Little Miss Scare-All

A college goth trying to find her way in the world.
Horror and the Oscars: A tale of stubbornness

Horror and the Oscars: A tale of stubbornness

2015 was rather forgettable when it came to movies. For most of what I’ve seen, the extent of my feelings can be quickly summarized as, “I guess it was enjoyable,” which is rather depressing given how good 2014 was.

The Hateful Eight was Tarantino at his weakest. Room was fine but not anywhere near noteworthy. Carol, a film surrounding two underdeveloped characters, was built on hype. The Oscars doesn’t have much going for it this awards season.

Some might blame this on the numerous pieces of Oscar bait that production companies have put out, but I find that to be more of a symptom of the overarching Hollywood illness that has been left untreated. The Oscars refuse to get with the times. It’s that simple. Film has changed, especially drama, and that’s something worth noting. Award shows should be applauding innovative releases, but instead they have firmly rooted themselves in the past.

Bridge of Spies is the definition of Oscar bait. (photo courtesy of Walt Disney Studios)

Bridge of Spies is the definition of Oscar bait. (photo courtesy of Walt Disney Studios)

This is what makes Oscar bait possible. It’s gotten to the point where one can predict what the Academy wants. Many times these films are nominated and many times they win. The process has become formulaic, laughable and malignant.

But where does horror fit in to this predictable equation? Well, it doesn’t. Horror is filmed, scored, lighted and acted in differently than what the Academy desires. What ends up happening is that strong films, such as the chilling It Follows, are ignored completely. Although The Academy was right in not including it in any of the acting categories, I strongly believe that it deserved at the very least a Best Cinematography and Original Score nod.

I’m bitter. I’m extremely bitter. I’ll be the first to admit that 95% of the genre is absolute garbage, but there’s a glorious 5% that deserves recognition. You’re telling me that the mess that is Forrest Gump won an Oscar but that the artful The Thing and The Shining didn’t? That’s blasphemy if I ever did see it.

There have been some horror films that the Oscars have taken note of, as was the case in 1974 when The Exorcist was a contender for Best Picture, but instances such as these happen so few and far between that they become more of a miracle than anything else.

Hopefully these Mad Max nominations serve as an avenue for growth instead of a singular event. (photo courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures)

Hopefully these Mad Max nominations allow for growth instead of becoming a singular event. (photo courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures)

Thankfully, I see some change on the horizon. Mad Max is the complete opposite of what the Academy usually goes for, and yet it received an impressive amount of nominations. Combine that with the organization altering their life-long membership policy, and suddenly there’s an avenue for hope.

Maybe things will start looking up. Maybe horror will be shown more love. It might take a while, and I’m sure countless movies will be ignored during this evolutionary process, but I’m optimistic that things are moving towards a more accepting awards season.

 

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Five questions us goths are tired of being asked

Five questions us goths are tired of being asked

When I started to express an interest in the darker side of life back in high school, I never expected the occasionally silly, mostly irrational questions I would be asked. I’m not sure whether these self-made interviewers are genuinely curious about the goth lifestyle or whether they think they’re the funniest thing since Mel Brooks, circa 1974. If you’re part of the latter, please know that whatever comment you’ve made or plan on making has been said before. I assure you, you’re not original.

If you insist on drilling us with questions anyway, make sure that none of them are on this list.

Why don’t you try wearing some color?

Don't be a Debbie. We don't want to wear pastels. (photo via Paramount Pictures)

Don’t be a Debbie. We don’t want to wear pastels. (photo courtesy of Paramount Pictures)

Look, lady, you may be head over heels in love with the pastels of the season, but I’d like to keep those shades far, far away from my wardrobe. I tried wearing color for many years, and trust me when I say it looks odd on me. Despite being almost 22 years old, I look like I recently entered my teenage years. Color accentuates this. When I wear black I feel powerful and am no longer treated like a child.

