Really awesomely creepy short horror film. Warning for body horror, disturbing imagery, and some NSFW scenes, but awesome if you’re into Mythos-inspired surrealist horror.
ContraPoints on incels and… holy shit. This video, man. Like, a lot of people have done a lot of takes on the incel movement (and, in some senses more broadly, the desperation of modern dating in general), but Wynn brings something to the table I’ve never seen done in this before, i.e. parallels with some of her own experiences as a trans woman, and just… yeah. Damn. I was in tears. Watch this. Now.
[Although, that being said, content warning for misogyny, transphobia, self-harm, and suicidal ideation. So, like. Watch it when you feel you’re ready to deal with that. Because it’s not easy viewing but… yeah. It is worth it.]
So when I was a kid, I remember really, really wanting a particular videogame, solely based on the box art. Dad, the big meanie,1 would not buy it for me.
Fast forward twenty-something years. For whatever reason, I was suddenly reminded once again of this forgotten game, and swore to track it down. Only problem? I barely remembered anything about it. I remembered I thought the art was cool, and that it was kind of that Beetlejuice-cartoonish horror-but-comedy sort of style. I remembered the title maybe had a number in it. I went scouring places like GOG looking for my Lost Game, but to no avail. People on Twitter try and help, to no avail. Eventually, I give up.
Fast forward twelve days (according to the Mastodon timestamps), where I’m watching old hbomberguy vids to procrastinate writing the final scene of the dragon book. I come across this video, talking about Dragon’s Lair—a game many people had tried to helpfully suggest as being my Forgotten Game—when…
… when he just…
… he just. Says the name. Of the game I’ve been looking for. For twenty years. And I know, just from the name, Brain Dead 13, that it’s The Game. The Forgotten Game. And so I eugooglize it, and there’s a pic of the goddamn box and… and I remember it. It’s The Forgotten Game! It’s here! It’s real! It even has a freakin’ iOS port that I can’t even freakin’ buy because it’s not available in the Australian iOS store because auuurrrghhh!
But you know what I can do? Oh, I can find a Let’s Play of this terrible, forgotten old game on YouTube. Because the internet never forgets, no matter how obscure the thing.
So here it is. The game my teenage self obsessed over. Hell, I even remember now I had a character at the time called Fritz, because I thought it was a cool name, although if I recall correctly he was more a The Maxx rip-off than related to his namesake in Brain Dead 13. But… whatever. I found it! I found the game!
Also, unnerving in retrospect: how similar the protagonist of this game is to what my husband looked like when I first met him (long red hair, worked with computers) which… is probably something best not thought about too much, y’know?
- This is a lie. My Dad’s great. Hi Dad, if you’re reading. [↩]
The weather in New York. Sounds about right.
Cthulhu, 2007. [Content warning for one female-on-male rape scene.]
Hey you. Yes, you. I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking, “Man. I really need more modern queer adaptations of H. P. Lovecraft’s seminal work The Shadow Over Innsmouth in my life!”
Well, my friend! Do I have a film for you! All of it, in fact, uploaded by the director to YouTube so you can watch the whole thing for free!
I found out about this film care of hbomberguy’s (you know, he’s the “Sherlock Sucks and Here’s Why” dude) video essay on how to adapt H.P. Lovecraft for modern audiences. That essay is also 100% worth watching, possibly before seeing Cthulhu itself, because it sets up expectations for the film (short version: it’s not a big loud gory horror, or a perfect film, and if you go in expecting either you’ll hate it).
hbomberguy’s essay tries to explore the question of just why so many people from marginalized identities seem to be fans of Lovecraft’s work, particularly when the man himself was such a viciously bigoted dipshit. As both a) a huge Lovecraft/mythos fan, and b) a queer woman and a member of an ethnic group Lovecraft… wasn’t particularly into (i.e. the slavs), the essay really resonated with me. Hence wanting to check out the film that inspired it. As it turned out, I… ended up really enjoying Cthulhu. It’s by no means a perfect film, but it’s a queer Lovecraftian psychological horror/mystery which is, like, 100% My Bag Baby. I know that it’s also 100% the bags of a bunch of you people (I see you, friends), hence… if you haven’t seen this film, definitely put aside two and a half hours (for the film and the essay) to check it out.
Jan Strømnes, warden of the Norwegian maximum security Halden Prison, tours Attica.
This is a heartbreaking documentary in a lot of ways, but I think the real gut-punch comes at around the 35-minute mark, where Strømnes asks a group of Attica inmates to design an “ideal prison”, then present their ideas to both himself and their own wardens. The prison that the inmates describe seems not that dissimilar to Halden—it has the physical structure of a campus, it has trees and couches and doors, it has a focus on modern vocational and tertiary training—but the most soul-crushing shots are those showing the wardens’ responses to the inmates’ earnest and carefully constructed presentation. The American wardens sit back in their chairs, arms crossed and tight-lipped, while Strømnes leans forward, attentive, and takes notes. You get the impression he earnestly wants to learn from these men, incarcerated half a world away.
This is an entirely different attitude towards incarceration. It’s one that doesn’t focus on profit, or cost-benefit, or punishment, but on humanity, and the reaffirmation of that. It’s one that seems to recognize that the measure of civilization in a society is not how it treats those dearest to it, but those most reviled. And it’s one that holds onto hope; for redemption, or even just making someone’s life a tiny bit better, for a tiny bit of time, without any complex apologetics as to whether they’ve “earned it”. Because everyone has “earned it”, by virtue of being human.
And that’s admirable, I think. That humanity. I don’t think it’s always easy, but I think it’s always something worth striving for.