July 17, 2010

Oh look, a collab!

Oh hai blog denizens,

It's me again! Oh god it has been a long time hasn't it? Don't bother yourself to go get the fish or anything I'm not staying.

So! Me & the extremely delightful, talented & enjoyable Chally of Zero at the Bone got together one day to discuss raptors, racism, youth & gender stuff and this is the result of that fine conversation. Click this link and go to it damn you, you know you want to see it.

Are you surprised? I said hiatus, I never said I wouldn't blog. Snippet:

Chally: Why, Xands! I am so pleased to be posting with you on navigating life with identities such as we both share. Would you care for some toast?

Xands: Why, hallo thar ChaTOOOAST.

So, some opening thoughts on the intersections of race, gender and youth? Also, raptors?

: Excuse my unpolished thoughts here a moment... we tend to think of dinosaurs, in concept, as something old & simple-minded (most of all, le dead) like we think of racism as something of the past and no longer alive; but, racism is very much alive, and like dinosaurs has merely mutated into something we wouldn't readily recognize unless you know what you're looking for. (Birds. I mean birds. Did I just blow your mind.)

...Now I said that just to get my whole raptor obsession out the way, I'd like to actually be serious. Or as serious as I can stand to be!

Chally: That is a cogent point! I am amazed you actually managed to use raptors to back up an argument about racism, but perhaps I shouldn't be. Racism tends to be viewed as something simple and easily identifiable. That is, it's seen as a matter of the big and the obvious. But, of course, even the big and the obvious, loud insults, beatings, murders, get explained away as not really being about racism. And, with that being the case, things like who gets to be in the room, the subtle underlying discomfort, the way conversations run, can hardly get a look in. Racism gets framed as being about certain less-common things so that white people get to not get down to the bits of grit. It's like finding the dinosaur skeleton and retrospectively not rearranging the bones in the right way, which undermines the integrity of the full construction. Not only that, but it's white folks who get to sit in judgement as to where the bones go or whether they fit at all. I can say I experienced something as racist, but it's apparently still okay to question and hem and haw and doubt it. Or doubt whether it was racist enough, or as racist as some other thing, or meriting whatever response I gave. That very attitude of supposed impartiality, an ability to sit in judgement, is informed by privilege. Not that I think impartiality is that important - it's the emotions, the subjective perspective of the victim, that matters to me in experiences of racism - it's a case of it being both impossible and informed by some pretty messed-up thinking. All in all, it's an insistence on framing dinosaurs as dinosaurs - a thing of the past, something to be studied and get wide-eyed at - that means dinosaurs don't get examined as something relevant to our lives in this day and age. And where dinosaurs are relevant, they're only relevant in small, policed ways, on the terms of the powers that be, the right-thinking (curiously always the privileged!) people. I think we should drop the English majors and become palaentologists, don't you? By which I mean... I have not really sustained this metaphor. Anyway, moving right along to how that whole WE WILL DECIDE HOW YOU OUGHT TO FEEL thing ties in with gender and youthfulness. I think these are also areas where the idea comes through of the Ultimate Impartial Arbiter who also TOTALLY COINCIDENTALLY happens to be the privileged party. You know, the silly woman who doesn't know what she's talking about and needs even her work towards not being harmed approved of and commented on by a man. The young person who needs to have the world explained to them because they sure haven't been in it. And these experiences, when combined, bounce off each other and amplify... like the cry of a raptor coming to EAT YOUR BRAIN! (This raptor thing is totally working for me.) I suppose we'll get to our personal experiences pretty shortly, but until then, what do you think?

Xands: I love that you love raptors. And the whole dinosaur thing. Again like racism (or really any -ism or phobia), there's so many branches that people just think are the same and never recognize! So! I dunno Chally, I mean, I guess I do need some nice person to hold my hand and explain the big wide world to me like I'm forever a child or something. I mean, clearly. I love the condescending tone they take on... there's a certain smile that I completely hate, and I see it in my head and it smothers me and I just totally go off on people--wait I'm sorry, I'm acting all overly aggressive again. And don't even get me started on having your lived experiences questioned. Or, why don't you further explain how this is _____ because I, the privileged party, am not seeing it. And if I don't see it it doesn't exist. Right.

