Scary and Revolutionary: 8 Films That Helped Define the Horror Genre

The Hudsucker

Norman Bates Psycho Norman Bates from the Hitchcock’s classic. Credit: Paramount Pictures

Horror movies have long been a source of thrills and entertainment for us all, especially around this time of year. While sometimes they can be misconstrued as films that rely on cheap scares and over-the-top monsters in lieu of plot-driven stories, the genre is full of great movies that could satisfy even the staunchest movie buff. From the early days of Lon Chaney and Boris Karloff to the “scream queens” and documentary-style scarefests of the last few years, the horror genre has been nothing if not persistently popular.

It would be hard to rank any one film as having the most impact on the film making side, especially considering the genre has so many sub-genres within itself. However, there are a select few that have helped to definitively shape the horror culture as a whole.

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My Totally Not Serious Pregnancy Scare (and the overblown feelings that followed)

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There was never an actual moment where I might have been pregnant.

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I was basically 24 hours late. My body was doing kind of pre-period stuff, but it wasn’t happening in full force. I know that your body changes over time and reacts to what’s happening in your life now and that one day late isn’t cause for alarm. The thing is, I haven’t been late since I started the pill, years ago. So I just had the briefest of thoughts yesterday morning: man, it’d be real crazy if I were pregnant. I didn’t panic, or obsess. It wasn’t a real possibility.

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But once I thought it, I couldn’t un-think it.

I didn’t tell my partner because it wasn’t a situation, it was just a thought. And probably also because we are both excited to make a new human one day in the future and I didn’t wanna burden him with this brief and…

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Immigration and America

kanani mahelona

Immigrantsonboat

A few days ago, my longtime friend, Rodolfo Ramirez, became an American citizen. I was honored to be able to travel by train to New Haven, CT to witness his naturalization ceremony, along with his partner, John, and his dear friends, Maria, Gitte, Marge and Roberto. I have witnessed this wonderful, loving and talented man transition over the years from a young and magnetic coworker in Mexico City, to a wizened, mature and passionate teacher and resident of Connecticut, to a lifelong friend and confidant – and full-fledged citizen of the United States, to boot!

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The train ride through New England, and the purpose for the journey, awakened the ghosts of the original American patriots who lived, defended and died here. It made me reflective of my own sense of what patriotism feels like, and what role immigration plays in the spirit of national pride.

Upon arrival at the grand, column-flanked…

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Not Perfect, But All Right

upwitscreek

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2014 has not been kind.

On a cold, snowy day in January, when my husband was in Tokyo, my 10 year old son received a lifelong sentence. It began with a sick visit to the pediatrician followed by another sick visit to a gastroenterologist. As I sat across from this woman, who I disliked as soon as she entered the room, I could not imagine that my son’s world was going to permanently change. After a brief examination and a denial of all symptoms from which she was sure he was suffering, she stoically pronounced “he has Crohn’s,” which only made me hate her more than I already did. She prescribed antibiotics and advised that he would need to be examined under general anesthesia.

That night, my son slept in my bed. I spent most of the night feeling his forehead, making sure he was still asleep, plotting the death of…

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Words Not To Say In Front Of My Kids

Dysfunctional Literacy

I tell my kids they can think anything they want, but there are some things they'd better not say. (image via wikimedia) I tell my kids they can think anything they want, but there are some things they’d better not say. (image via wikimedia)

I told my daughters this morning that they’d need to take a sack lunch to school tomorrow, and they laughed at me.  I wasn’t expecting them to laugh.

It took me a moment to realize why they thought sack lunch was funny.  When I was their age (around 35 years ago), sack lunch wasn’t funny.  I carried a sack lunch to school every day, and nobody laughed.  I think I even called it a sack lunch.  Everybody called it that.  But somewhere along the way, kids picked up on the word sack, and a new source of humor was created.

Now I can’t say sack in front of my daughters; I have to say “brown paper bag.”  If I had two sons, maybe it wouldn’t matter much.  But…

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“To All My Facebook Friends” (2)

Before I Became a Great Writer

Aternatively,
We could unplug ourselves
Off Facebook
And start writing
In journals.
Alternatively,
We could write
Each other letters
And make frequent trips
To the post office.
It will take too much of our time,
Of course, but our correspondence
Will be longer
And the pleasure of conversing
Will be drawn out.
Anyway, a conversation
Via social media
Mediated by computer monitors
And profile photos
Isn’t really much of a
Conversation, is it?
Anyway, I want to see your
Handwriting, feel the strokes
Of your pen with my fingers,
And smell the ink and paper.
You don’t have to write and sound
Like Jane Austen, although that would
Be great, as well.
You can write like a cardiologist,
I wouldn’t mind.
There are nuances in our handwriting,
You know.
Alternatively,
We could lie on roof tops
And gaze at the distant galaxies
And talk about our dreams.
Alternatively,
We could…

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