Writer / Reader / Fandom Extraordinaire
Monthly Archives: June 2015
Chiara / June 30, 2015 , Tue / films & music

If you know the reference in the title, I LOVE YOU.

Here I am, talking about horror movies, as promised in numerous places on this site. Because I watch more horror movies than I should probably admit, and I also have a lot of thoughts and feelings for these said horror movies (my babies).

Think back, my friend, to a recent horror movie (and I mean thriller or horror here, but I just say horror because it sounds better) that you watched. I am betting that 90% of you will have watched a horror movie with a female protagonist, probably either in her teenage years, or those years before 30. Am I right? Yes.

I can understand why horror movies are swamped with female protagonists. Because they elicit a kind of vulnerability, inability, and dependency. In short: they need to be saved because they’re female. Usually by a boyfriend, or a brother, or a father, or a male cop, or any male character in the movie.

Just because I understand it doesn’t mean that I agree with it, but that’s a discussion for another day. Today, I want to talk about the boys.

In a world where ~88% (I read that figure somewhere recently, but you probably shouldn’t quote me on it) of all major films consist of male protagonists – completely throwing this out there based on no research and just judgement of the many movies I spend my time watching – the remaining 12% probably comprises the horror movies that revolve around a female main character.

I’m pretty sick of it, to be honest. I loathe watching the character go through all this shit, only to be killed off (usually by an evil male or an entity [that is probably inherently male]) or saved by a male. I am 100% truly sick of it, because they all feel incredibly recycled. Rarely, if ever, do I find a horror movie with a capable female main character.

“Oh but they’re just horror movies, why are you reading so much into it?” is a thought that might cross someone’s mind when I speak of this, but the thing is: I love horror movies. I don’t want them just for the gore and creepiness. In fact, I loathe those horror movies where there’s senseless killing going on and there is no given reason for it. I need a why in my horror movies. My favourite horror movies are the ones that have a really great back story – two that I can think of are Dream House and An American Haunting.

A recent horror movie that I watched and loved as A Haunting in Connecticut, and it is actually the movie that inspired this post. Because the protagonist was a teenage boy (dying from cancer, which I thought was unfair. I mean, cancer and a haunted house? That is supremely cruel), and there was a really great back story.

I want more of these. I loved that when confronted with this scary as shit stuff that was happening to him, he just kind of tried to ignore it, but then he got increasingly freaked out as the scary shit increased in vehemence. It was good. He wasn’t all macho and capable. He wasn’t running around saving damsels in distress. He was a kid who was scared, and who was also very brave.

And he was a guy. I loved it! It turned every horror movie cliche on its head. A great story, no senseless killings and gore, and a male protagonist who wasn’t written in just to save a girl or be immune to everything that was going on.

So I want to hear it for the boys – I want more horror movies like this because we definitely need them. Let’s get rid of the poor pitiful female characters and introduce some capable ones, and also bring in some boys who have more depth to them than the saviour trope.

Chiara / June 16, 2015 , Tue / books & reading, lgbtqia

I have them. And I wear them all the time. They’re most active when I’m reading books, but then they can emerge when watching TV shows (most notably Merlin), and movies too.

What do they do? you might be asking, unless you have your own pair of queer tinted spectacles, and know exactly what I’m talking about (in which case, BLESS, we’re kindred spirits).

Well. Most of the time, their primary objective is to find a queer character, and usually ship that character with another queer character.

However, unfortunately, a lot of the time my queer tinted spectacles are just … making it up. Or they’re elaborating. Because sometimes I have super feels for what I seriously think will be a queer relationship, and the author goes and writes a completely non diverse heterosexual one. And I cry.

The reason why I decided to write this post is because of a book I was reading recently. One of the characters had died, but someone was sending them poems to their phone regardless. The deceased character was a guy. And he had a guy best friend who just completely disappeared after he died (or committed suicide … no one really knows). I thought to myself: yes. These two were in love. The best friend is sending the texts. And the dead guy might have committed suicide because he felt ashamed or something (which no baby no).

