Sociopathic film characters, the master list.

I know- it’s been done. But I want to talk about a few characters I find really interesting.

There are spoilers in here. Get over it.

Most top-ten lists leave out the female characters (of which there are plenty), child characters, and characters that are more quietly menacing than flamboyant. Most sociopaths don’t want to be noticed (with the lone outlier of narcissists) and prefer to be taken for unassuming victims of circumstance. There are some of course, who commit desperate and crazed acts, but they’re less the majority than you might think.

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the bechdel test.

The Bechdel test is simple. Your book, film, or other work passes if it contains two named female characters, who speak to each, about something other than a man (or men).

I actually think about this while reading or watching a movie. Some movies that have been hailed as feminist masterpieces (by morons *cough*) don’t pass this test. And some movies I love but which are seen as just awful to women- DO pass.

The corollary I’d give, is that if your work doesn’t pass the Bechdick test as well, you are off the hook. This second test is simple- if your film, book, or other work contains two men, with names, who speak to each other about something other than women, it has passed the test.

Some works contain only one character, two male characters, or a mixed pair. These works are officially off the hook, not liable to the test. Since they wouldn’t pass the Bechdick test, you can’t apply Bechdel to them either.

However, a book that passes one MUST pass the other as well, or it’s simply not realistic. Even fantasy works should maintain enough realism in the characters to make me believe they are real, to flesh them out. If a work doesn’t pass the Bechdel test, I find my suspension of disbelief waning, and my interest in the (male) characters almost lost- since some characters are not realistic, none can be.

more of the king trouble.

Let’s talk about Desperation. Now…the book is not that great. It’s extremely heavy handed on the God tip. I can understand the religiosity and madness of some of his later work (the tail end of the Dark Tower series and suchlike) because after all he was injured and likely suffering from PTSD at that time. This book, however, has no excuse.

King always appealed to me because his work rarely got too philosophical- beyond the portrayals of small town “normal people”. In the work he did just before and after Desperation, he tended to start introducing himself, thinly veiled, as a character in his own work. The appearance of the godlike author in the Dark Tower series is the pinnacle of this nonsense.

Desperation has some redeeming elements as a book; the movie on the other hand…King wrote the teleplay of it. He did the adaptation and apparently had quite a bit of creative control. I won’t draw any conclusions yet about whether or not this is the source of the trouble with some of his films; we’ll wait until I get a chance to find a bit more information.

I know. He doesn’t care really, what we all think of his work. He gets paid, right? I understand that he probably has little negative response at this point from anyone whose opinion matters to him. and he HAS written so much really good work that he may feel he doesn’t have to worry so much anymore about the actual craft of scaring people. I mean, he’s written an incredibly good book about horror writing himself. But…I just want more of the good stuff. You know? I get like this, critical, mostly because I used to love his work so much. And I don’t read much pulp or paperbacks or genre fiction. I am a book person. A “real” book person. And I used to adore his books. Now, I find so many flaws in everything he writes. I know it’s a bit demanding but I want more GOOD movies and books from this man- or I want to stop having my hopes dashed. And so I’m sitting here in a stenched out room, with the smell of my own sick sweat encasing me, watching Storm of the Century and wishing it was Cujo.

Storm of the Century. Yeah, let’s talk about this one. Again, made for television. So again, we shouldn’t get our hopes up. Like Desperation, it was adapted by King himself. And like Desperation, it is heavy on the godtalk. Also, the cgi is hit-or-miss, but I assume that even though King had a degree of creative control, this may not be entirely his fault.

The dialogue is unbearable. The acting is mediocre. But…the manner in which it is written is the downfall. Blunt, unsubtle speeches. A bad guy named “legion”. I think that this, along with Desperation, belong more on the christian networks than in any nonreligious channel or network. Unscary to boot. As a non-religious person, the idea of demons or devils coming to get revenge on me for not praying just is NOT frightening. And no amount of heavy-handed bible talk is going to change that.

The Exorcist is a somewhat frightening religious movie. Desperation and Storm of the Century can’t just repeat that format with different characters and be frightening. It’s obsolete horror. It’s old. It’s been done, and better.

As usual he can write decent settings, but that’s always been one of King’s strong suits. Usually, that is.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FhbrLjcAPw0&w=480&h=390]

Let’s talk about something else, instead.

Thinner, for example. Now, this book was all right. Not the top ten of King’s; not great, but not awful. I am hyperthyroid and have a high metabolism and have always had trouble keeping weight on, so it at least had some element of body horror I found personally frightening. It again is very morally heavy handed and obvious- but at the same time a bit more obscure and undefined.

The movie isn’t quite as terrible as the other two here- it’s not really that well-acted in general, and the pacing is awful- but the screenplay and writing, the adaptation, is fairly well done. It was not adapted by King. I’ve done as much research as internetting allows and it seems that King had little or less creative control over this one.

