Watching Horror Films Is A Ticket to the Amusement Park

I’m already looking forward to cooler weather. I always do around this time of the season. My favorite season has always been fall. There’s something exciting about going back to school (I am thinking about my elementary days. Children are just by far more imaginative, open-minded, and shockingly wiser than most adults I came across). The greatest excitement of course was going to our local fairground (As I’m writing this blog post on Aug. 16th, I learned today is National Rollercoaster Day. How seasonal and festive of me to be in tune with society. Normally, I don’t celebrate holidays). I was always looking forward to the haunted house ride, eating caramel apples and cotton candy. I believe I enjoyed the haunted house more than the rollercoaster rides because they left a bigger impression on my childhood memory.

This really got me thinking about why I like haunted houses and why one of my all-time favorite films is House on Haunted Hill (1999), it’s really not all that great in terms of plot but the costumes, props, and humor were well worth the time. Plus, I learned how to play Marilyn’s Manson Sweet Dreams on the guitar. I thought the song really summarized the plot pretty well. And it wasn’t until recently that I read Shirley Jackson’s novel, the author of The Haunting of Hill House (1959) which inspired many spin-offs such as Haunting (1999) that I realized I have a fascination with haunted houses and ghost stories. I often wonder why ghosts are often trapped and dwell in one area when in reality I think there are many living people resembling a walking corpse. Anyway, then you have a haunted spaceship like the Event Horizon (1997), another fun film to watch with a scary concept of a haunted spaceship! And of course, recently I watched The Wind. It was pretty decent, considering the fact it’s the prairie that is haunting and not the actual house in the middle of nowhere. The film most likely will appeal to a female audience more than a male audience because there is not much gore and unnecessary eye candy shots that’s for sure. It has a feminine touch where pretty women are more of a tease than sexualized. Most horror films made in the past are directed by men so it was nice to watch something different for a change where a distressed woman holds a shotgun to protect herself from the “demon prairie” which could have just been her imagination. Some scenes reminded me of a hair product ad, prairie horror style. In the bathing scene, instead of full breasts exposure–the protagonist’s long hair covers her chest. She stares at the camera. Besides her is a shotgun. Yes, the shotgun is very powerful and so is she.

I can always tell when a woman directed a film. The Wind was directed by Emma Tammi. There’s a level of classiness in the way women view their bodies. As a female audience, there’s nothing more irritating to me than to see a naked woman tossed around like a rag doll. But have things changed for the better just because there are more female directors out there? It seems like women still care a whole lot about making a political statement instead of creating a genuine horror story, but I could be wrong. Before watching The Wind, I also watched another horror film with a strong political statement, directed by a female (Iris K. Shim) called Umma, which you can also find on Netflix. Watching The Wind and Umma made me wonder if making a statement is the director’s intention, then sadly, women still have a long way to earn the respect they deserve in the film industry.

So, why did I have all these questions about female directors in horror films? Am I prepping readers for more horror content because I feel like being a nice witch and because the spooky season is only two months away? Am I trying to stir the feminist pot?

Halsdoll playing Dark Souls II
Oh, I wonder why I like Dark Souls II Scholar of the First Sin so much…Heh heh heh.

I hope this post will give my readers what to expect in the upcoming future. I tried to discipline myself surely by creating content, but I rarely find the motivation to blog consistently as I used to since my purpose of blogging has changed. I am no longer stranded in the middle of a city where I need to write SOS messages to the world, but more like I am in the middle of nowhere, the Midwest. That does affect my ability to write. The cowboy environment slows me down and puts me into a sleepy spell. I haven’t been feeling like my usual self. I feel quite dead when I’m not utilizing the creative parts of my brain. Hopefully, cooler weather will fix this writing slump!

