The Witch Review

p11451256_v_v8_abThe Witch is a horror movie from 2015 that follows a family of pilgrims who have angered their community and church and have been banished to live outside near the dark creepy forest. After the disappearance of the family’s infant the family becomes increasingly paranoid and the younger members believes there is a witch in the woods that is causing all of the families problems.

I love horror movies so for me the movie was not all that scary but I think the movie isn’t try to scare in the traditional sense with jump scares and gore. The atmosphere and how creepy the movie is amazing which makes the viewers feel uneasy and paranoid like the characters.  The movie has the perfect setting, nobody know what is out in the woods and as a story about the Puritans the fear of the unknown/the devil being in the woods is incredibly accurate to history.

The imagery used in the movie is very similar to reported cases of the witch trials. The movie shows the witch near the beginning but at times like it’s more the family is experiencing real sickness and possibly mental health issues. Through most of the movie interactions between the witch and the family occur when only one member of the family is in the scene so there is no way to tell if what they are seeing is real or not. The witch preys on each member showing them what they want. Very few scenes include other people besides the family so for the audience what is happening can seem like it’s not really there. The end of the movie shows that there are witches in the woods but I feel if it was all real or not is up to interpretation.

As someone who has studied the Salem Witch Trials, I constantly questioned throughout the movie if the witch was real or not though the Witch is clearly shown at the beginning of the movie. One of the theories about the witch trials is that the food was contaminated causing people to have hallucinations and seizures which lead the Church and community to believe that Witches were real. I feel like if you don’t know much about the witch trials the movie would be more scary as you probably would not question the existence of the witch.

Overall, it’s a very atmospheric and creepy movie that is great to watch around Halloween.

Venom 2018 Review

518jo3Xlf8LVenom is the newest superhero movie of 2018 and the one that has divided reviewers the most. The movie follows reporter Eddie Brock a down on his luck reporter who ends up bonding to an alien Symbiote after breaking into an evil research facility and then saving the world from evil billionaire.

I went into the movie only knowing the basic plot and the fact that critics seemed to hate it but audiences liked it. Honestly, I feel like that was the best way to go into it, with very few expectations. Overall I liked the movie it’s different than other superhero/comic movies as Eddie and Venom aren’t really good guys. They end up saving the world because they don’t want the bad guy to win. It’s also very clear that the movie knows it’s a comic book movie and plays it up a bit.

The movie isn’t ground breaking but it’s not bad and doesn’t deserve the hate from the critics. It’s not anywhere near as bad as Catwoman or Ben Affleck’s Daredevil. Go into the movie just wanting a fun comic book movie and I think you will enjoy it. The only criticism I have is that the first half of the movie with all the setup feels like it drags a little and during the end fight scene the CG kind of blends together and make parts hard to follow.

Overall, Venom is not the greatest movie but by no means a bad film. It’s a fun movie that I feel like most audiences will enjoy watching.

Smoke Gets in Your Eyes Review

Smoke Gets in Your Eyes PBK mech.inddSo I just finished Smoke Gets In Your Eyes by Caitlin Doughty and this is not the first book I was expecting to review for this blog. I currently have multiple books and shows going, which is unusual for me,I never know what I will finish first but I thought my first review wouldn’t be on such a hard topic.

Smoke Gets In Your Eyes is part memoir, part death history, and part discussion of the death industry in the United States. Caitlin is candied about the truth of how many American experience death and know very little about the death industry while at the same time injecting a very morbid sense of humor that allows the reader to be more comfortable with the topic. Caitlin runs a funeral home in California called Undertaking LA and a YouTube channel called Ask a Mortician.She is also the founder of the Order of the Good Death.

This book is hard to discuss because I really don’t know what to say given the subject, as it can sound weird that you like a book about death. In some ways as a historian that specializes in public history (museum, memorials, historical sites etc) I feel like I’m more comfortable with the idea of death than some people. As many of these sites deal with war, tragedies, and history that is taught involves people that are dead.Smoke Gets In Your Eyes pulls back the curtain in the death industry and gives a glimpse into how the modern western world handles the dead. No matter how much of a history buff you are historians write and research about events and people but most books still wouldn’t discuss in detail how the dead are treated and handled.

I biggest take away I have is that everything we do as humans is because one day we will died and the real question is what is a good death to you. What is it that you would want to happen to your body and possession when your gone. And are the major conversations that you need to have with family or friends about your future plans and possibly theirs. I know as a millennial we often have pretty morbid sense humor which I get as many days it seems like the wold is about to go up in flames or is already on fire depending on your prospective. However, I think most of us don’t want to die today or anytime soon. Planing for the inevitable future is not a bad thing and there is so much you can do with your body or remains if you want to, for example being shot into space.

Smoke Gets In Your Eyes is a powerful book about death and the death industry. Thought not for the faint of heart Caitlin Doughty does intersperse these harder topics and slightly graphic descriptions with her morbid since of humor. I would recommend this book to all those wanting to know about the death industry and those who have seen her on YouTube.