Girl Meets Context: On Friday, December 2nd 2011, Kristine and I held our second Horror Movie Sleepover. We started with Frank Darabont’s 2007 adaptation of Stephen King’s novella The Mist, and couldn’t believe all the Walking Dead cast members that were in it. Then we watched another 2007 horror movie, the Spanish supernatural thriller The Orphanage by J.A. Bayona, who is currently filming some weird tsunami movie with Ewan MacGregor and Naomi Watts, who were last seen together in that bizarre movie Stay which, no lie, caused me to have a panic attack in the theater and we had to leave and so I’ve never seen the end of it. Then came, per Kristine’s request, Tobe Hooper’s slasher classic The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974) because she lives in Texas and probably knows a few Leatherfaces in real life. We concluded with Juan Carlos Fresnadillo’s 28 Weeks Later (2007), the conceptual sequel to Danny Boyle’s fantastic 28 Days Later, which Kristine and I watched last year and both adore. Fresnadillo is the guy who made that 2001 thriller Intacto which was very good. Four movies in one night! Below we conclude with Part 4 of our discussion and, as always, we spare no one’s feelings and hold nothing back (that means… SPOILERS ABOUND!!!).
Kristine: On to The Orphanage. This was the most internal of all the
movies, and the only one where the protagonist was a woman. Coincidence? Of course not!
Sean: The Orphanage did have the only lady-lead, but she was all tits, no personality if you ask me.
Kristine: They were fake boobs. NEXT!
Sean: I actually think she has NO interior life in the movie. She is all maternal drive and gigantic bazongas.
Kristine: “Bazongas”??? Right, but she is supposed to be super maternal and crazed. The whole movie hinges on her having some sort of psychotic break when she moves back into her childhood home.
Sean: What? She doesn’t have a break….
Kristine: I think she does.
Kristine: I think she has unresolved issues from her time at the orphanage that she blocked out, and they come back when she moves back.
Sean: Okay I’ll buy that. But the plot doesn’t hinge on her feelings.
Kristine: Do we care about her AIDS baby? I don’t.
Sean: I did. I think the kid in the movie is great. The opposite of the crusty munchkins in 28 Weeks Later. I found him very lovable!
Kristine: He is a good child actor, but I still don’t care that much. [Editor’s Note: I received the following e-mail from Kristine at 4:18 am two days after she made these remarks: “Hi, I have had a change of heart about some things we discussed in our chat. I don't know why I felt dismissive of The Orphanage and Texas Chain Saw on Sunday. The reason I am up this early is because I am haunted by terrifying visuals from both movies and can't sleep! Also, I love Simón and I take back that I don't care about him being an AIDS baby! I want to retract that statement!] I love the fact that he was full of rage and shut her finger in the bathroom door.
Sean: And I love all the “Let’s play a game” scavenger hunt business.
Kristine: That was very charming! That frenetic scene was fun and delightful.
Sean: Simón didn’t shut her finger in the door, that was the dead ‘tard, Tomás!
Kristine: No, it wasn’t.
Sean: It was.
Kristine: NO!!!!!!! It was him.
Sean: Cutie Simón never wore that retarded mask. Only Mongo did.
Kristine: Then he goes and hides in the basement, wearing the mask! Remember, she pulls it off in the basement? It’s the big reveal and we see dead AIDS baby’s face!
Sean: You are a big dumb Wrongie.
Kristine: DAMMIT Sean! It was her kid!
Sean: She does find him mummified but he is not wearing that dumb mask.
Kristine: YES HE WAS!!! Mongo has been dead for years!
Sean: I know! It’s Mongo’s ghost!
Kristine: NO IT’S NOT! It’s her own kid and he is mad at her for slapping him and lying to him about being an adopted AIDS baby!
Sean: Eh, maybe…
Kristine: YES YES YES YES YES YES YES YES YES YES YES!
Sean: I think this is a bit besides the point.
Kristine: WHAT??? It is the WHOLE point. I am LIVID right now!
Sean: You need to calm down, there…
Kristine: If you were here, I would slap you AND slam your finger in the door.
Kristine: I will kill you in your sleep.
Sean: I’d like to have some more constructive conversation if at all possible.
Kristine: I want you to acknowledge you are wrong and then I can move on.
Sean: Fine, it’s possible I’m wrong.
Kristine: Cop out, but I accept. [Editor's Note: Simón is wearing the mask when she finds him dead in the basement.]
Sean: Was this your favorite of the four movies?
Kristine: It was that night, but I am changing my vote of favorite from The Orphanage to 28 Weeks Later.
Kristine: Cause The Orphanage didn’t stick with me, but parts of 28 Weeks Later did. What was your favorite?
