You Did it for Love (of Money): Or, Why E.L. James is a Disgrace to Fandom Culture

As I wait for Tusk to wander onto VOD and into my waiting arms (that I may better fill out the back-burnered essay about its creation), I find myself looking ahead to Kevin Smith’s filmography-to-be. The record so far stands at one anticipated (Yoga Hosers, because damned if I’m not starved for more supernatural-comedies-with-female-leads), one indifferent (we’ll see how the trailer for Krampus looks), and one perturbed (Moose Jaws). In case you were wondering, your first instinct on that last one is correct. It’s Jaws with a moose.

At first I couldn’t figure out why this set me on edge. There’s enormous historical precedent for comedic film riffs that basically lift the plot of a famous film – from genre classics conceived in love, like Young Frankenstein, to smirking exercises in nose snubbing a la Scary Movie. It’s an accepted Thing That Happens.

And while I’m not sure the joke at the heart of Moose Jaws will be enough to carry it, I’m entirely confident that Smith’s too earnest about it to go ripping people off (see also: his glorious Blues Brothers homage in Clerks II) – any nods he makes will be trumpeted from the rooftops. This, of course, is when it hit me. Those movies I mentioned before were not made at a time when one of the best-selling bits of popular culture was a flagrant and unadmitted bit of thievery. Yeah. 50 Shades of Grey is ruining Kevin Smith movies for me. And with that damnable movie coming out, it seems like time we had a talk.

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Never has it been more satisfying to remember that Valentine’s Day was named after an executed man
and served as the moniker of a gruesome massacre.

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The Consulting Analyst – Silent Hill 2

If you’ve spent much time reading or watching videogame commentary, you’ll be aware that Silent Hill 2 has magic powers. At the very mention of its name, even the most acidic of critics melts into a puddle of gooey eyed adoration. I am not here to buck that trend – hell, James Sunderland was the focus of my college thesis. If you’d like to familiarize yourself with this treasure of gaming and don’t have your own copy (it came out for every system circa the early 2000s and should be readily available as a digital download too, but don’t bother with the atrocious HD Collection that came out) you can watch an excellent Let’s Play of the game here.

In case you’ve been hiding cozily under a rock for the last decade and change, the story goes like this: James Sunderland receives a letter from his wife saying that she’s waiting in their ‘special place,’ which is somewhat disturbing since she’s several years dead of illness. But James doesn’t seem to see much point in living without Mary, so he sets off to find her in a mostly-empty, foggy town populated by otherworldly grotesqueries and people with tenuous at best grips on reality.

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James Sunderland: master of the survival instinct

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The Terrifying Humanity of Cecil Palmer: Night Vale, Mob Mentality, and Fandom

Things are not well in Night Vale, readers. But the town’s the same as it ever was – this year the unease is brewing in the audience. We’re reminded, not for the first time but perhaps not so openly, that our narrator is fallible and occasionally kind of a jerk; that Night Vale is a closed, fairly dystopian city; and that the easy answer is by far the more dangerous one. Change is coming to the little desert town, and it’s as of yet ambiguous if anyone will come out unscathed.

The way these burgeoning plot developments mirror and interact with Night Vale’s fanbase is almost as interesting as their narrative promise, so let’s break this down into sections.

I. Making Sinners and Saints
II. Progress in Night Vale vs Night Vale
III. So How About that Mob

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There’s no official Night Vale art –
QUICK, WHAT’S THAT OTHER
Twin Peaks INSPIRED SHOW YOU REALLY LIKE

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Your Allegory’s Eating My Plot! Or, the Cabin in the Woods Problem

If you didn’t die from the wafting fumes of smugness that are inevitable in every Joss Whedon script (don’t give me that look, I’m following him too), you probably noticed that Cabin in the Woods was 2011’s delightful, gory gift to the world (I thought I should make my fondness for it clear early on, in case you won’t be able to tell later). The slasher genre hasn’t really been a thing for over a decade, even including the weird pseudo rebirth it had in the 90s post-Scream, the horror genre still falls into repetitive and unimaginative ruts often enough for the general gist to still be applicable as satire. It’s such a shame that the ending stabs itself in the gut.

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10 Unmissable Green Jacket Episodes

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Almost a year ago I started my very first ongoing series (a lecture series? Recaps? A bit of both, perhaps), concerning the classic anime Lupin III Part I (colloquially known as the “Green Jacket” series). I’ll say the same thing now that I did then (repeatedly, and for 23 straight weeks): Green Jacket is a charming piece of overlooked animation history, a testing ground for new ideas (as the first truly adult-oriented anime) and new talents (Hayao Miyazaki) often overshadowed by its Red Jacketed successor even in its native country. It’s well worth exposing yourself to.

This post is meant to give new readers a sort of helping hand. Putting aside (arguably) Goemon’s two introduction episodes, the series is completely episodic. They can be picked and chosen, in other words. And though I have a certain aversion to top ten lists claiming to list things that are Objectively Best (lacking, as they tend to, any consciousness of their authors’ inescapable subjectivity), lists along the lines of ‘Hey, This is Noteworthy or Good for X Reasons’ can do a lot as far as opening doors to unfamiliar audiences.

With that in mind, here are ten episodes of Green Jacket worth seeking out (if you’re in the US or Canada you can watch it here, and anyone not in need of subtitles can find the whole Lupin catalogue on Japan’s NicoNico).

(And yes, you’ll be seeing rather a few lists in the coming weeks – Auncle Vrai is feeling the crushing weight of writerly deadlines this month).

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