Monthly Archives: July 2015

I’m not entirely sure if I liked the movie Creep (2014). I didn’t hate it, at least, that’s a definite. That probably doesn’t sound very reassuring, however.

Hmmm. I’d trust him.

This found footage horror movie has an impressive Rotten Tomatoes score for the genre—92%! This is also impressive when one realizes that this film has a whopping two actors in it, plus a voice over the phone, if you want to count that. So here we have a found footage movie with two actors and tons of dialogue. Horror movies usually don’t go over well with critics, so what’s the deal here?

Well, this movie is probably the least “horrific” found footage that I’ve watched. The whole thing is more similar to the movie Exhibit A—both are arguably not horror movies, though I personally say that they are—but Exhibit A only gets a 52% on Rotten Tomatoes, a pretty big difference. I would say that Creep is more of a horror movie than Exhibit A, even. Why is one more successful than the other, then? They’re both unsettling movies told with handhelds and limited actors. They’re both about disturbed individuals.

I think it ends up coming down to the endings here. The biggest strong-point of the film Creep—so big that many probably forgive it of its weakness because of this—is its ending. The ending contains an incredible scene, both horrific and hilarious. The whole movie is a black comedy, but funny in a bleak, morbid, awkward way. All of this awkward humor and nervous laughter adds up to a great conclusion that sort of turns everything on its head and pokes fun at itself. That’s something Exhibit A definitely lacks, with its seriousness and hit or miss ending, even though the whole situation is far more believable. Endings are pretty important, and most horror films, honestly, don’t have very great endings. A good ending can make a lot of difference with the reviews. And it’s not even the most original ending; it’s pretty predictable. But the execution of the whole thing, and Mark Duplass’s acting in the role of Josef really makes it far more entertaining than it would have been otherwise.

And that’s the positive part of this review. Now, let’s get a bit more critical.

Creep is technically a mumblegore movie, a genre I wasn’t really familiar with until recently. Honestly, it all just seems synonymous with cheap, and to get literal, yes, there is indeed mumbling. The audio was poor enough that I had to put on sub-titles to understand what the characters were saying. As for the gore, there really isn’t any here. I don’t think there is a drop of blood in this movie, actually.

What there is a lot of is jump scares. And I mean a lot—of the same variety, from the same source, and incredibly cheap. Literally the equivalent of jumping out from behind a corner and going, “BAH!” The jumps are so bad and cheesy that I can imagine it would draw a lot of people out of this movie immediately (so the 92% on Rotten Tomatoes…?). Really, these cheap scares end up having a lot to do with the psychology behind Josef’s character, so when you look back at them they are actually more complex than they initially appear, but that still doesn’t make them good.

Honestly, how I felt throughout the majority of the film

At first, it’s pretty easy to suspend your disbelief with the plot. Aaron is hired from a Craigslist ad by a man named Josef, who is dying of cancer and whose wife is pregnant, so he wants someone to record his life for a little while to make a little movie for his son, so one day his son can see the kind of man he was. Okay, I buy it. Right off the bat, Josef seems a little weird, and that gradually builds up until the inevitable happens and you find out what you already knew, really—that he’s batshit crazy. As this craziness progresses, the film loses a lot of it’s believability. This is covered up somewhat by humor, and eventually lampshaded completely. It doesn’t make sense that Aaron wouldn’t contact someone and let them know where he is and what he’s doing. He waits way too long to call the cops, and by the time he does call the cops they don’t take him seriously or do anything. But of course, in reality, he would have gone to the police station and actually given them the footage. But whatever. It’s a movie, blah blah blah. If it wasn’t for the well-done lampshading scene at the end, I probably would have thrown my hands up and written off the whole thing, so the director clearly knew what he was doing by adding that in.

The movie is very different from others of its kind. It’s a slow-burner and the what the fuck level is very high, but its honestly funny in such an uncomfortable way. It’s definitely not a good movie, but I would say it’s worth watching, as long as you’re prepared to see a black, awkward, disheartening comedy and not a typical horror movie.

