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An Open Letter to Depression

24 Oct

Dear Depression,

“Does it ever get any better?  Is this all there is?”

That is the slow mantra that ricochets around my head today.  I did some errands, I watched too much TV, ate too much junk food, and felt like I had wasted my day off, all with a growing sense of grief that this will be my life forever.  Errands, TV, bad choices, grief, on repeat.

The rain doesn’t help.  Usually I love the rain, the skies open up and come down like tears, but today it’s shit.  The sky is grey, all of the leaves on the trees (the ones that are left) are droopy and dripping with cold grey water.  It just reminds me that winter is soon to come, and that makes me cry.

It doesn’t matter what I did yesterday, what my plans for the day were, what my plans for tomorrow are because they tell you to live in the moment, and this moment is dreadful.  Everything I do today seems ten times more difficult than usual, and ten times more pointless.  Why the hell should I make the bed if I’m just going to get into it later on tonight?  Why do the dishes when I have ten other ones I can just pile on top?  Why should I tidy all of this clutter when I know I’m just going to put it right back?

This sounds like I’ve been defeated, or that I am going to let you win.  Even as I write it I know in my head that some of it is still fresh for me.  Today was not a good day in my ongoing battle with you, but it was a hell of a lot better than it has been in the past.  And do you know what, Depression?  You almost had me once.  Deep in my memory, a memory I clutch onto fiercely with both knuckle-white hands for fear of forgetting for a second what you can do, is a girl much worse off than I am.  A girl who has been dragged in the mud by her own mind, a constant cloud hovering sinisterly over her head.  A girl who sometimes didn’t want to go outside by herself.  The light hurt her eyes sometimes, she walked with her head down, loud noises like traffic or a crowd of people made her feel queasy.  And of course she thought that crowd was talking about her, her clothes, her makeup, her hair.

But you can’t hurt me like that anymore.  That girl eventually felt better every time.  Even though you always put up a good fight, left me for nothing, I have always managed to pick myself back up again.  This little “bout”?  Is fucking pathetic.  Do you know why?  Because I will always feel better.  Knowing that you will always be something I face is soothing to me.  Because when days like today come around, even though I feel like absolute shit, and that maybe the world means nothing, I know for a fact that this will pass.  That this is a symptom.  And that this doesn’t control me.

Depression, I take comfort in the notion that you think you have me where you want me.  And that you think I don’t have the power to fight back.  Well the gloves are off bitch, let’s do this…

Because suddenly, I have the urge to eat a healthy wrap and do my stupid dishes.

And I know just how much that will piss you off.

xoxo
Jessie

Fangoria 343 Love

3 Sep

343

Check out this month’s issue of Fangoria Magazine!  I got to visit the set of NBCs Hannibal and interview the cast and crew to write two articles for this amazing issue, guest edited by showrunner Bryan Fuller.

This is an amazing issue, and the cover is freaking frame-worthy alone so pick this up ASAP!!!

xoxo

Jessie

Remembering Wes Craven

31 Aug

I was just a little girl when I was first introduced to the works of Wes Craven.  I had a friend for a sleepover when I was eleven and somewhere in between the chips and salsa, putting on dresses and pretending we were fortune tellers, we were in front of the TV, looking for something to watch.  My child’s mind was still new to the concept of horror but I already loved the smell of Halloween, I liked to scare my friends and at this point the only episodes of The Simpsons I would watch were Treehouse of Horror specials.  While skipping through the channels my older brother walked into the room and remarked at a certain movie title he saw in the satellite guide.

“Oh Jess, you HAVE to watch The People Under the Stairs!”

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Wanting to show my big brother that I could be cool too, I agreed.  My friend, my brother and I watched this movie, and although it was not his scariest film, it definitely left a mark on my psyche.  The twisted mother and father figures (Wendy Robie and Everett McGill, who were just as watchable and intriguing on Twin Peaks), the image of the dog chewing on a severed hand and the way its skin looked so rubbery and wrong, the actual PEOPLE under those STAIRS…  And more importantly Roach, the most awkward and confusing crush of my young life…

*licks finger* Tssssss  (I can't believe I just wrote that...)

