A love of Jamie Lee Curtis and 80s horror films led me to watch the critically disparaged and moderate commercial success of Terror Train. The film hasn't been added to the National Film Registry, but I think it's a forgotten gem in the slasher genre.
Terror Train has it all. A sick joke gone awry. Frat boys with their throats slit. Trains. A killer who changes outfits with every kill. It's frankly classic. By 21st century standards it plays as a thriller, the show down between Jamie Lee Curtis and the killer offers the most scintillating excitement.
Jamie Lee Curtis made the early part of her career starring as the survivor girl in a string of horror films and Terror Train would be one of her last. She would reprise her role as Laurie Strode in Halloween II one last time, before going on to win a BAFTA for her role in Trading Places in 1983.
One of the many flaws of the film is that no one realizes they're in a horror movie until the end. They're just dancing, laughing, not knowing their friends throat just got slit in the bathroom. The killer is amusedly inept at actually killing anyone. He bumbles around with a shard of glass and an axe. It's no wonder Jamie Lee Curtis takes him down. Her boyfriend is NO help. And, let's not forget when the killer had the chance to hack Nick to pieces just to hesitate long enough to have Jamie Lee Curtis intervene. WEAK.
The film ends with enough melodrama to be predictably fun. The killer's motive was to avenge his sister's death. Like cool motive bro, still murder. Especially when you've killed a nurse and one girl's boyfriend who had nothing to do with pushing your sister out a window. But I digress. It's a great way to pass the time, with limited horror involved.
Mariah Carey Chart Toppers
Mariah Carey was one of the commercial juggernauts of the 90's and continued her success well into the late 2000's. It's hard to compile all of her relevant chart history, so I decided to focus on her number ones. Mariah Carey is the solo artist with the most number ones (18), trailing only The Beatles with 20.
Her second album only featured one single to top the charts, the other two hitting the top 5, and ending her streak of number ones. “Emotions” was the most lyrically bland and vocally soaring song to ever top the charts and was a testimony to her success as a singer.
MTV Unplugged (1992)
The EP featured live performances of some of her major hits as well as her fifth number one single a cover of the Jackson 5 song “I'll Be There”. Just like the original it hit the top of the charts.
Music Box (1993)
Music Box one of her most critically acclaimed albums and diamond selling albums found itself bolstered by two number one hits. First and second single “Dreamlover” and “Hero” were massive hits that anyone alive in the nineties will try to hit a high note on.
All three of the charting singles for the icon's fifth studio album hit number one in the United States. If Mariah Carey wasn't already cemented as an icon this album went on to further that reputation. “Fantasy”, “Always Be My Baby”, and the duet with supergroup Boyz II Men “One Sweet Day” are among it's identifiable this. “One Sweet Day” spent 16 weeks atop the Hot 100, the longest leading single ever in the United States, and it was the most successful song of the decade.
Two more number one hits founds themselves attached to Mariah Carey's name with this album. “Honey” and “My All” found themselves into the hearts of little Lambs everywhere.
Mariah Carey was still at the top of her game when Rainbow was released. Two singles found themselves at number one. “Heartbreaker” with Jay-Z and “Thank God I Found You” with Joe and 98 Degrees. She continued her transition into R&B and hip-hop with commercial viability.
The Emancipation of Mimi (2005)
This album found Mariah Carey back on the airwaves of American radio. She'd gone a studio album and a soundtrack without a number one hit (the horror). “We Belong Together” was the biggest song of the 2000's and every single one of us still tries to hit that high note at the end. The equally memorable if not as successful “Don't Forget About Us” also scaled the charts.
Death Comes As The End
An early predecessor to these type of movies would be Alfred Hitchcock's Pyscho, although only two brutal murder does take away the pyschotic tendencies typical of a slasher. This sub genre is also referred to as “body count films” and “dead teenager films”. Titles that more clearly remove Pyscho from the running.
During the seventies Wes Craven was primarily working with the concept of “exploitation horror”. This is just a fancy way of saying that he capitalized on current trends or fascinations. That would involve lurid material that often involved sex and violence. Both of The Last House on the Left and The Hills Have Eyes are cult classics now. The first film dealt with two girls who were taken into the woods and tortured by a murderous gang.
You can thank Wes Craven for launching Johnny Depp in his first major acting role when he casted him in A Nightmare On Elm Street. The film series has had nine revisitations of Freddy Krueger. And, let's not forget when Freddy met Jason in the crossover death match of Freddy vs. Jason. Which, is honestly just cinema gold.
In my own humble homosexual opinion, Scream is Wes Craven's masterpiece. He resurrected a sub genre when it was dying. Slasher's were dead. Horror films weren't doing it. Then, you bring out Scream, which is the most self aware melodrama. It's fantastic. It plays with all the conventions and what's more it knows it.
Right now Fox is playing with it's own eighties inspired slasher series Scream Queens. It would make Wes Craven proud. Scary. Self deprecating and funny as hell.
Unfortunately, Wes Craven passed away this summer at the age of 76 after contracting brain cancer. At least he'll always live on in the recesses of our nightmares.