Chally: Oh, that smile. I know that smile. It is one of the most hateful expressions ever devised. And I think it's a perfect representation of how privilege sees itself and how it treats those who are not privileged: it sees itself as beneficient but it is really full of - and somewhere the person wearing the smile knows this - it is really full of harm.

Yes, even on explaining, however thoroughly, there's always room for doubt, always a hole that can be picked, isn't there? If you're not willing to accept something, you're never going to see it. Moreover, if you're coming from a particular history and someone else is coming from there's, you're not always going to be able to understand, and you can certainly never experience something in quite the same way. It is always the privileged party that gets the benefit of the doubt in these situations. Which I guess reflects not only their power, but the fact that it's expected that their experiences are universal. Because everyone else is expected to learn the culture, the experiences, the ideas and perspectives of dominant groups. You know what I mean?

Anyway, look at me, centreing dominant groups when we are meant to be talking about intersections of race, youth and gender! I think it's not just a case of the tangle of marginalisations in and of itself, it's about how we're, as you'd put it, unicorns, impossible creatures! Young, non-white women are pretty invisible and the interaction of those identities doesn't really get explored. Even now I'm struggling a bit to lay those intersections out in concrete ways even though they are my experiences. Because I don't get them reflected back at me, I'm not really presented with avenues for thinking about how this all works, I just go and live my life, really. Narratives like mine aren't dominant ones by a long shot. I would rather be a raptor than a unicorn!

This combination of identities - and, really, any marginalised identity - places a sheen of illegitimacy over us; our thoughts and arguments and experiences, particularly as regards those identities, don't get taken very seriously by some.

Xands: I totally agree--and I'm going to try to tone down my radical surfer language I hope. I do that to be taken seriously--oh wait, no, I can't be taken seriously because apparently being under 25 or whatever arbitrary age (I never figure out the age I start to actually matter, but I know what ages I DON'T), I don't have enough ~life experience~ to be taken seriously when I talk about, wait a minute, women's issues and racism! And when I talk about them TOGETHER damn people's minds get blown.

Chally: Ugh, like, I know, right? (Ahem.) I remember when I was in high school, my mother and I had a meeting with a member of staff. I nodded in response to something my mother said and the staff member started telling me how rude I was. So, she didn't like something (perfectly polite) my mother said, and directed her frustration at me, because there's that mechanism there: because there is that image of the rude young person, she got to manipulate that to take out her anger on someone in her power. Because there are those dominant memes about the way young people can be, it's held as perfectly legitimate to treat us in accordant bad ways, and we've not the voices to speak up because even in speaking up we're perpetuating the idea that we speak out of place! I suppose you probably get this a lot with the angry black woman stereotype? Ways of speaking, ways of presenting, are held up as some kind of indicator as to whether the ideas themselves are legitimate, or how worthy the person presenting them is of being heard. Which is pretty disgusting, and something we're all familiar with: if only you hadn't been so angry, if only you'd watched your tone, you would have been heard. Except, the thing is, even when you present an objection to being marginalised very politely, people still react badly, still react defensively, still react to what they think they're hearing or want to hear rather than what's being said. It doesn't make a difference. Not to mention that it takes a really bizarre set of priorities to value someone's "objectively"-evaluated tone over their pain, their experience, what they're trying to get across. I and lots of other non-white people have modified our ways of speaking - with me, my accent, my word choice and so forth - in order to fit in better with what a white-dominant society expects, be more acceptable, which is, you know, pretty harmful. I used to do my drama exams in an English accent so that the English examiners would think better of me, I kid you not. Anyway, I won't get into all that in detail.