When it comes to the disturbing factor—because of course, I’m a horror fan, I want to be disturbed—I suggest you would be better off watching Exhibit A. Or you could just watch both! Have a creepy hand-held camera back-to-back movie night. Hell, I’d attend. If you do end up doing this, of course, please let me know, as I would love to hear someone else’s input on this.

Creep can currently be found on Netflix.

I’ve been interested in the idea of horror anime for a while. I always thought that since anime tends to get a little bit more “out there” then it would be a good medium to explore some fucked up stuff.

That hasn’t really seemed to be the case, overall, however. I’m not saying I haven’t enjoyed the creepy anime that I’ve seen. Serial Experiments Lain is pretty damn good, I enjoyed the majority of Blood+, and Paranoia Agent is a quality series—but none of these are even remotely scary. I’ve started watching Parasyte recently, but honestly I can’t tell if I like it yet, and it’s too silly to be scary. The popular Attack on Titan can be disturbing, but again, it’s not scary.

So, what else is out there? What will scare me?

Apparently I’m a huge chickenshit  because I ended up being scared by ghost stories that appear to be marketed toward adolescent children.

It was an easy decision to start watching Yamishibai: Japanese Ghost Stories, or Yami Shibai, since the episodes are only FOUR MINUTES LONG. It wasn’t like it was going to take up much of my time and it’s on Crunchyroll. So, I nestled down on the couch with my laptop—alone in the dark—and decided to give it a try, my expectations low as can be.

The first episode gave me goosebumps. Literal goosebumps, my hairs standing on end. Maybe it’s because I was alone and I don’t usually watch things alone, but the whole four minute storyline creeped me out.

Maybe it’s the art style that makes it all creepier. The art style’s not even good—sometimes it’s downright awful. The whole thing is meant to mimic the kamishibai method of story-telling, which are paper cut-outs in a box. Every single episode begins with an old man in a mask rolling up to some children at a playground with his bike and box drama, and he tells them a ghost story.

The stories themselves are very simple, Goosebumps-level simple, very folklore-ish, but the way they are done is just so unsettling. The timing of things, the dark backgrounds, the putrid color scheme, the way the cut-outs blend in and out. The fact that there is ALWAYS a bad ending for the protagonist, and you’re sitting there, waiting for that to happen in four minutes time, anticipating something at every moment. It’s very nerve-wracking.

It’s very reminiscent of the scary stories told at a slumber party. I used to be all about that, my friends and I would go out into the dark woods and try to scare each other with stories we’d heard, and that’s what this feels like. But then someone took that story and made creepy paper cut-outs and dark backgrounds and showed it to you in the dead of night.

For example, the fourth story/episode, titled Kami, or Hair, starts out with a teacher working late at a “particular elementary school” because she needed to make copies of some newsletter. Nobody is around, the hallways are long and dark. The teacher walks to the copy machine and her heels echo throughout the hall until she’s in some dark corner of the building where the innocuous copy machine sits. Obviously there’s something up with the copy machine, and the way the whole thing pans out is riddled with jump scares—and jump scare blue balls—being truly creepy and unsettling. The next episode has a cool idea involving an elevator where there are oppressively dark rooms shown, things moving in the layers of darkness. Simple concept here—great execution.

I mean, they’re not all great. But that’s a given with most things.

I ended up watching up to episode 11, then that episode scared the fuck out of me and I had to actually pause it until the partner came home. That story was extremely reminiscent of things my friends and I did to scare ourselves as kids, had you staring at a photograph where there was subtle movement in the darkness. I could feel the jump scare coming, and my heart began to beat too fast and I couldn’t handle it.

Yamishibai actually managed to scare me more than all of the horror movies I’ve seen recently (aside from It Follows, so that may say something about my taste, but the same people criticizing are often the same people who like Insidious and The Conjuring).  I didn’t exactly finish all of it and for all I know the second season blows, but I liked what I saw.

I recommend watching it, even if you aren’t impressed by jump scares or ghosts. It’s pretty cool regardless, and it only takes eight minutes to watch two episodes. Also, if someone could explain the psychology behind why something as simple as a Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark-esque ghost story show scares me more than most horror movies and made my heart sink, that would be great. I don’t think I’m a wuss, but here I am.

