Well, it’s another year. Hooray?
I’m neutral on resolutions, but I do love rituals. We live in a brutal, materialist world that, ironically, proclaims itself to be highly religious. The end-of-year reflection time is about all we get in terms of marking a seasonal change, or to welcome the sun.
Fun fact: read up on Saturnalia and Sol Invictus. There are loads of other year-end traditions worldwide, but those two morphed into the Christmas monster and they’re a fascinating and chuckle-inducing look at how Western cultures just recycle shit to fit the narrative du jour. No, it is not Jesus’ birthday.
Resolutions and promise rituals are useful if you like that kind of thing, and if you don’t it’s not a big deal to ignore some of the more frantic goings-on.
Whatever You Choose, Stick With It
Set goals that are meaningful to you, but set them in a way that encourages success in lieu of self-punishment or exhausting effort. Break them down into chunks that feel doable, however that works out: days of the week, time blocks, progress markers, etc.
The point of this is to develop better habits that lead to tangible successes or mental ease. Go ahead and reach for that end accomplishment, sure, because the challenge is worthy. But don’t burn yourself out and abandon everything just as you get started.
Example: I struggle with food. Nutrition and portion size, specifically. I’ve always been able to outrun or out-lift a less-than-stellar series of food choices, but at 36 my metabolism is slowing down. As a result, I’m not feeling my best and I don’t look the way I want to.
I phrase it this way to be clear: don’t give people shit, especially other trans and gnc people, if they want to set a fitness goal. That’s their prerogative, full stop. No one owes you anything when it comes to their own health or diet, however you want to slice it.
My solution is to incorporate more whole foods back into my diet and finally employ some moderation that I can stick to. My self-talk’s more brutal than that, but the goal is to wield discipline without punishment. That way, I can trust that the good shit still exists, and I can have it and the broccoli, too.
Baby steps. And bread is still delicious.
Quelle Horreur? ’80s, Always
We’ve watched shit at such a furious pace it’s been difficult to find time (or holiday motivation) to write about it. Some recent highlights include Prom Night II, Slumber Party Massacre I & II, Society, Mother’s Day (more on this below,) and The Keep.
Mother’s Day is not for the faint of heart, I will say. I went in with a vague warning and the viewing 100% blew my hair back. Still, the dueling POVs resolve themselves into a brutal, interesting experience that centers female friendship, revenge and a sort of mutual objectification. I hesitate to use that word because they’re not on the same level – revenge killings are not in the same moral or exploitative camp as graphic depictions of rape. Still, there’s a sense that the camera turns on both sets of characters multiple times in the film, and we’re left with a deep and unsettlingly gruesome experience. I’ve never watched anything quite like it.
Society is a body-horror dark comedy from Brian Yuzna that gives From Beyond a run for the title of World’s Wettest Film. Yuzna saves the action, shall we say, for the last 20 minutes, and it is well worth the soapy plot slog to get there. I was itching for something to happen and boy howdy, did it.
The Keep hoodwinked me into waxing obnoxious about Michael Mann’s film prowess for the first 20 minutes and then yelling at the screen for the next hour and a half as Skeletor nuked some Nazis and took on Gandalf. My partner, knowing full well what I was getting into, let me drone on about mood and tone and laughed his ass off after the creature reveal.
That film is a fucking trip, and it could’ve been SO GOOD, god damn it. It’s an entertaining, grim disaster with a banger cast that’s missing a ton of footage and will never benefit from any attention from Mann again (disavowed, unfortunately.) What a shame.
I have more to say about the female gaze in horror so the rest of the good stuff will wait for another day, but I’ll leave you with: Mary Lou is a goddess amongst horror femmes, long may she reign.