Ginger Snaps

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Puberty, one of the most confusing stages of a person’s life, is a combination of unbalanced hormones, unreasonable judgement, and a change in body structure. Most adolescence find this portion of their lives very ‘horrorifying’ and confusing because it becomes the stage of rediscovery. They begin to uncover things they never even knew existed. Being surrounded by new ideas, people, changes, and environment, especially during adolescence, can surely bring out the creative mind of a teenager. Ginger snaps portrays adolescence through the eyes of two very different girls, two girls who see this stage of life as something stupid because deep inside they afraid of changing.

                It is indeed interesting how the movie plays with the idea of werewolves and adolescence. In mythological or folkloric stories being transformed into a werewolf was considered a curse. On the other hand werewolves are also seen as a creature that holds immense power and strength. Same goes for the idea of being adolescence, for most part people see it as an unending chapter of horror and pain while others see it as the beginning of being something more or even being untouchable. Ginger snaps somehow captures that chapter of every person’s life. A period of fear of trying to grasps one’s place during a very confusing moment in time. Ginger and Brigitte’s portrayal as being an adolescent is parallel to the conception of the transformation of a werewolf – rather seen as a metaphor. The experience of being a teenager is but a gruelling and ugly experience everyone must go through. In my opinion this portrayal of adolescence was very good. It definitely showed the horrors of going through the dramas and the uncertainties of a teenager. Just as we have mentioned over and over in class, the unknown is one of the most terrifying places to be in.

Too much

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Blood, knives, screaming, boobs, beer, sex, and murder were the main themes of this movie. All those words, if I were to categorize, sum up a very typical male horror movie. How can one go wrong with sex and murder to gather up the male audience? Halloween very much objectified and used the female species for its own pleasure. I indeed sound very feminist but it surely made me feel terrible as a woman. Not the same kind of horrible that Grace depicted rather it made me feel like a tool or pawn in someone’s chess game. It lowered my sense of womanhood, my independence and my strength. I honestly hated the movie not only because of how it portrayed women but more likely because of its plot. There seemed to be a cyclical pattern on the climax of every frightening or scary scene. The cycle would be usually begun with boobs, sex and beer. After those three have shown, here swoops in Michael ready for the kill. Somehow every time Michael begins to kill he immediately kills the male in the scene making the victim experience death quickly. Unlike the female counterparts, it seems that they make Michael play with them and make their pain last for as long as Michael can.

                This movie really focused on women enduring pain for long periods. It made it look like a kid playing with his food, throwing, stabbing, and moving it as he pleases. It was dreadful having to watch the movie and tolerate seeing these women suffer. It was also dreadful watching the same plot occur over and over again – boobs, beer, sex and blood. Watching the movie made me feel angry and annoyed. Angry because I really detested the roles of the women and annoyed because it felt like I wasted my time.  There was no real story or good character formation.  Overall the lesson, the plot, the characters, and themes were very disappointing. Though it may be all about boobs, sex, alcohol and blood there are some movie with those main themes but are able to make a good horror movie. For me Halloween was not one of those movies. I left the classroom wanting to remove all the negative energy from the movie. It could be just me feeling this way about Halloween. I do not entirely understand horror movies that fall under this category. These kinds of movies require a specific taste and it definitely is not mine.

What is normal?

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What is the norm in our society on the roles and characteristics of males and females? The traditional way would be, males are generally more aggressive, alpha male, bread winner, and are not suppose to show feelings. On the other hand, women are thought to be emotional, sensitive, housekeeping and child rearing and it seems like these social standards spill over into media. It is interesting how we continually see the difference on how horror movies portray female and male characters. We see the distinction of plots, values, themes and personalities.  Let me in was no different in showing that delineation.

                Yet again, we come to face a female ‘monster’ character and how does it differ from all previous horror movies we’ve seen so far? I have noticed and placed similarities between the male and female character. It seems that when it revolves around females the main themes are always linked with her feelings, emotional aspect, while the male character always revolves around gore, testosterone, and blood. Well, of course, blood and all other aspects of the usual male role can also be seen within the female characters. The only difference is when it comes to the female characters it is always subtle. They introduce it slowly as compared to the male counterparts they just shove it to your face – a in your face kind of thing. It is very straight to the point. Let me in follows those norms to a certain extent. The difference is it seems that Eli’s character was more aggressive and imposing. She definitely wore the pants in the relationship. Even if Eli was portrayed as a girl, she did not see herself as a girl. Meanwhile Oskar held the more effeminate role. It seemed like Eli was the protector and Oskar was the protected. We see a reversal of the common understanding of how a female or male should be. Though, nonetheless there still was presence of these norms. But who could blame them both? Eli had power that Eli may not get unless Eli decides to change Oskar.