Why do I use a daily stream-of-conscious microblog—what am I supposed to be getting out of this, what are you, random browser, supposed to get out of this? It’s easy to say it’s because I want attention, but getting attention can actually be pretty horrifying as well, so let’s say it’s more complex than that. Let’s say that a part of it is because even when I’m at work, or at some social get-together of a more formal variety, I can’t always figure out if anyone, at all, is being genuine with me. If anyone around me is real. I don’t mean this in a solipsistic way, but that I will be at that moment experiencing a complex medley of emotions and memories that don’t match up at all with the script I feel I need to work through. So, in a state of confusion, I read through the script while being painfully aware that someone is reading their sketchy script at me too.

On Twitter, sometimes, you can find very real people. Honest, confused, mistake-making, talented, scared, excited, loving, hating human beings in real time, looking at a screen that can somewhat neutralize that script. You know, in between the joke formulas. And the people pandering at low points which are equivalent to other people’s dreams.

When I find someone who I can relate with, who seems real, I feel relief, like, “Phew! Thank god, I’m not just some feeling freakshow, and other people also are bewildered/impressed/terrified of this weird LIFE thing.”

Audrey, or @singing_ghosts, is one of the awesome people. I’ve interviewed her below as part of Bec Interviews Twitter Users You May or May Not Have Heard Of, which I started out of sheer boredom on a road trip and continue to still do. I’ve followed Audrey for a long time now, and simply put, her tweets are just really, really good—she’s a really interesting human being. She has a mix of prose, personal thoughts, music, art, brutal truths and funny jokes that I like best because of the morbid and sentimental blend. She seems to really care a lot about people, and she is wonderful to interact with on the webs. I am grateful that I found and follow her, and I think you should follow her too, if you don’t. She sells beautiful and interesting items at her Etsy shop, which is definitely worth checking out. Her music can also be listened to on this Dumpster Girls SoundCloud.


pictured: a plant

Why do you have an account on Twitter dot com?

My girlfriend at the time didn’t care about anything I said. She thought I was weird after 5 years together and just made me feel stupid a lot. In reality, her disorder started to take hold of her and I didn’t know that’s what was going on. I felt really bad about my personality, she was becoming more abusive, mostly emotionally, sometimes physically, and just wanted someone to be like “it’s okay audrey. you’re funny and loving!” I guess. So, here I am. Single and Logged On.

Where is the best place you have ever been?

I tripped hard and went to a place where the mountains moved like teeth grinding and every step I took felt like I was walking on the moon. that was cool. not under the influence? idk really. I’m trying to think of a “THIS WAS THE BEST DAY EVER” moment but I can’t. I guess the best place I’ve ever been was home when I came back to it.

What is your favorite song to sing?

Only Skin by Joanna Newsom but really anything Broadway or Joanna Newsom

Where do you get the items for your Etsy shop?

I make them or I get them from old dead women.

Drop a truth bomb, right here, right now.

I just told someone I was born a woman and started crying because they didn’t respond well to it. I have a really hard time with my gender identity and it’s one of the biggest struggles I face in my real life I very rarely discuss online.

What is your favorite movie?

This is an unfair question because it depends on genre, decade, actors, style, country. I lean towards horror and old Hollywood, a lot of musicals.

What’s in your Tinder bio?

ATM my bio says “I don’t wanna have sex I just wanna lick feet. I’ll pay. don’t bother getting to know me” lol

Who is your favorite musical artist?

Joanna Newsom!!!! but also Fiona Apple

What’s something that’s more important than everything else?

To me? Being accepted. Not like initiation accepted, even if that sounds pretty sexy. Just like, you know, feeling comfortable as myself.

What is a social issue that you are passionate about?

Is disarming rich white men in power considered a social issue? That’s what I’m passionate about.

Who is your favorite account on Twitter dot com?

