Tuesday, June 8, 2010

The One I Would Save

As previously mentioned, this is not a horror blog. I feel I must repeat this so as to keep myself from veering toward what I think I not-so-secretly want it to be. I've already compiled a list of wonderfully valid reasons not to make it one  (the genre is being well cared for, my scattered brain patterns would never keep it solely horrorcentric, I have so many other things to share and, dammit, you will embrace them all!)

It's not like I could use this for general life happenings and assorted geekery and create a companion blog for all my horror needsOOH! I mean, no... bad idea. Despite intentions for this place to cater to all of my blogging whims I do hope you will understand that the scary movie gab will likely take precedent over most things. Not enough to garner any awards or let me into the cool horror blog clubs but, whatever. I'm a rebel. I don't need to be pigeonhold. *sniff* I'm my own person! (love me?)

Do you see the challenges I present to myself?

Onward! One of the many elements that inspired me to at last heave my crazy upon you (yes, someone to blame!) was Arbogast On Film's One You Might Have Saved. First posted two years ago, it prompted people to share which doomed character moved, connected with or made enough impact on them to toss a life preserver (or knife/gun/keener sense of awareness) to. It created a bit of a Blog-O-Thon Meme type thingy that still elicits passionate responses. I loved this hypothetical and immediately began to cogitate over my choices. Of course, also immediate was the realization that passing the Get Outta Death Free card to just one wasn't likely to happen. Surely Vistaprint could help with my dilemma! 

Unfortunately, my initial cap at three choices installed a manic mental revolving door, hurting my heart with each one I had to send back out to their often grisly fate. From that three begat five which begat ten until I had to step away from the topic in order to save my own life!... Or for less dramatic reasons, I forget. I let it sit for a day and when I returned to it I realized that amongst the incessant restructuring one choice remained non-negotiable. It was actually all quite simple; The less time spent roaming my head space the better. Think less, dive in and go with instinct.

So, as much as it pains me to leave Liz a 'head-on-a-stick', Tatum a victim of her own ample curves and keep Helen confined to the worst, most oblivious town ever populated by teleporting fisherman, there was, is, really only one choice: 

I still recall the day I heard the news. The teenage brother of one of my parent's friends was over, captivating me with his vast knowledge of all things horror. The second he switched topics to Freddy Krueger I asked if he'd seen the recently released Nightmare on Elm Street 3: The Dream Warriors. He launched into a wide-eyed elucidation of every detail - we really didn't give a crap about spoilers as kids, did we? - and I couldn't wait to actually see these images on screen. I wasn't allowed to see horror films in theaters yet, even though I'd probably seen every studio horror film on video up to this point, so I was enthralled. Seriously, this one girl can pull you into her dreams and does flips and there's this zappy wizard kid and this hot leather chick who fights Freddy with knives and holycrappingcrap did you just say NANCY WAS BACK?! 

Such poise, such elegance, such great conditioner. How our Nancy has grown! 

Clearly, I have just heard the most amazing thing to ever happen to the world. As he began the climactic battle, I was perched on my knees, fists clenched, leaning over a chair that had tipped about a dozen times in my exuberance by this point. Then, he said:

"She's hugging her dad and her face is like, 'what?' and she looks at her dad but he turns into Freddy and you see he totally stabbed her, man!"

There were a bunch of words that followed but after I forced him to repeat that heinous lie, "Yeah dude, Nancy dies!" I excused myself to go to the bathroom and cried. I didn't sob, I wasn't a blubbering mess on the floor but I sat on the edge of the tub and cried quietly for a few minutes. Washed my face, went back out and let him finish up but by that point, it was all meaningless. I no longer had any interest in seeing it.

Nancy Thompson Colby Dexter Carrington, if you please.

A few months later at a group sleepover, the movie picked was Dream Warriors. I didn't protest but the internal agony was growing by the minute. The movie began and I was enjoying it immediately. Patricia Arquette was kinda cool even before the gymnastics came into play and *GASP* Nancy. Just. Walked. In! Further proliferating my joy was the fact that all of the kids reacted positively to her appearance. The film went on and every minute was gold. The characters were cool, the kills were cool, something was always happening and the downtime for plot development was usually with Nancy so I was juuust fine. Then came the end. 

Nancy, Kristen, Kincaid and Joey were in joyful embrace because they thought it was over. For a second, so did I. Then Nancy's dumb dad had to apparate in. I bolted for the door and could hear my friend's asking where I was going but any answer would have been drowned out by their chorus of "No ways", "Oh my Gods" and one "Screw you!"