Yeah, on life experience. If you have lived as a marginalised person, you've got enough life experience to know what you're talking about. I don't understand how this is up for debate. I mean, at whatever age you are, people will tell you that your experiences of marginalisation in whichever areas are not legitimate, but with age in particular there's that amplifying effect I was talking about. There's a trump card, 'you're too young to know!' To know what, one's one life? Of course one knows what one's talking about, how absolutely ridiculous to say otherwise. Sure, the older one gets, the more experience one has and perspectives will change. But that's true at any age. And one's particular age doesn't necessarily correspond to a particular level of experience; it's not as though we each get an allotment of marginalisation fed out to us at a certain rate. (We don't, do we?!) And also people will say things like, 'oh, racism and misogyny were so much worse before you were born, don't complain because you have it easy'. Which may be relatively true, and certainly is in some respects. But that doesn't take away the legitimacy of your experience and mine, here and now, and it's not as though the struggle's over by any stretch of the imagination.

Could you expand on what happens when you talk about that combination of identities together, for I am curious?

Xands: Aver... I suppose not much happens. Besides getting ignored. You actually touched on a lot that happens--such as the excellent, "Oh but racism was so much worse in the old days!" which I get from folks my age & older people, none of them seem to realize that's totally besides the point. And of course, I'm always too young to know what I'm talking about. I'm imagining once I finally hit 20-something it'll just be trendy for me to talk about intersectionality or something.

Re: your story up top. That's disturbing and kind of baffling. But I don't pretend like anything discriminatory isn't inherently baffling. I love that she found you easier to lash out at because of your age (and status as a student of course). I also love tone arguments. Because, you know, oppressed groups are somehow inherently ~savage~ and should just calm down! No one seems to think of where that anger comes from or anything. Hmm, it's interesting that you mentioned what I just like to call "masking" (I don't know if that's an official term) since while I don't necessary pore over my word choice or anything I often mask my voice in public so as not to be treated as uneducated (because, you know, I'm black AND Southern oh ho ho don't get me started). I mean, it doesn't HELP but I do it.

Speaking of the angry black lady stereotype, I actually just get hit with the "angry minority" general stereotype because no one seems to realize I'm black. Over the internet anyway. And in real life I'm more often painted as a safe negro because I just repress my anger until I'm drinking the Revengewater. Oh, internalization, you got me good. It's funny you should even mention that because I can only think of a few times in my life I've ever been explicitly labeled "angry black woman" and at least some of those were affectionate, the others....white folks not liking to be threatened. Or hell other black folks. Or other people of color. Sometimes, folks that look like you or even like you aren't necessarily on your side.

June 25, 2010

Sub. Ego.

(Nope, you aren't seeing double! This managed to backdate itself somehow; so in case you missed it, I'm done, hate everyone, etc etc)

Oh xands, that's the wrong word! You mean alter! Or perhaps superego?

No, no I don't. Mm, Latin, mark of learned men. Well, bad Latin.

So I thought long & hard about it, but I've decided rather than throwing out piss poor quality emo-diary'ing and scattered brainless entries, I should probably go on & take my own advice (I'm usually right) and quit lying to myself that I even enjoy doing this anymore. No, not even for the kids. I feel like, instead of disappointing people around me, maybe it's finally my turn to be discouraged & let down, and mostly burnt out. So, let's call this a really, really, really long indeterminate hiatus. That's about it.

June 24, 2010

But what I really wanted was to chase sleep

Time to movie blog! Nostalgically.

That subject line is going to be really horrible in a few minutes.

Anyway, my birthday is in August. For some reason, around June-July it's time to start pestering me about what I want. And like all good children usually what I want is "nothing" aside from my strange obsession with creating glitter muffins--muffins made of glitter. I'm this close to discovering the secret.