@petfurniture!!!! She was one of the first people I followed. I always thought she was gentle and interesting and I felt this awful pain when I saw her tweets. She just knew what it was like to ache but as aware as I was that you’re not supposed to. It was reassuring for me, like, if this sweet girl, who could find warmth in what seems like a dark world, existed, I wasn’t alone in being hopeful and buried alive. I thought I was the only person who felt the way her tweets read to me. I had no idea what twitter would be like when I found her. It took me two years to get her to follow me back. I never interacted with her or made any attempt to let her know I existed, of course. She found me eventually and it was like a “God, finally” sigh.

What is your spirit animal, and why?

I don’t have a spirit animal and if I did it would definitely run away.

What is the scariest monster of all time?

Arousal and intoxication. The drunk and horny combination. When I’m drunk and horny, or on opiates, just stay away from me. What happens to me is one of the reasons I wanted to get sober, not to get all MY DEMONS!!! about it or anything. Real monsters? Probably sharks or aliens.


What is a life lesson you feel you have learned thus far?

When you’re afraid of things and hide, nothing will happen to you, nothing bad, but nothing good. Eventually you have to stop playing it safe or you’ll end up like your least favorite parent. Also don’t masturbate after cutting jalapeños.

When you burst through your front door in the morning, ready to get to work, what theme song is playing while you walk purposefully into your day?

I’m technically self employed so I guess when I go to water my garden the song that plays would be “feed me” from little shop of horrors. In general, I think my theme song is ABBA’s “take a chance on me” or anything of theirs. Really pumps me up.

What is love?

Love is walking across the street when someone you don’t see is speeding and there’s this moment where you’re like oh my god am I gonna die or is this gonna hurt really fucking badly? You don’t die and it doesn’t hurt. They stop just in time and they probably yell at you a little bit and you finally breathe. That first breath is what love is.

If you were a baked good, what baked good would you be?

pumpkin pie cheesecake with brownie swirls

We both have had bee-related usernames—beekeeper, honeydrone—What diabolical plan can we concoct that involves bees? I feel like the two of us could wreak some havoc with some bees.

We would need @beehivesy, as she is the queen bee, IMO, for some sorta of Beemuda Triangle? A porn maybe??? Where we put a dude in the middle of us and sting him with knifes and you can fuck him to death if you want. Just like fuck the bloods and guts out faster because she doesn’t like gore to begin with and I don’t wanna have sex with anything or anyone, dead or alive. Back to the bees! You can ADOPT beehives! FOR HONEYBEES!! I just learned this recently. I’m sorry. I’m just thinking about our porn now. Thanks for having me.

You demanded it (well, someone demanded it), I have provided. In this session of Bec Interviews Twitter Users You May or May Not Have Heard Of, I have interviewed the illustrious Uel Aramchek, or @ThePatanoiac. People use Twitter for many different things: butt jokes, instigation, self-expression, socialization, butt jokes—and then there are the writers. A microblog with a 140 character limit is an interesting place to play with words, and also essentially an effective advertisement for outside writing. The interactivity is also an important component. Hey, you have a loquacious appetite for space squid romance? I have a loquacious appetite for space squid romance, too. This is how magic happens, folks. ThePatanoiac makes the magic happen.

One of the things I have found very meaningful and impactive is that when you extend your creative side to an internet community, discover a decent group of people who understand that personal desire to create something, you then have the opportunity for personal growth. It’s important to look at the creative efforts of another human being and talk about them. When people make a narrative, that takes time and effort and skill, and great things can happen when a community backs that up. My respect for this gives me a lot of respect for ThePatanoiac. He creates, and just in simply doing that he inspires others to create. So when you check out his timeline (mhmgh, first paragraph, click), you’re most likely making yourself just a smidgen of a better person through this experience.

Hey, maybe I can be that sort of influence too? Haha? One day? Maybe. Anyway, continuing on.

The main hub for his writing (which will be linked again at the bottom of the post DEAL WITH IT) is his website North of Reality, and there is also a Tumblr featuring his writing that you can follow. His twitter also contains collections of his writing, such as June’s collection.


Pictured: Writing Prompt

Why do you have an account on Twitter dot com?

