I have watched Nicolas Winding Refn’s The Neon Demon two times now, and the movie still mesmerizes me.
For those who haven’t yet seen it, here is the synopsis:
When aspiring model Jesse moves to Los Angeles, her youth and vitality are devoured by a group of beauty-obsessed women who will take any means necessary to get what she has.
The movie is a smorgasbord of images, juxtaposed with haunting music to create a thriller/horror film, in the vein of Rosemary’s Baby and The Ring. It is frightening by virtue of the creation of atmosphere; you feel that something is wrong, even during a seemingly innocent discussion at a party.
This horror movie is not purely meant to scare; the idea of beauty interweaves throughout the film. What is beauty? How important is it? Can it be manufactured? It’s not exactly rocket science to use models in an analysis of the concept of beauty, but I would argue that this discussion is done well.
There are just enough ideas presented; Refn is not going to spoon feed you this movie. The viewer cannot just sit idly and watch this movie, but is forced to think about what is being presented, to actively participate. Refn’s refusal to dumb down his movie by forcing words into a character’s mouths to tell you exactly what he thinks and exactly why he created this film probably explains the divided opinions about this movie. A little more than half of critics and viewers seem to like this movie, with a myriad of others writing that it is “vapid” and “empty.” I would argue that it is not the film that is vapid and empty, although the movie may appear to be so if you do not actually watch it (which includes thinking about what you are seeing, not just gluing your eyeballs to the screen).
The choice of Elle Fanning to play the naivete, Jesse, at first perplexed me. Elle is, undeniably, pretty. But a supermodel? I’m still not entirely convinced.
I do, however, see that she presents herself almost as a blank slate, very well. I am sure that Elle is a wonderful person, but she generally comes across as… not very intelligent, in the roles I have seen her in lately. In Maleficent, she seems like a beautiful, happy little idiot. It’s hardly surprising that she falls into an eternal slumber by voluntarily stabbing herself with a needle that’s not even proffering a fun experience, like heroine.
In The Neon Demon, it’s not quite clear if Jesse is a “doe in the headlights” or simply a “blank slate.” Is she keeping her thoughts to herself, or does she really not have any? And what does it mean that photographers and fashion designers cannot get enough of her?
I find this movie absolutely fascinating, and keep turning it over in my mind. Have you seen it? What were your thoughts?
*Images and synopsis were obtained at imdb.com.
My short story collection, entitled Paranormal Dating, includes the paranormal, and most of them have an element of horror to them, as well.
October is, for many of us, a month of horror. Time to plan scary costumes,
watch an abundance of scary movies,
and tell and read horror stories.
As such, my short story anthology is a great way to get into the spirit of the month. Scare yourself – snag a copy of Paranormal Dating today!
Release day was October 12! You can now purchase Paranormal Dating on Amazon for $2.99, or read it free of charge if you have Kindle Unlimited.
Paranormal Dating is a short story anthology comprised of tales that are simultaneously horror, romance, and erotica.
Please let me know your thoughts, and write a review if you obtain a copy. Honest reviews are requested, although obviously, I hope that you like it. Feel free to let me know your thoughts in the comments below, as well!
This book comes out on May 17th!
It has horror, and it is funny!
Eighties mentions make it retro,
Help you go back in time…
We got the read!
We got the read!
We got the read!
Yeah, you’ve gotta read…
[Author’s note: Lyrics to be read to the ’80s classic “We’ve Got the Beat” by the Go-Gos]
[Author’s note 2: These lyrics are the sole creation of author Bambi Quim, and therefore are not actually quoting anyone.]
My Best Friend’s Exorcism, by Grady Hendrix, comes out Tuesday, May 17th. And you should read it.
An homage to the ’80s, in general, as well as horror movies, in particular, My Best Friend’s Exorcism is funny, whimsical, and wonderful. Narrated by Abby Rivers, the story details her friendship with Gretchen Lang, which began in fourth grade at a roller disco party, spending a particular amount of time detailing the trial of that friendship in high school, when Gretchen is possessed.
If you are a John Hughes fan (ignoring She’s Having a Baby, which is just awful), if you know who Tiffany, Flock of Seagulls, and Duran Duran are, if you understand the difference between ’80s Madonna and ’90s Madonna (and have maybe even seen Desperately Seeking Susan), or can sing along with the undeniably fabulous rap scene from Teen Witch, you not only should read this book. You need to read this book.
I adored this book, guys. The writing is fairly decent, but it is the references, the slang, and the warm feelings created by evoking an earlier time and an authentic friendship between Abby and Gretchen that makes this book a must-read.
So now that you all know you need to read this book, tell me your favorite ’80s movie, music, or book, in the comments! Then, schedule your Tuesday to make sure you can snag a copy of My Best Friend’s Exorcism.
Roller skates: ManekiNeko at the English language Wikipedia [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons
When I trekked cross-country to come live in the Bay Area, I had a copy of Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood that I had purchased at a library sale, and which I had barely begun reading when I left it in a hotel room somewhere in the middle of the country. I was very disappointed, and intended to get another copy on my hands at some unknown point in the future.
Then, recently, I remembered that I had a library card, and can thereby procure a myriad of very wonderful books, including the previously abandoned Alias Grace.
It was an interesting read. The first novel I had read by Atwood, I was impressed with her skill, imagination, and particularly, her character development. Based on the true story of Grace Marks, a woman imprisoned for decades for a murder in which she may or may not have been complicit at the tender age of 16, this novel was fascinating. The story began to meander a bit for the latter third of the book, but I can understand why it did so, and it was not unpleasant to read, it just felt a bit more out-of-focus than I was a wholehearted fan of.
However, I am glad I read it, and I am also glad to point out the quote above, which melds, in a single, concise sentence, two of my favorite literary themes: eroticism and horror. (Some of you may remember I am slowly writing a paranormal erotica short story anthology, which provides even more evidence that I am a fan of these two themes.) Ever since I can remember, horror stories have fascinated me. And sex, whether we love to think about it, hate to talk about it, or both, is also generally fascinating to people in one way or another.
Have you read Alias Grace? If so,what did you think? If not, what is your favorite horror story? I like to read comments as well as novels, and would love to hear from you!