The Art Of Sex
I have been considering doing an over arching throwback on a subject for a while. When I was writing for another blog, I did one on marijuana. That was fun. I did another on abuse. This didn't even start out as a throwback. I wanted to write about Pussy Riot for a Media Monday. It just didn't happen.
If you haven't heard of them, you should look them up. Basically, they are these group of Russian women who are fighting for rights in Russia. The media focuses most of their attention on the feminist and LGBT side of the group, however they protest for other basic human rights as well. They are very interesting and inspirational women.
This article really got started due to Hozier and his song “Take Me To Church”. The song is beautiful and well written. It's definitely worth a listen if you haven't yet. However, it really was the music video that moved me. It told the story of a closeted gay couple in Russia, and the physical violence that results when its discovered that one of them is gay.
I don't know how this did not garner some form of attention. It's a stunning, relevant video. I love Iggy and her Clueless themed “Fancy”. But, “Take Me To Church” is art. It is what pop culture is for to get a conversation started.
I found the video to be so moving I was going to do a whole throwback on Hozier. His influences alone would have made for an interesting article on. Van Morrison, Jackie Wilson, Jeff Buckley. Even, Bon Iver, although he is a little too current for a throwback.
Before the 90's there was very little gay support in media. Gloria Gaynor's “I Will Survive” may be considered a gay anthem, but it wasn't directed towards that purpose. Gay rights came to head when everything else was coming up. Women's rights, black rights. All these rights movements and it was put on the back burner.
This is not a criticism of how it was handled, because it is certainly not. There was a lot happening and you have to pick what you can focus on. The 90's, though was when it became more talked about. I don't want to say accepted.
Although, you did see the emergence of RuPaul. A black drag queen into social media. He became the face of MAC cosmetics, had a stint as talk show host on VH1, and his signature song “Supermodel (You Better Work)” that thrust him into the spotlight. It says something about he 90's that this was allowed to happen. Still, he never did have that top ten hit. He never truly became an A-List star.
These were mainstream hit songs, in the times when MTV still ruled the world. She was forcing America to look at it.
No matter how much I like Lady Gaga or any of the other pop stars who support LGBT rights. Now its almost popular to support gay rights. Madonna did it when it wasn't in vogue. She did it because she thought it was the right thing to do. She thought it would make a difference and it did.
One of the many things I hold against Katy Perry despite her stated support of gay rights, is “I Kissed A Girl” and “Your So Gay”. In one album. It presented the concept of: lesbians are hot, gay boys disgusting. She used this for her own fame. She may not have meant it that way, but its how it comes across. It honestly would not surprise if born and raised Christian girl Katy Perry did not like gays. It really would not. It would not shock me or make me dislike her more then I already do. It was the same with Paula Deen. Was anyone really that surprised that good old southern Paula Deen was racist.
It shouldn't have.
Before the 90's there really weren't any mainstream movies about the gay 'agenda'. Don't you love how the agenda is that they want to be married. What a terrible thing the gays are trying to do. They will bring down America with all this marriage.
You might not have heard of a few of these movies, but some are mainstream. The Adventures of Priscilla is a funny movie. Two drag queens and a transexual cross Australia in bus. You should need no more convincing.
Then, you have both Saved! and But, I'm a Cheerleader. The first tells the story of a girl who tries to save her gay boyfriend by having sex with him. Believing it is the Lord's will, she doesn't realize she will get pregnant, or that he's still gay. With supporting roles played by Mandy Moore and Macauley Caulkin it's surprisingly heartwarming if tempestuously dull.
Of course you've heard of Brokeback Mountain. You know Heath Ledger is in it. It's a great movie. The thing about it that troubles me is that it is so often referred to as a 'gay' movie. When these men are bisexual, not gay. There is a difference.
This movie was watched in GBF (Gay Best Friend) when one of the mother's tries to convince her son that she is okay with him being gay. It is basically the 2010's attempts at a Clueless or Mean Girls. One of the boys is outed and the three leading prom queen contenders battle over him to gain the upper edge in the polls. All the obvious flaws you are seeing with this movie are supposed to be there. It's about realizing that just because someone's gay doesn't make them any less human with any less feelings.
And, there are other movies of course. These are just the ones I have seen. Milk I've been told is a great movie about gay rights activist and politician Harvey Milk. You probably know I feel about Sean Penn, which is why I haven't made a point of seeing it. And, of course the documentary Paris Is Burning is a must see. People still quote all the time. Brooke Candy in “Opulence”, even RuPaul took his “Shantay, Sashay” from this movie. It's a classic.
TV of course. The first mainstream, mention of homosexuality on TV had to be Three's Company. The only reason Jack is allowed to live with Janet and Chrissy is the fact that he isn't attracted to them. Which we all know isn't true. Now TV has gay relations on it all the time. Modern Family, Glee, White Collar.
It certainly is better. It has gone past the point of being under the conscious level, but don't let anyone tell you that there isn't discrimination against homosexuality. The fact that not every state has legalized gay marriage is an obvious point. There is no critical thinking involved in that. GBF was rated R. Actually all the movies I listed were rated R. I guarantee when you watch them you'll wonder how that happened. Some of them you'll be like, yes that deserved that rated R, and others you will just not understand.