A few months later I forced myself to confront Nightmare On Elm Street: Part Crap in its entirety; Partly because I figured if I knew how she died, I could remedy this when I was making films. Long before I thought I wanted to make films, by the by. I found it ridiculous. I don't care that she was given one last swipe at him. Not for one second did I believe Nancy would fall for Freddy's ruse. No, in a just film, Nancy - who at 16 showed more courage, ingenuity and resilience than most twice her age - would have faked him out, stabbing "Daddy" with a knowing smirk as his facade dissipated. By then, Craig Wasson's junkyard exorcism would've worked it's magic and Nancy would be waving buh-bye with a triumphant smile on her face as Freddy e'sploded.  

Watching it a few years later, something else struck me, making the scene even more grim. When Nancy realizes she'd been stabbed, her expression is one of shock. She sees her father's visage give way to Freddy and it is then that she screams. However, it is not one of pain, it is a bloodcurdling cry of rage. In that moment she recognizes her defeat at the hands of her sworn enemy and it is a moment that continues to give me chills.

I don't even like looking at this! So you can imagine how tough it was to edit and load.

Some have argued that she completed her arc, she did all she could, squawk squawk white noise, but to that I reply "I hate you!" Oh. I'm sorry. No, I mean "Kill yourself!" Gah! Clearly, I need a moment...

God, I look 24 in this mirror!

All right. What I really meant was, "So what? You're wrong, poo head." Yes, that's better. I've never bought into the idea that it is okay for a character to die simply because select members of the audience haven't a clue where to take them or think it isn't logical for them to continuously evade their nemesis; A line of thinking disturbingly present among far too many horror fans when it comes to our heroines, but again, I've skidded off track. 

Why is it unbelievable Nancy could further elude Freddy's grasp when she already had for years? He seemed pretty surprised when Kristen pulled her into her dream. Why hadn't he been able to sense her presence all along? 'Cause Nancy knows stuff. Lotsa drugs, dream techniques and moving around her trademark grey streak to throw him off the trail were all very effective but deep down I think Freddy was kinda scared of finding her.

Cold comfort indeed.

Nancy wasn't the first Final Girl to win my love and devotion, nor is she my personal favorite (admittedly, it's a damn close race and on more than one occasion she shares the mantel). However, she is the greatest. She didn't merely react to the chaos in the moment, she was proactive. Her strength and determination were tempered with a genuine fear anyone would experience, no matter a teenager. Not only did she rise above it, she confronted that fear by bringing the fight directly to the bastard son of a hundred maniacs on his own turf, forcing him onto hers and ultimately defeating him with her intelligence and will. Through it all she never lost her compassion and put herself, arguably safe and Freddy-free, in harms way to help those in need.

"I'm into survival". Words Nancy once used to help poor, sweet, simple Glenn understand her determination. Words that someone woefully did not heed along the way in making Dream Warriors and it wasn't Wes Craven. While I could be thankful her untimely demise led, in part, to his giving Heather Langenkamp an excellent showcase in New Nightmare I'd rather Nancy triumphant. Instead I will continue to picture Nancy an eternal warrior, finally at peace but awaiting the moment to return to us from the "beautiful dream" Kristen sent her to.

... Ye know, before that damned Tuesday Knight screwed it all up.

Friday, June 4, 2010

100 Greatest Characters, Hmm?

Being a bit late to the party will be standard for many of my posts so consider your heads given an up. I don't suspect the majority will slag through old news items but I have years of incredibly vital opinions that I've kept from you for far too long! Worry no more, for the agonizing wait stops here.

*Reigning it in*

However, seeing as last weeks Entertainment Weekly issue, "The 100 Greatest Characters of the last twenty years" is a double, I figure I'm coming in just as the party is startin' to pop. So... Nyah.

As with each and every 'Best of', 'Greatest', 'Mostest Worst', etc., type list there will be endless debates on what is and isn't included, as well there should be, and while I can usually understand why most choices do or do not make the cut regardless of my feelings, another constant element of these lists is that there are and will always be ones that hurt my brain place. EW's list is no exception. 

How can a mag so devoted to Buffy get so much wrong?