*licks finger* Tssssss
(I can’t believe I just wrote that…)

I wouldn’t be brought back into the mind of Wes Craven again until I was 13, and while hanging out with my cousin, my brother, again, decided that we would watch a Wes Craven film called A Nightmare on Elm Street 2, which at the time he stated was the best one.  Now that I have seen them all, I beg to differ, but I still enjoyed the flick, the bus ride at the end stuck with me more than the gore and questionable undertones.  That night I dreamed that I was in a fist fight with Freddy.  And pretty much from that point on, I was hooked.

In my collection now, at 26, is the entire collection of NIGHTMARE films, all four SCREAMs (1, 2, and 3 on VHS, 1, 2, 3, and 4 on blu-ray…  I really like SCREAM…), CURSED, MY SOUL TO TAKE, and THE SERPENT AND THE RAINBOW.  To say that I was a little effected about the news of Wes Craven’s passing is a definite understatement.  I don’t think I have ever ugly cried like that over the death of someone I have never met.

I stand corrected.

I stand corrected.

Wes Craven directed my youthful and teenage explorations in the horror genre.  People who love horror grew into it in different ways.  I believe those who were teenagers watching HALLOWEEN, or FRIDAY THE 13th, HELLRAISER, all have different experiences with the genre and are formed in their tastes accordingly.  When I was a teen, SCREAM is what really drove home the concept of good horror for me.  Not since (in my opinion) has a slasher franchise even touched the success or standing power of those films.  And to come out with a fourth film over ten years later and have it WORK?  Boy.

Wes Craven’s films have a certain flair to them.  When I was younger, and still on my way to being a surefire film nerd , I was about halfway through CURSED when I thought, “I bet this was directed by the same guy who did Nightmare.”  Wes Craven’s films have a personality all their own.  And with them, his memory will live on.

I am moving apartments soon and today decided I would throw on the SCREAM movies again (I’ve lost count of how many times I have seen them) but only just in the background while I packed…  Something I had seen at least a dozen times wouldn’t distract me from my business…

I couldn’t help but to watch them all from beginning to end.

Even SCREAM 3…

So with that little ramble I say rest in peace to a legend, to a great filmmaker, and to one of my heroes.  Wes, you formed my tastes in the horror genre, and dare I say made me a horror fan to begin with.  Your films (even the ones other people “SAY” they didn’t like) will continue to grow with me until I die.  Your brand of meta, semi-humorous, gore-filled films have made me who I am today and for that I thank you.

You and Freddy will live on in my nightmares.

xo
Jessie

<3

“Horror films don’t create fear, they release it.”  ~  Wes Craven

ANNABELLE (2014) and Audience Etiquette

5 Oct

AUDIENCE ETIQUETTE

I don’t mean to be a party pooper but…  Going to a movie theater is not a freaking party in the first place.

I don’t care if you invited every friend you’ve ever known, if you’ve had a few drinks before hand, or if your date is hella boring and you just need to vent about it to someone through discreet, dim-screen text message…  You do not, I repeat DO NOT need to have any kind of discussion in a movie theater.

I am of the belief that if you are actually spending money to come to a public place to view *and listen to* a film you’re going to want to actually invest the time in DOING THOSE THINGS.

Maybe I’m just crazy in the notion that some people actually like to hear every word that is spoken in a film.

Horror is a tricky genre.  There are the fans that are in it for a scare, friends dare their friends to come with them and laugh at everything between the pants crapping terror, but then there are film nerds that fell into a dark and dingy cave and became horror film nerds, and I know for a fact that they don’t have time for your adolescent BS.  Horror is a relevant genre of film.  People work very hard to produce these films, and I worked very hard for an entire hour to afford the ticket to see it.

Respect kids.  It’s all about respect.

That being said:

Annabelle-2014-still

ANNABELLE (2014)

I had a few reservations going into this film tonight.  I loved THE CONJURING, and ok haha, yeah, I love James Wan’s work as a whole.  So to take a film of his, make a spin-off and have him not direct it sort of made me a little nervous.  Of course, any chance I have to see a horror film in theater, I’m gonna take it.