Kristine: I guess. I don’t have reverence for the classics of horror, as a newbie. All things are rated by their current state. The Orphanage was my second favorite.
Sean: I approve of your skepticism. That’s what this whole ‘blog is about!
Kristine: I am a slayer of the sacred cows of horror! I butcher them, like Leatherface.
Sean: I am so curious about what “classics’ you will love and which you won’t. It’s already been a rollercoaster ride for me. Your wry, snide dismissal of John Carpenter’s The Thing still haunts me.
Kristine: Ha, I was about to ask which of my reactions bothered you the most/pleased you the most.
Sean: I think we had the most fun watching The Fly and Poltergeist, for classics. Do you agree? I was surprised that you didn’t like The Exorcist more, but I wasn’t emotionally invested in that either. I thought The Evil Dead was very fun to watch together, and I was just like whatevs about The Toxic Avenger…
Kristine: The Fly was the most fun for me. The comic book aspect really worked for me.
Sean: But you enjoyed Poltergeist too right?
Kristine: I did enjoy Poltergeist. One last thing – this conversation has made me decide that the only question you need to ask an American to determine whether they are liberal or conservative is: What is the more significant event in American history – Katrina or 9/11?
Sean: I actually think Poltergeist and The Orphanage are very reflective of each other, no? And The Others? I would LOVE to teach a class on “Maternity and the Supernatural” with those three movies, plus The Innocents with Deborah Kerr.
Kristine: That would be an amazing class. I don’t know about the similarities between Poltergeist and The Orphanage though. Is it because of A Mother’s Love™?
Sean: Yes, motherhood and ghosts; melodrama and suspense.
Kristine: Address my political allegiance theory!
Sean: Your theory holds water. Brackish Katrina water.
Kristine: But the levee’s didn’t…
Sean: So, I want people to know that you jumped and screamed and were terrorized while we watched The Orphanage and it was really fun.
Kristine: It WAS fun. And, like, we said, I loved the treasure hunt and leaving the trail of stones that end up on her doorway… lots of fun stuff. I even thought her dressing up in her old uniform and hosting the tea party worked because it showed her desperation for answers.
Sean: Do you think jump-scares are cheap and easy, and that “real” horror auteurs should never stoop to them?
Kristine: No, I love jump scares.
Sean: Me too. They’re really fun. Remember the old lady’s jaw after the car crash? I had forgotten all that stuff, and it was kind of awesome.
Kristine: OMG! That scene… the whole mowing down with the ambulance was like whoa! It made me laugh with horror!
Sean: Yeah – the movie would be a good date movie, right? Really fun, good jumps, good gross-outs, but with heart.
Sean: Is the movie sexist?
Kristine: Yeah, but I am so used to that now, sadly.
Sean: So then let me ask you this: Is horror, as a rule, misogynist? Or is it more complicated that that?
Kristine: I don’t think it has to be, but it certainly seems like it often is.
It’s messed up that the movie allows the father to be coldly rational, getting over Simón’s death so easily when Simón was also his child and he was loving towards him. I am so tired of the myth that mothers love their children more than fathers.
Sean: Me too, and that mother’s are like, always ‘SELFLESS.’ What’s wrong with being selfish?
Kristine: I know. It sucks. OVER IT!
Sean: What’s wrong with putting yourself first, your children second? I hate that idea. When planes crash, you’re supposed to help yourself first, no?
Sean: No, The Mist has the lady who is all, “Let me pet your kid while you go do man things.”
Kristine: That is true. I retract my comment.
Sean: BTW, my rating for The Orphanage: Problematic, but fun as hell.
Kristine: I second that emotion.
Sean: So, see you soon for the next movie?
Kristine: Yes! What is it?
Sean: The next movie is… Hellraiser!
Kristine: Oh my! Is that Pinhead?
Kristine: Oh man, I am scared.
Sean: This will be your first exposure to the whole “Clive Barker” thing. Okay, final question: What monster, from the four movies we watched, would you be most scared of jumping out at you in the dark?
Sean: The mask boy from The Orphanage? OMG, more than Leatherface?
Kristine: Hell yes. You?
Sean: Leatherface! S/he is the most scary.
Sean: Then infected Robert Carlyle. I would stab Mongo Mask in the head with a knife, and for the spiders from The Mist I would just laugh and walk away.
Kristine: I would call Leatherface a fatty and taunt him while he cries and wipes his tears with a frilly apron.
Sean: He would put a chicken bone in your [REDACTED]!
Kristine: This is degenerating. I am calling it a night…
The Girl’s rating: Problematic, but fun as hell.
The Freak’s rating: Problematic, but fun as hell.