Perhaps I would've done less twitching were it called what it actually is; "The 100 Most Remembered At The Moment Characters In Pop Culture of the last twenty years". Many, nay, most of the choices earned their place (if not proper slot) but others inspired everything from a tongue-slapping eye roll (#46 Jerry Maguire) to twisting up the magazine with the slightest bit of maniacal verve that they might feel it (#91 Hancock?!). I'm not going to bother carrying on about the placement because I've already worked that ou-- Seriously, #18 Glee's Sue Sylvester and #28 Medea before #42 Sydney Bristow and #99 The Bride?! WTF?!... Erm, I've worked that out so I'm, um, just gonna bitch speak about specific entries.

#09 Carrie Bradshaw. Now, now, before your eyebrows peak at the notion of a 'mo who actually shuns the city and its sex, ya ain't gonna find him here. I. Funking. Love Sex and the City. I also love Carrie. My beef is with them choosing ONLY Carrie. Thelma & Louise are counted in unison (even though I adore both, Louise always felt a much more realized character). Mulder & Scully, Lorelai & Rory Gilmore, all four Gorillaz (whatever with that) and three video game dudes in stuff I've yet to play. Why aren't Samantha, Charlotte and Miranda - arguably the series' best character - not grouped with her? Love Carrie but without the entire ensemble it would be a vapid suck fest about a very indecisive, self-absorbed, lonely shoe freak. 

#17 Lara Croft. I'm sorry, exactly what character is she in possession of besides the two barely contained within her tank top? Hell, she was a dude until some geek drew boobs!

#24 Felicity Porter. Um, her hair wasn't that good.

#40 Ron Burgundy. While I wouldn't include either, I'd think Will Farrell's Elf character would edge out his Anchorman flop. I don't really get this one. The movie was one of those where the trailer gave you all the funny. I include it mostly for Will's comment about why it took so long to sell: "People thought it was too weird. They didn't understand a movie set in the news world." Uhh, they understand it fine Will. They simply prefer it to be good.

#41 Harold & Kumar. Another perfect example of the pop culture influence on the list. The movie was not entirely unfunny but these two as characters? Yyyyeah. Even stoned I don't buy it.

#53 Edward Cullen. Heh. Really? What's to say that isn't glaringly (sparkling even!) obvious to the thinking world? The prime example of inclusion based solely on pop culture impact. Also, see Felicity.

#55 Tracy Jordan. Makes me want to punch a baby. Besides being chosen over Liz Lemon, Jack Donaghy, Jenna Maroney, Pete Hornberger, Frank Rossitano, Kenneth Parcel, Dot-Com, Grizz, Danny, Cerie, Toofer, Jonathan, Dr. Spaceman, Lutz, Sue, Josh, the lady by the water cooler in that one episode and every other person who has ever appeared on the show in any capacity, I simply don't agree.

I didn't say it was an episode of 30 Rock but is she serving it up or what?

#77 Mimi Marquez/#79 Elphaba. Nothing against either choice, I merely desire their inclusion to make a point. While I obviously acquired the penchant for witty, sexually liberated, cosmo swilling fashionistas at the group meetings, I skipped Musical Appreciation Day. Not a big fan, unless they strike some chord with originality, edge and kick ass music. Which is why I happily concede with Mimi. I've seen Rent and she earns her spot. However... WHERE IN THE HELLING HELL IS HEDWIG?!

#87 Tony Stark. So, he snakes in even though he first appeared in 1963? Granted, the movie version is more charming but it just seems that this technicality would toss a whoooole lot of (worthier) characters into the mix. Wolverine, infinitely more appealing in the films if not exactly true to form, seems an obvious go-to.

#91 Hancock. *blink blink* After I punch the baby I'm going to kill the world.

Hancock? HANCOCK?! Why on earth would you-- Oh, right. Dudes + Saying Hancock repeatedly = Teh awsum!

#93 Game Boys (Uncharted's Nathan Drake, God of War's Kratos, Grand Theft Auto IV's Niko Bellic).
Resident Evil 2's Claire Redfield. BioShock's Big Daddy. Mortal Kombat 2's Princess Kitana.  

Hmm, despite the volume of word space taken up I don't appear too upset with the list overall. Of course, I've ignored a lot and truly hold no opinion on many others. Still, this almost makes me look downright agreeable. Optimistic even!