Are you scared of sunlight?

Last time I checked, I’m not Dracula. I can go outside without burning to death or sparkling. Like any sane human being, I prefer to not be outside when it feels like I’m walking into the depths of hell. If the weather is nice, I don’t mind sitting outside for a while. It just so happens that I live in Florida, so that doesn’t happen too often.

You do know you’re not going to get a job looking like that, right?

While I’m sure that you’re oh so worried about my employment options, I must have you know that I’m currently interning at a publication that is incredibly supportive of the way I look. As long as I don’t show up naked to work, they don’t care. My best friend has an office job and dresses in the most fashionable of goth clothing during her shifts. Sure, there’s places like Disney that are a lot more restricting, but that doesn’t take away from the fact that many companies are supportive of their employees.

Do you worship Satan?

This isn't what my friends and I do in our spare time. (Photo via Buena Vista Pictures)

This isn’t what my friends and I do in our spare time. (photo courtesy of Buena Vista Pictures)

I’m not entirely sure what Lucifer has to do with my appearance, but by the looks of this question, he’s probably more accepting of me than you are. Goths come in all shapes and sizes, and they also come in all sorts of religions. Although I’m sure that there’s goths who take pride in their love for Beelzebub, there’s also goths who attend church on the regular.

Is this just a phase?

Is your inability to accept people as they are just a phase? It certainly doesn’t seem like it. I’ve wanted to look this way since I first saw a goth at the mall when I was seven years old. Dressing this way makes me happy, and it’s a part of who I am. I think skulls are cute, horror movies make me laugh and it’s a relief to not have to look at my hay-colored hair anymore. I’ve gone through phases before, and I know in my heart of hearts that this isn’t one of them. The least you could do is respect that.

 

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How to avoid the subpar horror releases of the year

How to avoid the subpar horror releases of the year

A new year means a new batch of horror movies will be making the rounds. You’ll be tempted by the good, the bad and the ugly, and at times it might be hard to know which releases are worth seeing. Most films in the genre are mere photocopies of overused formulas, so if you go in blind, chances are it’s going to suck.

If you’re the kind of person who doesn’t want to know too much before entering the theater, there’s still a way to better your chances of paying for an enjoyable flick. All you need to do is watch the trailer

The easiest thing to look out for is the celebrity status of the movie. Are you merely excited because a specific actor is attached to the project? This is a common tool used by Hollywood to make up for weak writing. Audiences follow familiar faces similar to how consumers are more comfortable with products they constantly see on TV.

A recent example of this is The Forest, staring Natalie Dormer.

The promotion for this movie focused almost entirely on the actress, probably in an attempt to rein in Game of Thrones fans. It currently has an 11% on Rotten Tomatoes. What makes this situation happen over and over again is that casting directors are so focused on star power that they forget to analyze whether an actor can establish a slow progression into fear. Dormer, for instance, puts on too dramatic of a face to be believable.

Not all horror films with A-listers are unwatchable, but it’s important to ask yourself why they were given the role.

Tropes, the second thing you should look out for, are easy to register because we see them all the time. A creepy rocking chair, nursery rhymes sung by children, kids who look like they were raised by Lucifer himself. If the creepiest moments of a piece have been done over and over again, it stops being scary.

What upcoming movie is a perfect example of this?

I’ve been laughing ever since I saw the trailer for The Boy a few months ago. I thought we were over the whole doll thing but apparently not. However, tropes aren’t always the centerpiece of a horror film. When watching a trailer, keep your eyes open for what’s being presented as “scary.”

If you’ve seen the trailer and it doesn’t seem to rely on star power or overdone scare tactics but you still aren’t sure whether you should check it out, there’s one more aspect to look out for, and it isn’t as easy to spot as the others.

What makes a horror film forgettable is when it’s too focused on being a horror film. If you walk onto a set with the sole purpose of producing something that will terrifying your audience, you’ve already dedicated yourself to making a movie that will be defined by its inability to stand out. Without a strong foundation in story and character, your film will remain hollow.