This year I'm thinking of asking about a little independent movie called Chasing Sleep. Chasing Sleep is what happens when you wake up only to discover your pregnant wife isn't in your bed, or anywhere for that matter; thanks to such plot elements like unreliable narrator, ghost people (that girl on the floor? She isn't there anymore Jim), oversized babies in bathtubs, and stuff goin' bump in the night slowly driving the protagonist out his mind, you have an atmospheric, dreamy, kind of disturbing story about one sleep deprived professor's journey into madness basically. Other stuff happens too  but you don't care about that.

See, that subject line just got really bad didn't it?

If you've seen films of this type before, it's not really as ~mysterious~ as people will tell you; it's not a bad movie at the same time though, not derivative. Pleasantly uncomfortable to sit through and worth a few rewatches. You know, I blame a little French film called The 400 Blows for getting me into film studies in the first place, but I think Chasing Sleep effectively sealed my love for not only more indie fare (at least...Stateside stuff) but also sparked my obsession with the theme of dreams... good and bad. And sleep. Dreams, to me at least, are fairly mundane at this point since I always seem privy to the weirdest shit from my mind--like just last night I dreamed Nightwing (yes, the comic character) was trying to solicit me to buy him cigarettes but I had to make sure it was okay with my mom.

Oh...kay. There's something sinister about the things your brain tries to tell you, the stories it tries to craft. Why? A few common tropes in literature, art, & film/tv still involve dreams. So I guess they're mundane to all of us at this point! In one way or another. Sleeping is harder to pin. It's a boring action whether you dream or not isn't it? It's just the prelude to all those whacky dream/hallucination sequences. Never mind that it's an integral part to the human experience. Chasing Sleep is but one example of a plot theme--people not getting ENOUGH sleep and things go to hell not too long afterwards. Hell, there was a Law & Order episode where apparently a sleep deprived girl killed another girl. Not so uninteresting anymore.

So I'm filing my request. And maybe Ravenous. Oh gracious, Ravenous.

June 23, 2010

Guest post times

We're on a roll now blog people. Time for a relevant guest post from my brother Danz. "Guest post" means if you have a problem with content, take it up with him.

Allow me to preface this by saying that I am of the opinion that wars cannot be won. It’s not soccer or baseball or bowling or any other event where an objective scheme is implemented in order to measure the abilities, more or less, of those competing. It’s not like it used to be, anyway. Numbers can’t win. Over four thousand American military personnel have died since we started bombing Baghdad in 2003, not to mention over 120,000 civilian casualties, approximately 24,000 insurgent casualties, countless wounded, and even further countless affected by the emotional scarring of war, something not exclusive to our own troops, but also extends to Iraqi and Afghani citizens, especially the children.

And it goes on.

I was in a restaurant today. On CNN it was announced that General Stanley McChrystal had been relieved of his duty of commanding the war in Afghanistan over comments he and his aides made in (over a long period of time, not just limited to) an article in Rolling Stone magazine, which is where I and, I’m sure, plenty of others go for all of the hard hitting political commentary and information that one would expect from a magazine that has lost a goodly amount of cultural relevance. The comments, on the whole, gave clear insight to what the General and the people he surrounds himself with think: we have no respect for our president or his office and we will gladly give them the middle finger within the safety of a magazine article.

McChrystal and his people have issues with authority, though, ironically, they are the authority. What they all have a problem with specifically, however, is civilian authority. Politics. People who have to make decisions from behind desks, who may have never been to a warzone. This is the crux of the matter, things that are said publicly that you must know many others are thinking. You cannot, however, attempt to undermine the authority of the president you swore an oath to protect and the Commander-in-Chief who will outrank you no matter what. It’s not the first time McChrystal did this either. Before, he got a stern “shut the fuck up” talking-to. Now he’s been sacked.

