to own it.
Exiles: Trans Stories by Christianne Benedict & Rachel K. Zall -
KICKSTARTER IS GO!
You know you want a beautiful paper copy of The Exile to hold in your hands, and also to support the publication of trans-positive erotica in a form that looks classy and also to read the short solo comics that Christianne will be including, AND also to get your hands on some of the spiffy incentives, and help two struggling trans women make it through the winter.
(One of which is totally an original artboard from the comic! I have a gorgeous watercolor of Natalie & Alyx that Christi did hanging on my bedroom wall, and I can assure you her art will look amazing on your wall.)
The Kickstarter’s only been live for a few days and we’re already at $1199 of our modest $1700 goal — given that very little of our goal actually provides for paying us for the year and a half of work that went into the comic, it would be so amazing if we dramatically overshot that goal!
If you can donate, reblog, or send kind thoughts our way, thank you from the bottom of our sinister little hearts! <3
What Katie said. Also: We’re kicking ass, but I’d love to make our stretch goal once we’re funded so I can include our awesome stretch incentive (which is currently super secret).