With something like Amityville: The Awakening, I can’t bring myself to care about these people, and thus I don’t care about what happens to them. Their backstory of moving around is a sad excuse for a scene setter and establishment of teenage angst. These characters could be anybody. When all that matters is that something happens to the people in your story, it’s sure to be a film to avoid.

Now, if you prefer to not watch trailers before giving a movie a shot, that works too. Just don’t I say I didn’t warn ya.

 

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Casting for Rocky Horror Picture Show remake is laughable

Casting for Rocky Horror Picture Show remake is laughable

Do you ever have those moments where you find out something so terrible that you push the fact deep into your brain in the hopes of never dwelling on it again?

That was me when I first heard about the Rocky Horror remake in April. Ever since Hollywood found out that audiences love to be hit over the head with nostalgia, they’ve been on a lengthy revisit high, and this was their next target.

I heard people commenting on the news, saying that perhaps there was a chance it’d turn out all right. I was not one of these people.

Here's an example of spectacular casting.

Here’s an example of spectacular casting.

You see, the thing with the Rocky Horror Picture Show is that it’s bad yet mesmerizing. The continuity errors are rampant (where was the script supervisor?!) and the majority of the lines are followed by awkward, unnecessary pauses. Yet this is balanced off by the genuine heart in it all.

Other than the drag that is “Eddie,” every song is defined by how infectious it is. Everyone’s manner of being comes off as natural, be it the naivety brought to us by Susan Sarandon and Barry Bostwick or the delectable naughtiness presented through Tim Curry and Patricia Quinn. In an odd world of cannibalistic, incestuous aliens, their acting reflects the characters so well that their reality somehow becomes believable.

The recent casting decision of the remake succeeds in only making this impossible.

My main issue is with Victoria Justice as Janet. Her one-layered, childish acting will prevent her from smoothly switching from an innocent woman to someone itching to discover the world of sexual desires. What she most likely will embrace will be an over-the-top performance that’ll exaggerate all of her character’s qualities, something which will be especially unbearable to watch in the first act.

(photo courtesy of Ryan McCartan)

(photo courtesy of Ryan McCartan)

As for Ryan McCartan, it feels like they went out of their way to pick some pretty boy to satisfy conventional America. The whole idea behind Brad is that he’s an average looking dude. What, are they going to have him look stunning as he moves about instead of having him be the gawky asshole we’ve grown to love? I’m okay with artistic liberties, but things won’t work out if you slip away the foundation.

The two casting decisions I’m somewhat OK with are Laverne Cox and Staz Nair. The former has the attitude to possibly revive Frank N. Furter although I’m sure she’ll be bringing an entirely different vibe to the Sweet Transvestite. As for Nair, Rocky doesn’t say much of anything and pretty much just walks around with his abs out for the world to see. If they stick to that, there’s no way he can fail.

Riff is being taken over by Reeve Carney, but I haven’t seen his work on Penny Dreadful. Given that the show seems to be dark just for the sake of being edgy, I’m not completely feeling this decision, but once again, I can’t say much on the subject of his acting.

The rest of the characters have yet to be cast. I’m “both apprehensive and uneasy” as to who they’ll choose for Magenta since she’s my favorite of the bunch. Something tells me that they’ll probably pick some inept gal, throw a lump of mascara on her and hope that that’s enough to make her seem dark and mysterious.

This is coming from Fox aka the network that brought the world Glee, so don’t be surprised when this high school-safe presentation is to Rocky Horror what Kidz Bop is to music. If this was going to be so bad it’s good, my The Room-loving heart would love it, but this is going to be nothing more than plain bad.

Whatever happens, my friend and I have already said that we’ll have to get together to watch the two-hour event. I’m sure we’ll both need a few drinks to get through the mess this is destined to be.

 

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