I will end this brief message with an anecdote. While at this restaurant, the people at the bar behind me were arguing about this very issue. One man was extolling McChrystal as one of the most beloved Generals in American history, who was doing a great job, etc. People agreed, but a woman next to him boiled it down to bad-mouthing one’s boss. Anyone in any field could be fired for saying equivalent things about their employer, and even more-so someone who outranks you militarily. The man went on, cutting her off, ignoring her. He then suggested that there should be a military coup to oust the president and any semblance of government. In these United States. It shouldn’t have come to me as a surprise, but it did. It pissed me off as well. What the man is suggesting is treasonous in only saying, in reality, but it isn’t hard to imagine that there aren’t plenty of likeminded people out there preparing to do just that. There is law and order for a reason. There is ultimate civilian command of the military for a reason. The people with the guns should not be in charge, plain and simple. I know there are those who would disagree, and that’s fine. No one can convince you otherwise, that’s fine. Just understand that you may think that government is inherently corrupt and incompetent, but it is surely the lesser of the two evils.

June 21, 2010

And then I realized, they're going to make me pay forever.

"He would come back some day; they couldn't make him pay forever." - F. Scott Fitzgerald, Babylon Revisited (here)

A literary quote! Time to put the "writer" back in my name! 

Well, well, well blog people. Here we are. I announced over my Tumblr that I was taking a break from my two favorite social networking media enablers but let's face it, they're not the ones who will care are they? It's my loving blog audience isn't it. You know, the ones I neglect with mediocre entries every few weeks/months. The ones that take my angst and most of my sorrow. Truly, truly.

I missed talking to myself. Sooo, you know, let me talk about my family for a minute. I fear I give an exaggerated view of my family dynamics sometimes--as far as extended family goes anyway. I mean, it's true, I dislike most of them. It's not an active thing though. I don't run over & set fire to the bushes right outside their houses and steal their ducks. It's only when they fail to understand that I don't like them that it gets... dark. When they make me do things.

You know, truth be told I've never felt very welcome around most of my family anyway. I've alternately been told I'm too full of myself or too sensitive & shy. My parents blame it on lack of socialization with them, like I'm some teacup terrier that will snap out & bite at anyone I don't recognize, and maybe it's true. I'm sure it'd help if I hadn't suffered abuse at the hands of family members, I'm weird like that. But again, it's not active.

Well anyway, I bring this up because my dad told me to call my brother--on my mom's side--and be sure to wish him a belated happy father's day. Specifically, he told me not to let him down in this regard. I told him (or really, warned him) that if he eschewed expectations he'd never be let down. The veracity of this can be up for debate another time, but the gist was I pretty much lied and in a few coded words TOLD HIM I LIED.

Me & my mom's son have an...interesting relationship. He's 18 years older than me give or take a month. Has his own family. Seems to square me & my mom away like we don't exist. Mom tried her best to build up a relationship between us... for us, but really I never felt connected to him. At all. And then I just stopped trying to break my own neck to relate to someone who doesn't relate to me. I remember when I was in my deep cutting period when he actually offered to talk to me. That was decidedly unexpected and, in hind sight, kind of hilarious since I don't know what he would have said to me. What would he have said to me that I would have actually wanted to hear? What was he going to do, hold my hand over the phone? I didn't even know his number. He never reached out to me either. Ha. Ha. Ha.

But then again, everyone thought they could "help" me back then. But regarding us, that was the end of that. I don't understand this forced sibling relationship. He & I exist as our own people. We didn't do any creepy imprinting at birth; he held me as a baby and teased me as a child, his tough brotherly love was actually distant and kind of unwelcoming. And of course people wonder why I'm like... THIS today! Stupid.

Why does this happen. It'd be so simple if we would all just stop lying to ourselves and leave each other alone! But they have to force it. Have to force some bond that isn't even there! And somehow it becomes my fault for being a hostile, moody son of a bitch that has a problem and is probably going to join some cult when I get older (this has been said to me before no shit). Friends, family--all take up the same amount of mass & volume, I can let go of friends, I can let go of family because despite of my fondness for hyperbole, in the end I'd just prefer the truth!