                We can definitely see the influence of society towards media, even in horror films. These norms and roles of each gender are definitely carried over and these biases towards a particular gender are still very evident. Even if gender equality is very much pushed, it is noticeable that tradition is very difficult to change and our old ways of thinking will continually to influence us. Unless, we do something about it.

Power is Ultimate

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I was very much excited to hear that Rec had a sequel to find out how the producers would continue the story intrigued me. Rec greatly symbolized the secrecy of probably every government and the interplay of religion and the government. Yet we see that one institution seems to have the higher power over the other. In this continuation we see even more secrets each institution has kept from the society but we realize that there is one major institution that seems to have the ultimate power over everyone – the Catholic Church. From here we can see how the lack of separation between the church and state can possibly create chaos.

Again we see can the government playing an active role in trying to maintain peace and order. It seems that in order to maintain this order the government does it by hiding information from the society and if people try to find out, freedom of information, they are silenced before they get a chance to speak. Just like how the teenagers snuck in into the building, we see a direct analogy at how freedom of speech is thrown down the drain. This freedom of speech is symbolized with the video camera they held while entering into the building and as we saw in the movie; they were prohibited and scolded for having one. Again we see the desire of control the government and church contain. But this desire for power and control is more evident within the Catholic Church, to the point of lying about the identification of the priest. But this time not only do we see the façade, the government and the church hold, the movie also shows how religion has driven us to just follow without questioning. What we have always known to be familiar has become unfamiliar. The secret world the Church has been hiding is a few only dare to adventure. Again we are placed in the world of the unknown – a place that everyone feels uncomfortable. This is where we see the horror within the film; the secrets, the demons, the lies – the unknown.

Rec 2 was an average film for me, though I was pretty surprised the way the movie ended. I definitely did not expect it. 

Language the Driving Force

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Everyday, we use words to relay what we feel and think. We use words to communicate with each other even if at times we may not be truly listening. English, the world’s universal language, has connected people from all over. English is the most dominant language and it is the language that brings people to places. It has been seen as the language that can make one successful. It was instilled in us that we MUST learn to speak english, knowing our native tongue is not enough.  I always knew words had the power to affect people but they always said words are just words. Actions speak louder but that wasn’t the case in Pontypool. Pontypool has to be one of the wittiest horror films I have seen, to be able to use such a mundane act and twist it into something complex and significant. Not only does it use words but specifically the english language, how we have become too attached to learn and speak this ‘universal tongue’.

                Pontypool makes us realize the horror of becoming so obsessed with a language; language that can make our dreams come true; a language that so many people desire to learn. Let have the Koreans as an example. They would even leave their own country just to learn english. Pontypool makes us see how we have turned into zombies desiring to speak this foreign tongue. We have become slaves in our own reality not recognizing that we should take hold and be proud of our native tongue. I too am I victim of this. I grew up making English my first language and thinking that it is the more superior. Hence, I have ended up just like the citizens of Pontypool.

                This movie is an eye opener. It makes us understand that language can become the antagonists in our well-being. The monster that destructs all of us. The horror of our lives

Uncanny

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It is a very rare sight to see a woman behind the knife, the one who plots the deaths of others for her own enjoyment. Usually the main protagonists in horror movies revolve around the men. Women are commonly casted as supporting roles or victims. It was surely a fresh thing to see and from there one can tell the difference when the woman is the leading character.

                Very often, if not all the time, the male protagonists – rather antagonists – in horror films are depicted as violent, aggressive, arrogant, and manly.  Meanwhile, as seen in May, May was first seen as quiet, soft spoken, innocent, and adorable. These women ‘antagonists’ are first portrayed as angels who can do harm but when harassed they instantly change becoming into monsters. This was evident in the beginning of the movie. How May the very shy and quiet little girl turned into a decapitating nurse. The similarities between the female and male antagonists are experiences of their past. They typically follow the path of a young kid being bullied by others, experience a very restricting childhood, or possible were made fun of by their parents or family. These portions of their lives bring them to release all the hate and resentment that has been repressed for years, like a balloon being blown until it pops. May, was indeed a very interesting movie. The acting, the story line and the script of the movie is very real to life.  It is actually quite creepy because it is very possible. It could definitely happen in any given occasion. Her desire for perfect can be seen in a number of the human population. Bringing to think, would people go that far to create a perfect world? Or in May’s case a perfect friend? Even if the movie did have show any suspense filled scenes, the thought of there could be someone like May is frightening. It makes me want to hide all my “beautiful” body parts.  I guess that is what it makes to be a good horror film, the audience’s fear of the probability of the movie. How these fictional characters and stories can be seen in our daily lives.

