Old Movie Reviews: Hellraiser

Writing

Hello kids and welcome to the final installment of the spooky movie party! I am incredibly sad that the month of October is coming to a close and as always wishing Halloween could come more than once a year. When I was trying to pick out a third movie I wanted to find something that was a little older, but unfortunately Netflix only has horror movies from the late 70s and on, so I decided to go with a classic I have never seen, “Hellraiser.” Unlike the other two films in this series, I had absolutely no idea what this one was about. It’s a good thing I’ve never had an issue with gore because otherwise I would’ve had to stop watching it.

Let’s start with characters. I cannot even begin to explain to you how much I hated Julia in this movie. Who in their right mind sees a disgusting slimy skeleton creature who claims to be their ex and just decides to go with it and help them! No, what is wrong with you! I don’t care how good the sex was, it doesn’t warrant raising the goddamn dead. I was incredibly satisfied when she got stabbed because that’s honestly what I wanted to do with her the second she came on screen. Besides her, I was moderately okay with everyone else. Kirsty was obviously my favorite because I love my badass, demon fighting women.

I couldn’t help but notice however that this film did not pass the Bechdal Test. Neither did “The Shining” actually. If you don’t know what the Bechdal Test is, it’s a test used to judge whether or not movies have enough female representation. All a movie has to do is have at least two female characters, who have a conversation, that’s about something other than a man. “Hellraiser” has exactly two women in it (not including the seemingly female cenobite because her gender is never really specified). Julia and Kirsty however, only exchange a few lines throughout the film and they all have to do with Kirsty’s dad or Frank. Even if you want to consider the cenobite, it still doesn’t pass because their conversation is also about Frank.

Sidebar: “The Shining” doesn’t pass because Wendy and the two twin girls are the only women and they never even see each other. “The Amityville Horror” however, gets a pass only because Kathy has a conversation with her daughter about her creepy demon girl friend. The true horror of old horror movies: sexism.

Overall, I think the monsters and the plot of “Hellraiser” were chilling, It definitely seemed the scariest out of all the ones I watched. There was only one thing more off putting than the skinless guy with a lazy eye that was crawling around naked for half the movie, and that is the weird sexual undertone, present throughout the entire film. It was completely unnecessary and very obvious. We know every story has some weird connotation to sex but that doesn’t mean you need to make it blatantly obvious. It makes it hard to tell whether the film director was trying to be deep, or was just a major perv.

“Hellraiser” was not my favorite spooky movie out of the three I watched, I think that title probably goes to “The Shining”. However, I did find “Hellraiser” entertaining, if at times a little ridiculous. I give it 3 out of 5 spooky pumpkins.

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What is your favorite scary movie? If you would like to hear more about the Bechdal Test and also listen to some really hilarious ladies, I would recommend listening to the podcast “The Bechdal Cast.” Let me know what you thought of this series and share your spooky movie stories in the comments! Happy Halloween!!

Old Movie Reviews: The Shining

Writing

I know this post is going up pretty late, but did you know The Shining is two and a half hours long!? I sure didn’t but that’s because up until tonight I had only seen the 30 second bunny version of The Shining ( If you don’t know what it is, google it). It surprisingly took me 20 years to get around to watching the classic horror movie, largely because of the time stamp, the fact that I wanted to read the book, and also because of my aversion to Stanley Kubrick, which I do not have time to unpack here. Let’s get into the film.

Right from the beginning it is clear that the movie deserves most of the attention it’s given. The cinematography is outstanding, and despite the length the plot seems fairly fast paced. It’s the kind of movie where you can’t look away from the screen because you might miss something (I would know because I was trying to dye my hair and kept having to pause and go back… yet another reason this post is up late).

One of the movies most talked about features is the performance of Jack Nicholson and while it is admittedly creepy, I was more impressed by Shelley Duvall. It’s not often in horror movies that female characters get such a gratifying character arc, so it’s even better to see, when it’s as well done as it is here.