Our story begins with Mia (Annabelle Wallis) and John (cuuuuute, sorry, Ward Horton), expectant parents and churchgoers who after an insane tragedy start experiencing horrifying, and haunting phenomena centred around an already trauma inducing doll.

This film was better than expected, I only had a couple of issues with it, (I don’t know if you would count this as a spoiler but you’ve been warned) the ending was a little weak.  That being said, with a few very well-timed scares, and obvious pointers in Wan’s torture of making you look exactly where you don’t want to look, John R. Leonetti’s ANNABELLE is a strong spin-off/prequel and I give it a good 7 points.

Yeah, I’ve introduced a rating system, what are you going to do about it?

Thanks for tuning into the two-parter kids, what did you guys think of ANNABELLE?  And what’s your audience etiquette horror story?

xo
Jessie

Nostalgia – Or – Why I Love Horror

16 Sep

I apologize in advance.

With my new-found commitment to write a little each and every day, you are going to see more of me popping up in your news feed, as I can’t just keep all of my genius to myself…  And hopefully that’s actually a good thing, because if not, why do you even HAVE me in your news feed?!

Also before we get started, go check out issue #335 of Fangoria Magazine where I was lucky enough to interview my idol Katharine Isabelle about GINGER SNAPS, Hannibal, the Soska’s SEE NO EVIL 2 and everything inbetween!!!

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*ahem*

Anyone with a taste for horror and a Netflix subscription can tell you that there are pretty significant sub-genres involved in my beloved pastime.  “Zombies”, “Supernatural Horror”, and “Teen Screams” are just some of the titles you come across when browsing around on your device of choice.  I would like to put out there that a very valid sub-genre (including the works of Stephen King, James Wan, and others) could be introduced under the name “Childhood Fears”.  On the most recent episode of Land of the Creeps we talked about Stephen King’s books and films (20 films were covered over the course of three hours, booze WAS involved) and I came to a realization.  A lot of horror, and especially Mr. King’s works, deals with those horrors that we dwelled on as children, clowns, child vampires who were once our friends scratching on our windows late at night, mechanics coming to life and killing people, are just some examples.

Well today, I was scrolling through the Fangoria website, and found a nice little flashback review (written by Ken W. Hanley) about one of my guilty pleasure films, DEAD SILENCE (read it here).  Yeah surprise, surprise, we all know I’m a Wan/Whannell fangirl.  The article basically outlined my exact feelings toward this underrated film, and although even Whannell himself has gone on record saying that he wishes it could have been better, I still go back to it time and time again, each time forgetting just how creepy and unsettling it really is, going in a little under prepared, pressing pause only a few minutes in to grab a blanket, a stuffed animal, to set my drink somewhere stable…  Finally I decided that I had some things to say about the topic of childhood memories, horror and how I was created.

Frankenstein3

“IT’S ALLIIIIIVE!”

When I was six years old (going on seven, thank you) I begged and begged my mom to let me watch Goosebumps, a show based on the children’s horror books by R. L. Stine, featuring such horrors as Slappy the killer ventriloquist dummy, a sponge monster that lives under the sink and brings you bad luck (this episode starring a tiny Katharine Isabelle), and ghosts and ghouls that would make any child hide under the blankets at any bump in the night, any whistle through the window, or any neighbour belting out show tunes at 3 in the morning (I lived in a weird neighbourhood)…  I digress.  I begged to watch the show, but when I put it on one day, mom saw this little “GB-7” in the middle of the screen and was like, “You kidding girl?  You ain’t watching this show til you seven.”  (My mom has never ever spoken to me like that).

gb-7

Buzz-killers.

On my seventh birthday, I awoke with a dizzy sense of excitement, not because I just KNEW that I got something Sailor Moon themed, but because I was seven, and that meant that that purple slimy rating on the TV couldn’t bring me down any longer.  I leapt from my bed and snapped the television on and I watched my first episode of Goosebumps.  I don’t even remember which one it was (*nostalgia*) but I was hooked.  From there my parents got me the books from the Scholastic Book Fair (greatest day of the year, am I right?  I feel the fever now and I’m 25-years-old…  I can go to Chapters any time I please for Pete’s sake…).

