There will be mild spoilers below for assorted horror movies of the last 40 or so years—namely, revealing the names of the “final girls” of said movies. Read on at your own risk.
Until I was 13 or 14 years old, I hated horror movies. I had always hated Halloween because there were nothing but men in scary masks hacking up teenagers on TV (and because I hated seeing teenagers in those same masks running around the neighborhood) and I didn’t like being scared. Life can be awful enough; why subject yourself to extra torture?
But it was the middle of a weekend day, probably on AMC’s Halloween marathon, when my mom (who also largely disliked scary movies) and I ended up engrossed in 1998’s teen slasher, Urban Legend. That moment will live in infamy in my life, as that was the movie that spawned my concurrent love affairs with late 90s teen slasher flicks, Joshua Jackson, and final girls.
This past summer, my friend Brittney and I went to Montauk for a long weekend. We spent one of our vacation days in East Hampton, where we made an appointment to get our nails done and have a fancy lady day. We had an hour or two to kill until our appointments, so we (of course) went to Book Hampton, where, after much discussion of how we had somehow missed out on reading it, we both bought a copy of Paula Hawkins’s The Girl on the Train.
We finished that book over the course of that day, spending our time getting our nails painted wishing we could be reading and then returning to Montauk to sit outside at a cafe in complete silence and just read. For me, personally, the last 40-50 pages got a bit too melodramatic, but by then, I was hooked, and I needed to know how it ended. Continue reading Slip beneath the surface with INTO THE WATER
This is part of my 2017 reading challenge, Cloak and Dagger, for which I’ve pledged to read all the spy books I have stacked up in my room. Read along!
I was incredibly excited to dive into Queen of Spies, because I really wanted to learn about Daphne Park. To be honest, I knew nothing about her heading into this book; I really just wanted to read a book about a woman who also just so happened to be a spy. But perhaps a year or so ago, I had a friend who worked at the company that would be publishing Paddy Hayes’s book on Park and I got her to sneak me a galley.
I only just now got around to reading it, and I’ll admit that this one was a bit of a let-down. This book is dense, and packed with details that will surely fascinate those who are already fairly familiar with SIS history (or British history, at least) and the ins and outs of international relations during the Cold War. The subtitle of Queen of Spies is “Daphne Park, Britain’s Cold War Spy Queen,” and though the book opens on an harrowing moment of Park in Moscow in the 50s and then dives into her childhood in Africa, Daphne Park is sometimes very difficult to find on the pages of a book supposedly about her.
At some point in high school, I managed to stumble upon The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (the movie, not the graphic novels). And thus began my love affair with Sean Connery — and also the Victorian Era. Or, at least, the gritty, semi-steampunk version of it presented by my favorite godawful film.
In addition to delving deep into the filmographies of everyone involved in this movie and losing myself down the Mina/Dorian rabbit hole on fanfiction.net, I made it my mission in life to covertly let everyone know how knowledgable I’d become about the era (and what a cool nerd I was, desperate to discuss LXG). I believe I read The Picture of Dorian Gray first, mostly because I knew the name Oscar Wilde pretty well and I was 112% in love with Stuart Townsend. And then I found Dracula. Continue reading #Classics2016: DRACULA
Months ago, I stumbled upon Grady Hendrix’s My Best Friend’s Exorcism, and I knew I had to make it my own. It’s the story of Abby and Gretchen, best friends since an ill-fated, ET-themed fourth-grade birthday party brought them together, who seem to be successfully transitioning into teenager-dom. That is, things are grand until one night the girls, joined by two other friends, decide to drop acid at a sleepover and Gretchen runs off into the woods, missing in the darkness for hours on end.
When Abby finally stumbles upon her best friend after searching for her all night, Gretchen is naked and terrified. She seems to have been attacked, but she won’t elaborate on what happened in the woods. And then things get weird.
When I saw the movie adaptation of Thomas Hardy’s first novel, I had to work very hard not to laugh out loud. Maybe I’m just an awful human being, but the tragedy of the story (especially some of the crazy twists leading up to the book’s climax) basically always slipped into melodrama, making me doubt even an incredible actress like Carey Mulligan (who I am a little obsessed with).
But that was about what I’d expected, having read Jude the Obscure once and Tess of the d’Urbervilles one and a half times (once a few years ago, and the half-read a few years before that, while desperately trying to finish a presentation on the book and the Romantic era in literature. Pretty sure none of us read the book and also pretty sure we got an A. Sorry, Mrs. Briody!).
THIS REVIEW IS NOT SPOILER-FREE. READ AT YOUR OWN RISK.
Fresh off his first adventureand having already completely forgotten about his last Bond Girl (R.I.P. Vesper — may your protuberances never be forgotten), James Bond now finds himself in America (a place he basically seems to hate) to help his best man-friend Felix and the CIA track down a man known only as Mr. Big. The mysterious Mr. Big is rumored to be a “voodoo king,” Baron Samedi himself, and it is with this aura that he is able to keep total control over his massive criminal empire, stretching from Harlem all the way down to the Caribbean islands, into Bond’s beloved Jamaica. He’s been smuggling old pirate gold into America, but no one can figure out how–and no one can figure out how to stop the flow of money.
Mr. Big also keeps company with a beautiful woman known as Solitaire, who has spent her life reading fortunes, shunning the advances of men, and doing whatever she had to in order to survive. Mr. Big fully believes in her ability to “read” people, and often uses her as a human lie detector as he interrogates his enemies. But from the moment Solitaire and Bond lock eyes, it becomes clear that they must immediately shag.
So Bond gallivants off to Florida, and then to Jamaica, in search of answers about Mr. Big and his coin-smuggling scheme, and he is only a little bit annoyed when Solitaire begs to come with him. By the end of it all, James Bond will have faced guns, sharks, and more black men than he thought existed in America or abroad. And when someone mentions that their policy with Mr. Big is “live and let live,” Bond will make sure to remind everyone of his favorite adage: “In my job, when I come up against a man like this one, I have another motto. It’s ‘live and let die'” (33).