Two faced

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As social beings, we, humans are not meant to live alone. A number of us fear not finding a special friend to be with all through our lives. This fear has led many individuals to go beyond certain rules even to the point of deceiving others to get what we want. But once we have found that friend, many stake their lives in order to keep that friend all to ourselves without even knowing for sure whether that friend is truly being their self. Jealousy becomes a big factor in the friendship and once it takes over it makes people do things we thought we were never capable of.
Voice perfectly depicted the interaction of jealousy, one’s true self and friendship. These interactions were slowly shown throughout the movie. The movie was very good at fooling the viewers on the personalities of certain characters. At the beginning of the movie it showed Sun-min and Yeoung-on being very clingy best friends as if everything was fine. But little did we know the evil that surrounds them all. After Sun-min dies we were shown her innocence and pureness. We were swayed to believe that she all but deserves to be heard – she deserves a voice. Pity was the first feeling that engulfed me. Being scared and all alone, I felt for Sun-min’s sadness. I wanted to believe that she was still alive that her soul was only trapped and her body hiding somewhere else. But when those flashbacks first showed, I could not understand what was happening. At first, I thought these were all lies that a certain individual was trying to convince us that Sun-min was wicked. But all along these flash backs were all but true. The home of Sun-min said it all. She lived a double life and all that cares for was a voice or, even better, a body. Her yearning and jealousy to live was too strong to be reckoned with. Her evil soul inevitably took over.
I find it sad how Sun-min’s soul was troubled and confused. Not knowing who she really was is scary feat but what is even worse is discovering that one has lived a life of lies, treachery and impiousness. For Yeoung-on side, to realize that your best friend was someone else is also a horrific feeling; to be betrayed by someone you loved. But the scariest of them all is jealousy. How jealousy can lead us into doing evil to point of killing and hurting the ones we love. Voice shows us just that and if we allow this feeling to consume it will destroyed oneself and the people around you. For me voice was a very good movie. It shows the dark capabilities of a person. It also reminds that we must be aware of who we trust. Lastly, it tells us that we must contain these ominous desires and that we must not let them take over.

Going Overboard

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Motherhood was always portrayed with flowers, life, nicely scented candles, smileys, and many more positive and happy symbolisms. It is also a sign that one is growing older and wiser. It a milestone is every woman’s life. Most women, in fact, dream of having a baby and even deciding their names before they are born. Some even have specifics as to how many boys or girl they would want to bear. Of course there is ugliness to child rearing. It can bring out the monstrous side of ever woman. But never have I even imagined that it would touch on a woman’s sexuality. Grace disturbingly perfected the art of hitting a woman’s being.
From the very first scene to the last scene, Grace depicted a vibe that was very uncanny. As a woman, this movie has forever scarred me. Starting from the moment she decided to keep her still born child unto the moment her baby bit off her nipple, Grace has entered my top 5 most disturbing movies. How can it not be one of the most gruesome movies with scenes like, MOTHER continuing to breastfeed her child with her own blood; flies flying around the baby or MOTHER getting the blood of slabs of meat just to feed Grace? This movie shows how deranged women can be with motherhood. How it plays a very big role in a woman’s life. Just like how the mother-in-law acted, after her son die she instantly went all alpha female on her daughter-in-law to the point she even treated her husband like a baby. But what baffles me the most is how MOTHER’s natural surviving instinct did not suffice. Would not a ‘normal’ woman understand that babies do not drink blood? Is motherhood that strong for a woman to turn away from what is right? Will I be like that when I become a mother? Questions such as these boggle my mind for answers. Bringing me to ponder, do a number of men see motherhood this way? Can this movie be a depiction of motherhood to all non-mothers?
Overall Grace was a very good horror movie, not your usual horror movie but very well acted and portrayed. It tackles upon a woman’s sexuality and really makes you feel disgusted inside and outside. Though a man may not feel the same disgust as a woman, he may still understand in terms of being a human. This movie really touches upon what makes one a human.