The horror craze didn’t stop there.  My favourite time of year became Fall, Halloween was a drug to me, even when the fog rolled in on the early morning in the playground at school, I felt at home.  For an entire year, I ONLY watched the Treehouse of Horror episodes of The Simpsons, I became fascinated with witchcraft and my friends and I practiced “Light as a Feather, Stiff as a Board” at every opportunity.  I searched for ghost stories and horrific tales from my public school library (one of which I try to find online from time to time, but I just don’t know enough about it now to do so, breaks my heart a little).  Horror stuck.  It was the constant in my life, and I, the weirdo in everyone else’s…

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I mentioned in an earlier post that when I was eight my mom read me The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon by Stephen King.  With my love for horror already blossoming, and finally the introduction to my mom’s favourite author (who I had always been interested in, seeing her read these books, laughing, crying, and I recognizing that slight change in her expression that said “fear”) my path was written in stone.

I think that as a child, being thrown into this world of “children’s horror” has shaped the kind of tastes that I have in the genre.  Instead of blood, guts and gore, I prefer a slow-burn film that packs a mean punch.  I prefer supernatural stories about ghosts and demons over slasher flicks (but don’t get me wrong, I am a Freddy fiend).  I prefer watching films about things that go bump in the night, what happens when you turn off the lights, and cautionary tales to films about serial sadists and over-exploitative rape revenge.  (BTW go watch TRICK R’ TREAT (2007), or CREEPSHOW (1982) for a prime example of the style I love)

What I love most about this “sub-genre” is that no matter how old you are, no matter how many times people have told us that there are no such things as ghosts or monsters these films still succeed in scaring the crap out of us.  That scared child at the back of our minds (after years of common sense, “real world” issues and countless nights shrouded in safety) tells us to turn the lights on, grab a teddy, grab a blanket, and set our drinks down somewhere stable.

As always, thank you for getting through this post,

I love you all,
Stay scared

Jessie
xoxo

LAKE MUNGO (2008)

13 Jun

Horror gets a bad rap sometimes.

People argue that there is hardly any originality in the genre anymore and that “it’s all been done” and while  I agree that there are certain (for lack of a better term) archetypal “monsters” or “villains” that filmmakers keep coming back to (ie. ghosts, the haunted house, vampires, werewolves, etc.) each story is told in a unique way that shatters the mold every time.

A typical monster with an atypical twist.

This brings me to my favourite hidden gem, LAKE MUNGO.

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Mad respect…

Set up as a documentary about a family grieving the loss of their daughter/sister and dealing with the paranormal activity that started shortly after, this Australian film starts quietly and sincerely but packs a mean sucker punch.

The only American coverage this film had was when it screened at After Dark Horrorfest in 2010, it wasn’t widely released but it was rumoured that the creators of THE RING were going to take on the job of Americanizing it for wide release.  I am glad this didn’t happen.

Without giving too much away, this film is highly underrated and deserves notability in the industry.  It takes the classic ghost story and molds it into something uncomfortable and upsetting while forcing us to come to terms with our own mortality.  LAKE MUNGO will make you feel safe and then rip the rug from under your toes.

Stay scared,
xo Jessie

Vampires vs. Werewolves… vs. Love?

21 May

Here goes.

You may think that the fascination with werewolves and vampires is over.  You may think that we’ve all moved on to zombies in the healthy progression of unhealthy obsessions…

Well you would be wrong.  Oh.  So very wrong.

You see, vampires are still quite prevalent in the minds of young teenaged through middle aged women.  Vampire Diaries is still a rocking show, filled to the brim with bloodsucking and shape-shifting romantic story lines that make you all conflicted about where your “morbid fascination” line is drawn…  Right?

