Don’t kill my Statson! Horror in the Wild West

My grandpa is a gigantic Western movie fan and I used to be one, too. But I guess that the appeal of dry skin, heat and sunburn combined with a dust lung and the combination burning days/freezing nights is not really my cup of tea. Also: racism and outhouses. I mean, the Wild West is a nightmare for everyone who’s not too keen on shooting things (and even that is more fictitious as you couldn’t just go around and shoot random people, but that’s for another blogger to discuss).

But obviously all the reasons why I hate the Wild West (I love cows and horses and coyotes, though, before anyone wonders) are perfect reasons for a nice, frightening horror movie setting (well, minus the outhouse, maybe). And there are indeed a few amazing pieces that really play well with the genre mix.

There will be possibly spoilers! Continue reading

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Horror movie list: where are all the mermaids?

Hello folks! It’s Halloween and I decided to add horror movie/tv show/book-reviews to my never ending list of things I apparently think I can write about with no care in the world. Today, we’ll see not the best movies of a thing but just movies of a thing that I found because there are not many movies of that thing out there.

I am absolutely flabbergasted at how many horror movies about big foot – basically a big hairy dude – exist and how few deal with mermaids. Come on, mermaids! Creepy lady-fish-creatures from the deep that lure men out into the sea?! Also, the sea, the home of everything HP Lovecraft conjured up in his nightmarish tales. How is that less scary than that burly furry that casually walks through the woods?

That’s not creepy. That’s unintentionally hilarious at best!

Anyway, on my search for movies about mermaids I couldn’t even concentrate on the good ones, I had to take what I could get. So for today’s horror movie night theme, I present to you: the horror of the deep aka fishtail ladies aka mermaids aka this list has only one really good movie in it!

Disclaimer: I will not feature “mermaid in a manhole” because I generally won’t get into the gore fest of the guinea pig-series and others. It’s just not my cup of tea. If you want to check it and get grossed out, you are welcome.

Possible spoilers ahead!

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Pop Goes: Miley Cyrus ‘younger now’ album review – oh, what could have been …

Ok, so I felt like I should do this because I made such a big whoopy about “Younger Now” the single. So I listened to Miley Cyrus’ new album and I like it but I also have to say that it’s no “Lemonade”. But then again, there’s hardly any pop album by a major artist out there that had such an impressive tracklist and concept like “Lemonade”. I am talking about the big names like Lady Gaga, Adele, Katy Perry, etc. I own a few of their albums but I listened to pretty much all of them and there’s just something different to albums like Jamila Wood’s “HEAVN” and, in comparison, “21” (which I own and love, don’t get me wrong). I don’t know why but somehow the tracklisting usually contains some songs that just aren’t that strong or redundant and put the singles on a pedestal. Maybe it’s just me, but there’s lesser known singer/songwriters out there whose albums don’t require any skip-button at all. But with pop albums, there’s always a few songs I can live without.

Lemonade“, for me, was one of the first really big pop albums that managed to be an amazing listen without the need to skip a song (even though “Sandcastles” comes close).

(the voice is a little shaky at the beginning but I am constantly surprised how well Miley Cyrus does live – no backing singers trying to cover up her weak voice … I also really want that romper)

Ok, back to “Younger Now”. I think the first half of the album is stronger than the second. That might be because it’s all the singles plus the duet with Cyrus’ godmother and queen of country Dolly Parton. It also might be because the first songs all have an individual vibe whereas the latter tend to blend into each other now and then, interrupted by the occasional gem.

That’s a bummer because Miley has a voice that is unique and fantastic and can sing circles around some other dames, on record AND live. But somehow, the songwriting doesn’t always make use of it. With the exception of “Younger Now” and “Week without you” (which I love, even though it’s not necessarily fresh sounding), the country songs are better than the pop songs because you gotta have a voice to sing good country and Miley has it. She has a twang and personality and that translates well with heartbreak and yearning (staples of the good ole music of country).

(This song actually grew on me. I was a little disappointed because it felt like such a flashback to her Montana-days but it’s actually a lovely little road song)

“Miss you so much” is lovely, as is “She’s not him”. Along the way, though, I feel like the love songs overtake the album and somehow betray the album title and titular song. I really wanted other themes than the whole “Love you boo”-shtick because “Younger Now” is a great concept if it would have led to more songs in the like.

As a former child star and Disney darling turned femme fatale chaotic turned songwriter Miley has more to talk about than her relationship. “Younger Now” (the song) does exactly that. I wonder what would have happened, had the album tried to get more into the theme of change, reinvention and trying to come to terms with who you were and who you are now (and who you might be in the future). That’s such a rich well to draw from and it feels like a lost opportunity that in the end it’s just not as prominent a theme. Especially, since “Younger Now” (the single) also uses this theme musically (and in the music video). Gosh, I get a little sad thinking about the Miley Cyrus album that could have been.

I still like the album and might even buy it as the one big pop album I buy each year (2016 – Lemonade; 2015 – 21) but damn, I expect more because I know that there is more. Maybe next time.

Horror movie list: Old people are creepy!

For a hot minute, I had another secret horror blog. And then I realized that it’s pretty stupid to have a different blog and try to get readership, if I already have a blog that really suffered from me not being a single lady with a lot of time on my hands anymore. I mean, I have few readers as it is, I don’t have to make this even worse by dividing my time and posts between two unsuccessful blogs.

So, I decided to take the existing blog posts and copy them on here and delete the other blog. This means less hassle for me but also more weird (creepy) stuff that you might not even be interested in for you. Sorry!

But I figured that my blog is like that since years. Occasionally I get super excited about a certain topic and put it on here and then either my interest runs out or it becomes a part of this blog. It’s my Frankenstein’s monster-blog and that’s just how it is. And even though I don’t write a lot about it on here, I am a sucker for horror movies and TV shows.

