Sunday, April 26, 2015

Show and Tell: A Lot Of Pinhead And A Lot Of Australian Screaming


Hellraiser has been a big part of my last week in horror.  First, Graveyard Shift Sisters hosted the monthly #FridayNightHorror with a showing of Clive Barker's directorial debut.  As always, there was a lot of good jokes, insight, and trivia.  Horror is best when it's shared with others who enjoy it, and I love to see what other people take away from the horror that I love.  Plus I'm always particularly happy to know that I'm not the only weirdo who enjoys this kind of stuff..

In addition to revisiting Barker's cinematic introduction to Pinhead, this week I got my first taste of Clive Barker's return to what he's said will be Pinhead's swan song, as his publisher released the first two chapters of The Scarlet Gospels.  Barker said this will be his final goodbye to Pinhead, and judging by the first eighteen pages, he's going out in a blaze of chains and gore.  Plus, we're supposed to get more details about the mythology of Barker's version of hell, along with more information about Pinhead's real name.  I'm counting down the days until May 19th.

Outside of the Pinheadverse, I finally checked out the 2014 Australian horror flick The Babadook.  Any of the horror podcasts and websites that I follow have been singing this movie's praises, so I was happy to hear that it was going to be on Netflix streaming.  Plus, I was interested to see Essie Davis in a movie, as I'd only been familiar with her from a show my wife is obsessed with called Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries.  As Fisher, Davis embodies female empowerment as a 1920s private investigator who is independently wealthy, makes her own decisions, and has a different dude in her bed in pretty much every episode.  Respect.

In The Babadook, David displays a different kind of strength as a single mother who lost her husband in a car accident while she was in labor with her now 6-year-old son, who believes he is being tormented by a malevolent entity known as the Babadook.  I was impressed by the realistic look this movie was willing to take at the mother/son dynamic.  This mother and her son, while they love each other deeply, have some serious problems.  In an NPR review of the movie, Neda Ulaby spoke to Georgetown University professor Caetlin Benson-Allott, who noted that The Babadook recognizes what many horror movies don't:  "To acknowledge that being a mother is hard.  That sometimes you hate your child and don't know how to cope."

While the realism was impressive, however, it did mean that the movie by necessity had to feature quite a bit of this:

  

Oh my god this kid was annoying.  And yes, I know that was kind of the point.  But damn, kid...please stop with the screaming.  I will admit that my reaction to that aspect of the movie may say more about me than it does the film.  I will say that by the end of the movie I did find myself rooting for the kid, and I was actually very satisfied with the ending and what it symbolized.  So while the movie wasn't necessarily fun, it was very well done and and a worthwhile watch.


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