I was super excited, because as much as I ship my hetero couples, I ship my queer couples with the force of a thousand fiery burning suns. They mean a lot more to me. So I was waiting for the best friend to admit to something.

And then. It turns out it was a girl sending the poems. There was nothing between the two guys – there never was.

I was disappointed, to say the least. This book was pretty whitewashed and was severely lacking in sexual diversity (not even a side character, I mean what). My queer tinted spectacles weren’t the ones that let me down, though. Oh no, it was the fact that books are still lacking in diversity. I know it’s an author’s right and decision to create characters and their associated storylines however they want to (including diversity or not), but it still saddens me when there’s so much missing from a book.

With all the We Need Diverse Books campaigning, and countless other plights to include racial, sexual, physical, mental, economic, and so on diversity in books … why are there still books with all white characters who are all straight and physically able and mentally sound and middle class and so on? It makes me so sad and disappointed to come across these books because it’s like nothing has changed, even though so many readers (and agents and publishers) are asking for it.

So I guess that’s why I still need my queer tinted spectacles, because if I didn’t it might mean that something had changed, and I wouldn’t have to search and create my own sexually diverse characters. For now, they’re always on, but I hope one day that they won’t be necessary. I really do.

Chiara / June 4, 2015 , Thu / films & music

I was chatting to Topaz about Ben Howard (over on my other blog, where I implore you to listen to him, because it is a really good life choice), and we both said that Ben is our musical soulmate.

It’s true. I love Ben Howard like I have never loved a musician in my life before. I’ve had plenty of favourites in the past – Angus & Julia Stone, Thirty Seconds to Mars, Boy & Bear, The Paper Kites, Death Cab for Cutie, City & Colour, and Ed Sheeran are the notable ones – but they’ve all been surpassed by another one. That’s not to say I don’t still ardently adore these artists, they just don’t hold the same place in my heart that they once did.

And, to be entirely honest, I don’t think anyone will surpass Ben in my heart.

Everything about his music just nestles right into the deep and dark corners of my heart. His lyrics, his music, his voice – it’s like they were created to fill this little niche inside me that I didn’t even know was there until I listened to his songs for the first time and got this feeling. This kind of ache in my chest at everything that his music does to me.

I don’t cry a lot, or over many things. In fact, the list is quite small (and consists of things like stories about abused animals or animals that triumph [like the bunny kitten], academia [yes, I know], sad moments in movies and TV shows, and of course when I’m hurting over something).

I saw Ben Howard live for the first time last Thursday (and missed the last train home, and ended up spending $250 on a cab but hey, that’s a story for another day), and I was able to sit down and watch the entire time. This is surprising, because the venue is all standing general admission. I’ve been there twice before and had to stand for hours on end waiting for the musician to come out and just start playing already. But for Ben I decided I wanted to watch from the balcony, and I sat down at the railing because it was an hour before the freaking pre-band (I don’t know the actual name but I call them pre-bands) came out, and most everyone on the balcony was sitting down. But even when the lights dimmed, and Ben walked onto the stage, and everyone on the balcony stood up, our little corner didn’t. I turned around, and the girls behind me just looked at me – no desire to stand.

So I got to sit and watch my musical soulmate pour his art into the air.

I have two favourite Ben Howard songs: Depth Over Distance and Only Love (he didn’t play either of them – I actually have really shit luck when it comes to musicians playing my favourite songs), and a favourite collection: Burgh Island EP (which he sang one song from as his final final song in his encore).

So when my eyes filled with tears when Ben was halfway through playing I Forget Where We Were, I was kind of surprised. I’d only ever cried at one concert before, and that was when Death Cab sang Soul Meets Body, and I was holding hands with my best friend, and everything was kind of magical. But there I was, smiling and crying at the same time. I shouldn’t have been surprised, really. I mean, Ben’s music has really touched my soul – many times, and for many months.

Anyway, I thought I would tell you guys about my musical soulmate because my last few posts on this blog haven’t exactly been full of positive things.

Out of curiosity: do you have a musical soulmate? Do tell!

P.s. Here’s I Forget Where We Were, if you want to have a listeny (although this is a bit more acoustic than how he played it at my show):

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