This account actually started out as a graveyard for my past writing. After years of producing and abandoning rough drafts, I had accumulated multiple novels and several half finished ones which were rather weak. During a period of near-zero writing productivity after graduating from university, @MitchDokken convinced me that I should do something interesting on Twitter and showed me some of the weirdness that was already present. From there, I started digging through my heap of drafts, finding fragments that I felt were decent, and posting them out of context. After a few weeks I ran out of content, and this project transitioned into the original works that I post today. Back then, I never would have expected that it would become what it has.

Two of my other interviewees have stated that you are one of their favorite accounts on Twitter. What do you have to say about this?

These kind of statements always blow my mind, honestly. I appreciate those two immensely, both as writers and people.

Now, what did you do to bewitch them? I want details, here. I need to do some bewitching.

I made a bargain with the ghosts of Geocities websites that perished long ago. It’s easy to do it at home these days. You can get a bluetooth-enabled ouija board at just about any abandoned Radio Shack.

When did you start writing, and why did you start?

Back in Elementary school, I started writing a “book.” It was about ten pages of handwriting about giant plants taking over a cruise ship. There were these insidious vines with lamprey teeth, and the adult ones had venus flytrap faces. This is sort of disjoint from the rest of the story, but I find it somewhat amusing.

It’s probably more accurate to say I started in the summer after seventh grade. I joined in on this forum thread where people were telling segments of a science fiction story and passing it around, and there was this Dutch fellow who wrote these massive, heartfelt chunks of space opera while the rest of us kids flailed around coming up with alternate names for lightsabers. I think he was much older than the rest of the site’s members, and I’m not really sure why he was hanging around. Either way, I was extremely jealous of his skill, and started copying his style of grammar in my pieces.

When school started again, our English teacher asked us to turn in one piece of creative writing a quarter. I was full of ambition and a mysterious force known as “teen energy,” and had spontaneously decided that I was capable of writing a novel. So each quarter, I wrote an entire chapter (in retrospect, they were quite tiny) about this dystopian city powered by the tears of its citizens who were forced to worship sunflowers. It wasn’t good, but by that point, I had thoroughly convinced myself that I could do be a writer, and every year after that I started writing a different novel (although I didn’t actually finish one until I was 19).

Do you have any writing advice for the teeming masses?

In my experience, it takes thousands upon thousands of words of practice to be ready to write for an audience. The first fiction that you write is probably not going to be publishable in quality, and that’s okay. If you have a grand vision of your perfect first novel, you will likely sit for months with your wheels spinning trying to defeat a blank page, and most publishers will just ask you to rewrite it anyway once you’re done. Just keep cranking out words until you look back on what you’re doing and are comfortable with your skill. You will keep getting better, and will eventually amass more ideas than you can ever publish.

Drop a truth bomb, right here, right now.

Plot holes actually improve stories.

What is your favorite movie?

There are perhaps many more deserving of mention, but I just have to go with Southland Tales. There’s nothing else quite like it.

What is a social issue that you are passionate about?

Ending credit card rewards programs, and challenging the credit industry in general. Their wicked machine reinforces every last institutionalized problem that we have, yet their contribution to inequality is almost entirely unrecognized.

Who is your favorite account on Twitter dot com?

My darling @esthermaschine. She and I have been on an amazing journey of love for the past two years, and her mind never ceases to amaze me.

What is your spirit animal, and why?

Probably the giant octopus. I love its eldritch aesthetic, and how it rivals the smartest species of mammals in intelligence despite having followed a completely separate path of evolution. That deviation resonates with me.

What is the scariest monster of all time?

When I was small, I was terrified of the creatures I would see by staring into the grooves in the wood on closet doors. I came to believe they were the outlines of the spirits that lived in our house, shadows burned into the spaces they occupied. Those ambiguous forms with their manifold eyes and craggled limbs are the foundation of every monster that I’ve imagined since, so I have to hand them that award. An interesting addendum to this is that a friend of mine who comes from a line of witches in the Philippines explained to me that in her family, there is a belief that the wood in houses eventually becomes a malevolent presence, as it remembers being alive. That concept has resonated with me ever since in a sinister way, reframing and complexifying the monsters of my childhood, as well as giving them a means to follow me elsewhere in life.