Simple Yet Effective

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What makes a great horror movie? Is it the terrifying screams of the audience? It is the scary images? Is it the music? There are so many factors that make a horror movie a great one. Most people associate it with the number of times they get frightened, the length they closed their eyes, the fast heartbeat and many more. Those are just the thrills and how our body reacts. Sometimes we forget why we even get scared. Our mind processes the images and links it back to an experience we may have forgotten or the stories that we have associated to as being scary. A horror movie doesn’t have to be grand or doesn’t need to have great special effects. It is all about the story, the place, the scenes, the facial expressions and many more. In short it is all about the detail – the little things.
For me the innkeepers was a fantastic movie. It was very simple yet it hit the correct horror spot of everyone in the room. First is the place, an old hotel with a horrible past. As kids, we were always told stories of old haunted house [or anything that is old in general] to have some sort of supernatural happenings and these stories without a doubt has inflicted a certain fear we may never forget. Hence, it touches on our subconscious a part of the brain we cannot control. Second are the creepy and weird customers, most especially the old man though at first it was Lee because of her stalker vibe. But as soon as the old entered, his presence, his tone, his eyes and his determination to get room 353 triggered many bells. His wish to come back after so many years was a bad omen. His whole being emitted that spine-chilling aura. Third is the basement scene. It is the basement. It is dark. It is underground. It is the basement! I think we all know get that sinister feeling when we are about to enter the basement so must I explain why it is scary? Lastly, probably the major reason is the involvement with ghost [spirits]. When it comes down to choosing between zombies [or other creatures rather anything alive] or ghost, most people I have asked would answer zombies because they can kill it. Hence, we can find a solution and a chance for survival. But when it comes down to ghost, we do not know how to deal with them. Killing is not an option because they are already dead. Their powers are beyond ours. Even if we may not fully understand zombies and the like we know we have a fighting chance but when it comes down to ghosts we become hopeless. We do not trifle with thing we do not know especially the spiritual world. Hence, the idea of facing a ghost terrifies each one of us.
All in the movie had the usual flow of a story; the beginning, climax, and the ending. It was simple yet very straight to the point. It highlighted the right scenes, the right people, the right mood, and the right facial expressions.

Behind a Façade

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We have learned throughout history that for human kind to be in order certain systems and groups must be implemented. Without specific rules and regulations, man tends to abuse his/her surroundings. Hence, certain institutions [such as the government and religion] were created. The government, as we all know, controls the ‘peace’ and ‘order’ of society. It makes implements and removes laws whichever may seem ‘best’ for the country. Meanwhile religion, to my belief, is an invention of man to explain circumstances which, we, man himself cannot comprehend. It has become a need to believe that there is a supreme being that watches and guides over us. The understanding that there is this ‘One’ being, who has created us in his image and likeness, has brought man to act upon acts of kindness rather man is good because ‘God’ is good. In Rec we see the interplay and divide of religion and the government. Behind what these institutions initially portray, we see the hidden aspects [their secrets] and what they are truly capable of.
In the opening of the movie we see Jennifer and Pablo interviewing and showing the lives of fireman. Here we see media, as portrayed by Jennifer and Pablo, playing an active role in society – giving out relevant and substantial information. While the firemen, signifying hope in desperate situations, are your average citizens who go beyond their way to help other people in need. In the middle of the movie these firemen are also accompanied by police officers [protectors of the law], doctors [healers of society], and scientists [innovators of the future]. All these individuals, one way or another, seek the same goal – the betterment of civilization. Each person has given up a portion of their life to the belief of that ambition. But all is lost once turmoil enters into the picture. We then see the action taken by the government once it has hold of the news of threat of disorder [the disease]. The quarantine of the people, even if a great number are innocent, characterizes the reaction of the government to the unexplainable. It symbolizes how it would sacrifice guiltless citizens for the ‘wellbeing’ of the society in order to maintain the image of power and stability. Knowing well of the circumstances they still forego such actions and hide what is truly happening. With that they leave the innocent to fend for themselves. They are then left to kill all these people who seem to one by one into animalistic zombies leaving Jennifer and Pablo as the remaining two survivors. In the end, the discovery of this virus of some sorts all leads up to religion. The experimentation and obsession on the idea of possession has blown out of proportion. This brings one to ponder and question why all the chaos boils down to the one institution that conveys peace, love, and hope. But in end, even with the discovery of everything the only people who may have had the chance to pass on this information eventually die. The whole movie is an irony in itself.
In conclusion the movie focuses on truth. The media, which aims to relay information, is one of our main sources of fact. This movie is a depiction of the fate of journalists, reporters and writes who cross lines to seek the truth; hence, the title Rec. But the truth is eventually silenced by the power and influence of these institutions. With that, horror movies do not just focus on how it elicits fear and horror. It doesn’t only focus on the dread of the unknown, mysterious and gruesome. It not only wishes for these feelings to come out but it uses them to open our eyes to the bigger picture of society.