... Oh right, some glaring omissions:

Ten picks in no particular order because it really is unnecessary (Whilst wagging my judgy finger).
  • Sidney Prescott. The Scream heroine is the greatest final girl since Nancy Thompson and one of the many well-written, wonderfully acted horror characters shockingly not included!
  • Hedwig Schmidt. That's just... I mean... Stupid EW.
  • Catwoman. Passes in under the Tony Stark rule. Michelle Pfeiffer's Selina Kyle took ownership of the character as well as the entire movie Batman Returns. Everyone knows it. Shut up, I said everyone!
  • Harley Quinn. Harley (especially when voiced by Arleen Sorkin) makes everything she is in better. It is hard to believe she was created in 1992 when it so often feels like she's always been around - and I don't wan't any 18yr-olds telling me that she has been. 'Cause I'll kill ya... After Hancock. 
  • Satine. Moulin Rouge's tragic Sparkling Diamond. The role she should have won the Oscar for... Stupid, nekkid Halle Berry.
  • Karl Childers. Not necessarily a fan of Sling Blade but this one seems like a big, fat steaming pile of DUH.
  • Dawn Weiner. Unlike #88 Napoleon Dynamite, this indie dork had real character.
  • Clarice Starling. Like Mulder & Scully and other duos, she deserves to sit right next to Hannibal Lecter at #8. Well, not right next to him. Next to him on the other side of the glass.
  • Jack Skellington. 1,000 times cooler than Shrek. *ptooey*
  • Amelie Poulain. I don't care that Cameron Crowe picked her (especially after he picked Seth Rogen's Knocked Up sloth) because EW didn't. They are the suck.
There are plenty more that will undoubtedly pop up once I've published this and I could easily make my own list of 100 with personal faves (Hermione Granger! Romy & Michelle!) but ohmigodIhavetostopwritingnow! 

Fer serious? THEY didn't make the cut? Nice. Now they're going to grow up and kill you... After they kill Hancock.

Magniflorious: Origins

Seems like this is something I should've explained in the intro, but I didn't. So, I'm doing it now. It's for you, ya know. I know where the word comes from. I don't have to do this. I could leave you hanging, wondering at random intervals throughout the day soon consuming your every thought, waking you up at night (if you even get to sleep!) until the slow descent into madness causes your friends/family/society to shun you, and openly mock because you're going to look like a freeeeak, until you can take no more, and I dunno... die.

Okay then.

As splendiferous a word magniflorious is, its creation is not of my brain. No, it comes to us from the brilliant, twisted, and therefore naturally cancelled before its time, television show Better Off Ted. Magniflorious was among its bountiful quotables... Though one of the few I can call up 'cause I just don't have that kinda recall for film and T.V. dialogue. I quickly adopted it to describe everything good, e.g., This cereal is magniflorious, "You found a quarter? Magniflorious!" Fellow BOT fans always chuckle while those not in the know always ask "What? What does that mean? Spell it." In that order. Always.

Fortunately for those around me I've since refined my use. I now use it for everything really good. By all means, take it as your own. Spread it around. You'll feel, say it with me, magniflorious!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

No Need For Applause, But I Do Accept Gifts

Trailblazer that I am, I figured this internet journaling phenomenon is bound to take off sooner or later so I'd better get in on the ground floor... I can't explain it, I just seem to have a sense for these things.

Nine years after signing up for my first blog account (and creating about six or seven more since) seemed like a good time for me to really give it a go. Ya know, the ole college try by actually writing something this time. I'm still not quite sure as to what is different now or what is happening in my life (or perhaps it's the lack of said happenings?) but dammit, I made a banner and that alone is gonna tether me here for a few months at least!

I don't anticipate much deep introspection or woe in need of nurturing (not when Facebook status updates are so awesome for THAT!) but I'm not sure what you'll get, exactly. I certainly won't guarantee the best sentence structure, I'm a big fan of parentheses, absolutely adore alliteration and love little more than abusing ellipsis but hopefully you'll be entertained enough to not care... ? I hope so because I don't have enough people in my life that I can force to come here and comment to sufficiently feed my ego.

This was almost a horror blog, (and could quite organically morph into one at some point) so there'll be plenty of that business going on. It isn't one right now, however, because I feel that niche is ridiculously represented around here from so many angles. Ridiculous is good, btw. Also, my geek joy/rage extends equally to Dazzler*> Superheroines> Superheroes> Comic Books as well as other films, music, select television, an assortment of video games and books and one or five pop divas. Yes, this is a gay place. Granted, you might be prone to a double take on occasion as you'll no doubt find more gushing over the amazing women in film, music and literature than, well, my doing a lot of that over men.

Take note of how the faceless man torso above is eclipsed by the myriad of female figures and... Ye know... Faceless. Fun with Freud!

With that, hop on and let the games begin!

You'll be so glad you did when I'm way famous.

*= Not really so equal with Dazzler as she trumps everything in the universe. You'll see.