Honestly it’s hard to find anything to critique in this horror movie because it is so beautifully made, once again I wasn’t particularly scared. Creepy for sure but I think horror movies just don’t get me the way they used to, perhaps because I’ve seen so many, or maybe it’s because men being creepy isn’t entirely new territory. I mean obviously I’ve never been trapped in a hotel alone being chased with an ax, but at the same time it’s “Oh a husband is being a dick to his wife, oh now he’s violent with her, oh now he’s chasing her with an ax, why am I not surprised.” It’s an obvious progression and honestly something to be careful of when choosing a husband. Never marry writers, from what movies have taught me they seem incredibly susceptible to becoming crazy murderers… and also men I guess. Yea maybe avoid men.

Moving on from my need to see everything from a feminist perspective, I found this movie thoroughly entertaining, and I surprisingly did not find myself to be bored at any moment. The performances were great as were the visuals and it seems like the kind of movie I would watch again especially if I was in the mood for a horror movie but wanted to stick with something familiar. I give “The Shining” 4 out 5 spooky pumpkins.

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That leaves one movie left in my spooky movie marathon. Check back tomorrow evening to read my review of “Hellraiser.” Happy Halloween Eve!

13 Reasons Why: Season 2 Review

Non-fiction, Writing

WARNING: THIS BLOG POST CONTAINS SPOILERS FOR THE 1ST AND 2ND SEASON OF 13 REASONS WHY. IT ALSO CONTAINS DISCUSSION OF THE SENSITIVE TOPICS DISCUSSED IN THE SHOW. READ AT YOUR OWN RISK.

13 Reasons Why is Netflix’s original series that came out last year and released their second season about a week ago.

The first season was based on the book of the same title by Jay Asher and tells the story of Hannah, a girl who kills herself and leaves behind 13 tapes, each one for a different person at her school, that chronicle the events leading to her suicide.

Due to my fragile mental state, I usually refrain from watching shows that deal with suicide, but my mom had gotten me the book 5 years earlier and I had loved it. I enjoyed the first season and thought it stayed very true to the book. However the first season ended where the book ended so I was curious to see where they would go with the second season.

The first thing I will give the show credit for is it’s “bingeability” I finished the whole season in about 5 days. The show definitely keeps you engrossed and on the edge. This isn’t necessarily always for the best though. Throughout the season, the characters are faced with disaster after disaster and even when things are looking up it only lasts for about half an episode before everything once again comes crashing down. It gives the show an over all feeling of hopelessness which is not ideal for a show based around suicide.

Speaking of the shows themes, much like season one, the show faced a lot of backlash for it’s graphic depictions of rape and suicide as well as the way people deal with it. A lot of viewers say the show depicts suicide as a way that’s offensive to those that have suffered suicide attempts. Here’s my take on it: the show focuses on one story of one person. The show never claims that this is typical of all suicidal people or that all people with these experiences behave this way. The fact that the show even uses something that is so often tiptoed around as a main theme is something to be commended over the logistics of how Hannah comes to kill herself and leave the tapes. As a survivor of a suicide attempt I don’t find it offensive at all and I appreciate the shows boldness with this and other topics. The show also provides a very large selection of resources for people struggling with these topics.

The best part about this season by far was Jessica Davis’s recovery from her rape. The compassion her friends show her and how she works towards owning her experience and getting professional help is very refreshing throughout the shitshow everyone else is enduring. This, as well as Sky’s example of the person who deals with suicidal thoughts in a healthy way by going to a mental facility, brings the high-strung, emotionally charged show down to a more comfortable level.

Which brings me to the thing that annoyed me the most about this season. While every character is dealing with their mental illnesses and their problems, not once is anyone ever concerned about Clay’s vivid hallucinations. He spend half the show talking to a dead girl but somehow he’s just helping everyone else? Hallucinations are a very real symptom of mental illness and it’s annoying to see a show that’s trying so hard to shine a light on these symptoms, just brush this one under the rug.

It’s pretty obvious at the end of this season that Netflix is shooting for a third, and while the second season was engrossing it seems to me the show has completed what it was meant to do. The creation of problems at the end seemed unnecessary and it seemed like the show was just fishing for a problem that could be considered bigger than Hannah’s suicide.

Overall, the second season was well written and engrossing with all the actors once again giving incredible performances. While not as good as the first season the second season holds strong on its own. Can the third?