Goddamnit! I looked at my cell phone a little bit, flipped it open & touched the well-worn smooth keyboard pad with it's miniature numbers and letters. And realized I STILL don't know his number! I don't know any of their numbers... get their children mixed up, forget details of their lives, don't hide my contempt and allegedly they love me anyway. I've been told I should feel touched but I feel kind of despairing, actually. And then I realized... is that it then? They're going to make me pay forever, just for that!

June 16, 2010

Well that's good to know

I know some of you probably wished & prayed to your respective deities (if you have any) for it, but rather anticlimactically I am NOT dead. Again. I know, getting your hopes up.

Well, I'm not even here for a proper "I'm alive" post, just to tell you some interesting stuff you might be interested in.

First, this Saturday (June 19) look forward to reading and/or participating in the Helen Keller Mythbusting blogswarm day. More information here.   Courtesy of FWD. I thought I was going to get to actually participate but that's looking less & less likely but I will most definitely link to posts. Maybe YOU should participate in my stead eh?

The second most important thing I can think of right now, is the World Cup. The third is I'm apparently participating in a future joint effort with my co-hort Chally of Zero At The Bone & other assorted blogosphere fame. I don't rightly know what we're talking about, why I'm involved, where it's going to be or generally anything useful but here's a corresponding Tumblr post.

June 12, 2010


Hello my peoples,

It's time to put the "TV" addict back in my name and talk about TV! ...Socially justicey TV! Kind of. Well, now that I've tricked you:

I've been told this was my fault so let's see. I come in & decide to terrorize chat with my mom, and she's watching one of those damn bridal shows. This isn't the expensive one, it's the one with the dude. I hate all of them and they come on the same channel, so I don't know for sure. There's a plus sized black lady and she comes out in her chosen wedding & reception dresses and they're all beautiful (I'm also partial to purple, sue me). Noticeably, her wedding dress is strapless. Oh no, big people wearing strapless clothes! Cover up for God's sake!

Mom remarks that she couldn't wear a dress like that because of stretchmarks. My mind immediately goes into Socratic method mode and I ask, well why not? Nothing's wrong with stretchmarks, if you're over a certain (maybe arbitrary age) there's a really good chance you HAVE stretchmarks since people's bodies tend not to stay the same (especially if you, you know, have kids). I know they're unsightly and they do make products to erase their visibility but I think most folks on the street will tell you stretchmarks aren't that big of a deal. As the comedian Katt Williams tells us, stretchmarks mean you were either big & you got little or you were little & you got big. Over simplification, sure, but yeah.

I also brought up the fact that it's "common knowledge" that only big people have stretchmarks which, again, isn't true. And if the lady in the wedding dress really didn't want her dreaded stretchmarks to show, she might have used some foundation or even a tinted lotion, or some of the products that erase the visibility of stretchmarks.

I said all of this at various times and with way less purple prose but all the feedback I got was, "hm". And that, kids, is why I blog, among other problems I have.

The moral of the story is, however, I hate body shaming. Bringing it back to wedding shows, at least the ones I end up watching seem accepting of all body types & finding dresses to flatter the women & encourage them, but that's not to say some of the brides-to-be don't have their share of body image issues, because you know, you have to be PERFECT on your wedding day. I hate the fact that there's probably a woman right now contemplating something that will make her feel less happy just because she may have flabby arms or not the perfect physique. I mentioned to my mom the weirdest thing about her commentary is that she & I both frequently wear sleeveless tops despite both of us being plus sized & neither of us seem to care. Hell, I don't even shave & I go in all manners of "normal" clothes for "normal" girls I guess. She mentioned that it was different because we just go out casually; on your wedding day, it's different.

Which brings me to another point about how I dislike this bride culture that says fuck all the other days of the year, there's this one day where you have to be a PERFECT GODDESS. And there's so much pressure! I thought, okay here's a beautiful plus sized black women clearly happy with her day & someone's going to shame her about it, whaaat.

Sigh. Well, I've worked that frustration out, thank goodness.

June 6, 2010

I went to see Splice.