What is your favorite book?

VALIS, by Philip K Dick. As soon as you read it, your life gets immediately weirder.

What is a life lesson you feel you have learned thus far?

The universe is irrational, and under no obligation to obey any declaration that we make about its nature.

When you burst through your front door in the morning, ready to get to work, what theme song is playing while you walk purposefully into your day?

“The Heart’s A Lonely Hunter,” with Thievery Corporation and David Byrne.

What is love?

I’ve always been fond of Buckminster Fuller’s definition: “metaphysical gravity.”

If you were a baked good, what baked good would you be?

A doomsday cake- which is really just the hole in space-time left behind by eating a birthday cake too quickly.

If you were to convert my life into a science fiction story, what would Bec’s story be about?

As your old namesake implies, you are a cosmic beekeeper, a job that entails producing the honey that holds quantum particles together and thus allows matter to exist. Colony collapse disorder strikes on a galactic scale, and the story follows your efforts to maintain a universe that is slowly coming unglued.

What is a project that you are currently working on, that you would like to share with others?
As of late, I’ve been producing regular bursts of fictional content over on, which is intended to be a hub for my writing. I post something new close to every day, and am working on determining a consistent schedule. I’ve got some other writing projects in the works, including the long-term Hexward which I’ve discussed in the past, but these are not on a clear timeline.

This isn’t near anything. The house is on a hill. The trees on the top of the hill are old, big green cauliflower plumes. We sit on plastic chairs and pretend to paint them into reality, waving our hands back and forth. We ride our bikes down this hill, the front wheels swerving around the crumbling holes in the asphalt; there is a dusty cornfield beyond the patches of weeds and shrubs, there is a big round ditch between those and the road—I dropped a few things in there before, on accident. There’s the burn of scrapes on my hands and knees, tiny stones pressed into my palms, from falling from the bike. I walk down this hill and stare at the little rocks and shards of asphalt and McDonald’s ice tea cups in the shoulder.

The woods are at the bottom, that’s where we walk, to the National Fuel gas pipes. The opening in the trees, the blue pipes sticking up out of the earth—it should have been a playground, could have been a playground, we were trespassing as it were. There aren’t enough kids around here. This is the most boring part, but then past the pipes there is another steep hill, this one sloped just right that your feet will slip and leave long lines in the dirt. There is no point in risking many slips down the hill, so we run to the bottom, no slips that way. We start off slow, plop, thump, our feet hit harder and then we are flying at the bottom, legs unstable and caught up in the momentum—The ground levels itself beneath our sandals and we utilize friction, rein ourselves back before we reach the creek, we stop running. What if we stumbled and fell on our chins? Doesn’t matter, we never did.

The trees form a canopy over the water, and there’s that ambient sound, the water flowing south, the sound bouncing off tree branches and back at us. Then there is that one opening where the leaves of the trees on either side do not touch and the sun comes down and we go blind when we reach that part of the creek. We sit down on a little island of rocks in the middle of the water, we sit back to back and stick our toes in the cold water. Once some hikers found us, another time we were spooked by a dirt bike and we ran to a little spit of a waterfall where we could see the road and scrambled up the ravine, dirt under our nails, and then onto the blacktop, white lines and yellow dashes. The sun scalding.

I walk up the other side of the creek, because that’s where the woods open up again. Walking up is not nearly as fun as running down, this hill is steeper than the way down on the other side and my feet slip into the dirt, then I have muddy feet. But I climb toward the light, the trees opening up to reveal an exit where there is blue sky—when I reach the top, I can stand there and look down at the back roads. There is a field of grass, and then the world dips down and there is a stretch of green, and big hills in the distance. There is also a blue platform—National Fuel—before the field begins. I climb onto this platform and sit down and survey fields and hills and golden grass bobbing down and back up from the breeze.

We will be gone for hours and tell my mom that we didn’t go anywhere. The dirt under our nails betrays us.


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