So…I’m gonna begin posting my ratings. My own personal opinion; The Shining (NOT TEH REMAKE) is probably the best King-related movie made. And The Langoliers is most likely the worst. So basing it on a scale from 10/shining, to 0/langoliers…

Desperation: 1.5, Storm of the Century: 1.5: Salem’s Lot: 3, Thinner: 2.

next up: Tommyknockers, Green Mile, The Stand, The Langoliers, Night Flier, The Mist (the mist, because I need a good movie break in teh middle of all the madness.)

I love you, Stephen King. And I hate you.

image

I am in the eye of a bad movie hurricane. I’ve got the chest flu. I’m prone to it- when I was a kid I used to get bronchitis every year. I haven’t had it in about two years now so I am due for a bad dose.

So here I am. Short of breath and worn down with fever. What better solution than to watch every single Stephen King movie ever made?

I have read just about all of his books over the years. I was a very literate kid and read cujo when I was probably too young. I don’t like all his writing but many of his books are huge influences on my reading and writing- and his movies are no different.

I’ve got every movie he’s made. I’m going to watch them all while I absorb vicks vapo-rub and hot tea and soup. I’m going to figure out why some of his work made such excellent movies and why some is just. . . Unwatchable garbage.

And I’m going to share the whole process with you. Lucky you.

So far today I have watched desperation, Salem’s lot, storm of the century, thinner, and tommyknockers. Before you imply that starting at the bottom isn’t giving King a fair chance, let me remind you that I have not watched langoliers OR the stand, yet.

Why are all of the movies I’ve watched today just so damn awful? I mean, Desperation was kind of a shitty book and heavy-handed…so I couldn’t expect much from that. But the rest? Salem’s lot and tommyknockers were both great books. And thinner, while not his very best, at least had some meat to it.

Where did things fall apart for these films?

Next post will have some explanations, or as close as I can get to reasons.

Infection/invasion.

Dear movie makers:

I don’t want to watch any actor- let alone a shitty one-on-one emote for sixty three minutes. That’s not a movie.

Blair witch sucked.

I don’t want to watch someone hiding in a closet, a static shot of the back of someone’s head, a poorly lit cellphone or dashcam shot,  or any other single image FOR AN ENTIRE MOVIE.

THAT ISN’T A MOVIE.

The movie? Your plot? Is what is happening OUTSIDE the closet, copcar, or tent. We came yo watch SHIT HAPPEN. The radio era of drama has been over for at least fifty years- LET IT DIE. you’re FILM MAKERS.

FUCKING FILM SOMETHING.

Sincerely,

The movie watching public.

(In reference to “infection (invasion)”, 2005…as seen on Netflix instant play. IMDB tt0472465 “starring” Jenny dare Paulin.)

DEAR FILM INDUSTRY:

more and better wolves please. and no cgi shit either.

Please produce an original well-written, non-cgi werewoilf movie as soon as possible, in order to entice me back to a theater again.
This means no remakes, no sequels, but a real, awesome, SCARY werewolf movie. No teenage love stories either, please.

I say non-cgi also because far too often I see movies that lean on the ffects when the rest sucks; however cgi LOOKS LIKE A VIDEO GAME and doesn’t improve a movie; it’s dated and ugly, like seeing an 80’s film with computer effects. So knock that shit off.

No remakes or sequels either. Jesus fucking Christ Hollywood, what the fuck are we even PAYING you for? Just because you’re cheap profit-driven fuckheads that won’t pay for a decent writer…ugh. I avoid remakes. I want to see something fresh- I will spend my money on films that take risks, not the same shit over again.

Werewolfs seem to be such an easy hit, too. Like really, we have so much connection to dogs/wolves. Our folklore (western) is practically MADE OF wolf; and yet we get more  vampire in our movie diet…Think dog soldiers or american werewolf in london- but don’t remake …those. WRITE SOME NEW ONES. Thanks.

Sincerely,
your former audience

my friend sean

art by sean schock

dm3

he makes amazing art.

srsly/ I love his stuff. I keep grabbing copies of his posters whenever I can. Most of the stuff he makes is for bands I really like, too, which makes his stuff all that more appealing…

he has some process stuff posted too, step by steps. really interesting to see other people’s way of working…go check him out.

art opening

Had a great time at the Unfine Art’s 8th anniversary.

I had a piece hanging in the show—

I enjoyed Honey Vizer’s reading of the manifesto to Shawn’s awesome sax madness—

The Ninkasi and some of the food was delicious—

And I even had an attractive date to bring with me, who was willing to help re-build a bucky ball, and discuss the PNW-china connection with some strangers.

All in all a successful evening.

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modest mouse

Each modest mouse album I listen to is less impressive than the one before it, but wil inevitably contain one or two songs which arer better than anything I have ever heard before by anyone.

So I am compelled to keep listening.

I am legend

A resolution to several difficulties presented in the film, I Am Legend, given in the form of a single sentence; and representing my feelings about this film and all others like it, in which pets are killed in a graphic manner rather than children:

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