So over the week I hyped up (a little) the fact that I was going to see the movie Splice. The real reason being I just wanted to get out of the house for a few hours, but also it's been a while since I've been bothered with a mainstream Hollywood horror film (I'd given up).

I did a little minimal research on the film just to brace myself, then off to the theatre on opening day Friday the 4th. I didn't do a review or anything on that particular day because I was too busy screaming.

I'm not going to spoil the movie for you, don't worry. But it means just for that I'll have to be extra vague with you. After a fiasco with the projector the movie started 10 minutes late, but oh well. The credits start rolling. I was all ready to give some pseudo-analysis of this movie until two words flashed on the screen.


And my mind just shut down completely and I started mentally screaming, "NOOOOOO!"

Let me tell you something about Dark Castle films. The studio got its start making darker & edgier remakes of William Castle films like Thirteen Ghosts, House on Haunted Hill (and the sequel) but also turned out original material like Ghost Ship and 2009's Orphan which I also saw, and no don't get me started on that one either. My problem with Dark Castle is not that they make bad movies per se--a few of them are more guilty pleasure status and then a few of them are truly great--but somehow with regards to their horror fare, once you've seen one you've gotten the gist of them all. That may be here nor there for you, but in any case in many ways Splice wasn't the exception to that.

If you've not seen the trailers, the run down of Splice is this: hipster science couple Elsa and Clive, tired of having to do science for The Man (or in this case, The Lady), defy common sense, ethics, Geneva Conventions, and most domestic laws and launch a secret project to combine human DNA with animal DNA to create a new organism. The first time they tried this they ended up making male and female... slug like things dubbed Fred & Ginger (haaah) but the company they work for decides they'd rather synthesize some protein instead because they're afraid of dubious moral and ethical concerns. Clearly Elsa & Clive are not and  combine the DNA of a human woman with their current project and bring a strange new life form to term, whom they call Dren.

Dren is an exciting experiment, kind of like a baby, and after a hesitant start, the couple begins to raise the... creature like a little girl-child. Supposedly she's going to have a shortened life span anyway so they get to watch her whole life cycle. But because, you know, this isn't legal, they have to keep moving Dren around and finally move her out into the country side where things quickly go to hell.

I can't spoil this movie because if you read a quick summary or actually watch it in a theatre (or bootleg it, I don't judge), everything comes rushing at you a mile a minute and you will repeatedly scream, "WHY DID NO ONE SEE THAT COMING?!" It was that kind of movie. It had the characteristics of most latter-day Dark Castle horror films: freaky bad science gone wronger, woman with a troubled past, irritating characters, shady, affably evil authority figure, and creature fare. And, really, in this sci-fi horror setting, those elements make sense and work! ...or, actually WOULD have worked.

This is a pretty decent movie that had the potential to be even better, but I'm not sure where this movie went wrong, or I can't really pinpoint it. The other thing about Dark Castle films is when/if they start going downhill, they go down FAST and they take you with them. Maybe director Vincenzo Natali wanted to blow our minds so much for the second half of the film he just slammed in as much squick as the studio would allow. Maybe there was some serious executive meddling although I can't fathom why. This movie just tried to do too much. There was an underlying message about science that was kind of ambiguous, fine I can handle that. Throughout the whole movie you'll hear characters talking about their ethical and moral obligations shortly before saying "fuck that" and carrying on. There was even some stuff about beauty standards for... like 5 minutes in a scene. What exactly WAS Elsa's family history that Clive thought was so important to throw that out there but is only hinted at? And what the hell did it have to do with anything? And the most important question you'll ask during two surely infamous scenes: DID. YOU. REALLY. JUST?

So much going on, not enough time. Cynically I started to wonder if these were just big grabby sequel hooks because horribly inquisitive people like me will run back to the theatre in search of ANSWERS. And if so, they totally got me. My ass will be in that seat for Splice 2 Electric Boogaloo because my brain is broken and I need to piece it together.

So I'm going to see Toy Story June 18th and it'll probably be in the same theatre and I'll probably be screaming at flash backs.