Reflecting on Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

Back in middle school, I disliked all sports, despite having a few good friends who joined the school’s volleyball and basketball team. Unlike my friends, they were built to be athletes, standing at 5’7 and 5’10 on the robust side, whereas I stood around 5’2 on the frail side at the time. Far from athletic, I often wonder why my best school friends associated with someone like me who was not at all sporty and who was often found daydreaming and doodling in her notebook during class. Surely, they would gain nothing from copying my homework unless they are asking for a bare minimum passing grade (I was behind in homework due to frequent absences). In fact, they didn’t even need to copy my homework because they had the brains. I suppose I was just someone they can trust. Someone who didn’t judge them when they started blabbering about their school crushes and who enjoyed a good laugh. After all, friendship is about trusting and helping each other out. Similarly, the same can be said about sports. It promotes trust and collaboration which then results in friendship. But what happens if you are the only one selected from your school to compete in the Triwizard Tournament because you stood above everyone at the school? Then it is no longer really about trust, collaboration, and friendly competition. I am surprised a “civil war” hasn’t broken out in Hogwarts. Oh wait, we see that in the 5th book. We definitely see some tension between two best friends in this book. Ron wasn’t so happy to see his best friend Harry chosen by the Goblet of Fire. For one, he didn’t meet the age criteria, and yet, he is talented enough to compete in the tournament. Obviously, jealousy can ruin a friendship, especially for someone who is often overshadowed by his brothers. Who wouldn’t want the glory and recognition for a change?

The book got political fast and I like how sports as a theme is incorporated into the politics in the magical world. It’s a great way to display the intensity behind sports which is supposed to promote healthy competition and build friendships among other magic schools (Hogwarts is not the only magic school) when in fact it masks the ugly hunger for power in the Witchcraft and Wizarding community. What I enjoyed about this book is how the author illustrates sports as an activity that is really no different from politics (perhaps, that’s just my interpretation). Sports like politics are about representing a group. It’s about leading and cooperating. It’s about winning and losing. It’s about coming on top to promote an idea or for a “good cause”. It made me understand why someone like Hagrid would root for Harry Potter because it gives people like him who are underrepresented and shunned by society a chance to shine:

Yeh know what I’d love, Harry? I’d love yeh to win, I really would. It’d show ’em all…yeh don’t have to be pureblood ter do it. Yeh don’t have ter be ashamed of what yeh are. It’d show ’em Dumbledore’s the one who’s got it righ,’ letting anyone in as long as they can do magic.

pg. 456

If I were to read Harry Potter in middle school, I’d be a fan of the franchise myself. However, it’s not really Harry Potter that I like. He’s an all-right protagonist. It’s actually Dumbledore that wins my affection from this series. In fact, he is the only wizard that Voldemort is afraid of. He stands for everything right and just, and honestly, being exposed to many pessimistic entertainment materials in the past couple of years, particularly video games with a nihilist mindset, it’s nice to read something for a change that has a lot of warmth. There is such thing as right and wrong, and there is such thing as genuine friendly cooperation and not this whole concept of eat or be eaten lone wolf crap. Lastly, the world is not all dark and gloomy and everyone is only out there to save themselves. Reflecting back on my middle school days, there’s no mystery why I disliked sports. All I saw was a fierce competition that did more harm than good. Luckily, I was no rival to my friends and perhaps it was a good thing that we didn’t step on each other feet. I mean, I’m surprised Harry Potter and Cedric Diggory are good sports about winning the cup together on top of the fact they both like the same girl, Cho Chang from Ravenclaw!

Anyway, the last few chapters were intense and emotional. I would be a liar if I didn’t shed some tears. I’m so eager to know what will happen next. Stay tuned for my thoughts on the 5th book: Harry Potter and the Order of Phoenix. It’s getting really intense! Will the house-elves learn to know what freedom is? Are they genuinely happy to serve or do they serve out of fear for their masters? And what is freedom? Why is the Death Eaters so evil and why do they hate Mudblood so much? What’s going to happen to Hogwarts if Dumbledore is no longer headmaster? So many questions.

If you are new to the blog, please check out my blog post for the previous three books to follow the discussion. Hope to see you again and thank you for reading!