And since it’s October, I decided to start this now and because when if not now? Ok, so let’s begin with the first post which is a movie list (which you know because you can read and it’s literally in the title of this post) about horror movies with old people.

Disclaimer: old people aren’t actually creepy, at least not more than most other people. I really think that old people that are creepy always have been creepy. But they make for amazing horror movie antagonists because you think they are sweet or at least harmless and then they suddenly chain you to their ritualistic wheel of pain to sacrifice you to an elder god.

So, in the following I have a list of a few horror movies with and relating to old people that really scared or at least entertained me enough to recommend them. And yes, there might be spoilers ahead. I won’t necessarily explain the whole plot but the first third of the movie will be spoiled (how else can I suggest any movies for you?).

Alternative title: Too old to Rock ‘n’ Roll, too young to die, old enough to scare the crap out of you

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Pop goes: Miley Cyrus ‘Younger now’

I don’t know why but I am again obsessed (like, “loop that 24/7”-obsessed) with a Miley Cyrus song. Her previous single “Malibu” of the upcoming album “Younger Now” was just like the video a pretty little thing with no real meat on its bones. It also gave us a Miley that is not believable anymore (flowery hippy country girl who is everybody’s darling).

However, “Younger Now” is the kind of aesthetic sound-wise and visually that might be the real true Miley that has been peeking out during her wild phase a few years ago (and sadly resulted in a few appropriation- and “why the hell work with Terry Richardson of all people”-issues that are far more problematic than the nudity).

The Miley that plays with gender expectations and somehow is such a professional in the world of pop but at the same time just not quite as caught up in it like, for example, Katy Perry, shows herself in a video that is all Rockabilly but with the nostalgia factor playing the main character. This is not the dream of how it was back then but how it is now. The Grease brigade, creepy puppet play (a typical symbol of 50s children’s tv shows – also in Germany, by the way), the Elvis costumes and the glitz – the video in itself is mesmerizing.

The song is a lovely goodbye (?) to her wild phase (and quite possibly also to the Disney phase, but obviously no one will acknowledge that because so many people think that her twerk/tongue-phase was worse than being stuck in Disney’s fake smile wonderland that messed up so many of our current and past pop stars).

The lyrics are standard pop:

“Feels like I just woke up
Like all this time I’ve been asleep
Even though it’s not who I am
I’m not afraid of who I used to be”

But the sound is quite interesting. We start with frogs and water singing in the background and a lower guitar tune slowly easing us into the song before Miley sings covered in a subtle echo effect. The song slowly turns into the sort of pop that does well on a dancefloor but still feels calm and melancholic. This is actually a song you would rather hear from a popular rock group like Kings of Leon instead of Miley Cyrus but that’s exactly the sound that suits her (kid has still one of the most amazing and unique voices of any white female pop star out there). I really hope that her album delivers more of this and less of “Malibu” but you never know. With stars of her caliber, conceptually tight albums like Beyoncès “Lemonade” are so seldom, so I expect a few other strong singles and a few fillers.

But then again, Miley’s coop with The Flaming Lips and her resulting Her Dead Petz-album was a fantastic and weird piece of pop. I still believe that she could be one of the greats in the long run.

If you want 80s pop, get that The Bangles debut ASAP!

I, like everyone else who wasn’t a teen in the 80s, know the Bangles for their chart toppers “Eternal Flame” (all the white girls sing along but not in the right key), “Manic Monday” (which was a gift from Prince, how the hell did I not know that????) and “Walk like an Egyptian” (double the fun since the German punk pop band Die Ärzte covered this in German and I liked it back then as a kid but now really question why they would leech on the Bangles’ success when they would have been ok without this cover).

Also, a fun fact, I have to note: “Manic Monday” was only surpassed by one other song on the charts: Prince with “Kiss”. He basically topped himself. Damn.

BUT today I listened to their debut album (1984) “All over the Place” and I feel like we wronged them so much by only citing the mentioned trifecta of hits. “Going down to Liverpool” is an amazing song and sounds like The Smiths but without the moping (and there’s no way they copied the Smith’s style because both debuts came out the same year). The song was written by Kimberley Rew from Katrina and the Waves, by the way.

Also, the video has a grumpy Leonard Nimoy and one fantastic joke that I won’t spoil now because I love you.

I mean, the music videos alone are so much fun because of all that 80s fashion game going on but the whole album is fantastic and I have no idea why it never pops up in the best albums of the 80s lists because there’s not really any filler song and not every song sounds basically the same (looking at you, The Smiths*).

It’s a bit of a shame that apparently the music industry destroyed this band by featuring mostly Susanna Hoffs because they thought she was, I don’t know, marketable? The music industry can be such a dick. And when the band broke up and Hoffs tried it solo, they dropped her during the recording of her second album. What a dick move, Universal.

I mean, this pre-debut single is fantastic:

It’s also the biggest shame and simply outrageous, that no one gave Michael Steele a record contract for the next 20 years after the band broke up because Steele did not just have the best hair but also a gigantic voice and guitar and bass guitar skills to hold her own (“Walk like an Egyptian” would only be half as good without that bass line). I mean, if you have the whole package right there, why not sign her and make it happen? Universal was a mess in the 80s, I tell you that.

*Look, I like the Smiths but they are the Nirvana of the 80s in that they get way too much credit for being the most popular of a certain zeitgeist sound that was dominated by white dude bands that were moping and kind of a downer.

The last great rock band: Thank god, it’s over

There’s currently a great read on Vulture, an interview collection of people who talk about the Strokes and how they blew up and then petered out. The article is great but the notion is all kinds of wonky. Continue reading