I was on Beyond the Cabin in the Woods to talk about George A. Romero’s classic, Night of the Living Dead. Listen here!
Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice opens, “It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.” Molly Pohlig’s debut novel The Unsuitable stands as a direct refutation. Set contemporaneously to Austen, the novel tells the story of Iseult Wince, a twenty-eight year old woman whose father wants to marry her off and be rid of her.
Iseult doesn’t want to be married. She’s driven away the suitors her father has invited to dinner for a decade. There are so many Iseult needs a journal to tell them apart. Her success is genuinely funny to read about because, “Iseult derived a real satisfaction from causing a true, panicky silence.” As repulsive as her behavior is, her circumstances scare suitors off as well.
The Butcher of Paris #5 “Beating Chance” closes out the series with a whimper. Writer Stephanie Phillips and artist Dean Kotz have great intentions. They’re putting a much needed spotlight on a real-life serial killer who preyed on the most vulnerable of victims: Jewish people fleeing the Holocaust in France during World War II. It’s too bad the series doesn’t do the subject matter justice.
The closest it comes to paying tribute to the murdered is at the end of this final issue, when it lists the names of “Petoit’s confirmed victims” in between panels in which Petoit is executed by guillotine. Since the first issue, it’s one of the only times the series has focused on the victims at all. Instead The Butcher of Paris has mostly followed those tasked with capturing Petoit, and eventually Petoit himself.
Randy Meeks says, “Sequels suck” in Scream 2, which is ironically a good sequel. He sparks a debate in his film class with the students trying to come up with examples of good second entries into franchises. Outside of James Cameron and The Godfather 2, they don’t agree on much. In his book, Sequelland: A Story of Dreams and Screams, Jay Slayton-Joslin conducts a series of interviews with the creatives behind horror sequels, which, to quote Randy Meeks, “Suck.”
The interviews are excellent. Slayton-Joslin chats with 11 directors, all of whom are well-spoken. They talk frequently about why they decided to make these movies. Some, as Ernie Barbarash puts it, do it because, “It was either, ‘Do the movie and have a job, or don’t do the movie and nobody gets paid.’” Others, as Slayon-Joslin says in one of the collections many wrap-around essays, “take the jobs for love of the franchise.”
The Dead Lands has a brilliant premise. Waka (Te Kohe Tuhaka) is a Māori warrior, notorious for his ruthlessness. He’s lived a life without honor but has conquered much of the lands surrounding his and is feared by the neighboring communities. When he dies, he goes to the afterlife and at the gates of heaven, he’s charged by another warrior.
He pounds on the door, asking to be let in, as the other warrior gains ground. When Waka realizes no one is coming, he turns and fights. Quickly, he cuts the other man’s throat. The unnamed warrior’s head tilts back, dead. But then he begins fighting again, despite the killing blow.