Today I decided to reflect on what it is about each of these mythical creatures that make women so ready to jump into an inter-species relationship with something that would probably kill them given the chance…

Vampires

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Undead, undead, undead…

Vampires drink the blood of the living and the process is portrayed in print and film as a seductive and intoxicating experience that leaves vampire and victim… out of breath.  Scouring the earth alone in search for the next O+ vintage to sink their teeth into, vampires eventually (typically) find that one person that they don’t want to ruin.  They find the one person they want to share their undead existence with, and they will do anything to make them theirs.

Vampires are symbolic of giving into ones vices, and in romantic settings, they are seen to give up those vices (or trade them for animal blood) for the one they love.  The one, might I add, that is the first person in hundreds of years they decided to fall in love with.  Can you imagine someone telling you that in 300 years the only person they were able to refrain from bloodletting out of sheer awe of their beauty was YOU.  Romantic!

If that point wasn’t enough, let’s look at personality… Some girls love a bad boy while others love the sensitive, brooding type.  Some girls love to be pursued, while others like to pursue.  Not one woman goes about relationships in the same way or has the exact same “type” (hate that word) as another.  This is why vampires are ideal.

Let’s take a look at… Hmm… I don’t know… Edward Cullen.

  • Bad Boy: Dad doesn’t like him, he drinks blood to LIVE
  • Sensitive: He BROODS more than THE BROOD. He’s all sad and hopelessly romantic, he’s gone hundreds of years without love, he’s so sensitive his skin erupts into diamonds in the sunlight!
  • Pursuer: He literally sneaked into Bella’s room a few times and watched her sleep… He got a little bit over protective there.
  • Pursue…ee: He randomly up and left Bella to go and be broody in Italy, and after trying to kill herself a few dozen times, Bella went to Italy to bring him back.

And I understand if you get all “Yeah but Edward isn’t a REAL vampire, Jessie.” and I completely agree with you.  Bela Lugosi was a real vampire.  But I could just as easily list similar things about Dracula.  Minus the stupid sparkling.  My point is that vampires (or at least vampires in romance novels) are both bad and sensitive, pursuant and standoffish, and therefore can appeal to many different types of women.

Werewolves

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Puppy!

I’m a big fan of werewolves.  I’m actually going to cheat a bit and include a couple other options in this one: The Incredible Hulk, and Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde.  Let me tell you why.

People after being bitten by a werewolf go through a change, and at the first full moon after being bitten, they turn into a man-wolf and run around terrorizing villages and stuff.  Or, as is with a couple of other tv shows, movies, books I’ve come into contact with, the change can happen when the infected person becomes angered, or they can choose to change.

Werewolves symbolize (to me) deep, dark secrets, a second side of oneself, extreme emotion or weakness.  There is something inside of them, another part of themselves that sits very close to the edge waiting for the opportunity to explode.

Think about it with me.  You meet a man, and he’s very mysterious, you don’t notice the corresponding dates but about once a month for a couple of days he is unreachable.  Eventually you wonder if he is seeing someone else and you go to his house to investigate.  What you find there is a half naked man chained to a wall in a sketchy stone basement.  He tells you to leave, you’re all “WHAT THE HELL KIND OF SHOW ARE YOU RUNNING HERE RINGLEADER!?” and before he can explain, because you’re a psycho, his body contorts slowly and agonizingly into a giant man-wolf before your eyes.  You sympathize with him and in the morning when he shifts back into human form and you wonder how his pants stayed on he explains how this happened, how lonely he is, but also how dangerous and brooding he is…  And sensitive because he’s been alone for a while…

*Fun Fact! About five people just stopped reading this and are now reading some sort of werewolf smut*

The same goes for Bruce Banner and Dr. Jekyll.  Both have a terrifying and dangerous other side to them that is a burden and a curse.  They can never be truly happy.

So there you have it.  My take on why women get all googly eyed over vampires and werewolves.  Some women like a project, some like to be needed, and others just like to chase after something that seems impossible.  I apologize for how long this is and whoever read it all gets a hug.  If you’re not into hugs I also do high fives… If you don’t like touching people I’ll give you a thumbs up…

#TeamKlaus

xx J