Take other countries into account. Russia, Pakistan, Egypt. You cannot tell me that homosexuality is not persecuted because it is. It is the same thing as telling me racism does not exist. Are you kidding me. The people who fought discriminatory laws are still alive. The same oppressors are still around. There may be less violent racism, but it still happens. It's just not the same thing.
Is it better. You can make your mind up about that. I do think the younger generation is going to be a lot more accepting. The YouTube community being a prime example of that. Young people watch YouTubers and the fan base of Tyler Oakley, Superfruit, Troye Sivan are obvious points to favor this.
Do not change who you are for anyone. Home is where you are. You do not need people who do not support you. If you're parents do not like gays. Fuck them. You don't need to tell them. Move out. Become your own person. You don't need parental permission.
It really upsets me that it would be impossible to tell my parents thatf I was gay. They would freak out. It would be a major issue. That's heartbreaking parents. They wouldn't love me anymore. I would be a disappointment. That's not sort of upsetting. It's horrific that this is how my parents would feel about it.
Me over here in my intro to pysch class has learned that trying to change your sexuality is not a good thing to do. It is very unhealthy. It causes depression. Don't change yourself. Accept who you are. And, realize that there are people on your side. Even, if you can't reach out to them, even if you can't verbally acknowledge something it is okay. It will get better.
We all have to be adults some day and you don't have to live anywhere near your parents.
Good Christian Bitches
Thank God for GCB. This show saved my life. I miss it so much. There was only one season, and two years later I still want this show back.
The real problem this show had was that it was a mid-season replacement for Pan-Am. You remember that retro show about the stewardesses. That was just one of the many retro shows they tried to do that year. All the stations were trying to capitalize on the popularity of Mad Men. Every single one of those shows was canceled. I even liked the one NBC did, The Playboy Club. Amber Heard was in it and she is so sexy. Then, Eddie Cibrian was in it.
I guess middle America wasn't ready for all that sex. I was. I saw every single episode. Granted, that show didn't even make it to the mid-season mark. They canceled after three episodes? Tragedy.
Of course I watched. I wasn't supposed to. I also wasn't supposed to watch Desperate Housewives but that isn't the point. My parents didn't want me watching it because it slandered good christian people. Just like I wasn't supposed to watch The Playboy Club but I did anyway.
That was another problem, GCB had was that it offended the staunch christian conservatives. If they actually watched the show they would have realized it wasn't making fun of Christians and that it made some very good points. But, that is just my opinion.
The central premise of the show was that Amanda (Leslie Bibb) is moving back to Texas to live with her over bearing mother Gigi (Annie Potts) after her husband dies in a car crash biting off more then he can chew. Amanda was the mean girl in high school and all of the girls she picked on our out to ruin her life. This includes Carlene Cockburn (Kristen Chenoweth), Cricket Caruth-Reilly (Miriam Shor), and Sharon Peacham (Jennifer Aspen). There's also sweet darling Heather Cruz (Marisol Nichols) who can't find a man, but she's not really pitted against anyone.
For the record Cricket does not have herpes.
Amanda despite the fact that she is living with her mother refuses to let her pay for things, and ends up working at Boobylicious as a waitress. To the scandal of the entire church set- and her mother. This show was dirt. This show was high stakes drama and humor. It was great.
What ABC kept forgetting is that Sunday nights are a tough time slot. They cancellled the next two shows they put in the 10/9 central time slot, because they got worse ratings then GCB. Of course I shamelessly watched both of them. 666 Park Avenue was great. Vanessa Williams was in it. That's all you need to know. It's about a creepy apartment run by the devil and Vanessa Williams was in it. Need I say more.
The next show they replaced that with was Red Widow. To be honest I only saw the first episode, and not even the whole thing. The show was not that good. I would have been thoroughly irritated if they cancelled GCB for this show. Its been two years, but ABC needs to bring GCB back. The problem I feel now is that all of these women are not just sitting around waiting for roles.
These people have other jobs. We couldn't get the original cast back together and there would be no point, then. I want it back so badly. You need to watch it, even if it's just for Cricket's gay husband Blake. Mark Deklin embodies sex. Swooning right here.
The women of this show are attractive. But, Blake. Oh, dear god. I can't even. Also, I realize the show ended on a “cliff hanger”. Yes and no. Only one thing wasn't resolved. But, we have all watched TV enough to know what the end result was going to be. This is a spoiler I suppose, but the world saw it coming. Amanda kisses the very hot pastor while they're in Mexico. That is the one thing that is unresolved.
At the same time. If season two had happened they would have tried to hide their love, eventually dated, decided it was too complicated, and somewhere near the end of season 8 finally realized they loved each other all along and gotten married. That's what would have happened.
Side note: GCB was inspired by the similarly titled book by Kim Gaitlin. The show is a loose interpretation of the book and its not my favorite book by a long stretch, however it is a good fun quick little read. So, that's definitely something to check out if you like the show.
Greta Garbo, and Monroe